In case I forget.

Avoidance Is A Skill
December 22, 2006, 2:00 am
Filed under: Counselor A, Dr. Neuro B, Memory, Neuro

Yes, it is. One I have perfected! Every time I turn on my computer I see the little icon up there for this blog. And I think – I need to write there. I need to get this stuff down. You know. In case I forget? But I have been avoiding. Because it’s easy to when I’m not in a crisis, when my every waking moment isn’t spent with my head in this thing.

It hasn’t been so terribly bad the last few weeks. I’m still at Lamictal at 400mg a day. Some days seem better. Some days are very bad. The bad ones are the worst I think but then I think the good ones are the worst. The bad ones, because I feel like nothing is ever actually going to work. I feel like the whole last year plus has been one big circle of useless stress, pain, and terror that will just keep circling around and around until I decide none of it is worth fighting anymore. And the good days? They almost seem like false hope. Because every good day seems like a lie. With every good day, in the back of my mind, I am thinking, it’s just a tease. Maybe not tomorrow, and maybe not the next day, but surely the one after that will again leave me gasping for air because the burping won’t stop.

I’m about two weeks out from going back to Dr. Neuro B. I know he will up the Lamictal again, this time to 500mg. I have as much faith that it will work as I do that there will be peace in the Middle East. Baaaaah.

The one good thing going on is the new counselor I mentioned earlier. We’ll call her Counselor A. Because the three that I tried earlier this year were so horrible they don’t deserve their own letters. I’ve seen Counselor A about six times now. She is kind, empathetic, and patient. She does not presume to know what I am going through, but is interested in listening and learning. She doesn’t seem to feel like she must push me to a solution, but rather is willing to simply be there in the room with me. I told her the first time we met that I wasn’t even there for any specific reason. I told her that I know that most people go to a counselor with a goal. I want to figure out if I should leave my husband. I can’t find happiness in my job. I hate myself. That sort of thing. But I explained to her that really, I just need someone I can whine to. Yes, I have my husband. He will listen to anything I need to say but in the end, he will try to fix it and of course he can’t. So then he’ll start to feel bad because he feels that he can’t help me. Yes I have dear friends who I can talk to. One in particular is open to all of my needs and asks nothing in return because she is just that kind of soul. But there are only so many times you can cry to a friend about the same thing without feeling that you are a broken record of self pity and imposition. I tell Counselor A this and she smiles, she understands.

Now don’t get me wrong. She does try to isolate specific stressors and give me suggestions on how to approach them, asks me to consider things. For example, we talk a lot about the fear and sometimes panic that I experience trying to drive on freeways. They never ever ever bothered me before the accident. And the accident didn’t happen on a freeway. But the danger is so real, the speed is so out of control, the vehicles are so big, and the drivers are so aggressive. Even though I don’t consciously remember the accident I know my lizard brain does. When an 18-wheeler is coming at you at 80 mph, determined to be in the lane you happen to be in, and your lizard brain remembers what it felt like and sounded like to be crushed in a small metal box, to be torn apart, to have your bones broken, and your mind shut down, your lizard brain reacts when your conscience brain wouldn’t normally. The instant flush of adrenalin . Palms sweat. Heart races. Ears ring. Breaths become short and fast. It’s panic. And the truth is, it is more dangerous than the 18-wheeler.

Driving on a freeway in Houston is sort of like facing a pack of wild dogs. If they can smell your fear, you’re doomed. So we talk about that sort of thing and she gives me suggestions. Her strongest one, the one I am considering, is that I take a Xanax or two and purposely head out to the freeway. Freeway driving presents a particular problem when you are trying to use a desensitization tactic. I mean, really, you’re either out there or you’re not. So the theory is that if I can do it with the Xanax, that I might be able to train my brain to think it can do it without it. But I hate the Xanax. It is a total crutch, an admission of weakness. But I’m thinking about it.