I’ve spent the last week working through a new trauma memory in therapy. This sexual abuse memory is not new to me, but it is the first time I’ve brought it up in therapy. This particular memory has been coming up for me for several months now, often when I am in legs up the wall with an eye pillow. Finding the courage to write about it and talk about it was challenging. It took me several months – since November probably.
I read through the memory with my therapist on Friday last week, but I hadn’t finished writing about it…. I wrote about everything right up until things got scary. My shrink told me to finish writing about the memory before my next session. Well, the weekend was busy and I didn’t quite get to it….or I couldn’t make myself do it.
Before my session yesterday, I went into “my room” in her office and started writing about the memory. I found myself getting stuck on the “what happens next.” After the abuse, I’m pretty sure we just went back to playing… like everything was ok. But it wasn’t – it wasn’t ok.
I curled up in a ball on the floor. Everything felt numb. I don’t know how much time passed, but eventually I heard the distant sound of my therapist exiting her office with the previous client. The noise was enough to bring me back. I sat up, but still felt numb and disconnected.
My shrink walked in and we did our 2 minute silent meditation. She then asked me what I wanted to talk about. I told her I had written about the entire memory. It took me a few minutes, but I read the entire thing out loud. And then I lost it. Tears. Tears everywhere. I told her I didn’t understand how we could just go back to playing like everything was normal and ok because it so obviously wasn’t!
And then something happened. My therapist asked me what I would have liked to happen after the abuse occurred. At first I said I didn’t know. I did, though. I felt every bit of 7 years old again. I couldn’t stop the tears. “I want to go home to my mommy’s house,” I said. And I did. I want to go away. I want the scary things that sometimes hurt to quit happening. But they don’t. I’m only 7 in this memory. There are still 4 more years of abuse before it ends.
Looking back on the session, I wonder if I’m totally crazy for really and truly feeling 7 years old in my session. I wonder if my shrink ever feels like she’s talking to a little kid. In that moment yesterday, everything felt like it did when I was little. And when we were able to move on to other things in our session, I felt so incredibly exhausted. I even started getting a headache from the exhaustion. I laid in restorative child’s pose and talked about all of the trivial things going on in my life right now. In comparison to the trauma work, nothing else in the world really mattered. My mind and body were done for the day.
Today, I haven’t spent a ton of time with the memory or our session, but it has come up a couple of times. I am still tired. I don’t see my therapist again until next Tuesday, but I am worried about sitting with all that came up in yesterday’s session. I am worried that other memories will be triggered or that I won’t be able to manage the feelings. I plan on spending some extra time practicing yoga these next few days, and I have yoga teacher training this weekend, so that will help. It’s been a while since I’ve done trauma work. I forgot how difficult it can be.