My reactions to things astound me. I had a pretty good session. I think I’ve started recognizing my warriorness again. Last week, I’d been talking to my therapust about some stuff that happened to me as a teenager. As I talked, it occurred to me that I now weigh less than when this stuff happened and I expressed to my therapist that this actually made me feel very vulnerable all of a sudden. This was towards the end of last week’s session, so my therapust gave me an assignment to compare 15 year old me to the now 50 year old me. I did this assignment and included some pictures. I came up with at least 30 ways that I am different from 15 year old me. I found out that I’m lots stronger and more capable now than I was when I was 15. And I recognized my warriorness again. So, on Tuesday, my therapust and I talked about this and then talked about the flashbacks I’ve been having lately. And then my therapist told me that she is going away for the whole week the week after next. My head swirled and my eyes filled with tears. I tried to tell myself that I could live for a week, but some part of me was screaming that she just came back from vacation a couple of weeks ago. And then I realized that the week my therapust will be back from being away is my kids’ winter break and I’ve not been successful with finding a babysitter for any part of that week. So, no therapy that week. I protested, stating that it will be two weeks because of that and my therapust stated that she just won’t be here. Which I get. My protests aren’t going to change anything. I don’t get a say in this. I am just starting to see some specks of light after a big depression and those specks are still disappearing at times. I just saw my warriorness again. I don’t want all of that to disappear. My therapist and my wife reminded me that I didn’t fall apart for the two weeks my therapist was away just a few weeks ago. I know I didn’t…I was actually grateful to have less times that I was expected to be awake and functioning. But, now, I feel in a fragile place with this trafficking word. And I’m afraid that I could get too deep in it and then be left alone with it for two weeks. I left the session in tears. I know I’ll be okay…as okay as I can be. But, I’m not ready for another therapy break and I have no control in this. I feel vulnerable. Nothing I do will change my therapist’s plans. I know that. But, I have to look at this reaction. I have to deal with where it comes from. I’m so afraid of people leaving me. I’m afraid they won’t come back. My therapust will be back unless something beyond her control happens. There’s my problem. People may have the best intentions, but not every circumstance is controllable. Some people have heinous intentions, and those circumstances were beyond my control when I was growing up. I don’t like this out of control feeling.
I need to set up some ways I’m going to cope with those two weeks of no therapy. I have three sessions to look at this stuff and come up with a plan for myself.
I’ve been feeling distinctly unwarriorish lately. When I reflected on this feeling, and reread journal entries and blog posts, I found that this feeling probably started around the time I had my labiaplasty….and the same time I started a fibromyalgia flare.
I’ve become very interested in chakras and energy healing. So I looked up what chakra could be affected by my labiaplasty. The genitals are included in the Sacral chakra. So, when there is a problem in the sacral chakra, it impacts your ability to stay on an even keel emotionally. A blocked sacral chakra can lead to depression, insecurity, fear, panic attacks, poor boundaries, and being overly sensitive. I know I’ve been depressed lately, because I sleep every moment I get too. As long as the kids are being supervised by someone else, and my wife had been off from work for nearly a month, I’ve been sleeping every possible moment, curled up in a corner of the couch, with my cats and my electric blanket. I’ve not been reading, I’ve not been writing, I’ve not been listening to music. I’ve not been talking with friends or my wife and I’ve not bern doing much with my kids. The kids thing is not normal for me….I’m usually on with them, no matter what. I am games, do art, cook, go out with the kids constantly….except for the last few weeks.
I also have issues with my throat chakra. I have for a long time. Every time my massage therapist, Ginny, touches my neck, it brings up huge emotions. I cry and things hurt. I think that my throat chakra issues make it difficult to say what is going on with me. I think this might be why I have a hard time even understanding what is going on with me sometimes because I’m unable to always communicate even with myself.
I also did a Google search to find out what chakra might be having problems if I’m not feeling like a warrior. That would be my solar plexus chakra. The solar plexus chakra being blocked can cause one to watch life as it passes by, in a passive manner. That’s what this sleeping all the time feels like….my life is just passing me by, and I’m not taking much of a role in it.
The website I found about chakras has lots of reflection questions and meditation suggestions for working with blocked and overactive chakras, so I will be working on those.
My therapist was on vacation for a couple of weeks…my first session in a couple of weeks with her was yesterday. The break was kind of nice..I dreaded it, but it turned out that it was helpful for me to just be able to get through the days and not be looking at anything too intensely. It also gave me time to reflect a lot on what was going on with my depression. So yesterday, in my session, I started talking about how this depression seemed to start with my labiaplasty. My therapist asked why that was, and I told her I think it’s because that part of my body was so abused and felt bad, and I’ve self-injured that part of myself in the past and it seems to me that perhaps my body or some child part of me is angry and sad that I let other people hurt that part of my body again. Some parts of me also think that my private areas are bad and I wish I didn’t have them. I think that not having those parts would have helped to prevent me from being so savagely hurt as a child. My therapist asked me what I imagined having instead of those parts,,,maybe a boy’s parts? Nope, I just don’t want to have any parts. My therapist questioned me again…so like you’d just be asexual. Nope. I’d still be a girl….just without parts. Like a Barbie doll, she asked? Yup. Like a Barbie…feminine with no parts. My therapist then asked me if I didn’t think that all of the abusers would have found other ways to hurt me. I’m not sure about that. Did they all really want to hurt me or were they attracted to little girl parts? I don’t know, my therapist doesn’t know for sure. Surely, I guess, that some of the abusers would have liked to exert control over me no matter the manner. But for some of them, the lack of those parts may have been a deal breaker. It’s something to think about because when I get into the child’s mind, those parts are bad. But as an adult with a loving wife, those parts are good and an important part of our relationship. Ugh. It’s so confusing. Is there a way to totally integrate the child parts with the adult me? I really wonder about that. Or do I just have to learn to continuously over ride the child parts speaking in my mind? Part of my problem with these parts right now may be that the adult me really likes how my fixed up parts look and feel. The adult me is really happy with those parts and pays more attention to them these days than in the past, so maybe the child parts of me are having a really hard time with that. (That is probably too much information and I’m really sorry if this is bothering ). And then I go in circles again back to without those parts that other people liked to look at and feel, maybe the abuse would not have happened….Ugh. My mind and my parts are playing real games with my heart and mind.
Last night, I had my 2nd nearly buck naked full body massage with Ginny. She used more pressure than the last time and I have to say it was more grounding for me than the lighter touch from the last time. I had no moments of teariness…it would be okay if I had, but somehow it feels good that there were none…and I can still feel the tension release today. Also, this is kind of funny, because there was actually no sexual feelings at all involved, but I keep remembering how she touched my arms or my legs or put her thumbs on every vertebrae or the very tender look Ginny gave me when I opened my eyes as she moved from my head to my arms. I felt very nurtured last night, and those feelings come back as I remember those things. Sure, my wife touches me all of the time, butBefothere is always the chance that those nurturing touches from her may lead to different kinds of touches, which is fine and wonderful, but with Ginny…I knew that wouldn’t be and the thoughts and memories put me in a very different head space.
I tried floating in a float tank last week…it’s supposed to be good for fibromyalgia and stress. I’m not sure about that. I think I fell asleep and I was so confused when I woke up that any stress relief was way out the window. I may have to try it again before I give it a final verdict.
Before my therapist went on vacation, we were still working with the cat memory and specifically the cat dying because I said nope, I wasn’t going to do what the abusers wanted me to do. That the cat was murdered because of me (and I get, maybe, possibly that it was not my fault…it was their fault, maybe…it was their fault, but somehow it was my fault too), my therapist said it was time for me to figure out how I was going to deal with the cat’s death. My therapist actually said that figuring this out is my work right now. I like that my work is that piece. I like that I do not have to figure out anything else right now, although other things keep coming up. My therapist suggested volunteering at a shelter for cats and I think that I am going to try that.
I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I made one this year. My resolution is to start recognizing my inner Warrior Queen in the way I live my life now and in the way I lived through my childhood and young adulthood. I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing more about that as the year goes on.
I’ve been writing this post for a couple of weeks so that is why it seems to be all over the place. It really is all over the place. But, now it’s done.
That freaking cat flashback has not left me alone for weeks. I’ve been trying to talk to the part of me that experienced that horrible event and trying to find out what I need to do to calm that part down. Honestly, I wonder if that part of me can ever be calm. The shock and repressed rage and grief from that incident seem enough to fill up a whole life, yet here I am, grown, safe, capable…a warrior queen.
MT ( my therapist), recently learned a new expisure technique, so we decided to try it with this memory. I guess the exposure and repetition is supposed to move the memory to a different part of my brain and help me to process it differently. The repeated exposure is also supposed to help desensitized it for me. This technique gives me at least 15 different exposures to the incident over a couple of sessions.
We started with me making a time line of the incident where the cat died. I had to put both positives and negatives. My positives were that I screamed (self-preservation) and that I did not die. After I finished making the timeline, I showed it to MT and talked about it. That part was pretty easy, but there was a part at the end that surprised MT. She looked very disturbed. It was disturbing, but I forget that sometimes. I had never told her the ending. I think I’d gotten stuck on the cat before and not been able to go beyond that in much detail. I felt very removed. Then I had to write for 5 minutes about the first half of the incident and then for another 5 minutes about the 2nd half. Oh, yeah, I forgot…between each step, we did deep breathing and some relaxation visualizations. The person who developed this technique theorizes that it is impossible to experience the trauma when one is relaxed. I’m really not convinced, but I’m going to go with it for now. Then MT said it was time for me to read what I go written out loud to her. I immediately wanted to flee and my body provided me with an excuse. Suddenly, I had to pee and there was no waiting. I told MT i was going to the bathroom, and she actuallyasked me if I was coming back and if I had my car keys in my pocket. That made me giggle. My purse was still on the couch. I went to the bathroom, came back, took a deep breath, and stared at MT. I couldn’t speak. She told me that this was important and I could do it. After a minute or two of her encouraging me, I read it. Then I had to go to the bathroom again. Craziness. Then MT read me what I had written, preaching it with, I’m going to read you a story and it’s disturbing. It’s in the past, it’s over, but you might have feelings. She read it, we did more deep breathing, and then she read it to me again. This time, though, she wanted me to concentrate on continuing the deep breathing and also to tap myself on alternating knees to give myself bilateral input, like emdr. We did that. Then did 10 minutes of breathing and relaxation. I left feeling not overwhelmed. We have a two hour session scheduled on Tuesday to complete this technique with this flashback. We will see how that goes. So far, the flashback persists, although it’s possible that my reaction is less intense.
So, I went to therapy with lots of trepidation. I picked up my pink stress pig from the table by where I sit and immediately MT ( my therapist) commented on how it had been months since I touched that pig. It has been, but last week, I woke up one night in the middle of the week, panicking, because I was sure that pig was no longer there and, if that pig was no longer there, it meant that MT was sick of me. When I walked into therapy yesterday, I was quite relieved to find that pig there still and I picked up because I was so anxious and putting my fingernails in that pig was way better than putting them in my skin.
When I arrived in the waiting room, I had reviewed all of the posts I’d written recently, and I brought them into the office and placed them next to me in case I could not get the words out of my mouth and needed MT to read them. After MT commented on the pig, I just started talking. I talked about crying for a couple of hours after my last therapy session and wanting to hurt myself, but not. I talked about what a struggle I’ve had since MT came back from vacation. My voice was trembling and tears were building up in my eyes. MT softly said that she thought she knew what I was going to say. I looked at her and shook my head and she said that I should keep talking, that she would listen until I was done. So I talked about the decision in July to really work on grieving everything that had happened to me and then the traumatic PAP smear in September and surgery in November and how I had pretty much stopped that grieving process and it was time for me to get back to it, even if she thought it was silly or redundant or malingering or whatever. She stopped me and asked what would make me say that. I told her that she keeps saying that it’s time to let go and I’m not ready yet. If I don’t process it the way I think I should, it will probably come back to haunt me again. MT asked if I haven’t heard her say that it’s time to get back to grieving so I can let go. Nope, I have not. I just hear it’s time to let go. Whoa. What is up with me? She also asked me if I thought she would say that was over and done with after two months. Well, a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have thought she’d say it was long enough, but lately, I’ve felt like I was battling her to get to something needed to do before I let go. She agreed that the last few weeks have felt like a battle, but she was not sure about what. Then MT told me she thought I was going to say that I was done with her and I was going to find a new therapist. I told her that I had definitely been considering that. She told me that she was glad to hear that because she had been wondering if perhaps I had done as much work as I could at this point, and hearing me say that I had considered a new therapist, yet come to her saying I needed to grieve told her I was definitely ready for the rest of the work. Then she told me that she’d been watching me and was ready to intervene if I said I was leaving. MT told me she would not have let me go without some sort of a discussion. She asked if I didn’t know she was always watching and assessing. I said lately I thought she was just biding her time until I stopped being dramatic and difficult. MT looked puzzled for a minute when I said that, and then said, oh, I get it, you’re looking at me as if I was your mother, you’ve got some transference happening. And yes, once she said that, I realized it was true. I have not been looking at her as the good mother, I’ve been looking at her as though she were my actual mother, with whom I was not allowed feelings and was told I was difficult and dramatic if I displayed any negative emotion. No wonder I’ve been battling MT and no wonder I have not heard the it’s time to grieve part of her letting go statements. I cried through this whole session. I’m sad and angry about the events that brought me to this space, and I was so relieved to feel connected to MT again. MT made a comment at this point that I really don’t need her anymore, because all I need you heal is inside me. Yes, it is. But I still need some guidance to find it, I need that 2 hours a week to find it, I need the space of her office to find it, and I need the witness from outside my daily life.
As I was getting ready to leave this session, MT asked what the papers I had with me were. I told her it was what I talked about written down in case I couldn’t say it. She asked if it was really that difficult, and I told her it really was. I had been totally scared about the whole thing. Then she asked me what I was thinking at that moment. I pointed to my collage of what a warrior is hanging on her filing cabinet, and said that I had been thinking that maybe I really am a warrior. MT said, you’re not just a warrior, you’re a Warrior Queen.
I spent a good part of today doing some research via my blog and my personal journal to try to figure out what happened to this grieving process of mine. I managed to piece together a pretty good road map of when that process started and where the detours happened. I started this grieving process in July, 2016. MT (my therapist) said that it wouldn’t surprise her if I spent the next year crying on her couch for two hours every week. Then in September, 2016 that process got interrupted by the crazy PAP smear that took over my life for a while, as I had a new trauma to process. And thank God, I processed it in the present as soon as it happened. And it is done. That actually took a couple of months. Almost as soon as I was done processing the bad and terrible PAP smear, I got my date for my surgery and lots of time and energy, both in and out of therapy, was taken up with getting prepared for surgery and being excited about it. Once I had my surgery, lots of time was taken up talking about changes in eating and body perception and how I felt more vulnerable…and I was busy letting go of weight…lots of weight every week. I was processing the changes in my appearance seemed to be changing every few days. I was busy processing the emotions I could no longer cover up with food. And of course that conversation continues even now. And then MT went away for a week and I’ve been stuck and trying to let go since then, but what I realized today, is that I had many interruptions to my grieving process and I never let myself get back to it. I started that process to help myself be able to let go and even though I seemed to not be in the grieving stage anymore, I know I am. Just saying that gives me a sense of relief. No wonder I’m still sad and mad. I’m not trying to hold on, I’m not trying to change the past, I just need to complete this process.
I woke up in the middle of the night and thought more about what is going on with me and my healing process. Here are those thoughts:
I’m projecting my frustration with myself onto MT. I don’t tell her what’s going on with me because I’m afraid that she’ll be frustrated with me, but really I’m frustrated with myself. I’m irritated with myself so I think she’s irritated with me. And this is not serving me well and I’m stuck. I feel so stuck. The problem is that I tried to make the grieving be done with. I felt like it went on for long enough and tried to stop it. But, it’s still there. I keep trying to let go of the past and the flashbacks get stronger. Grieving isn’t not letting go. Grieving is part of the process of letting go. I keep trying to hurry the process along, but that does not work. I am where I am. I believe in letting go. I will let go when the time is right, but not completing the process or trying to leapfrog over steps is just making me frustrated and irritated. I know I need to spend more time on the grieving and just letting myself feel that. I let that go to quickly because I thought grieving was trying to hold on and change unchangeable things. But really, grieving is part of letting go. I have to let myself be where I am. The other thing about grieving is that it is hard for me to let myself still be in the grieving space when I’m also so focused on and pretty happy about this journey of weight loss. I am happy with this journey. Even though it does bring up other issues for me. But those are in the present. It seems pretty easy to work on those with MT. But I have blocked myself from the grieving process, probably since I had surgery. And it was easy to block that grieving for a while, but now it’s come back, stronger than it was. I’ve been judging the process instead of just letting it be. I can practice letting go while I’m still grieving. Letting go is a practice anyway. It takes reminding myself over and over again that I let that go. That I can’t change that. That it’s just the way things were and hurts me to keep scraping my fingernails on a brick wall trying to make it change. So, with the past, i have a two-pronged process. Letting myself grieve and practicing letting go. Practicing letting go can look like this. I have a flashback, and as soon as I can, I remind myself that was in the past and it happened and it was bad but my life now is really good and the past doesn’t matter anymore. I can also practice letting go by owning my truth and not being scared about what anybody might think of me or say about me when I do speak my truth. I can also practice letting go by putting the past on that boat and only pulling it in when I need it. But, I don’t need the past in my face to grieve and let go. I can let that boat out further each time. It does not matter where the past is, my feelings are still my feelings no matter what. Eventually I can cut the rope to that boat or explode that boat.
I emailed MT yesterday afternoon telling her that I did not think it fair that she ended a session with what felt like a bombshell. She emailed me back and said she never said that this was indefinitely. That made me feel phenomenally better. I guess EMDR is not off the table permanently. Big sigh of relief. I like that MT is so careful and thoughtful about what she does with me. But, that’s also a problem, because it makes me trust her immensely, and trusting her so much scares the hell out of me. OMG. I feel like a lunatic when I write about some of this stuff.