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