Obsessively Internalizing

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’ve sort of gone incognito when it comes to my counsellor.  Life’s been busy and I forgot to make an appointment.  Or maybe I chose not to?  Or maybe I decided to try living on my own without help for a while?

I really don’t know.

But what I do know is that last weeks sobering moment was tough, and in a completely different way then I’m used to.

I know that I started spending a lot of time in my mind.  I’m thinking just a little bit too much.  In fact, I’ve been thinking through things obsessively.  And, after two years of counselling, I know myself well enough to know that when I start to internalize obsessively it’s usually not a good sign.

My mind is racing.  I’m not talking about what I’m thinking about – Mr. MPB has said more times then I can count what are you thinking about? I’m typically very talkative so this is odd.

I’m not writing – as many of you may have noticed I’ve avoided responding to the comments on that post.  I’ve read them, and I’m thankful for the support, but I haven’t responded.  I just don’t want to go there.  I’m avoiding, another odd sign.

I’ve started rehashing everything over and over again.  Like a partial movie scene playing on a loop.

All of this means that I’m not letting go.  I’m stuck. I’m obsessing.

Honestly, what I’ve figured out is that I’m worried that I’m not impacted by witnessing this girls last moments in a way that I should be.  Victim’s Services has been in touch with us, and they seem to think our involvement was pretty traumatic, and yet I don’t feel like it is/was.  I feel like maybe we failed her by not stopping.  And I feel like we failed everyone else who ended up involved in her suicide not by choice.  I feel like our involvement just doesn’t compare to those people.

I’ve actually thought that given all our losses in the last few years we are just used to death and so now we’re good at dealing with death (now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write).  And with everything we’ve been through I’ve started to learn that there are times when nothing we do will impact the outcome of a situation, so blaming myself isn’t going to help.  Healthy perspective, right?  I dunno, maybe?

Or is it really just a matter of denial?

Or is this approach a matter of self-perseverance as in if I don’t think about it and go there, then I don’t have to deal with the emotions?

And so I wonder, maybe I’m not seeing all of this in a significant enough way?  I don’t know for-sure, but I know this thought has crossed my mind and seems to be lingering.

So, I called my counsellor’s booking coordinator to get on the cancellation list.  Maybe it’s time to check in.  My counsellor knows me well enough to know if I’m in a healthy place or if I’m in a not so healthy place.  And she also knows me well enough to know how to help me get to the healthier place.  Hopefully someone cancels sooner rather then later.

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33 Comments on “Obsessively Internalizing

  1. Good for you for getting back in to your counselor for a check-in. You have seemed tremendously healthy in your writing lately, and this is another sign of that. Things are going to trigger us to question ourselves and think about death – and what kind of impact that is having on us – and it’s a very good idea to have someone to talk through such a strange thing you witnessed. You are doing great! Sending support to you as you hash out such an odd life moment that you are connected to…but not really…but kind of. 🙂 Also, sending good vibes to the universe for a match for you soon! Cannot wait until that day comes!

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    • Thank you so much for this! I actually got a call this morning about a cancellation and managed to get it right away. I’ll try to write a real post about it, but she seemed to agree that considering the RPL we’ve been through and the connected but not connected to this girl’s suicide that we are experiencing. It was a good conversation, but did help me reaffirm that we are doing okay with processing this.

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      • I would agree! It is something you need to process but it sounds like a natural response to a terrifying event you knew was going to happen! I am so sorry you had that experience. 😦

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  2. I think it’s wise you called for a cancellation appointment. That said I don’t think your lack of deep emotion or disturbance by the “sobering moment” makes you troubled per se. Had you watched her jump or been involved directly in her death or if you had known her in some way before she jumped I am sure you would feel differently. I do think recurrent loss hardens us just as it breaks us down. I have seen that in myself. That makes me sad but at some level I think it just is if I am to carry on functioning (about which there is no choice once you have littles to look after, I am forever reminding myself). I also think each of us processes trauma in different ways. I can see why Victim Services is concerned and think your involvement may trigger a post-traumatic reaction but I also know several people for whom that reaction didn’t happen until much much later, long after the event. For that reason I think it’s wise you see your counsellor and get some help to check in on yourself. It could be that you really are okay. But if not it is good that you are looking at it now. It could also be that you’re okay now but when you’re raising your child(ten) down the road and recall that “sobering moment”, you aren’t okay then as you wander the “what if” garden – as in what if your child ever feels so lost and hopeless? I know for me I have viewed the world through different lenses as a mom to a living child than I did before we had one who survived. Now tragedy can bring me to my knees some days as I put myself or my child in another’s shoes…

    All of that to say I think you’re doing the right thing right now and that I am sending love and tenderness your way. Go easy on you, won’t you?

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    • Well, I left a voicemail for a cancellation appointment on Friday and got a call this morning for a morning cancellation appointment. Even through I was dead asleep when I got the call I was able to brush my teeth, throw on clothing and cross the city in 45 minutes to make use of the cancellation appointment and I did so without a speeding ticket. 🙂
      I’ll try to write a whole post about it sometime in the next day or two. But I can say it was a good conversation. She was able to help reaffirm that we are doing okay with our interpretation of this girl’s suicide. We were there, but we weren’t. And we’ve been through so much loss in the last few years, that we can see and acknowledge the distance. We also did a really quick update on everything – adoption, emotions around SIL baby shower, my family, etc. And I’m still on the cancellation list for later in August and I’ve booked a follow up appointment for September so that’s good too.

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      • I’m glad you got an appointment and that it was helpful. I’m sure you went over this, but I just want to remind you that any way you are feeling is okay. We all process things at different speeds and there is no correct way to feel. HUGE HUGS! ❤ I'm glad you listened to yourself and made an appointment.

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  3. I think it’s good that you’re checking in with her. Last week’s events were a shock and she may be able to help you sort things out on all things pertaining to it. That said, I get what you mean about getting good at death. That’s how I feel after losing so many people in my life year after year. I’m sad when it happens. I cry up until the funeral is over, and then I put it out of my mind for the most part. I get sad on occasions and I certainly still wish they were here, but I feel like I move on awfully quickly, which comes with it’s own feelings of guilt. Sorry, got off track there, but I do totally get that part. Sometimes, it feels like I’m almost immune to the feelings death should bring or de-sensitized maybe. I hope you are able to get in to see her soon. Sending you love and hugs and I’m glad that Mr. MPB is recognizing that you’re not your usual self right now. That’s when you know you have a great partner! Love you!

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    • So, I actually got a cancellation appointment this morning! We actually talked about “getting good at death” and I guess that’s where we are at now. And I suspect that’s exactly where you are. It’s such a sad thing to say, but I think we are both just learning to cope and live at the same time. And being able to see the difference in how some impact us more then others – such as our RPL vs. this suicide for us. I think our RPL really has desensitized us to the suicide – we know we weren’t directly involved. Yes, we were part of it, sort of, but not really. Our involvement was so limited and given our history, she doesn’t think we are coping poorly. Which I guess is a good thing. And yet, as I’m now typing this out I realize that that’s also a bit sad. You and I have seen so much death that we are not being impacted the way that other might be – that just seems slightly twisted and cruel.
      Sending you love my friend. I hope our season of death ends and we can both wrap our arms around life soon enough!

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      • It is sad and sometimes, I wonder what others must think when I don’t stay upset about these things for as long as others do. It’s not that I never get sad about it or think about the people I’ve lost, I just tend not to dwell on it.

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  4. I think your reaction is totally normal. I think it is different when you know the person or actually see it. That being said- you are so on top of it. Love how well you manage your own self. Also- your husband sounds amazing and so totally madly in love with you. Xoxo

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    • Thank you mamajo! This is exactly what my counsellor said this morning at my very last minute cancellation appointment. Considering how intimate we’ve become with death, this one was unlikely to impact us the same way as it would if we knew her or saw it. It’s nice to have her reaffirm that we just aren’t horrible people.

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  5. Self care is so important, and I think you’ve got the mechanisms in place to know when you need to do a little unpacking. You’ve spent the last couple of years in a state of emotional trauma (not to mention the trauma of your teens too), and I wonder if it creates a numbness to your needs sometimes because especially with infertility and pregnancy loss- we are expected to just grin and bear it quietly. I also think we need the time to sort things out so that we can process them, and everyone does this differently. I’m a “talk through it” kind of person. I need to lay it all out on the table and start sorting things either with the help of DW or with my therapist. I think because sometimes, as a victim of trauma, you don’t trust your own perspective anymore. But in any case, I’m glad you’re going to see your counsellor. I hope that you get what you need out of the session.

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    • Thank you for this my friend. I actually got a last minute cancellation appointment this morning and it was nice to have her reaffirm that we are coping okay. In many ways our past few years have desensitized us, and we also realize that we weren’t impact in quite the same way as those who were involved. Like you I’m a talker, so it was nice to talk it through again and have an unbiased professional opinion. I’ll try to actually write a post about it – it was an intense appointment – we touched on so many things other then the suicide.

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      • I’m so glad you got in and had a chance to work through some stuff. You’ve definitely got the tools to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and Mr. MPB, and that’s huge.

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  6. There’s no right way to feel after something like that. I’m sorry you’re being made to feel that there is. I felt a bit blue after I went through a very similar situation, but I was able to move on pretty quickly. I may be heartless but logically there was nothing I could’ve done.

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    • I love your perspective, there is no right way to feel after something like this. And like you, I feel like I wasn’t too terribly impacted and I’m moving on pretty quickly, It seems cold and yet it is what it is. I appreciate that you understand this.

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  7. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. I don’t think you need to feel or not feel any particular way about what you witnessed. There is no one right way to process seeing something like that. It’s more just if you’re feeling very bottled up about it (which it sounds like you are), then getting some help sounds like a great idea. I’m happy you have a counselor you’re already established with, that helps so much. xx

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    • Thank you for reminding me that there is no right or wrong here. I think I’ve been more obsessing about how I’m not feeling that distraught about it – that I feel like I wish I could have done more, but I know i couldn’t and that I feel more for those who were involved then anything else.
      I actually managed to get a cancellation appointment this morning and it was good to talk it out. And it was also really good to have it reaffirmed that all of this is okay. As you say, there is no right or wrong.

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  8. There is definitely truth in you being desensitised due to your own experiences. I remember my sister in law being referred to the hospital for a small lump in her gum (she’s in her 20s), as they wanted to biopsy it to check it was benign. It turned out to be a hidden partial tooth (!), but at the time everyone else in the family was practically behaving as if she had been diagnosed with cancer. There were tears and fearful parental visits, she was accompanied to the hospital and she kissed the consultant when he gave her the all clear. It was a huge drama to everyone… and then there was me and the husband. We were concerned, obviously, but given what we’d been through (taking your own baby into the hospital, in a jar, for fetal testing, me almost dying of blood loss, and the transfusions, so much loss and pain), we just couldn’t process it in the same way as everyone else. I think witnessing what you did, is so far removed from the horrendous grief and difficult decisions you have had to go through. In a way, like police-work I suppose, death becomes routine. It’s not particularly nice, but you experience everything relative to your own life.
    Don’t worry. And don’t discount a delayed reaction. It’s also possible it’s just in the queue behind your own bad experiences and you’ll feel more about it further down the line xxxx

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    • You are right Faye, there is something to be said about desensitized from our own experience. Just like you were with your SIL’s experience. And I don’t think that makes us heartless, just realistic. I actually managed to get a cancellation appointment this morning and my counsellor really echoed everything you said here. We’ve been through so much so we are good with grief at this point in our lives and we also realize how far removed we are from this particular event. And, while we witnessed it, we also really didn’t so we aren’t going to be impacted the way that others will be.

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  9. My god, you are so self-aware. That is so great!

    I told Brian about what happened to you, and I sobbed on his shoulder. I have been so worried about you and how this has impacted your life. But I truly meant what I said in my comment, that there is some peace in knowing that someone, YOU, were thinking of her in her final moment. You were sending love during her last breath. And if I were in your shoes, that is how I would process it. That is how I process things. I find the positive, and hang onto it for dear life. So I can see how you may not be as upset about it as others think you should be. I think I cope in a very strange, fast way, and that makes me feel dysfunctional. But my therapist said it makes me lucky since I do go through the motions thoroughly, then move on. I think she may be right.

    I am glad you’re going to see your counselor… That is never a bad thing! He/she may tell you that you’re avoiding, but I think you’ll be told that you’re going right on par for you.

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    • Thank you so much for your thoughts. I really do appreciate your love and support and I am touched by how much you care! I am beyond thankful. Thank you.
      I managed to get a cancellation appointment with my counsellor this morning and you are right, she does think that I am coping in a way that is right on par for me. I get that we didn’t see the real tragedy, and I also get that we’ve dealt with so much loss in the last few years that we can acknowledge and understand that distance in a health way. Honestly, it was nice to just talk it through with her and to check-in. It was actually a pretty intense quick appointment we touched on so many things – my family, the SIL’s baby shower, the soon to be born baby, etc. I’ll try to write some more about it soon.

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  10. I think you have been building up to this visit for awhile so probably good timing all in all. I think what you witnessed was traumatic knowing what came after it. Knowing that you tried to help and she still jumped. It’s a bit full on. As humans we are pretty good at self preservation though. I think it is very self aware of you to get to the point of writing all this in a post and making your appt. Well done. Xx

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    • I think you are right, this appointment was building up and probably a good idea. And, I actually woke up to a call from her booking person about a cancellation this morning – I managed to get dressed, brush my teeth and cross the city in 45 minutes!
      I think you are right about everything you said, and so did my counsellor. It’s a lot to process, but yet, we have been through so much grief in the last few years that we can healthily separate our involvement in this event. And that’s what she thinks we are doing. It was really nice just to talk it out with someone. We also chatted about many of the other things on my mind lately, I’ll try to do a bigger update. And I booked a follow up appointment too. 🙂

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  11. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time with this. It’s good that you recognize that you need some help with it though. Hopefully she gets a cancellation very soon, so she can help you work your way through things. If you need to “talk” you know how to get in touch with me in the mean time! *hugs*

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    • Thank you Amy. She actually had a cancellation and I already spent some time chatting with her. And she was able to reinforce that how I’m reacting is normal and given everything we’ve been through the fact that I see myself as pretty separate from the incident is probably accurate for me.

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      • Glad you were able to get in to see her already, and that she put your mind at ease. It’s nice to know that you have someone you can talk to to get you through the tough times.

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  12. Similar to you, I’m one of those people that internalizes things and then obsesses over them, like arguments, or confrontations, or seeing something and not having said or done something, and then run it over and over and over again in my head until i just lose it! Absolutely lose it! I’m glad you’ve tried to make an appointment with your therapist. It could be nothing, but it could be something, and taking care of yourself is the most important thing because hey! That call can come tomorrow, and those obsessive thoughts can be so intrusive that they might not give you a chance to be fully present when you little arrives. So I’m thinking of you friend, and that poor girl…that’s really a lot to take in…sheesh!

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    • It sounds like we are pretty similar in this respect. Oh, if we have a good argument I’ll think about it for days/weeks!
      I did manage to get a cancellation appointment and it was nice to have her reinforce that my reaction seems pretty spot on for me. Yes, we were impacted, but no, we weren’t as impacted as everyone else – there is a distinct difference in our minds probably because of all the grief we have dealt with in the last few years. It was nice to have her reinforce that my processing is okay. And we also caught up on a few other things like adoption, work, etc. It was absolutely worth checking in. 🙂

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