This week has been so incredibly crazy and busy with everything going on at work. It has been difficult to focus on much else. I have managed to make 5 yoga classes in the last 7 days, which is actually impressive considering my hectic work schedule, therapy, and parenting a toddler. I can tell you that I have needed all five of those yoga classes though.
In the world of trauma work with my therapist this week, things were so incredibly stressful. Trauma work is hard. It is not hard because I make it hard. It is hard because it’s HARD. In my session this week I had to read a case study about a girl who had been sexually abused, and then write down what I would say to that girl. Now, I’m a relatively smart individual. That combined with the fact that I’ve been in therapy for over half of my life means that I know what my therapist wants me to do. And this week was no different. I knew that the point of the activity was to make myself feel less guilty about my experiences. Remember, guilt is something that I sometimes struggle with — see The Dreaded Five-Letter Word for more info.
I did the activity in our session like she wanted me to and then we finished up and I went home. All fixed, right??? WRONG. Before I even made it home, I could feel my anxiety numbers escalating to a 10. I was having intense urges to cut and I couldn’t control my breathing. When I got home, I quickly changed clothes, hopped back in the car, and arrived at a restorative yoga class just before it began. I needed restorative yoga. This particular class had an instructor who is trained in Reiki. I think I probably benefited more from the energy healing of Reiki than the restorative yoga. Every time she put her hands on me, I felt my anxiety numbers drop a little more. I typically don’t like for people to touch me unless I trust them 100%, but for Reiki, I’m surprisingly really ok with it.
Throughout the class I was unable to quiet my mind. Usually I struggle in the beginning, but get into a breath pattern and my mind relaxes. Not that night. My mind would NOT shut the fuck up. All I could think about was the little girl in the case study – the little girl who, in a lot of ways, was so very similar to my younger self. What would I tell that girl? It would be so much more than the two or three sentences that I jotted down in my therapy session. But for some reason, I wasn’t able to write that or verbalize that in my session with my shrink.
I feel like I’m failing at this whole therapy thing. I know what I’m supposed to do, but I have such a hard time doing it. I get so unbelievably frustrated with myself. I trust my shrink probably more than anyone in the whole world. But for whatever reason, I cannot allow myself to feel all of these things in front of her (or anyone else for that matter). I always struggle to come up with complete answers to her questions. I struggle to come up with meaningful thoughts. I feel like I rarely have those “ah-ha” moments in session. I don’t understand why it takes my mind so long to process the things that are stressful. I get that it’s probably not that big of a deal, but I think if I were able to allow myself to feel the hard things in session, we could probably be more productive…but also then I wouldn’t have to hold all of these feelings inside in between sessions. It would be a win-win for me….and for her too I’m sure. But so far, I’ve not really been able to do that – to be that vulnerable – to let myself feel that deeply with her staring at me, scribbling down her notes, while my 60 minutes tick by on the clock. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I worry that I’ll run out of time to process and reflect and by the time I have an answer, the session is over. And then I’m left with all the feels and no outlet. The pressure to perform deep, meaningful self-reflection in an hour is so much that my mind shuts down.
Trauma work sucks. It makes me feel incompetent, when in fact, I have an above average IQ. But it never fails, during a trauma session, I feel like I can never come up with real answers. I can give the answers my shrink wants to hear, but I try not to do that because then it’s really just a waste of time and money. So instead, it’s usually a lot of “I don’t knows,” and I leave feeling like a disappointment (Please know that those are my own feelings, not something my shrink has projected on me – pretty sure that would classify her as “the worst therapist ever.”)
I want to add that for some reason, writing down what I would say to a girl who had similar experiences to mine was WAY harder than just reading through a trauma memory with my shrink. Even though reading a trauma memory aloud is still really anxiety-producing, I’ve spent my whole life making myself emotionally numb to those memories. And without alcohol, drugs, and cutting, I’ve still managed to remain relatively distant and numb to the feelings that probably should surround my trauma memories. However, this particular activity, where I basically needed to show compassion towards my younger self, wasn’t something I had ever truly done. And therefore, I was unable to thoroughly complete the activity without having intense feelings. It is those intense feelings that I am afraid to feel when I’m sitting in front of someone.
PS: If you’ve never heard this song and you enjoy my blog, you MUST listen to it! I find it to be hilariously true. And I feel certain that some of these lyrics will make awesome blog titles in the future 🙂 Also, the pic for today’s blog post shows a restorative twist that I’ve been doing at home this week to help release tension that I’m carrying around. It also prompts my mind to shut the fuck up — something I desperately need. Sorry this was so all over the place tonight!