Re: Trying To Cope
My heart breaks for you. I'm so sorry that your parents are so unsupportive of you. It sounds like you have grown up to become a great person despite their lack of support. I second everything that everyone else has said in this thread already. I just want you to know that from reading your posts I can tell you are a seriously resilient person. I can't imagine what you have gone through, but you've managed to make it this far!
I know that it's a super difficult one because your parents are controlling but please try to continue to see another psychologist if you can. Maybe it would help you to write down some traits you'd like your psychologist to have? For me, it is really important that my psychologist is female, close-ish to my age so they understand what I'm talking about but are old enough to have some wisdom about life, really empathetic and understanding, doesn't interrupt or make me feel small or unimportant, doesn't take over the sessions to lecture me or talk about their own life, and follows evidence-based practice. You could even give this list to your old psychologist who is moving away, they might be able to use it to guide their referral. The number one secret to success in therapy is that you have a trusting relationship with your therapist, but trust does have to be built over time. I know it's hard to imagine now, but I know that you're going to find someone else who you will be able to trust and speak to openly.
Everyone here on the forums wants to be here for you, and there are so many amazing listeners here!
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“Your now is not your forever."
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down
Re: Trying To Cope
@ElizaBrookes in terms of where to get help, Headspace is a national organisation that provides free/ low cost appointments.
I don't know much about video counseling other than that it exists, but it does tend to be cheaper than irl face-to-face counseling, so that might be worth looking into if you can.
Piano and singing lessons can be good for mental health, so if you enjoy them I wouldn't suggest giving them up...
Excuses you could use for regular appointments include:
• Saying that you're going to start extra piano and/ or singing lessons; use that time for appointments
• Telling them that you've joined a study group to improve your marks
• Saying that you've joined a club of some sort (writing, sports, chess, whatever sounds realistic and that they won't care about too much)
• Saying that you're doing work experience somewhere (no idea how much they'll investigate that though..)
• Going to your local/ school library to study (have an excuse ready for if they come and don't see you there; for example you forgot something and must've just missed them)
Excuses you could use for one-off appointments:
• Meeting a friend
• Feeling sick and needing to get a doctor's appointment
• Helping a friend with homework, tracking down a lost pet, ect.
• Saying that a co-worker's sick and work's called you in
• Going to your local/ school library to study
On the flashbacks:
It sounds like you've been doing so much work already to cope with them all...
I know how difficult it can be when none of the normal techniques work for you, it's a problem I have as well.
My most common flashbacks are "body memory" type things, so I use weighted blankets for that (I'm doing that right now as it happens).
It doesn't get rid of the flashback completely, but it.. interrupts it I guess.
My brain's telling me that I'm re-experiencing all of the physical sensations, but my body's telling me that all I can feel is the even weight of the blanket, and the mixed signals make it harder for me to be sucked back into panic.
For visual flashbacks, I use tetris. There's a theory that it uses the same visual-spatial part of the brain as flashbacks, occupying it on tetris rather than the flashback.
Games like candy crush, or any games that involve matching colours and shapes might also work for this.
I'm lucky in that panic attacks don't happen that often for me anymore, but they definitely used to. All I could really do was accept that it was happening, and remind myself that it would eventually sort itself out.
For me that helped more than trying to break myself out of it, but at the time I didn't have much support, so there might be better ways that I never learnt.
When normal grounding exercises don't work, I sometimes have to force my brain and senses to pay attention to what's actually going on, and basically shock it out of whatever flashback it's absorbed in.
Some things that can help with this include eating small amounts of lemon/ chili, strong mints, sour lollies, or those weird non-medicated cough tablets.
Other options include ice cubes/ ice packs or even ice baths if you're braver than I am..
Sports/ running/ jogging might also help bring yourself out of the flashback. Running, even just sprinting across the backyard, used to help me work off the fight or flight response, since I could then convince the instinctive part of my brain that I'd dealt with the threat it thought was there. Hitting a pillow repeatedly might also work for this.
Other than that, all I can suggest is recognizing and minimizing triggers.
I'm going to use my bathroom as an example, since that's one of my major triggers.
Because I can't give up on showering forever, I still have to use it.. but I can do things to make it less stressful, and less like my bad memories show it as. I keep the light off, so it looks different, I use eucalyptus oil so that it smells different, I move stuff around, just anything to make it less familiar.
I'm going to guess that re-landscaping your entire school isn't an option, but you might be able to wear a different variation of your uniform, spend time in different places, take scented things with you to school (even smiggle erasers), or whatever will make it feel as different as possible.
Anyway, sorry about how long this post became, but I hope that there was something useful there for you.
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