Therapy

I’ve been in therapy for a month and a half now – it helped a little, at first. And then it just went downhill, fast.
I was having severe panic attacks, that lasted days, without reason. I experienced true insomnia for the first time ever, being unable to sleep at all for days at a time, combined with ridiculous night sweats. Then I’d start puking around 3-4am until the girls got up, spending the rest of the day so nauseous I couldn’t eat, and in a state of chronic fatigue – if I hadn’t known better, I honestly would have thought I was pregnant again. It would last 4-5 days, easing ever so slightly with each passing day, until my body would finally crash and I’d sleep off the last of it. It happened 4 times between the end of May and the end of June, causing me to lose a total of 25 pounds, before I started thinking maybe it was a symptom of a  physical problem – hormonal, thyroid, something…because I didn’t FEEL stressed, or even particularly anxious, leading up to the attacks (outside of the general anxiety I think we all feel about the world right now). So I went in for some bloodwork – they’ve been doing car side service, but I was in full panic mode while I was there, so they brought me inside. The doctor was so kind, he sat and talked to me for a good half hour to calm me down, and assured me that I looked to be perfectly healthy & I was probably just experiencing extreme anxiety…when I insisted that I am not an anxious person and didn’t even feel stressed, that it HAD to be something else, he asked if maybe there was something else subconsciously causing it – maybe something from my past. While at the time  I didn’t really make the connection, I was so emotionally distraught and physically drained that the tears just started pouring out. He continued to talk to me for a bit & suggested I look into therapy while I waited on my bloodwork results to come back.

I was so desperate to stop the attacks that I was willing to try anything – so I talked to a couple friends that I knew had done e-counseling previously, and decided to schedule an appointment; I chose an older male therapist because I feel like women are too emotional (sorry) – I didn’t want pity or sensitivity; I wanted someone who could be objective and direct & had zero ability to feel like they could “relate” to me.

He did help me realize the connection between the lack of control and lack of protection I felt I had as a child – which I’ve spent my entire life overcompensating for – and now as a parent, during a pandemic, having very little control and not being able to guarantee the protection of my own children —— that it was hitting my subconscious. Hard.
I haven’t had another severe attack since then, though I have continued to feel more anxiety than normal – I assume that’s nearly everyone these days though. On days I feel particularly on edge, I’ve been taking OLLY stress supplements, which do seem to help (I had gotten a prescription for Lexapro after the first attack, but I had the WORST attack of them all after taking it – literally couldn’t get out of bed for days because my panic was x1000 – so naturally, I am terrified to try any other meds anytime soon)

Once I got the anxiety managed though, it seemed he had very little interest in helping me really process my past – all he wanted to focus on was the present, which isn’t relevant to how I feel. I KNOW I have a good life, I even know I am a good person – I do my best to be a good wife and a good mother, I have a good husband, I have my tribe of mom friends and I have a couple long time friends; I have everything I need, I have my shit together, I look fine from the outside. But inside, I still feel broken. And every single session he used the phrase “fake it til you make it” and I just wanted to scream, what the fuck do you think I have been doing, my entire life? I don’t want to fake it anymore. I want to fucking FIX IT. And he just kept assuring me that I’d feel better, eventually, if I just kept focusing on the positives in my life. Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of growth mindset, but positivity is not my issue – I lay down with my girls every night and recount all the best moments of our day together. I am not a negative person, just a broken one.

I told him I thought there might be more abuse, but that I couldn’t remember/was still blocking memories – I wanted to know how to retrieve those memories. He said that I’ve probably remembered everything I needed to and not to worry about it. Don’t worry about it? Don’t fucking worry about whether or not I was sexually abused by multiple people, as a child? Just, don’t worry about it??? Obviously that was the last straw. I quit.

I’ve had several people, including Tanya, pushing me toward EMDR therapy & I’m almost finished reading an incredible book about it (Getting Past Your Past) – I have to admit it sounds too good to be true; I did contact a couple local EMDR therapists about it though, but haven’t heard back yet. Even if I do try it, I don’t want to get my hopes up that it will give me my memories back. But maybe it can help, either way. I just feel like I reopened a lot of wounds by starting therapy, and now I’m just left here bleeding profusely – and honestly I know these are things I should have processed a long long time ago, so I don’t need to just stick a bandaid back on and give up now; I owe it to myself to finally work through it, no matter how hard or frustrating it is. I have to fix this in order to find peace.

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August 15, 2020

I can relate to so much of this. I also picked a male, unemotional, blunt therapist… luckily I haven’t had the compatibility issues it sounds like you’re dealing with. I’m so sorry that you found courage to deal with your past and are now being met with someone who doesn’t seem to understand your path. Don’t give up on trying to heal yourself though…

I’ve tried EMDR. It is the only thing that remotely helped with my extensive trauma. The best part is that you are distracted from the emotional component of the traumatic memories…so there a detachment as you process the memory. I highly recommend it-but also know everyone is different and needs to do what works for them.

I’m sorry this time is so difficult but I’m glad you also are able to hold onto the fact you’re a good person and a good person in your relationships. I hope you never lose sight of that…some trauma survivors do. (Present company included!)

Ok, hope my note isn’t annoying… 🙂

August 16, 2020

@thecriticsdarling

no not at all, it’s always nice to know you’re not alone and that others have walked a similar path – even tho it’s saddening to think that means that lots of us are hurting.

It’s bad though that with every person that says emdr helped them, I get a little more scared to try it – because i don’t want to be the only one it doesn’t work for…so I guess in that sense I am a little negative, but only because I’m scared of getting my hopes up!