Aside

Feeling contrary…..

Things feel really bad right now. I feel like I am living in limbo, disconnected from everyone. I don’t know. My old “story” and deep seated beliefs aren’t true anymore, but I haven’t exactly replaced them with anything. So, I am in limbo. 

I have managed to catch up on almost all household chores, and then some. I’m totally, completely in control of it all. I’m fine. Everything is okay. I’ve found a rhythm, a routine, a schedule to follow. So I force everything way, way down, turn off my feelings and let Ms. Perfect run the show. 

But underneath it all is this chaos and confusion and anger and sadness and fear. It all comes down to fear. Everything and everyone is changing. I can’t do anything right. I am afraid I am chasing Bea away. On top of everything else– the time of year with all the ugly anniversaries and the all alone feeling, my parents changing, hubby being so distant and gone– Bea is changing things. And I hate it. I have told her I don’t like it, but the truth is, I HATE it. It’s not fair. She is the shrink. She is supposed to be stable and reliable. She is NOT supposed to change. 

She is taking this class on somatic (i think that is the word) trauma work. She felt like she wanted to have more knowledge on working with the feelings and sensations in the body, on using movement in therapy. She wanted that for her trauma clients. And I know I am lucky to have a therapist who is always looking for ways to help me. But I do not like this. I do not feel lucky. They– the class teachers– have taught her that I go too far away during therapy. So now she wants to keep me more present when I talk. I can not do that. I am capable of talking BECAUSE I go away. I am terrified of the thought of being present when I talk. I can’t even talk about feelings and be present. 

She says the idea is that I talk about whatever I want and she will check in more often, or I can say that I am too far away and need to stop talking (yeah right, that is never going to happen), or she can stop me and we will do some grounding to adjust things and bring me back. Just the idea of being paused, stopped from talking feels like rejection to the little girl. I HATE this. 

Why is she changing everything?!!? I was already like my whole world has shifted and the ground has been ripped out from under me. I was already feeling alone and shaky and not very okay. I was trying to work through the whole email fiasco and feeling very disconnected from Bea. I was just beginning to feel like she is the same Bea, it was okay, I could trust her. And she goes and changes everything. It’s not fair!!!! 

I emailed her– we have been emailing this week– and I told her I hate grounding because being truly present is very uncomfortable. I told her that I do not want to talk and be present. And she is going to say that being present is safe, nothing bad is happening in the present. But it’s not freaking true! If I am present and talking about all the hard things, then all the feelings are in the present. And it is overwhelming and scary. So no, being present is not safer. 

I told her I feel like a 5 year old throwing a temper tantrum, refusing to try the new vegetables on my dinner plate– even if eating them is in my best interest, they are new and different, so they are not okay. I can see Bea’s view point, intellectually I can even agree with her. But the little girl feels differently. She hates this, and is afraid. She feels all alone and like she has no control at all. Everyone else is bigger, smarter, stronger, faster, better. She can’t do anything to stop the changes. She wants to run and hide. 

I’m both frozen and panicked. I’ve jumped at every little noise outside tonight, feel on edge and scared, but I have also zoned out enough that a 1/2 hour passed by in what seemed like a minute. I don’t even know what happened to that time. I hate blanking out like that. It makes me more panicky and jumpy which makes me more frozen and dissociated. Stupid freaking crazy making cycle. I’m hiding in the closet. Nothing feels okay right now. 

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12 thoughts on “Feeling contrary…..

  1. Sirena says:

    I’m sorry this is all so hard for you just now. Changes are very scary at times. Do you think you could maybe read up on how somatic experiencing work, maybe that would make things less uncertain and less scary? Also reminf yourself that Beas said you could both go back to just talking, you don’t have to do anything you’re not ready for. Take care x

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    • I keep trying to read about it, but it is all about feeling things in your body and staying with it….I don’t know. It seems like they want to use the feelings in the body to help ground you but that whole idea is just too much. That is triggering to me. I don’t like it. Reading and learning and understanding is usually my go to thing, but now….I don’t know. That is not helping.
      You are right though. Bea did say, and keeps saying that this is all up to me and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to. I think I just feel like this is what she wants, what she thinks is best, and if I don’t do it….well, I will be a disappointment and a failure.

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      • Sirena says:

        It’s not all or nothing though. You’re not a failure if you’re not ready for it and a success if you do try it. Your success in healing has nothing to do with that particular method, there’s more than one way to heal. You’ll heal because you want to not because of a technique .
        What I will say is that when I first started with somatic bodywork it was threatening to me too. I hated it. But I very soon realised that I didn’t recognise what was going on in my body that I’d numbed it so much and I didn’t even have the vocabulary for what I was feeling. I quickly started noticing what my body was feeling and it was like having a whole new language and it gave me more control over my body. I’ve been able to talk myself down more, it’s helped me stop full on panic attacks and sometimes stops the dissociation. It’s helped me stay grounded in the present and in my adult. And once you master that everything else feels more manageable. I’m glad I learned it. But I appreciate it’s not for everyone.

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  2. Sounds so so tough and I know I would feel quite similarly if I was in this situation. You don’t have to like this at all. But I hope things start to feel better and safe again soon. xo

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  3. I don’t know if this will help the little girl at all or not, but this is what helped me to understand that being more present while doing therapy work was in the best interest of the young traumatized parts… If I don’t keep part of me in the here and now while doing the work, then all of me keeps on reliving the trauma. When I keep some of me here, then the young traumatized parts slowly start to learn that today is different, they aren’t being abused even when there are memories of abuse. It is so important for them to learn that what is going on on the inside is a memory, not a current event, because there is a positive change in brain function when that happens. Even the over the top, crazy powerful emotions are memories. Nothing in your current life is making you feel that terrified, that ashamed, that (fill in the blank).

    We started out in tiny doses. Feel the feelings for a minute. Then it on it’s own stretched longer and longer. Learning to tolerate the feelings is incredible hard. As you say, you dissociate them because you cannot bear to experience them. But there are rewards. Feeling really present and going for a walk outside and feeling like you are really seeing the world for the first time can create such feelings of overwhelming joy that you are alive. Being able to be more present with your daughter, both for the good times and the difficult times.

    There is a book that I would love to recommend, but I fear that you would find it too “shrinky”. I didn’t find it too technical and distancing, but it is about dissociation, how it works, and ways to deal with it so life is more livable.

    Alice, I know that you are angry at Bea for changing things and that change is incredibly scary for you. She is asking you to mess with what may have been your primary coping mechanism for most of your life. “Don’t feel”. The thing is that she wouldn’t be responsible if she didn’t try to help you start to move forward in this area because you could be doing things in a way that is reinforcing rather than weakening the trauma response.

    I have been through this a lot with my therapist, myself. The problem is that if you talk about the trauma or some part of it while you are only in a trauma state, it is reinforcing the wiring in the brain that everything about it is dangerous. I know that for me it was that the emotions were dangerous, the body sensations were dangerous, talking, breathing, connecting, just simply connecting when it was really bad. But when I started to do the dual awareness thing in session, all of that started to shift. It can sound really cold to take out all of the human stuff and reduce it down to what is going on neurologically, but when brains are put in traumatic situations over and over, particularly starting when they are young, it the right sort of convincing to get them to stop responding as if the trauma is happening in the present.

    It hadn’t occurred to me before, but I’m sure that it isn’t a coincidence that the frequency and intensity of the flashbacks drastically reduced, starting around the time I started to be able to get the dual awareness thing to work.

    I hope that I haven’t gone on too much. I’m sorry that some of what I said probably is pretty uncomfortable for you. I’m sorry that your little girl has good reason to be suspicious of change and to fear being silenced or abandoned in some way. (The best thing that I can suggest for that is to talk about it with Bea as much as you need to and maybe even to just acknowledge it whenever it comes up. There is a lot of power in having your fears heard and respected.)

    Many, many, many good thoughts of comfort, courage, and a sense of connection with caring others from someone who has been there all too often herself.

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  4. I totally understand how terrifying it feels to move into awareness of the body and sit with everything that arises. I wanted to let you know I’ve been thinking of you, and am sending support.

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  5. I’m sorry things are so difficult right now Alice, especially with Bea. I can’t imagine how disorienting that must feel to have the game changed on you without any warning. I hope Bea can shift to the less shrinky mode that you feel safe with.

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