Paper Doll Syndrome – Changing Symptomotology Can Be an Opportunity to Remember and Celebrate

Paper Doll Photographer - 2/52

Paper Doll Photographer – 2/52 (Photo credit: Mark Hopkins Photography)

Fred didn’t remember his panic.  He thought his main problem was his sleep.  His
so-called “main problem” changed with his symptomatology.  Fortunately or unfortunately he didn’t know it was happening.

Fred reminded me of a paper doll.  Now I’m a veterinarian, now I’m a clerk.  Of course there are all the stories that accompany each outfit.  Our smithy imagination is fast.  Pull this off and press this in and now I’m a fire-fighter.  Now I’m a noble, now I’m a… patient.

The other day after the Hemet NAMI meeting, (they meet monthly on the first Wednesday at the Hemet Seventh-Day Adventist Church), a member told me that when they do outreach, they begin their stories with something like, “We are people who,” or “I am a person who,” deliberately avoiding the word, “patient(s.)”  Hoping to allow others to connect with their humanity, the specialness of their, “Me,” rather than the distortion that suffering is special they try to keep away from the paper doll experience.

Thinking of NAMI, thinking of Fred, I splayed the biopsychosocial-model tools I use.  What was here for Fred?  Fred’s biology was toward healing as he wasn’t having panic attacks any more and his thought processes were less circular.  That’s what we wanted and signified that his treatments, (including medications and psychotherapies,) were at least not harming him as far as we could tell, and might even be part of what influenced his healing process.  However, his ongoing symptomatology as seen in his poor insight, (paper-doll syndrome,) insomnia and persistent worrying thoughts demonstrated that his biology was only partially treated.

Fred, like you and I, and like women who labor babies into this world never remember their pain, by forgetting his panic, he lost his point of reference.  I said,

Fred!  This is significant!  Yay!  

Fred looked at me like I didn’t get it.  He wasn’t sleeping.  What was I thinking, “Yay?”  Well…  “Fred I was thinking you aren’t panicking on a gurney in the emergency-room today.  Yay.”

Remembering our suffering isn’t necessary but it can be a friendly reference point if we want.

Self-Care Tip:  Use previous suffering as a reference point to celebrate when you aren’t.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Have previous sufferings lost their strength in your memory and diminished your celebrations?  How has suffering been used after they are gone to your advantage?  Please tell me your story.

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13 thoughts on “Paper Doll Syndrome – Changing Symptomotology Can Be an Opportunity to Remember and Celebrate

  1. In all things with gratitude. God comes to use in our suffering. There are many scriptures and quotes to guide us here. I suffer, I pray, I ask, I receive, in God’s time. Suffering and then not suffering remind me where I have come from and where I am today.
    NOT SUFFERING TODAY. Well a little but its different today than months ago. Suffering for me is a trigger, what happened in my thought pattern to place me where I am today? How can I use this trigger (its always about the past) to help me heal and be present today. Suffering from the past is a powerful tool to show me how to not necessarily have to suffer in the present. If I am aware!

      • gramma 7501 reminded me of something i forgot to mention. my grandma used to make me paper dolls. they were amazing! the “clothes” that went on an off were made of cloth over the cardboard with beading and sequins. she really knew how to make a paper doll. i thought of that the entire time i wrote my reply yesterday. i can see the dress with a pleated waist line and ribbon over top for a sash and little beads and sequins like flowers to decorate the waist. we are so blessed for our memories. what a pleasure to have a happy happy one. lets celebrate those happy ones and thank the not so happy ones, because we need those too!

  2. A couple of days ago I began to notice that my stomach was just starting to get a little upset. I had been working really hard with my clients, and picked up some emergency shifts with one I work with regularly. And have been working hard with my volunteering as well. My medications have been okay, but noticed that my stomach, or insides were telling me that it was time for a slow down. Currently I am working on planning a personal retreat somewhere local where I could rent a room cheap for a weekend off. I can stop and celebrate the fact that I am noticing the small mental and physical signs that are telling me to slow down and d-stress, so I do not have to go back to the hospital, or have an emergency similar to a couple years ago.

  3. …and impulsive remarks out of the context of the conversation greatly haunt me later. It it like others think you are not paying attention to them. I think impulsive behavior fills some kind of need to want instant focus on myself. I did hear you.

    • i like the way u ended that – i did hear u… echo echo echo. it was like a sound in a cool room coming from somewhere down the hall. thank u for commenting, M. this haunting from our memories, useful and not so useful. thanks for hearing me, friend.

  4. It’s the warning thing again. When I recognize a particular time or place or thing that caused me to suffer in the past beginning to surface, I know now that, with that warning recognition, I can dig back into my friendtomyself files and deal with the panic before it starts.

    And, ahhhh, paper dolls. They were my best friends when I was little. Why can’t I get my granddaughter to see how great they are? You don’t suppose it has something to do with the fact that she has so many tech things that she doesn’t need to use her imagination, do you? I’m not sure I would have survived without my paper dolls and my imagination. Matter of fact, I KNOW I wouldn’t have!! I thank God that my granddaughter isn’t going through what I did so maybe she doesn’t need her imagination. Kinda sad, though. Imaginations are fun…and so are paper dolls. Thanks for the memories.

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