I wanted to update my readers who have been following along in my low this week.
I had therapy today. I don’t think I’ve ever needed therapy as much as I did today….at least not in recent months. I have spent this week working through two very difficult topics surrounding my trauma. I won’t go into many details about the actual trauma stuff, but I essentially wrote two letters this week, one to my abuser and one to someone else. And with that process came some really intense urges to cut, hardcore suicidal thoughts, and self-hatred. Oh, and migraines.
In therapy today, I read both letters. I read the letter written to my abuser first. It was difficult. The letter takes up 6 or 7 pages in my journal. As I was reading it aloud to my therapist, I could feel the room becoming distant, the words on the page would become a blurred mess… I was dissociating. The pain of acknowledging the abuse and my anger towards my abuser, as well as the memories and feelings, and how much of my life was fucked up because of the abuse was so intense that my body just tried to keep me numb.
I remember going through my 5 Senses a couple of times to try to stay grounded. I squeezed my Play-Doh. I cried. But when it was all over, I couldn’t breathe. It was like someone had sucked all of the air and noise out of the room. I’m suffocating, I thought. I stood up and started to walk out. I can’t remember if I said anything, but my therapist asked me if I was going to take care of myself. I nodded or said yes and walked out. I found myself outside, crouched against the brick wall. I’m not sure how long I had been sitting there (a minute or two maybe?), but a guy walked past me and I realized I was tapping my fingertips together and breathing a Samavritti Breath (equal inhales and exhales). This is one of the first times where I have dissociated and naturally used my skills. Just yesterday, I dissociated and clawed the shit out of my wrist. There is almost always a conscious effort to prevent the dissociation from happening; there’s a conscious effort to use my skills. This time, it didn’t feel like it was a conscious effort. It felt like it was a natural instinct.
It bothers me that my body still feels like it needs to dissociate when I address difficult things in my trauma work. Even though I’m safe now, it’s like just going back through the memories or emotions is so terrifying that my body decides it isn’t safe to stay present. What’s interesting to me is that the second letter had much more to do with the self-hatred that I carry around, yet I did not dissociate for that.
The second letter I read was harder because of the shame and guilt that go with it. While reading that letter, my wrist literally burned – begging me to tear into it. At one point I must have put my Play-Doh down because I realized that I was digging my nails into my wrist, scratching at it to alleviate the urges to cut. Reading it did not necessarily make me feel better about things; in fact, I think it made things more real, more tangible, more intense. In that moment, I hated myself more than I ever had.
My session lasted almost an hour and a half. I needed all of those minutes today. I needed to work through what had been building all week. I needed to feel a little less alone. Someone supported me. I am not sure how things are going to play out for me this weekend. I am hoping that the anxiety and stress from this week subsides some. I am hoping that I can be back to my version of “normal.” I don’t think I can survive any more days like the ones I’ve had this week.
I have made some attempts to stay safe: I’ve been home alone less this week; I’ve made plans with friends (including yoga and dinner tonight), and I have spent a lot of hours just counting my breath. I am looking forward to another Thai Massage on Tuesday. I am hopeful that it will help me process the yuck that is in my head right now. I am ready to get to the other side of this work.