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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate. How are you? It has been a rough week. Last week

Customer Question

Hi Kate. How are you? It has been a rough week. Last week rose and I discussed my feelings for those guys & I said I didn't know b/c I didn't think about it. She said I did know inside - I just refused to acknowledge it. she is right. We talked about my anger a bit & about what it meant if I didn't blame myself - & I said it would mean that things were random, people were really bad, & that it could happen again. We both felt like we had hit on some stuff & I thought it was good progress, although I felt terrible after it. I saw Linda on Mon., & had told her about it on the phone earlier. She thought we shoul break it up into small parts and work on it. We talked about anger, and I was feeling it and started crying. Then, from out of nowhere, I just switched into a very real flashback - it was like I was there. It was the first time he was using the bottle & I thought I was there. I had covered my ears hard (which I do a lot hen I have nightmares) and although Linda knew what was happening, nothing she was trying worked - she said she was saying all sorts of things, and pretty loudly, but I couldn't hear her. Ah was afraid to touch me b/c she thought it mightily it worse. At some point, I did head her voice, which didn't fit in, & I started to come out of it. I was disoriented, but she helped me out of it and
& to not go back into it. It was really scary @ embarrassing. She asked if I heard anything she had said & thought it unusual that I was totally not in the room in my mind. She asked about what I had experienced & what part. She said I was totally tensed up, but go more tense and moved as though I was "receiving blows" - I know what she meant & was glad that's how she put it. She felt so bad b/c she couldn't get me out of it more quickly, but what was she supposed to do? I calmed down fairly quickly. But I was mortified that happened in front of Her and don't know why it happened at all. She called on my way home and said she thought it was b/c I had been feeling my anger a bit an my mind switched to what I'd been most angry about. We agreed that she'd call rose & tell her what happened & suggest that we do EMDR on that part - since it was on the surface. I told her I wanted to make sure that didn't happen with rose. She called the next day and she an rose had spoken and agreed about the EMDR & that rose had a lot of tools to keep me in the present. Rose had a different opinion of what happened - that The anger is so huge that I can't deal with it and when I touched it, my mind went somewhere else. I don't agree - I would hope my mind would choose to go to a more pleasant place in thr event. Linda didnt agree w/ rose, but nine of us really know, I guess. She said rose would talk to me about it on wed. But when I went to my session w/ rose, she sad nothing - just asked what I wanted to do, and I thought up her conversation with Linda and sai I agreed - and that I had been looking at things a bit differently since the week before. She asked how, & I tried to explain, but she didn't understand. I tried several more times, but was obviously not describing it well. I was really frustrated and upset, & I give up & asked her if I could leave. I was so upset and discouraged. I didn't talk to Linda after that & decided to cancel my sessions with both of them next week. I had an aptmt w/ dr m yesterday. I decided to tell her about all of it, and that I should tell her about the cutting, too. She was very good about it and understood my frustration and feelings and that it was difficult and embarrassing for me to tell her about the cutting thing. She said the more I have shared, the more she has realized that I have obsessive compulsive personality behaviors. Linda has said I have obsessive thinking and ruminate. & she agrees, but says she is seeing more compulsive behavior, including the cutting (which I did tell her was a compulsion, but not impulsive, since I took time to prepare, etc. ). She thi JA she is going to put me on something else in ace of the Zoloft - something for the o/c stuff. But she wants to talk to Linda first. She is going to call her and then talk to rose before my aptmt w/ rose on tues. she asked me not to cancel my sessions next week and she would call me after she talks to each of them.

I really felt like she was taking control of things is going to try to coordinate all 3 of them better and come up with a plan and knows that it is important for me to be involved in the making of the plan and being totally informed. She said that all of this stuff is making me feel more out of control. She said she was glad I td her about the cutting & shame is a strong feeling, but to try to know I don't need to feel that w/ her, & that she was glad I trusted her w/ it & it was important for her to know. She said what I feel I normal - except the explodinch feelings & the cutting, but they can help w/ that.

I am curious to know your thoughts about his and also about the bad flashback & why.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello Shay, it's great to hear from you.

It sounds like the flashback was pretty intense. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

I recall that when you and I talked about the same topic (what you felt about the guys and what it meant if you didn't blame yourself for what they did), you always felt you could not see it any other way. And I understand why you feel that way. But talking about when you did with Linda in therapy and considering the idea that maybe you were not at fault may have brought up so many conflicting feelings that you were unable to process them so you experienced the flashback.

You mentioned talking to Linda about the idea that the guys were at fault, leaving you to feel that this was random and that people were really bad. Those kinds of feelings would trigger anxiety because those things meant what happened to you was out of your control. And that alone would bring up an enormous amount of anxiety. By thinking that you had some control over what happened (it was your fault), you can feel safer. That way, it was not random and you were the cause or something about you was the reason it happened. So in that case this could only happen once and only if certain things were in play. That thought brings on less anxiety and more a sense of control.

If you do have some obsessive compulsive traits that would contribute to the stress you were under and the subsequent flashback. You can have just traits of the disorder without having the full blown disorder itself. But either way, having OCD would make you want to focus on controlling the details of what happened and your feelings about it as well so you don't experience anxiety. OCD by nature is about control. It is keeping things in order or having compulsions in order to reduce the feelings of anxiety. And if you have OCD thoughts about what you went through, then you would want to hold tightly onto how you think about things now so you don't feel anxious. Trying to change those thoughts would not only challenge your feelings of "safety" (that is, thinking that you had some control over what happened and that these things cannot happen at random but only when certain factors are in place), then it would trigger the flashback.

It will help to know what Linda, Dr. M and Rose think once they are done consulting with one another. If you do have some OCD traits or the disorder itself, the medication is the most helpful way to address it. You can also work on it through therapy and self help. I can provide you with some very good sites to help you learn more if you feel you want them.

Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr m explained to me the difference between having obsessive compulsive personality traits and having the disorder. I felt she was pretty clear that I don't have full-blown OCD. And Linda had me read a book on it last summer. I don't know why, but I didn't like when Linda told me is he thought I was having obsessive thoughts. I thought it made sense at first, but then didn't and got upset when she brought it up. First - the book I read had mostly extreme examples. Second - it made me feel like she was minimizing or invalidating my thoughts and didn't understand why I felt responsible and guilty. The compulsion part I can see, and my friends point out to me a lot. They aren't major things - mostly like having to write with a certain kind of pen and in certain colors to write certain things, having things in certain orders and having to fix it if they aren't (I try not to do this at other people's houses/offices :) ), doing things in a certain order, etc. And sometimes I get almost like "tics," where I have to do certain things with my eyes or face. It feels like I have to - and if i don't, it is really uncomfortable until I do. But that only will last a week or 2 at a time. The other stuff I think is jut that I like routines. And I think I have mentioned my list-making. I have to have lists for everything. I have piles of old lists. I have several list I work with at work and I feel I can't function without them. But I think that is what I had to do all this time to work around the ADD stuff. I have been working not to make a list for every morning (as I not going to forget to shower or brush my teeth or get dressed), and I haven't done it since 11/7. I still follow the list in my head and do everything in the same order, but I'm just used to it, I think. I've also been trying to have a main work list for each week. When I did I daily, I still felt I had to include everything I had to do, even when I didn't plan to do it that day, and so I was wasting so much time rewriting a 10-15 page list every single morning. But, again, I just think that's how I work and I'm used to it.

But any if the things that might be compulsions don't bother me - but the cutting does. You said last time we talked that you could help me about cutting. ??

I don't understand how obsessive thoughts and compulsions are connected. ?? I'm not sure what I think about all that, but I am willing to consider it. If it will help me. What you said about control is interesting. I don't know that had anything to do with it. But in any event, I do know control is a big part of all of this. It is scary not being in control (o admiring I'm not in control). And I don't want to admit something like why happened can happen again. And if I think about it, I have always learned that I had to control myself and things around me. Right?

I know I wouldn't consider thinking about things any other way than I was responsible - at least for some of what happened. But I have to consider it now. I have been thinking I wished I didn't feel the guilt, etc. but maybe that I more comfortable than the alternative. But Even if I consider I may not be totally culpable, I am still ashamed. That doesn't change.

So many parts to all of this. I think what you said about what may have lead to the flashback. But why? Why go there? And why was it so bad? I it seriously was like I was there. Just like my nightmares, except I had been awake. Can I be pretty sure that wont happen gain and won't happen outside of therapy? And how can I stop it? I had no forewarning, it seemed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Kate - also, I had been thinking about talking to dr m about maybe trying an anti-anxiety med but didn't remember when I saw her yesterday. Do you think that would be worth a try?
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
You are right in what you said about the control being a big part of this. Control, obsessive thoughts and compulsions are all ways to try to be in charge of your world, to have it work in a way that makes you feel safer. We would all like to have that but going through a severe trauma makes you want it even more, to the point where you may develop compulsions and obsessive thoughts.

When you and Linda got close to the issue of control in therapy (your guilt, responsibility vs. the guys), this came too close to your defenses. You have developed a certain way of looking at the trauma and by trying to change that, you are pushing against the "wall" you have protecting your emotions and control. That probably triggered the flashback.

If you had no warning about it coming on, it is very hard to find a way to control it. If you have warning, you can try to keep yourself present through your senses. But without warning that is more difficult. Most likely though, it won't happen outside of therapy because you will not be trying to poke at your defenses then. And you have worked through this enough that you may only have them when you get close to the defenses you have.

There are many ways to deal with self harm. And learning about why you cut and what triggers it can help a lot. One of the main things to know is what emotions lead you to feel cutting is the only option and what ways can you stop yourself before you get to that point. Here is a great link that details self harm and what you can do to help yourself:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm

It is worth trying an anti anxiety if you feel it would help. See what Dr. M says. Sometimes the side effects are not pleasant so it would depend on what she puts you on and how it interacts with the other meds you are taking now.

Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, Shay. It sounds like you are working through some of the deeper issues of what happened and although that does not feel good, it is a sign that you are doing very well. And try not to worry about the flashbacks. If you have been ok with them so far, then most likely they will continue as they have been and not show up outside of therapy or while you are in public. And an anti anxiety medication might help keep you feeling calmer.

Let me know how things go for you. It's always good to talk with you!

Kate

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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
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Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.