Tag Archives: Pseudo hallucinations

Chaotic Cancer: A Family Member’s View: First Chemo

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š

This is my view of living with someone who has cancer as someone who has a mental illness. It is my personal experience of the chaotic cancer ride.

A milestone is the first chemotherapy session. It was something we had waited for, for quite a while after diagnosis, or so it seemed. We had a lot of cancellations and changes before the first session took place. Because if the chaotic nature of everything this has taken me some time to write.

Mum had to go to a specialist hospital in London for the first session. This was about an hour’s drive from where we live. It was tricky logistically with having to go up in the days before for blood tests and covid swabs. It was also tiring for my mum.

The stress of the first chemo was immense. It was all so sudden that it came together after all the cancellations and changes. The panic kicked in the night before mum had to go. I couldn’t sleep. I was scared. But I didn’t feel I could show it. I decided I needed to just push it all down. I couldn’t deal with the overwhelming feelings. I needed to just be practical. It was probably not the best idea but how I could cope.

Chemo for mum took a long time. They had trouble with her veins and other things. Plus having three different drugs meant it took all day. She was exhausted by the time she was done and home.

At first, after the chemo, mum didn’t feel too awful and then it hit. She wasn’t sick but felt it. She was very tired and this made her frustrated. Her mind often went blank. It was a difficult time to be at home. Life was just very stressful. I was struggling. I didn’t know how to describe my feelings or what was going on in my head. It was all extremely overwhelming. I didn’t talk to anyone really about how I felt as I didn’t have the words. I just said I was tired, which was true as well.

After the first chemo you think you understand what could happen from what you’ve been told but living it is so different. And if one more person tells us to think positive I think we’ll all scream.

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Chaotic Cancer: A Family Member’s View: Intro

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š

About six weeks ago (or longer, the days are all merging) my world was hit by the news that my mum has cancer. It’s something I’ve been dealing with on top of coping with my mental illness. Therefore I thought I’d use my blog as a way of recording how I cope (or not) with everything that comes from living with someone with cancer. And not just anyone living with someone with cancer but someone with a prior mental illness. I know bits will overlap with everyone who supports someone with cancer but there are bits that I think I’m finding harder due to my diagnosis. Maybe not… But this will be my way to explore it.

I’m planning to set this up on it’s own page of my blog so it will be together with other information or support as well. And it will all be in one place.

My plan is that I will be as honest as I can be. That I will look at the good, the bad and the ugly. This may mean there is triggering topics discussed so please be careful. As always I will put a trigger warning at the top.

So post one will hopefully be up shortly (once I’ve written it) but I don’t think I will keep these posts to a schedule as life is already chaotic. I also still want to write about other areas of mental health and illness too, this is just an add on.

As always if you want to share or ask questions feel free to use the comments or my Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Therapy 2020: Session 15

Date of session: 09/12/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š

In this session we discussed my self harm. It’s the barrier to me gettting proper trauma therapy. I had a decision to make whether to just carry on self harming and forfeit trauma work or give giving up a go.

Before the session I’d tried to write down some questions and thoughts linked to this. It started off OK but I spiralled down into self doubt and hatred. Please see the image for my thoughts.

In the session I discussed some of these thoughts. We talked about how the intention to try needed to be sincere but trying to give it up could continue alongside some prepatory work for trauma therapy. This means that in the new year I will have another four sessions at least and see where we go from there.

This has made me feel all sorts of things about myself. Hatred is very much in there, towards myself. I’m defensive of the self harm even though I know it isn’t healthy. I have discussed some reasons behind it with therapist.

We also looked at the year and a bit I managed to have without self harm and how that happened. We went through if there was anything significant at the time. We discussed some behaviours and thoughts and I was told it very much sounded like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This is something I’ve tried to discuss before with professionals and been dismissed over so it was validating to have it recognised.

This is where we brought the session to an end as we’d already gone over the fifty minutes by half an hour. Next week is my last session of the year. It will probably be a crucial point. We shall see.

Therapy 2020: Session 14

Date of session: 02/12/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š

Getting round to writing about this session has taken a while. The session left me in a highly emotional state and it took time to get that under control before I could even begin to process the session. There will be holes in this as some personal things were discussed that I’m not ready to share.

The start of the session was taken up with starting to think about what will happen after my time is up as I’m only meant to have another two sessions. There was a discussion of trauma based therapy and EMDR but this won’t happen unless I stop self harming completely. This has left me with some choices to make and things to consider. In the session I felt myself becoming very defensive around this conversation. It’s something I need to work through before next week.

We did the usual scale of how I am and I just couldn’t think how I was. It’s been a tricky week but it’s not been the worst. But I don’t feel great. It’s all very confusing to me. I really don’t feel I have a handle on this at all.

We then went back to the formulation we’ve been working on to look at my core beliefs and whether things have changed. And when looking at them and working through it, they have to an extent. Instead of using evil to describe myself it’s gone to bad but I also added in that I’m a burden. My core beliefs when related to other people have also changed though this was harder to look at. It really showed black and white thinking in my world which is hard for me to acknowledge most of the time.

This therapy has definitely made me see that a BPD diagnosis does fit but it has also made me start to question whether something else is not quite right too. This again is something I need to look into.

We seemed to make progress in this session and where I had written out some things after the session last week, I shared some of this. That was never my intention but I found it helped me explain things so she understood it better. She seemed to find this useful too.

I’m finding my issues with language surrounding events is still there and it makes me extremely uncomfortable to hear certain words. I know I shouldn’t be scared of words but I am. This is part of the reason I became highly emotional at the end. The session did seem to end suddenly though and I don’t feel that helped. But it could also be that I started to dissociate.

Overall it was one of the better sessions in that I feel progress was made, even though I’ve felt awful ever since. A technology glitch may also of helped in that the video link wouldn’t work so it was all on the phone and I couldn’t see her. Let’s see where next week takes us.

Therapy 2020: Session 13

Date of session: 25/11/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š

I’m not sure how this post will go or if it will make sense due to my current mental state. Please bear with me.

I felt very unwell going into the session today. I’ve had a bad week and struggled a lot. I’ve not felt “with it” and have withdrawn from most people.

We started the session with a recap of where I am with self harm. This has not improved but has not worsened. She then suggested looking at some things linked to trauma. This took me by surprise as we haven’t touched on it for several weeks. I could of done with some warning. It was very hard to discuss. She seems to have a habit of making guesses that are spot on in her examples. This does make me feel like something is connected.

A lot was spent looking at trauma and it’s link to my core beliefs. There was a lot of memory recall required and my brain felt ready to explode and became a mess. I felt I couldn’t get things out right. I felt I was making little sense. I felt overwhelmed. The voice started.

I felt myself becoming more and more separate. I talked about dissociation. We looked at things I can do to bring myself back. They are things I’m aware of. Making use of senses and mindfulness. This is what I need to practice over the next week.

I feel utterly drained after the session. I’m not completely with it. This is all I can manage. I’m sorry.

Therapy 2020: Session 8

Date of session: 21/10/2020

Please be aware that some content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š

Another difficult session. Each week I dread this 50 minute period of time. And it’s taking longer and longer each week to sort myself out. I know that this week, again, will take me time to deal with. Writing it out is the start of the process.

We started by discussing how I’d been the last week. I was honest and said I had been low in mood. I didn’t get far enough to mention the suicidal thoughts and melt down I had during the week. She asked if I knew why I felt low and we discussed some of what we had last week and challenging the thoughts.

We also looked at what other feelings I had been having and came up with guilt and anger. We worked through whether these matched the facts and whether they could be acted on. In some cases this wasn’t the case so the need was to act opposite. (Apparently when they ask what the opposite to acting by repairing for guilt, they do not want the answer destruction.).

We then explored the anger about aa certain situation in more detail and tried to separate my anger at the other person and my anger at myself. This was difficult to work through and some things that were said have upset me quite a lot and have me doubting myself more than ever. A friend who I discussed it with doesn’t agree with what was said about the situation and this has left me in utter confusion.

I’m hoping that I can get through all this. At the moment my head feels full to the point I can’t think about anything as nothing can move. There are people I desperately want to talk it through with but feel unable to do so. I feel more and more like a burden. I almost feel at this point that this therapy could kill me. We are halfway through the allocated number of sessions and I have no idea if in 8 weeks I’m going to be able to cope any better.

Therapy 2020: Session 7

Date of session: 14/10/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š

Today was tough. Even tougher than last week. I feel broken. There’s a lot of other feelings floating around that I’m unsure of and feel massive. I should try to work them out but at the moment I don’t want to know what they are.

We started as we usually do with a check in on how I feel. I had an immense headache so she thanked me for even turning up and gave me the option of not doing the session at all or if my head hurt too much I could stop at any point. I felt this was nice as an option though I knew I wouldn’t use it as I don’t let myself escape.

We discussed last week and how I’d used distress tolerance techniques and that my self harm had not increased or become worse after the session. I mean it’s pretty bad anyway. She also checked I hadn’t resorted to any other destructive behaviours which I hadn’t.

When talking about the distress tolerance techniques she talked about how she uses them and why she’d used them recently. I know why she did this and it sounds a good thing but since I’ve been thinking on what she said and how I reacted and how I didn’t comment more. This has made me feel guilty which is silly but it’s the way I am.

We carried on with looking at core beliefs and doing a formulation. Today we moved into rules I live by linked to my core beliefs. She said these made me a good person as opposed to the evil I (feel) am. This is hard to believe.

We looked at critical events that clashed with the rules I live by that have reinforced my core beliefs. One of these was extremely hard. It’s a major one that’s led to my belief I’m evil. She decided we needed to challenge it. We wrote statements. We used different analogies. I understand the challenges. But can I believe them? We shall see.

That is where we left it. I’m not sure how to deal with all this going forward. I want to talk to some people I know about it but I don’t know how or what to say. My head is a mess. I keep trying to push it out of my head but it pops back up.

Therapy 2020: Session 6

Date of session: 07/10/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š.

Today’s therapy session was hard. I mean really hard. I felt sick less than halfway in. My head has been thumping since and felt so full that it feels like nothing can move in it.

After last week’s statement that I made that I was worthless, it was decided to look at my core beliefs and challenging them using a form which had a name I cannot remember. It has a number of sections to work through.

The first section to consider was early experiences that could have created the core beliefs. This was where I found things the hardest. In particular hearing the word victim used for me. I’ve never associated that word with myself and I don’t think I want to anymore.

We then moved on to look at my core beliefs about me, other people, the future and the world. I had to think of three adjectives for my view of each. As seen below.

It was noted that most of my views were negative apart from those of other people. This was seen as a little odd considering the early experiences I’d been through. We discussed this slightly and it seemed to be the case as I say its my fault. This is something we plan to look at more. I’m not using logic it seems.

I’m also finding the technology for the sessions frustrating as we keep getting cut off in the middle of conversations, sometimes mid sentence, and although she calls me it stops me a little.

After the session I was a mess. I’ve struggled most of the afternoon and have had to work hard to get through it. Hopefully things will improve.

Therapy 2020: Session 5

Date of session: 30/09/2020

Please be aware that some content may be triggering. Please take care πŸ’š

Today’s session started off with asking me to look back on last week’s session and how I felt. I admitted I felt angry but found it hard to discuss the causes of this anger. I think for me, even though I know she is a professional and I don’t feel we get on very well, I’m still scared that she is going to stop the therapy and abandon me and I’m scared to say anything that may cause that. I’ve waited a long time for this and pinned so many hopes on it that I’m terrified of losing it and losing hope, though some of that feeling is already creeping in.

We went back over the self harm issue again and how I’m loathe to let it be the main goal of my therapy to stop it. We went through wise, reasonable and emotional mind from DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) skills to look at where I’m at. Apparently even when I think I’m being reasonable I’m not. After this we left it to go on to discuss other things, taking away from this being a large goal.

The main part of therapy today was to look at the voice I hear. I was trying to explain how even though I’m aware that it is either a chemical imbalance or trauma based phenomena it does not stop the impact it has on me. I did start to feel invalidated here, which felt ironic as later when looking at something else she stated part of my issues come from being invalidated.

Overall there is not much to discuss from today. I was very frustrated through a lot of it as I felt I wasn’t making myself understood and I couldn’t find the words to make myself understood. There are many things I struggle with and get upset with and this is a big one. It’s why many times in my actual life I don’t talk to others in case I’m misunderstood. Speaking, for me, seems to take away my ability to use language affectively. And even if I write down and read it I try to alter it and again become frustrated.

I was given my first piece of homework today as well. After I informed her I was not worth anything she decided that was not the case and wants me to find ten things that would be different I was worth something. She has no idea of the evidence I have to back up the statement that I am not worth anything.

Therapy 2020: Session 4

Date of session: 23/09/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care. πŸ’š

Another session, another after feeling of frustration. There is definite anger in there too. I’m trying to rationalise and go back to DBT skills and wise mind it all. Currently that’s not working. Currently my emotions are taking over. I’ve worked to identify them and as anger is one I recognise easily I got there quickly. There is still more to work out too.

We are still not going to tackle trauma therapy properly yet or in this cycle of therapy (the word cycle isn’t right but I can’t think of the right one). She wants us to tackle my self harm full on. This has been the most annoying thing. I made it clear I did not want stopping self harm to ever be my goal for therapy, now I’ve been pushed into it. I told her I felt I didn’t have any choice in this and that it was not my main aim. She is concerned I could make a fatal error with my self harm. I said that really didn’t bother me and could be for the best.

So we’re going to tackle my self harm. She wants to tackle it as an addiction. This is something I agree on with her, that it is an addiction. My self harm is not impulsive. It is well thought out. She can see my reluctance to let it go. We discussed a few of my reasons for self harming and what I get from it. She said this may mean we touch on some areas of trauma but not in depth.

We also discussed the voice I hear. Again I got annoyed and frustrated. Explaining myself out loud in words is something I struggle with. Talking face to face with a person is something I struggle with when it involves emotions, mainly because I don’t have the ability to identify them. Therefore I feel wire’s were crossed andd I wasn’t understood (something that makes me stop talking). There was doubt from her it is a voice which made me angry. I know the difference between the voice and a thought I have. I’ve been through it so many times with numerous mental health professionals. Her doubt in me upset me and I felt like I wasn’t being believed.

At the end of the session I was glad it was over. I didn’t want to speak to her anymore. I became very monosyllabic towards the end. I think she underestimates what I understand about mental illness and in particular the ones I deal with. I feel that I’m not being seen as an experienced person in regard to my own life. It feels like supposed solutions are simple to her when it’s actually a complicated situation. I think I have a lot to think over before next week.

Update (23/09/2020 9.58pm) my anger over a comment she made has been simmering all evening. I’m not sure I can believe it was said)