Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PTSD Exercise: 15 minutes of freestyle writing

I've been told that engaging in freestyle writing for a set amount of time can provide insight into your thoughts and feelings, and I've decided to give it a go! If you are not familiar with freestyle writing, you set a timer for a specified amount of time (I am
going to do it for 5 minutes), and you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard :) ) and just write the entire time, never stopping to correct grammar mistakes or edit your thoughts. Just stream of consciousness. 

Why am I doing this, you ask? I've been trying to focus on school and personal responsibilities for the past 7-8 hours and have gotten no where. I just keep surfing the internet, messing with my blog settings, playing with my cats, flipping through the T.V. channels, eating Hershey "Hugs" (love, love, LOVE these) - basically, anything but what I need to be doing at the moment! I just feel anxious, but I don't really know why. I thought perhaps it could be the mounting school assignments I need to take care of, but anxiety about school work usually results in me doing school work. So, anyway, I thought I'd try out this exercise and maybe figure out the source of my anxiety and hopefully clear my mind enough that I can write the paper I need to complete tonight.

Got my alarm set and ready, so here goes!

I feel kind of uncomfortable doing this exercise. I’m not used to writing without editing, and it’s difficult to ignore that other people will be reading this. I wish my head would calm down a bit. I went to school today. It was an okay day, but from the very start of it, I didn’t really feel into it. I showed up really late for my first class. I’ve been having really difficult sleeping patterns. Like I will struggle with falling to sleep for 3 nights in a row, and then my body just crashes, and that’s what happened last night. I had to give a presentation today during my first period. The class started at 9, and I didn’t make out my powerpoint slides until a little bit before class because I meant to wake up really early and do them but I overslept. My professor might deduct my grade in that class for participation. I’m not really too concerned about the grade. I guess I’m just more concerned about her opinion of me. Oops, I keep backspacing my typos, but the idea is that you just keep writing. Very difficult. Haha. Anyway, I feel a little weird in class right now. I’m just not into my classes. It’s really hard to pay attention. My mind is elsewhere, but I don’t really know what it is thinking about. I know that sounds silly, but the truth is my mind just bounces around. I think it must be a symptom of PTSD, but who knows. I have been struggling with it for quite some time. Before I even brought up my sexual assault with my therapist, I had been looking up information on adult attention difficulties because my concentration abilities have declined so much over the years. I had been discussing with her ways to improve my time management and organization, etc. I’ve always been a somewhat spacey person, slightly disorganized, wow that’s an understatement, very disorganized, but the difference is that I used to be very functional in my chaos. In fact, it didn’t really feel like chaos. Now my life feels like chaos. Well, it has for a while now. When I get ready in the mornings I just bounce from room to room trying to collect what I need, but I always forget something it’s very annoying. It’s like I can’t remember what I need beause I can’t focus long enough on where I’m going, what I’m doing. I start one thing and before I know it my mind has done leaps and bounds to somewhere else and I lose track of what I’m doing. All I know is that I’m supposed to be doing something. Okay I’m getting the hang of this  a litlle more. I’m not as tempted to clean up my typos. Oops just did it. Anyway, I really want to get my life together, but recently it feels like I’m just doing a lot of wanting and a lot of wallowing in my feelings. A lot of wanting with very little doing. But I’m not really sure what I am supposed to be doing. They say that you are supposed to go throught he emotions but how doyou know if you’re doing it in a productive manner. I orginanlly was only going to do this for 5 minutes but I keep hitting snooze on my phone alarm because I don’t think I’ve gotten to the root of my thoughts yet. The notebook has been [playing nonstop on tv recently. I love theat movie. One of my favorites. I think my professor this morning thinks I’m full of shit. Surely not. But it’s weird having everyone notified that I have been having depression probelems,b ut that has actually gotten a lot better so I’m making it to class everyday and I at least pretend to be interested in class. I ask questions, etc. but the truth is I’m just haven’t been very interested in the course material. But hthe things is that the professors can probably tell my depression is better (because they apparently knew I was depressed before they were notified by the gradauate school directior) it is better but my mind isn’t necessarily fixed, you know. I’m getting out of bed. I’ve become better at putting a smile on my face again, laughing when I don’t even know what I’m laughing at. That occurs a great deal I’ve noticed because my mind is somewhere else, but I honestly couldn’t tell you wehere it goes or what exactly I’m thinking when it odes that. Maybe it bounces a round for a reason. Id on’t know. I’m trying to be more trusting of my emotions like my therapist suggested and like I’ve read you have to do to forgive yourself or whatever but my internal dialougue is hard to fight. Like for example as I write about any diffuclties I’m having I immediately feel stupid and silly and really, really infantile. Like a whining baby. I frequently do not view my experience with this through my own eyes. Instead I often take on the perspective of others to analyze it. Try to see it rhough their eyes. But I know that’s dangerous territory because how do you really know what others are thinking? When left to my own, I usually go with they are thinking negatively about me and how I’m handingl my inner self. But the truth is I do this even with people I haven’t even spoke to about this. How ridiculous is that. People who I’m cutting up with and laughing with. I sti there and think about how their judging me for being to negative and weak in dealing with a sexual assault they don’t even know about. That’s crazy. Oops I’m not supposed tob e thinking words like crazy right now. Yes, I have these thoughts sometimes and it is okay. Just feel the emotion and let it pass and don’t criticize yourself for having it. Wow, that sounds looney. Oops. Haha. Okayj I’m going tyo stop. I might try this another night, too. I do feel a little better. But I need to call myt husband now. Manybe I’ll keep doing this when I get off the phone with him. This is kind of fun. I’m getting into it. Wish I could do this with my paaper . haha. ok maybe i'll try to work on it some more before i commit to doing more of this. oh no, just remembered something else i need to do. gotta stop pushing my responsibilities out of my mind. ok for real done now. haha.


  1. You must type pretty fast. I could never type all that in 15 minutes. haha. Please forgive me for this post being entertaining to me. I have ADD and this post and it's randomness reminds me of my own thoughts. My mind "bounces around" like your thoughts seemed to here.

    I am most certainly going to try this exercise. My therapist has suggested it to me in the past but I have never done it because I type so slow and I worry about typos too much.

    I have noticed that my ADD has at times seemed much more profound after my assault then before. I think the stress of it add to the randomness of my mind. Also the more intense my therapy become the more random my thoughts seem to be and the more difficulty I seem to have concentrating. On days when the healing process is especially hard I also seem to feel the effects of ADD more than usual.

    Do you have ADD? I don't mean any disrespect by that, I just wonder because the randomness of your mind in this post reminds me so much of me.

    What paper are you trying to write? Just curious, no real reason behind me asking.

    Melanie, this is for you. (((HUG)))

  2. Haha, I do actually have ADD - or so I've been told since high school :) It got noticeably worse after my assault, so disruptive to the point that it was hard to finish school (but it's hard to separate what was ADD versus PTSD). It worsened again when I began graduate school (actually one of things I was addressing in therapy before I started talking about - well around - my assault). And now, since shifting the assault in therapy, my mind jumps around like crazy, similarly to how it did in college following the assault. So I can definitely relate to how therapy/assault can exacerbate the symptoms of ADD!!! I actually recently read that a lot of people, even those without ADD, report similar symptoms following an assault, but I'm guessing it's probably intensified for those of us who already have attention difficulties! How funny that you pinpointed that characteristic of me from just one exercise?! Not offended at all :)

  3. Oh, paper is on family-centered rehabilitation in the treating of adult-onset hearing loss with a focus on marital relations.

  4. I would like to say that I pinpointed that you might have ADD because I am extraordinarily intelligent and observant, but I'm not. Sometimes I'm just lucky in my assumptions.

    I was actually reading something sort of about this in an article last month. It was written by someone from The University of Queensland in
    Queensland, Australia. In that article, the authors highlight the important role of family-centered intervention in audiologic rehabilitation for older adults and emphasize the need to increase inclusion of spouses and significant others in the rehabilitation process.

    Anyway, sounds interesting. I wouldn't mind reading your paper. I understand if you don't want me to. I won't criticize it. I doubt I will understand most of it.

  5. If you're not extraordinarily intelligent, you've had me fooled! :)

    That article is spot on the topic of my paper. MIght be one of my references, I'll have to check.

    I'm curious, how on earth did you come across an article on aural rehabilitation? It's not really a super sought after topic for pleasure reading!

    Before I commit to sharing the paper, let me see how it turns out might sound a little too much like this post, haha. If I ever get done, I'll pass it on - thanks for the interest.

  6. I think I was googling therapy and rehabilitation. I think I was trying to find information on how to help my family cope with my issues. It was sort of interesting.

    Melanie, you don't need to feel pressured to let me read your paper. I understand your apprehension. I think you are a good writer, and you often get your thoughts across really well. I'm sure your paper will be informative to read.

    Plus, you are a comedian at times and very funny. Just look at the joke you said at the very beginning of the comment above this one. LOL

    I am silly, I know.