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Posts Tagged ‘exhaustion’

Drained

I have been so tired lately, even when I have gotten enough sleep. It’s as if there is nothing left over after I deal with what is going on internally and the bare basics of what to be done for my family. The house is a disaster and has been for almost two months. My daughter is bored, because ever since Winter Break, I have crashed for a nap soon after I pick her up after school. And that often is after I take a nap in the morning. I feel guilty, but I am running on empty.

I saw my psychiatrist today (who has experience working with dissociative disorders) and we spent some time talking about how I have been experiencing increased parts activity internally and trying to get a handle on the emergence of external parts activity. (By that I mean I’m experiencing parts being in control of my actions.) This is new for me and frankly rather freaky. It’s also somewhat alarming, because I’m not in control of the process and yesterday I found myself with a very underage part increasingly taking control, while I was driving. I begged for another 4 blocks to get home and did get us home safely, but it was a close call.

We talking about how I am managing, but I am feeling like I am in it to over my eyebrows and I feel like I have nothing left to do anything that isn’t absolutely necessary right then. I asked if a recent med change might be causing decreased energy levels and she was very sympathetic, but clear that my problem simply is that my brain is running at capacity trying to manage all of the parts, figure out internal communication, come up with some way to manage the parts starting to emerge into the world, after hiding away for so long, and deal with over the top intense emotions and memories.

She did hold out hope, though. As the communication improves, eventually I will either start to integrate parts and the load will decrease that way or I will find that parts can take on some tasks and the load can be shared. Honestly, I’m intimidated by the thought of the second option. It’s hard for me to imagine what that would be like, since my parts have always been ‘behind’ me (other than in sessions) up until now. I never thought that I would have to deal with them emerging into the world, but it’s starting to happen, so I really don’t know what will happen.

One benefit to my talk with the psychiatrist is that I stopped feeling so guilty about ‘getting so little done’. If I have nothing left, I have nothing left. Period. No feeling like I ‘should’ be doing more. As Dr. L said, first priority is safety. (No three year old driving the car.) Next is taking care of basic needs and for right now, that means dealing with what is going on internally for me. The house can wait. The house has to wait. I continue giving my daughter what I can, as often as I can, and even though it isn’t nearly what either of us would want and I am sure that I will hear about it 10 years from now, for now the reality is that it’s the best that I can do. My husband loses out the most, I’m afraid, but at least I can be mindful about the situation and try to do more hugs or sit next to him on the couch more often. If I stop beating myself up over not doing enough, then I can pay attention to doing the little things that are possible.

I do hope that I make it through this drained dry stage soon, though. This is the most extreme that it’s ever been for me. I need to have a bit of energy left over to get back to being able to do some more of that living again.

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I’ve been kind of numb for the last couple of days and I’m not entirely sure that it’s a bad thing. I generally think numb= bad, but this isn’t entirely numb and I’m still able to be fairly present for my family. I am starting to suspect that this is a self protective “I desperately need a break” numb as opposed to an avoidant “I don’t want to have anything to do with those feelings” numb.

Like all too many survivors who are in therapy, I have a tendency to push and push and push. I can’t even begin to count the number of times Mama Bear has said, “You don’t need to work so hard all of the time. You will do better if you take a break.” Intellectually, I understand that I’m not in a life or death situation right now and I don’t need to fix everything at this moment, but parts of me inside are still in the process of learning that it is safe for me to take a break now and then.

As a result, I have been pushing non-stop since I started doing therapy again, 20 months ago, and I am just exhausted. But how do I take a break? I’m not sure how other people do it, but I am starting to suspect that this slightly numb state is a way that my mind is trying to impose a break on me. That doesn’t mean that nothing comes up; multiple times during the day I have felt something intrusive start, however I have been able to back off from whatever is intruding, ground myself, and get my insides to agree that I am better off not trying to figure out what is nibbling at the edges of my mind right now.

I have also had strong emotions start to come up over the last couple of days, but then fizzle out. I think that is largely because of a lack of emotional energy to sustain the feelings. If the battery is drained, there is no zap.

It’s probably a good time for Mama Bear to be out of town, really. I know that she would be perfectly happy to take a session or two to talk about some things in my life that are worth talking about, but don’t require nearly the amount of energy as the trauma work, but I have trouble getting myself to take a break from the trauma work. However, she isn’t here, so there was no session today- simple as that. Nothing was stirred up and I won’t be spending the next 2 or 3 days working on something in the back (or the front) or my mind. I didn’t have any choice in the matter and I’m kind of grateful that I was forced to not have a session today.

But this is ridiculous. I really need to learn how to pace myself better and not burn myself out. So I’m wondering what other people have figured out in terms of pacing and getting themselves to take breaks as they need them?

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