My Three Circles

jny published on
3 min, 483 words

The final project during treatment was called the Three Circles project. Because the treatment ranged from addiction to mental health to trauma, it obviously seems to be suited more toward the addiction angle. Nevertheless, I wrote my own with depression in mind: what is Essential to being healthy? What warning signs show that I might be headed down a dark path? And what are signs of "relapsing" into depression?

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My True Self

jny published on
5 min, 902 words

When going into treatment, you're "assigned" several projects that you are supposed to complete. The first one that I did was called "Inside Out". I chose to do mine as plastic mask and filled the inside and outside with words describing just that: how people see me on the outside and what I feel (and hide) on the inside. And as I did it, I realized something about the way the projected reflected myself that really kind of wrecked my mind.

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My needs

(and asking for them)

jny published on
2 min, 318 words

It's a very weird but common thing to say but one of the things that I benefitted from in treatment was learning how to ask for things, specifically for things that I need.

Some small examples: at one point I remember sitting in a circle with one guy slightly in front of the exit. It made me anxious (because survival instincts I guess) so I politely asked if he could move slightly. I also learned to say "No, I don't want this" to a particular group we would all take part in. It reminded me greatly of the church teachings from my younger years, only instead of God it was just more new-agey. I dreaded going to that class, but I would go anyway. But I also gained the ability to -at any time during the group- say "Ok, I'm leaving now."

The asking for help goes beyond that though. If I'm not dissociating, I have a much better grasp on asking for even the small things I need. It honestly releases such a large amount of tension; I don't have to look forward to things knowing that they will be extremely uncomfortable.

But the thing that was crucial to me was what happened in treatment; I didn't magically do it on my own, it was learning how to ask. How to build up the courage to ask the man to move his seat. Asking people if I need a hug. It's not just courage, it's also self-compassion, self-worth, and practicing trying to view the world correctly.

All this only started at treatment and it's continued on, though I'm still working on it. It's very easy to slip back into the mindset of "I don't want to bother anyone". But it's amazing how such a small difference can make me feel so much better about myself. Like I am worthy of what I'm asking for.

My Failure Feedback Loop

jny published on
4 min, 702 words

In treatment, if you ever feel as though you might harm yourself, you're supposed to tell a clinical technician so they can keep a close eye on you, and you'll end out sleeping in the nurse's station that night. I had to do this twice.

I don't want the rest of this post to underplay how I felt at the time, because it was very real. If it helps things make sense, the 2nd time was Christmas night. Holidays are hard, even when you're not in the real world.

Anyway, instead of being ecstatic that I had taken a step to reach out for help, my therapist there was extremely frustrated, as I had spent the night at the nurse's station now for the second time in a week. I didn't understand her frustration then, and it took me a while until I finally did.

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My Sexual/Sensual Nature

jny published on
3 min, 505 words

Wow, could this title be any more awkward?

Let's just move past that and accept the fact that I'm a human being. Human beings are sexual, human beings are sensual. Human beings are these things and more, and yet there's still a taboo about discussing them in a casual manner. Well, at least for the remainder of this post, let's sidestep that taboo and talk about something very real.

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My emotional intimacy with men

jny published on
4 min, 709 words

Don't get me wrong, I have anxiety with just about everything, but it wasn't until I was in the treatment center that I started to see just how limited my connections with other men could be.

As messed up as it is to hear myself say it now, I was taught (by example) that men don't show their emotions. They never cry in front of others, and......well, it's basically toxic masculinity.

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My Inner Children

jny published on
8 min, 1410 words

During one of my last sessions with my therapist in Denver, he gave me a handout to read titled something along the lines of “Tending to the Wounded Inner Child”. I, of course, never read it, because...what the hell? “Inner child”? If ever there was something that seemed as stereotypical therapist gobbledygook, it would be that. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

When I arrived at treatment, I was thrilled to find that they had much of the therapy that I knew and had already experienced, such as Mindfulness, Somatics, and EMDR. As an adjunctive, my primary therapist decided that Somatics would be the best fit for me, to which I was also thrilled. But I never dreamed that it would help me to discover my own inner child. Much less three of them.

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My Suicidal Ideation

jny published on
12 min, 2380 words
Trigger warning: pretty dark sh*t incoming.

To go ahead and dive right in, suicide has been a large part of most of my life. Self-loathing started when I was about 13 years old and only grew from that point, and having thoughts of wanting to die or being better off dead were common by 15. From there the thought of taking my own life came in natural succession.

But I never did, obviously. The primary reason for this was religious: I was taught that my life was not mine to take. And even as much of the religiosity fell away from my belief system, that bit remained, even if subconsciously.

And yet, of course, it remained hidden. Even those to whom I divulged my battles with depression never really saw the depths of how much I yearned for death. How much I thought I deserved it.

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7 weeks / What comes next

jny published on
7 min, 1219 words

I just recently got back from a trauma treatment center, in which I spent 7 weeks and 2 weeks in a hospital prior. It was a long time coming, despite the progress I’ve made, which is evidenced well by the fact that in the post prior to this one, I likened my mental illnesses to a terminal disease.

Obviously too much happened in those 7 weeks to be covered in one single post, so my intention is to succinctly list the major breakthroughs I had there, then expound upon them later.

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