Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why do you need to do that?

Yesterday I saw both of my therapists and came home wanting to quit going to both of them. Why? I invited my massage therapist, Christopher, out for dinner to celebrate his birthday in October. He accepted but now, after seeing Dr. Shoja, I realize that I was wrong to ask him.
After seeing him I went to Dr. Shoja and at the end of my appointment I told her I’d researched Persian cookies to bake her and she said: “Why do you need to do that?”
Her comment made me mad. I felt rejected and it hurt. So why did I want to bake her cookies and why did I want to take Christopher out to dinner?
Last week I did too much. I saw someone every day, went to the PNE twice and to an alumni reunion and a dinner party. By Sunday night, I was barely able to speak and I’d had several seizures so I spent Monday to Wednesday morning longing for my therapists.
These are my first for-pay relationships. They are terribly one-sided and both bring me tremendous relief from the stresses of living with PTSD. I thought I wanted to take Christopher for dinner and to give Dr. Shoja cookies to thank them.
But her question has me suspecting a more pathological motivation: To be liked. Worse — well more honestly: To be loved.
It doesn’t surprise me that an orphan seconded to neglectful custodians would be thusly afflicted. I will not hate myself for being this way; instead, I welcome the insight derived from Dr. Shoja’s response.
I won’t bake any Persian cookies. I’ll take Christopher to dinner, or not, but I will stop trying to become his friend.
I not only went to bed angry last night, I was also exhausted after three days of severe symptoms and two therapy sessions. Plus, at the alumni party I attended, I’d had a rather severe seizure as I was preparing to leave and it got me into a situation that greatly added to my stress. 
I’m in an altered state during a seizure and for a while afterwards. I can’t speak conversationally; I can only say single words and so I blurted out the word “seizure” to indicate to those around me that I knew what was happening and that it would soon stop.
But for the third time in five months, one of the people coming to my aid was a medical professional and out of concern for my safety they intervene in a way that feels to me like a violation of my rights. They want to call 911 and I have tremendous difficulty stopping them from calling. I have found it very challenging to reassure them and retain the right to make my own decisions.
Don rejected the term “seizure” and I felt stupid in front of everyone. Consequently I went to Dr. Shoja yesterday keen to know what to call my episodes. I told her that I wanted a name for them that medical professionals would recognize and respect. She said they are non-epileptic seizures. Now I know.
She also said that although C-PTSD is an anxiety disorder, my seizures are not panic attacks. It’s a distinction I valued hearing. Information is my best medicine.
Sometimes the best medicine comes in the form of a question: “Why do you need to do that?”

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