Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the safe place

im still at 10 mg of celexa and doing better. i hope to be able to up it to 20 soon. honestly i am quite scared to take the 20 mg pill because psychologically it is tied to the triggering of all of these horrible memories. so just looking at a fully intact pill churns my stomach. but, i want to get better and this season of life i'm in right now is all about short term loss, long term gain - having full faith that temporary pain and anxiety overrides long term recovery and healing. so there is quite of bit of "ripping off of emotional bandaids" going on every day. to live in the moment, to experience and not turn from the emotions churned up is very hard. especially when i know i could make it all go away if i just took an ativan. but i can't keep doing what i had been doing, because look where it got me? repressed memories and unprocessed emotional trauma. at my worst - shortly after the triggering memories last month - i was taking .5mg of ativan 3x per day. before that, when i decided that i was struggling to maintain most of my safe/normal activities within my life and thus considered and decided i'd try a daily SSRI, i was taking .5mg of ativan 3-4x per week.


so that means that 3-4 times per week i was having a surge of unprocessed emotions surface and i was stuffing them down inside. 3-4 times a week i was denying myself the experience of healing. 3-4 times per week i was engaging the cycling of hurting and numbing, hurting and numbing. this week i haven't taken any ativan. in fact i haven't taken one for a panic attack in 1 1/2 weeks (since i went to my parents house). i even went to church on sunday and didn't take any! that marks only the second time ive been in public in 6 weeks, which is a bit discouraging to be honest, but it went so well that i can only draw strength from it. i half jokingly put up on facebook that i was going to go to church but i didn't want to talk about "it". i lost count of how many people gave me a hug or other outward sign of affection, but everyone respected my request and no one brought things up or made me talk about them (even though most everyone/everyone i interacted with knew what was going on).

there is a prayer, from dave nixon of vineyard central in cinncinati, that we like to pray at our church that says

My Lord, open my mouth to speak to you.
Open my heart to love others.
Open my eyes to see and engage suffering.
I want to lose my life and find it again in you,
Whatever the cost, through Christ amen.

i've prayed it countless times myself - we even have had it posted around our house at various times. it is amazing how much my eyes have been opened to God's word in my life through all of this. never before have i taken this prayer and applied it to my own suffering until now. when i think of applying the prayer to ME, and not of course to engaging the suffering of others, it takes on such a different though equally powerful message. i definitely got smacked upside my spiritual head when i felt God turn that around on me. He wants me to engage, not hide from, my pain. so engage i will, i must. sometimes (often times) i don't even know what to say, what i ask for, what way to beg for help with how i feel when i am lost in a moment of traumatic recall. so often i just get as far as Lord, open my mouth to speak to you! and leave it at that. it is not hard for me to ask God for more love for others. but the engaging and seeing of my own suffering? that is where the pain is! that is the door i have not only avoided but boarded up until recently.

the terry wardle book i talked about in a previous entry gave me some great imagery exercises that i've been working on. creating a safe place in my mind and whenever i start to lose control of my emotional-self i go to that image. i actually have two. one where i am alone with Jesus and another where i am with david. only the former place do i actually attempt to work through hurt with it though honestly. i don't think it is wise of me to develop a dependence on david to help me through this. so basically the place is a comfortable space where i imagine being able to sit with God - sometimes in silence, sometimes in tears, sometimes in anger, whatever i need. after several weeks of using this imagery and feeling peace and acceptance i started inviting in the pain. i am still only at the first step, but eventually i hope to unleash the full emotional story into it. basically, i imagine i am in this safe place with God and after however long it takes me to prepare and feel ready, i then imagine a one way mirror. and on the other side of that mirror is what happened to me. it can't see me, it can't hurt me, it can't engage me in any way. i am in a safe place with God. as i start to lose it, which i always do, i feel arms gripping around me and words of love replacing words and actions of violation and betrayal. at any time i am free to close to blinds to that window or imagine it gone completely.

im making babysteps and im really grateful for that.


Judy said...

Oh Jenny. I am catching up on your blog. I was also switched to celexa about a month ago. It is good to know that I am not the only one that has had a bad experience with it. Things are SO much better now and I just recently took the 20 mg plunge. I thought it was going to be horrible...but it wasn't as bad as I anticipate. I did the SAME thing as you, started off with 20, then had to go to 10. I feel like things are lining up again, no panic attacks since I increased. Praying for you in the transition. :)

jenny mae. said...

i took 20 mg the first day and it made me hallucinate! it was awful! so i cut it to 10 mg, but i was still having body tingling and awful sleep so i got the go-ahead to cut it to 5 mg and increase as i felt comfortable. so now i am up to 10 mg and feeling optimistic about bumping to 15 mg today, maybe 20 mg next week or so. my body is sensitive to medication (or alcohol or really anything!) so i'm not surprised i had this reaction really. i really want to get to 20 mg. i feel much better and i'm only at 10 mg so far. still not able to push away the panic feelings but they are not escalating to full blown panic attacks, certainly not every day, all day like they were

Miss Wendy said...

I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and my gosh, it's hard. Thanks so much for writing about it honestly and openly, it really helps to read others experiences. I don't feel so alone.

Heather Evans said...

I have also been suffering from some post traumatic stuff from Pregnancy-delivery-recovery and man, it is SO tough to relive those emotions and circumstances. I really like the safe place with Jesus idea... Next time I have a hard moment I am going to remember that! You are doing great Jenny! It is encouraging to see someone work through their suffering with Jesus, and helps me realize I can do it too..

Anonymous said...

I love that idea! I think I could see myself using a "tea with god: type of imagery.

What kind do you think he'd have? :)

Glad you're slowing feeling better, my dear. Baby steps are awesome!