Trigger warning- mentions of trauma, PTSD, Autism, nervous breakdown.
Daily writing? That is a much debated topic in the writing community. I don't have a firm daily writing practice. Of course that is now and I have had the experience of writing every day in the past.
My writing process? Do I have a writing process lol? In my case, my writing process is very much affected by mental health and disability issues that I live with. I've outlined my thoughts for a likely series, but I have no idea how long it'll actually take me to write all the pieces or how many posts I will manage.
I will try to make sure I post a list of particularly sensitive subjects before each of the posts. I have lived a life full of serious traumas that have most definitely impacted my writing. Those traumas have led me to a diagnosis of PTSD and that will certainly include some trigger warnings. I am also on the autism spectrum and the journey to diagnosis has been a hard one.
I’m not writing this as an invitation for people to question or debate my history. Does that sound hostile? I’m not sorry if that’s how someone takes it- 43 years into a life full of abuse, tragedy, and oppression has left me with quite an attitude.
Note- you may want to sign up for my RSS feed or follow me on Twitter to make sure you don't miss a post.
My current therapist has diagnosed me as having Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); recently we discussed Complex PTSD- which is sadly still not in the DSM (the so-called “bible of psychiatry”). Yes, that diagnosis describes me well. My therapist and I have a great working relationship- we are both rather academic-minded and so we often share books, articles, topics. One idea I wandered upon was secure attachment; because of the abuse I've lived with, I'm not very securely attached to anyone, even my Master.
I wish I could remember where I'd read the explanation of “Find a person as an adult whom you can ask if they will be your secure attachment person.” Importantly (according to my source), you should ask the person if they will fill this “secure attachment person” role. My Master, He has enough of His own issues. However, Audrey suggested I ask her to file the role and she said yes after I asked her. Given that she's 69 and doesn't keep a “second shift life” as I do, she's often fast asleep by the time I go to bed a bit after midnight. So she recommended a bedtime ritual of “attaching to memories of [her].”
Both my Master and I have issues with anxiety; a friend of His bought us a queen-size weighted blanket. While at first I couldn't use it by myself- He works 3rd shift and I try to keep to 2nd shift- I've grown to find it comfortable and useful. So now my bedtime ritual is getting into the made bed (flat sheet, comforter, weighted blanket) surrounded by stuffed animals and laying on my back with my arms at my side as I focus on memories of Audrey. My mental voice meanders between Audrey's voice and my own, even as my memories work through each of my senses and sensory systems. I sometimes select specific memories, such as Audrey telling me that she couldn't spend time with me because she has other relationships to attend to, other things to do.
Now the thing that caught my attention as I was doing this last night- why Audrey, not Shaman (that's my Master's nickname)? To say “He has His own issues” seemed like a cop-out, even as I thought it and then wrote it. (Wrote it? Does it still count as “wrote” when I do my “writing” on a keyboard?) My mind started to create a table.
Physical. Nesting partner. (I had a 3rd thing, but it's not coming back into my mind.)
Virtual. Non-nesting partner. (I never did figure out a 3rd thing for her.)
Of course, Audrey made the offer; I'm still working on being able to ask Shaman for things I need that He's capable of acquiring and/or giving. As with another thing I worried, I think I have a ponder that's related to polyamory, not to the differences in Shaman's and Audrey's being.
I took to my blog to write this out because talking about Audrey in online support groups most often gets incorrect, offensive, “armchair psychologist”-type responses. Not too long ago, I ran to my therapist, upset that someone had said that they were very concerned about me and asking if I'd been screened for Schizophrenia- based on me stating Audrey's validity.
In the US, monogamy comes along with this expectation that partners should be everything to each other; I reject that notion. So why not Shaman? Because Audrey said yes.
A situation out in public caused me to feel off-kilter; dressed up in my sunblock garb to take a tricycle ride, I was returning home when I had someone obviously taking my picture as I crossed in the pedestrian crosswalk and he jogged at me when I made it to the other side of the crosswalk. I peddled as hard as I could to get away; I didn't know if he wanted to talk or to attack me. I couldn't take the chance. That situation? It's just this week's situation; I could tell you quite a few stories of blatant discrimination. At least my characters can't physically hurt me.
One of several diagnoses I have is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); yup, I've experienced enough trauma in my life to have PTSD even though I've never seen combat. Sighs, I got through the first paragraph and the former sentence and my ability to focus on the topic evaporated. Of course, the rehearsal of writing this post before bedtime last night isn't coming back to me. Trying to pick up the threads- I said to a friend today, “While hypervigilance is listed as a symptom of PTSD, what if my hypervigilance is reasonable?” If I leave my house, I really don't have feel I have a guarantee of my personal safety; if I'm with my Master, who's a big man, I feel a bit more relaxed.
I tried to at-home therapy things and I'm wondering if any of my characters would be helped enough that I should include them in a story. Skin brushing and EMDR.
Skin brushing is also something called a brushing protocol. I've found a named one after Patricia Wilbarger. Since Sensory Processing Disorder isn't in the DSM yet (praying for that to change), there's no way to get insurance to cover occupational therapy. Thus I'm doing skin brushing on my own to work on tactile defensiveness; I don't want to hope that it might decrease my sun sensitivity- an anti-depressant that's helping other issues isn't helping with the sun. I bought a pet grooming glove and have been using it on myself (way more often than the recommended “every 2 hours awake,” but I'm hoping my use will encourage my cat to let me use it on her too).
Circling around specifically to the PTSD, I went looking early one day this week for treatments that could help PTSD. I eventually hope to get a service dog, although my family is too poor for one currently, and my med manager offensively called them “a crutch.” I'm already working on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with my therapist and it's slow going. The mass of behaviors, symptoms, and such that she found in my 39-year-old self was a lot; she and my daughter just got me through another nervous breakdown and I do hope CBT can get me somewhere. However, I wanted something to use alongside CBT; I really look at any and all possible tools to help me function better. The tool I found was EMDR.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. On YouTube, I started off searching “EMDR” and then found “EMDR self-administered”; I recommend you doing the same if you have had any traumas in your life. So I read on one page that an average session of EMDR with a therapist is 60-90 minutes; I'm not able to focus on most things that long- the 5 to 10 minute videos I've found are working great right now. I just spent some time with one video because my daughter wanted my attention and that distracted me too much to get back to writing; she's 19 and it's seldom life-or-death matters she's bringing to me. Before that, I tried a longer video to work on a core belief (Writing down 4 core beliefs was a CBT-related assignment from my therapist; I came up with 5 and they'll be the subject of a #TherapeuticThursday post in July). My mother did a good job planting the belief that I'm worthless; now 40-years-old, I'm still trying to uproot that false belief.
So what do you think- EMDR and skin brushing used by a character in a story? I have some ideas flitting in my head :D