Session the 15th: Introducing Ike

(Plus bonus session with the candy man!)

On Monday I saw my bartender for the first time in… a while. The schedule has been erratic to say the least. A month earlier, this was partly the fault of that Icelandic volcano holding up my bartender in Europe. Now, it’s been my fault for canceling appointments in favor of work. Not terribly wise of me, I know.

Note to self: stop canceling appointments, unless held up by God.

I brought Ike along, because I found myself needing him much.

Even with as amazing a bartender as mine, widely-spaced appointments don’t help as there tends to be more catchup of current events involved. Like the buying of an Overherd.

The search for new holiday traditions continues. Or even non-traditions: try to treat it like just another day. Easier said than done; it feels like anything and even nothing reinforces the feelings my parents set upon me. ((I wonder if demons bound feel like this. Fictionally speaking, though, I’m probably reading too much of Stross’s Laundry series.))

I guess we’re trying to throw traditions (or meta-traditions) until something sticks. Probably doesn’t help that every holiday is different.

My bartender’s insight into the holding of stuffed toys: It probably puts me in a slightly different mindset due to, well, the tender and unconditional nature of the act. The innocence of it, I suppose. This kind of cuddling exercises a very different set of mental/emotional muscles than cringing, crying, struggling, running, and fighting. What cuddling I got from my parents was either, “I just HIT YOU. But I LOVE YOU. Now I hug you until you feel better. Now I get to HIT YOU AGAIN,” or, “I’m so sorry your father hit you. Now I hug you until you feel better. Oops, your father looks angry, be a good girl and DON’T FIGHT HIM.”

(Yeah, I don’t understand unconditional parental love at all. I admire it… I just don’t understand it, and I probably wouldn’t have it towards my own children if I ever had any.)

I’m meeting with him every two weeks as best I can, come hell or high severity issues.


I met with my candy man the next day, also bringing Ike. People seem to like Ike.

Now, while my bartender looks a little like Groucho Marx’s older brother, my candy man looks… hot. He is also pretty awesome. We talked about how I was holding up, which we always talk about before we get anywhere near medication. He knows I don’t like medication and how sensitive I can be to it.

Basically, life currently boils down to keeping the fear and anxiety index low. This is kind of difficult when you have PTSD and certain holidays have become triggers. I guess I have more constant fear and anxiety now than ever before, due to proactively planning around the days which I reliably BSOD on. Still better for everybody involved than the alternative, however.

My candy man asked me about my support network. For three years my central support was one friend IRL, who might as well have been the network. He is no longer there, and will probably never be there again. Ever after we parted, things have been pretty scattered.

Anyways, my candy man edged up a very tiny amount of one of my mild medications (only 5mg more, as it turns out). It seems to have helped, now that I think about it. I hate medication, I really do, but when it’s necessary, ignoring it when I can obtain it would be kind of suicidal.

3 thoughts on “Session the 15th: Introducing Ike

  1. The part where “anything and even nothing [I do to cope with the bad memories] reinforces the feelings my parents set upon me” is the classic problem of ‘don’t think about a pink elephant’: the content of the instruction introduces the very idea you’re supposed to avoid. Like we talked about with ‘remember’ vs. ‘don’t forget’. If you’re trying to forget something, every time you check ‘have I forgotten yet’ reintroduces the thought you’re trying to avoid.

    Which you have already noticed. You’ve probably thought of the next step already too, but just in case:

    It might be more effective if you could actively pursue something else entirely: take up an absorbing new hobby like home sewing or studying theoretical physics; go away from it all, even if only to a cheap nearby motel; plan and carry out rituals/activities to celebrate the advent of summer (summer solstice is Monday, June 21, after all). The key would be finding something that genuinely did engage you. Maybe plan some extra sessions in Echo Bazaar.

    (Edit to add: the other part is that to the extent the PTSD gets triggered anyway, any new things happening this time of year will become associated with the bad aspect of this time of year. Nonetheless, I favor using every helpful approach available, even if their helpfulness burns out fast. Every year you can quench the distress partially or temporarily means less accumulated PTSD the year after, and with luck eventually you won’t need so many defenses.)

  2. Having gone back and read your Session the 12th entry, I see better now what you meant about starting new traditions, and it does sound like a good approach, and I would not want to argue against your bartender. My suggestions were aimed more at times when you’re home and not deeply engaged in something. Butting out now.

    I will cross my fingers for you.

  3. You make a good point about using every helpful approach even if they’re only temporarily helpful. Well do I know the phenomenon of coping techniques that become triggers in themselves, unfortunately.

    If only I could replace a lot of my thought process right now with Obin slash. If only.

    And no worries. It’s all very complicated to me so I take everything in my own time. :)

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