working with our therapist on managing the overwhelm

i need to write about this while its fresh in my mind. i went into therapy today feeling a lot of fear. i was so scared. i was scared that eileen would be mad at me because i couldnt find words to describe my experiences. i was afraid she’d say i was wasting her time or that if i couldnt find words or didnt talk then i was wasting a session. she’s never ever said that but our last therapist did, and i was confusing her with eileen. although i didnt realise that until eileen pointed it out to us. but basically i was an anxious mess. i straight off told eileen i’m scared. “what are you scared of”? “that I cant find words”. “its ok, sometimes, I cant find words, either!” “really, you really feel that way too sometimes”? Having her tell me that sometimes she struggles too really normalised things for me. we talked and surprisingly once i began i found the words. words i didnt even know i had inside of me. i was able to tell her that going to dublin at the weekend had really triggered me. just being in the place where our abuse occurred and being nearby to the school we attended was so triggering. i didnt come out over the weekend, but i did watch things unfold. i couldnt help being a little jealous of carol anne, she can enjoy herself and is not hampered by memories. she is able to just get on with it. eileen said that someone had to do it, and it fell on carol anne to go on with life, while the rest of us held the memories. she said but carol anne is not without her own struggles, and I do know this. “how old do you feel”? she asked me. “I feel about 10” I said in a small voice. then i began remembering and crying uncontrollably. “I wanted someone to protect me but I had no one”. “I felt all alone” “i remembered standing in the yard at school feeling so alone” “I remembered my abusers taunting me, and I felt so alone” “No one protected me”. Eileen held my hand and said sootheing things to me. It was so difficult. After a while she said “your not 10 any more, you’ve grown up some now” “You can separate yourself from that 10 year old” “Lets try something”. I couldnt come back, i was so dissociated. “cora, come back to me” “I cant, I said crying”. “ok, notice a part of your body that feels ok” “My legs, I said” “right, think of your breath going down into your legs” “down, down, do you remember that exercise we did about the oak tree last week? Think of that tree, think of the roots firmly going down into the earth and helping you to become solid again and enabling you to return to the room. It worked. Doing that brought me back. Once I was back and present again we began to do some more work around the memories. “I want you to think of a part of your body thats ok, and then come back to the part of your body that isnt ok, what part feels pain? Put your hand on it? I placed my hand on my stomach and chest area. Now keep your hand there and notice. i noticed, and immediately felt sadness. Sadness for that 10 year old. “Its ok to be sad, cora, its just a feeling” “feelings are normal” but i cant, i, i, i am afraid to feel it. That started me crying all over again. “Can I ask you to do something tonight? Can you write out a list of all of the resources you have? Because you have a lot of them. Ok, I’ll try? And maybe too as a system you guys could write a gratitude list. Everyone could join in and help. How does that sound? It sounds good, i sniffed. I’ll try it. Now let me explain something to you. Going in to the memories, its like going into the red, then all of the good stuff, that is the blue, and when your doing memory work you go between the two, its called penduluming. “wow, I never heard of that” I said. “Its an exercise I learned in training, she said. You notice, then pull back, notice a little, then pull back again. Come back to all that is good, its vital to not only talk about the memories, its vital to talk about what sustains you too, what you have in your life that is good. “i agree, I said”. “I like to talk about other things too besides just doing trauma work”. “You did great work today, she said softly.” And at that, I told her I was going to go inside and allow carol anne to come back and finish up the session.

Author: Carol anne

I am a woman in my mid 30's. I'm blind and I have dissociative identity disorder, I also have complex PTSD. I blog about my life with these disorders. I live in Ireland.

12 thoughts on “working with our therapist on managing the overwhelm”

  1. Wow, Cora! I don’t know what any of this is like, but I really admire you for the hard work you’re doing. I’m sure it’s difficult, but you plunge right in there and do it. I think it will get easier as you separate your older self from that little self. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t imagine what any of that is like. This is the closest I have gotten to the dissociative disorder. At first I didn’t realize it was real. That has got to be worse, in its own way, than my bipolar and borderline personality disorder. I may dissociated, but I am still just me. God bless you ❤

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