October 04, 2006

Saw the doc today...

I saw Dr O today. I actually drove part of the way there in fact, to see if I could handle the highway after years of avoiding it and also to take over for Joe if I could and spare him the trial of having to drive all the way there and back (an hour each way). I know the drive tires him, but he insists on taking me, and won't let anyone else do it, yet...

Anyhow, as I said, I saw the doctor today and I brought the e-mails that so troubled me, as well as yesterday's blog entry and Kate's comment, the only one posted at the time, though she would have appreciated the others as much as I did. First of all, after reading the e-mails, she said she not only could detect no hatred or even anger in the missives to me, but not even any curtness. In fact, she thought one of them in particular went out of her way to offer me assistance ASAP, once Joe makes up his mind as to where he wants to be treated, the CT clinic or the MA one.

When she read the blog entry and the comment written by Kate, she leaned forword and said to me, "Kate is exactly right. Listen to what she writes." Then she read certain parts to me about my NOT being Satan's spawn and what Kate thinks I am really like, which made me squirm. "The feeling that you are hated, that you are poison, Pam, that's your illness, it's paranoia," she continued. "It's the feeling you carry around with you everywhere you go, even when you are trying your best to help Joe. But you have to trust us, trust me, when I tell you that it isn't happening, it isn't real, no one is hating you or being poisoned by you. It's just a feeling, one your illness makes you prone to have..." (I paraphrase of course, since I don't remember exactly what she said, though I think I got the gist of it pretty well.)

Well, that reminded me of the Reality Test, the trust part of it, especially when she mentioned the part about my thinking that people are secretly wishing me harm or hating me or conveying subtle all those are signals of paranoia that I can't see when I'm in the midst of it. And she is right! I can't tell, when I am in the middle of a paranoid "fit," that thinking someone is secretly communicating hatred or is being poisoned or killed by something I've unknowingly done is in fact paranoid. But later, when calmer, I can see it, if someone or something suggests to me that I look at it again, in the light of the word SECRET or POISONED or UNKNOWINGLY, some trigger word that I always use when paranoid. If I hear myself using those words, or remember that I used those words earlier, perhaps after the fact I can stop the episode: once I know that those words mean I am paranoid then I can't take them seriously any longer and will no longer labor under the delusion!

By the time I left her office, I was feeling better, convinced that I should at least go to the support group with Joe and Karen, even if the ALSA person is going to be there. I will hope for the best, or assume that she holds nothing against me, as Dr O says her letter indicates neither anger nor ill will, and I have to trust that she can "read" it better than I can.

Thank you Paula, Kate and Yaya for your so kind comments and loving support! I think I am stressed out about how fast Joe's illness is progressing, which he acknowledges himself, and how many changes are taking place at one time. I am tempted, Kate, by the idea of doing crafts as a way for some time away from writing. I have a plan worked out to make a large papier maché turtle that I've been itching to do for a long time. But I dunno if I can give myself the freedom and permission to set up things and make it. I'm afraid I'll get halfway through, or make it, but then not paint it for a year or two and it will just sit in my living room, taking up a lot of space! But I have to admit, it does attract me awfully, the idea of building it...

Posted by pamwagg at October 4, 2006 08:07 PM


Pam, if you want to make a turtle, I say move that turtle full speed ahead! You can post pictures as he or she takes shape. Once, long ago, I had great fun with a papier mache mule . . .

Posted by: Cynthia at October 5, 2006 10:15 PM

Hi Pam,

I hope your feeling better. I know how hard it is to shove feelings of paranoia aside. I've seen my daughter struggle with it too. At times she think we are all against her and it's very difficult to convince her that we love her and don't want to harm her.

Dr. O sounds like a wonderful doctor.

You are loved and admired Pam and have given many of us a lot of pleasure with your writing as well just knowing you as the giving and loving person you are.

I understand the feeling of impending loss. It's such a helpless feeling, but try to stay in the moment Pam and savor your time with Joe. When I was with my beloved Jules we never talked of death but rather talked of life and the beauty around us.

Please take care of yourself. Remember you are worthy and loved.


Posted by: Yaya at October 5, 2006 11:00 AM

Dear Pam the temporarily frowning Feebs B(

I'm glad you went to see Dr. O and brought the emails (plus mine) as a reality check. Smart thinking. Of course you're stressed out by Joe's illness! Anyone would be. My God, don't you have a therapist that is closer than an hour away?! You NEED ready access to someone who can guide you through this. How I wish I could be there! And definitely go to the support group with Joe. I'm hoping someone will speak out who will appeal to you, someone you could turn to when times get hard. That's what support groups are for and loved ones need every bit as much support as the afflicted, probably more so. Guilt is a common reaction for people who survive when those close to them get ill, but you must fight it Pam. Please do start work on your turtle (Pammy the Tortoise? :) Don't you wish sometimes you could pull your head, arms and legs into your shell and feel fortified and safe?) It's the process that counts the most and not the finished product. It will be good for you to take the focus away from your troubles and onto some innocent (but wonderful)activity. You need to do this. I'm very interested in your process because I would like to try one when I get home, so maybe you could write about it. Sculpture is something I've wanted to do but never really tried (except for some very small Sculpey pieces I did when I was delusional and in pain which I loved). Is armature the right word for the frame that you begin with? And what is it made of--wire? thick cardboard? plastic pipes? Let me know. I'll be around...

Affectionately Yours,

Kate (aka Feline-kwk) :)

Posted by: Kate K. at October 5, 2006 12:11 AM

Hi pam, i hope you are feeling better about yourself after the visit with dr o and i hope that you continue to feel good about yourself. there is no way you are an evil person....quite the contrary, you are a wonderful, caring individual that is always trying to help others!! you have helped ME and many other people tremendously in the understanding of sz. i'm sure there are thousands of people who read your blog and are helped. you are a wonderful,caring friend to joe! i hope you can tell yourself to stop thinking these bad, hurtful thoughts. I am telling you the truth!!!!!

anyway, go for the turtle....why not. and if it sits in your living room for a year, who cares??? if you are going to enjoy it for even a little bit, then why should you overthink it? just do it and enjoy it for whatever it's worth. it sounds pretty neat. take care. love, sue

Posted by: sue marasciulo at October 4, 2006 10:54 PM

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