Sunday, February 10, 2008


Even though it's a powerful word all on its own, it does not even begin to describe the intensity level that has consumed me the last few days. I have to add adjectives in order to offer up a more realistic description of what I'm tackling. Furious rage. Violent rage. Nope, still not there yet. Maybe adding a bunch of adjectives at once is more fitting. Intense, furious, violent, all-consuming rage. Closer, but still not quite there.

To my credit, I have yet to pick up a razor blade or a bottle of liquor to help me cope. I also haven't acted on the overwhelming urge to ram every fuckhead that doesn't know how to drive off the road and try to kill myself in the process. Instead I have screamed my lungs out until I lost my voice and taken a couple extra Valium. I have also distracted myself with other things as best I could.

Not sure what has fueled this latest bout. The only thing I can possibly link it to is the anxiety and fear brought on by my last therapy appointment. I thought I had simply put all that out of my mind, but maybe it's still there, eating my subconscious alive and being spit out as rage. I'm not entirely comfortable with the woman yet, unsure if she is a safe enough person to open up to. But I've been doing my best to ignore that and not let it interfere with trying to make progress, even if just in tiny increments.

On a previous visit, she gave me a photocopy of the first three chapters of a book called Get out of Your Mind & Into Your Life by Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D. It teaches a new form of therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT. A paragraph from the first page reads:

This book is about how to move from suffering to engagement with life. Rather than waiting to win the internal struggle with your own self so that your life can begin, this book is about living now and living fully - with (not in spite of) your past, with your memories, with your fears, and with your sadness.
After reading it, I did a pros/cons sort of list and wrote the positive and negative thoughts that came to mind. Surprisingly, both sides were of equal length, which ultimately could either hurt or help the chances that using this as a direction for therapy will be beneficial. Given what I agreed with and what I disagreed with, I could get caught in a trap of ambivalence (a topic Dr. Deb recently posted about).

After discussing my thoughts on what I'd read, we came to the first exercise in the book, "Your Suffering Inventory". This involves compiling a list of the things that currently cause psychological difficulties and writing how long each has been a problem. The next step is to organize the list in order of their impact, starting with the most painful and difficult. The third step is to draw arrows between the items I think are related to each other. When I originally read the material, I skipped this exercise, even though it explains that this list is important and will be used throughout the rest of the book.

Just thinking about trying to write such a list instantly raises my anxiety and brings on great fear. The overwhelming amount of issues that cause me difficulties makes writing them down seem like an impossible task. I'm also afraid to see all these issues written down. It's one thing to keep an inventory of them in my head. But to have them in writing, in front of me, a solid visual of all my defects...that scares the crap out of me.

We did talk about the fact that things will probably get worse for me before they get better, and I explained my fear about that to my T as well. To me, the only worse I can see from where I'm at already is death. As often as I long for that final solution...right here, right now, it's not what I want.

I know at some point I have to take that leap, be it now or in the future. As soon as I do, I know my safety will be in jeopardy. I just keep wondering if I'm really ready to jump, if I'll ever be ready to jump.