Therapy-Leaving dublin behind

Therapy this morning was really tough. Kids were having awful memories about being in dublin, and being abused, and we really had a hard time staying present.
Eileen was awesome as usual. We both had hot chocolate, and that was nice, and made the kids feel safe, and they enjoyed drinking the hot chocolate with eileen.
“I’m finding lockdown really tough, I said.”
“What is it about lockdown you find most hard?” Eileen asked me. “Can we stay with this for a little while?”
“Yes, I guess so. I find being alone and by myself a lot really tough.
“What is it about being on your own?” Slow things down, think about it. What makes it so tough?
Well I said slowly, it goes back to when we were in dublin. Even though we were around others, we always felt alone. We always felt isolated, and like we didnt belong or fit in. We felt invisible, we did have friends, but the nature of our abuse was that the staff would pit all the kids against each other, so even though I had friends, and a best friend, I could never fully trust the other kids.
“That must have been very hard, Eileen said.”
Yes, it was, I never felt heard or seen ever. Even now, if I am sick, we are in serious pain before we register it. An example would be, a few months ago I had a terrible kidney infection, and when I eventually went to a doctor, she couldnt believe I was still standing, because it was so bad. But I didnt register the pain at all.
“Are you in pain now?” Eileen asked gently.
Yes. I am. My stomach hurts. Its really intense pain.
“On a scale of 1-10 how bad is it? She asked.
Its at about an 8…I said.
Ok, she said, I’m going to play the metronome sound, and I want you to stay here with me, not get merged with the kids, I want the rest of the adults to come close to you, and support you in supporting the kids. Can you do that?
I think so? I said. I’ll give it a try.
“You can tap your hands on your lap, tap each knee with each hand, as you hear the sound. And I am here too supporting you all.
We worked doing EMDr for a while, focusing on the pain, the anxiety the kids felt, and the memories of feeling alone and alienated and isolated.
“Have you anything nearby that you can wrap up in? Eileen asked.
Yes, I have my fleece blanket with horses on it. I’ll go get it.
Yes, Eileen said, go get it. The kids will feel comforted if you are wrapped up in it.
They arent on their own now. They’ll never be on their own again, they have me, and they have you. And they no longer live in dublin.
“Do they know they dont live in dublin now?
Sometimes, I said. Right now they’re right back there. I got the blanket and wrapped it around my shoulders and arms and it felt safe and comforting. The kids loved it.
Hows the pain now, eileen asked?
Its a little better, I said. It is at around a four.
Can you breathe into it?
I started breathing into the pain, and OMG it was so hard!
Your doing great, Eileen said reassuringly. Thats it, breathe into it.
Just breathe!
We took a few deep breaths together, before I said I was feeling all shaky and dizzy.
Its a memory, she said, where do you feel the shaky and dizziness?
In my legs and stomach I said.
Ok, she said. Lets stand up. Stand up and feel your body, tap it as if you were tapping on your skin, I’ll do it too, come on, lets wake your body up!
And it worked! I did what she said to do and we started feeling a lot better.
When I sat back down again eileen said, you can tap your feet on the ground, as if you were walking to get the train, and go far away from dublin. Lets walk to the train.
The train is pulling in now and your all climbing on bord, its comfortable, and warm, and your safe, I’m sitting with you on the train, we’re going home, we’re going to your house, where its very kid friendly.
And that is what we did, we imagined ourselves on the train with Eileen, drinking coffee, eating snacks, and reading stories.
After a few minutes, eileen said, we’re here! We’re home!
Now what do you think the kids need to see in your house? Whats important for them to be shown?
So we did a quick tour of the house then.
You’ll never have to go back there again, Eileen said gently, its over, your safe now, do you hear me? Your safe.
And with that, we burst into tears!
Its ok, Eileen said sootheingly.
Cry it out! I am here! You dont have to feel alone.
We cried and cried for what seemed like ages, but really I’d say it was about 5 minutes or so.
Then we were able to pull ourselfs together.
Then I told Eileen about the new books I bought at the weekend, books on trauma she’d recommended to me, and she said we could do some work on the coping with trauma related dissociation workbook if I wanted to, not today, but soon. I do want to. It’ll be good to do some of the exercises in the book together.
I think you need to rest now after our session…eileen said. I know, I said, I totally do. are you working today? She asked.
No, tomorrow, I said, so I am going to relax for the rest of the afternoon!
And that is what I am doing right now!