Tag Archives: body memories

ramblings about interim therapists and trauma work and body stuff

I’ve been seeing another therapist in Dr C’s practice while she’s been away. It’s been weird, but helpful in maintaining balance, especially with all this physical stuff going on. I didn’t really talk to her about much outside of “safe” things (things going on in the moment, dealing with the physical stuff that doesn’t have a medical explanation yet (or ever?), surface stuff). There were times I wanted to cover other stuff that wove its way into the session, but I couldn’t open my mouth. It felt like my lips were glued together, and even if I did manage to open them, all that would come out were sobs and screams…

That’s not a new phenomenon for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to open my mouth and tried to speak at a time like that. It taps into something I still don’t have an understanding of, and it never feels safe or comfortable enough to just let that part of me do whatever it needs to do for release… maybe I can bring it up with Dr C once she’s back again next week. I wish I could remember what it was that triggered that feeling.

I know before walking into the building, I had wanted to address the body memories that always get triggered (or more intense) when I get my period. We had kinda started taking about bodies, and how comfortable I was in mine (or not comfortable). We had talked a bit about liking or hating any particular part of my body. I said there wasn’t any part I liked. I should have said, there wasn’t any part I liked anymore because at one point, I had liked my eyes and my hands… but both have failed me since. My eyes either hide too much or tell too much; and my hands don’t create to my standards anymore (stupid trembling and fatigue). So no, right now there’s no part of me I like.

She also asked if there was any part I really hated. Of course there are parts I hate more than others, but there wasn’t enough time in the hour to tell her about it and still come out of the session balanced enough to go on with my day… I’m not totally sure I even want to write about it now, though there would be less explanation involved here than with her… I hate my pelvic area, and my stomach, and the insides of my legs. It’s where I feel the most uncomfortable memories, and what triggers the easiest. It’s the fastest way to send me to space…

A had asked if I’d ever done any body work (on paper) with Dr C. I told her I hadn’t, because even though Dr C had offered it, I panicked at the thought of tracing my body. A clarified that she meant doing it smaller scale. No, we never did do that… I’m not sure why the subject changed with A in that session. I think I started panicking and backpedaling into my head, because at some point, she asked how present I was & busted out a ball as a means of grounding (side note: it worked too! Who knew playing catch could actually bring me back? Normally, I can still do that stuff while dissociated. This time, the act of catching and tossing was balancing. Maybe it was the inconsistent way she did it? She would pause, look at the ball, change the speed of her toss… whatever it was, it worked).

Anyway… yeah. There were so many times I could have said more to her, but I didn’t want to get into it knowing that the hour would end too son, and I’d be left dealing with whatever came up for the rest of the week. At least with Dr C, I can reach out during the week if I need to. A did say to call if I needed anything, but I wouldn’t bother her. It takes me a long time to trust that it’s really ok to bug someone outside of the time they are getting paid to interact with me. Even with Dr C, I still hesitate much of the time, and I’ve worked with her on and off for almost 10 years now…

Oh, I remembered what I was originally going to say about the body drawing; it’s another thing where I feel frozen for fear of what I might do or say. There’s still that urge to destroy my body, even if it’s just a drawing. I still want to take a knife and stab the drawing on the parts I hate the most… or, since I no longer carry a knife with me, stab it with the pencil… that would probably freak her out, so… maybe some day I can mention that to Dr C, and we could find a way for me to be ok doing it in some form. The kid really wants to talk about it still. He has no words, just screams and sobs and anger… or silence. He’s usually just silent because the other stuff is not acceptable…

I really wish Dr C was back now. I wish this could be addressed while it’s still here & “relevant.” It’ll be gone again by next week. This is when that concept of easily accessible, more intensive treatment would be helpful; when stuff comes up and would benefit from being addressed in the moment, so it would be nice to be able to walk back into the room and get to work… let’s tackle this shit coz it’s here. Gimme that little body drawing, tack it to a tree, and let me stab the shit out of it. Let me rip it up and scream and cry and cover it in red paint so it bleeds like my body would if I did that to myself. Let me burn the page so it all goes up in smoke. He needs the release. I need the release…

Let me rip the legs off a toy, and bash it and destroy it… but then I’d need to apologize, because the toy did nothing, it’s just a receptacle for the anger. So let me run out into the woods and scream until my voice is hoarse, and my legs are so tired they want to fall off, and my breath burns in my chest (maybe my lungs would actually burn up. That would be an interesting medical & scientific impossibility)…

Sometimes the anger and the hurt is too much. Sometimes I want to disappear to a safe place where I can do something about it without weird looks and panic over my safety, because ultimately, I’ll be safe, this just all needs a release…

Why aren’t there trauma treatment centers in the middle of the woods, with animals and drop-in massage and art and yoga and holistic therapy like they have for substance abuse? And why is nothing local? Why is the only treatment center even remotely like that all the way across the country, and religious?! I want something with no BS about higher powers or gods or spiritual anything. Why does that not exist?! And why aren’t there more art or play therapists around? The kids want time too, but everything’s in an adult world, so they use translators instead…

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Triggered

I want to rip my insides out. The body memories are back… 

Between the new group, added work days, recent attempts at contact from my dad’s sister, and other stressor, I’m feeling really triggered lately. 

I told Dr C. I also voiced that I was afraid she might tell me group was not a good idea, since it was contributing to the triggering. She didn’t say I’d have to leave though, so that’s good. I hope she doesn’t change her mind. Yeah, group is triggering, but it’s also nice to know some other people who can relate. I’ve never sat in a room with other people who understood (and voiced their understanding) my symptoms. They understand what it’s like to dissociate, to jump at triggers, to feel things in their bodies that were over decades ago… there’s a sad relief in knowing I’m not alone. 


If I stop for too long, my head starts chattering away at me; my body picks up with a vengeance… 

I can’t slow my heart rate down with any reliability lately. It’s been in the 100’s for the past week straight. That hasn’t happened since the move (or, I haven’t noticed/kept track). It’s nowhere near the 140’s it used to be, but it’s also an increase from the 90’s it had been of late… I can feel it working. I wouldn’t call it pounding so much as quite noticeable. At least the “flopping fish” feeling isn’t back, and the tightness from last month is gone. 

I should just go take my sleep aid, but that’ll require a bit more conversation with myself. When I told Dr C that I knew it was only L and the cats in the bedroom, and that the dogs were lose in the apartment overnight, yet I still couldn’t bring myself to walk in there easily, she changed the perspective. She pointed out that L and all the animals are in the house with me. No one can come in or do anything without being noticed. Maybe getting to look at it that way will help. 

I still have to take the dogs out one last time before bed. As cute as he is, I’m hoping the little skunk isn’t back tonight. It makes taking them out a longer process (they are easier to handle one on one when there’s prey around, and the skunk is only prey if the little guy gets riled-up. The girls don’t much care about wildlife when they are on their own). 

The “hands” won’t leave me alone… they get quieter if I can be distracted enough, but then they return. 

I was trying to see if my insurance would cover a weighted blanket (something I’ve found to be helpful in feeling safe enough to sleep), but they were dodgy about it. I have to get the appropriate treatment code to bill under or its not even considered. They won’t tell me the treatment code though. I wonder if I asked Dr C about it, would she know? She has a fair amount of experience working with autistic clients and definitely trauma clients. Maybe she’s come across the code before? I wonder if her recommendation would be enough, or if it’d need it to come from an OT or a medical doctor. 

We’re still working on the “hall pass” idea, though I’m no closer at having something to try than I was last night. Maybe she’ll think of something to suggest? 

I feel weird going back every day this week. Originally it was to try to get some emdr in, but since that’s not been something I think I am ready for at this moment, we’ve just been talking… Maybe tomorrow we’ll get to the art… I’m not in crisis, but the pressure to keep talking about the memories is strong. I’ve opened them up recently, and now they are spilling out. I’m relieved I can spill them to Dr C rather than try to contain them till next week. I hope she doesn’t get too sick of me.


Dear Dr C (an unsent text) 

​I’m totally wasted right now, and I feel bad for enjoying the peace it brings… for the first time in weeks, I’m ok with feeling stuff in my body because I’ve disconnected it from the memories… I finally don’t want to destroy myself for a few minutes. Yet, I worry you will be mad because I’m “dissociating” it through etoh… :/ do I even really want to tell you this? (If I actually end up sending this, please don’t respond… you can lecture me tomorrow about the pitfalls of using whiskey to cope. It’s not a regular thing, just tonight)…


It seems to be going better

So, it seems the emdr had helped quite a bit. I’m actually sleeping?! It’s kinda awesome. There’s some “numbing” but Dr C seems to think it’s more of a lessening of the icky stuff as opposed to numb. I guess it just feels like numb because of how strong and prevalent the other stuff was. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. It’s so nice to get uninterrupted sleep, and to not constantly feel the body memories…


About therapy last night (**trigger warning, talk of: abuse, self harm, past suicide attempts)

There was a moment of soul-crushing pain. It felt like my chest may cave inward. I could barely breathe through it… no. Just no. I spent the last hour (?) telling her things… they are impossible fictions. I’m not sure why I need to lie about this stuff, but I just do.
They’re not consistent stories. They’re not complete. Some I’m aware of as scripts (I didn’t actually remember them at the time, I’ve just read what I’ve written in the past enough times to be able to recite them. There’s no emotion. I just know what I should be saying)…

I can’t sleep again tonight.
I think we got home around 10:30. We didn’t come to bed till about 11:30. It’s 2 and I’ve already been awake for 20 minutes. I wish I could sleep. But I’m confused about the session last night. And the body memories are loud right now… right now, I can feel the scripts I was reading earlier. There’s a physical aspect to them. The emotional is just tired and spent (and maybe a bit scared).

I just want to sleep.

Please just let me sleep…

There was another point in session where she suggested an activity that involved tracing my body outline onto a large piece of paper. I nearly sunk into the chair and ran out of the room at the same time. In that moment, the thought of laying down on my back to be traced was utterly terrifying. Body memories flared up throughout every part of me. I could feel being held down. I could feel being touched. I could feel the panic… I wanted to curl into the tightest little ball ever. I wanted to hide. I wanted her to just stop describing the activity because no matter what words were flowing from her lips, I was sure it meant even she would hurt me.

I want to rip the skin off my entire body. I want to stab my legs. I want to open my arms up and let all the blood flow out. Part of what I felt and remembered last night must have been one of the hospitalizations. I felt tubes hooked to my arms, and a fuzzy, sleepy feeling. I didn’t want to wake up again. I really, really, really just wanted to fall asleep and not ever wake up… must have been from that time I OD’d for the first time… it would make sense for the emotions that came up on the way home once I was finally grounding… the emotions and the situation fit nicely into the OD attempt from 2007 (last night, L was out, I was supposed to meet her there after therapy. Therapy had been really unsettling and triggering. I thought about not going to meet L. The urge to self destruct in more ways than one screamed in my head. I thought it would actually work before she would be able to get home… I really just wanted to fall asleep and not wake up again). So instead I called her once I was home (I thought about calling her on the way home, but I was using really loud music to help ground. I needed to keep it loud till I got home). I got directions and managed to ask her to give me clear instructions on what I needed to do and where I needed to go. I got lost trying to get to her anyway – a place not 7 minutes from our house, but I messed up twice and ended up towards the other end of the road (near the hospital). I was still checked out at the time I arrived. I was supposed to help out, but it was getting late, and I was in no space to do anything that might require competence. I sat outside on the porch instead. I stayed there until I could finally feel the chill. I would have stayed there until it was time to go if L hadn’t come to chat and tell me to come inside even if I wasn’t going to volunteer…

I’m so exhausted, but I just can’t sleep. I feel like I need to keep talking about the things we opened up in session. Except when I go to talk or write about it, I freeze. I’m scared. It’s hugely triggering. It’s also something I shouldn’t indulge if it’s a story I’ve made up… yet there’s this really strong internal push to keep talking. I dunno…

I’m scared. I’m scared of continuing to address this, but also scared not to address it. I’m scared either will land me inpatient again. Both feel potentially hugely triggering, but one will trigger self-destruct out of fear of what’s being communicated, and the other will trigger self-destruct out of anger at ignoring things again…

Suddenly, I’m remembering Catherine. She was a case manager(?) At one of the hospitals I was at back in 2009. I only remember working with her one time, but apparently I was assigned to her more than one stay. I want to say maybe she was told more than I remember. I know she felt safe that second time (even though I thought I was meeting her for the first time)… she argued with the psychiatrist about the ect he was trying to force me into that time, and fought to get me into a trauma program out of state.

I wish the body sensations would stop. They don’t let me sleep (well, them and the chaos in my head). They are closing in on intolerable level… it’s nearly 3 am now. I can’t believe I’ve been babbling on for so long… it’s helping though. It’s helping stop the circles of thought. At least getting them down gives me a safe place to store them so maybe I can sleep at some point… Maybe I need to try to see the aprn at Dr C’s office and get something for the sleep… it’s been too many nights of poor sleep, and too many days of not being able to eat much of anything. Maybe I should try herbal tonight? Might be an improvement over the lack of sleep… I dunno. I really just want to be able to sleep.


Body memories suck.

Woke up with body memories again. I’m getting tired of them. I keep reminding myself that they are from the past, but it’s uncomfortable and difficult to sit through the sensations of being touched all the time… at least L is home today. That’s helping me ground simply because I have to be mindful of her presence.

I’m trying to get through the day without bugging Dr C. It’s mothers day, and the weekend, so I’m going to do my best to keep muddling through.

We need to talk more about the sh tomorrow, and the body memories… :/