Anybody else find grounding work painful? You’re somewhere else mentally and the edges are fuzzy and then you hear that time is almost up.

Early on in my sessions with A I would actively resist her attempts to ground me. I think it was because I was worried the connection would never return – even though it is so so painful to be open and raw with her it is – for some part of me – necessary… and grounding felt like losing that.

So a long time ago, I promised her that I would actively attempt to do what she asked. Today she asked me to look at her, then to breathe. To relax my shoulders, to put my feet on the ground. It took me at least 5 minutes to do most of that. I usually at one point shake my head no, and she always goes “why not? It’s safe, PD.”

I will shout out “I’m not purposely avoiding you!” in some sort of attempt to let her know I’m trying. But unfolding from the safe ball under a blanket that I have curled myself into is so. damn. painful. 

“I am not actively resisting you!!”

“Shh. I know. It’s okay. Just breathe. Take deep breaths”

I’m not super certain about the session itself. I brought a blanket from home for the first time. I was wrapped in it, like a fluffy pink hug. I read the letter. Then I was silent and then I looked out the window – which is, 9/10 times, a sign I’m disassociating. 

She asked me to stay with her. To stay with it. To tell her where I was and stay with the feeling and I really did try. I couldn’t though, for long.

I wanted to cry so badly. I wanted to let it all out. But when that happens there is this critical voice that emerges in my head – it is trying to protect me – but it bullies me into silence. 

I didn’t end up crying hysterically as I felt I wanted. I did cry, a lot. And at one point A asked me where I was, another what I was seeing. And I couldn’t answer her.

Eventually I said “I can hear you. I am not trying to ignore you. I just can’t find the words”

She softly mmed and said the right things.

She said a lot of things but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t there for most of it. Or at least, it didn’t all register.

I tried to see if a trusted friend was available so I didn’t have to go home by myself right away. The act of getting on the train is extremely triggering for me for a reason I haven’t shared yet… and I didn’t quite feel safe.

So I played Pokemon at a tri lure near A’s office and just being outside and breathing helped. Now I am on my way home but not looking forward to being alone. I also had a very nice conversation with a very kind pharmacist about some Midol. He was so kind. I don’t think he realized how important that was. 

I think I will cocoon myself in blankets and stuffies and pillows and try to make healthy food and be kind to myself. Maybe I’ll have a bubble bath. Or watch a comedy. Because that was hard. I feel young and raw. 

I know A didn’t want to interrupt the emotions that the letter brought up. So she didn’t say anything about it. Afterwards I asked her what she thought, once I had grounded. She said “I have been in horrible back pain all day, and your letter was so beautiful it made me forget all about it. It was a very lovely letter.”

I thought that was nice. Self care is paramount for me tonight. 


22 thoughts on “Raw

  1. I’m not super familiar with grounding work in therapy – I feel like I would hate it, but it might also be helpful. Maybe it is something I should bring up with T? If you’re willing, could you explain a little bit more?
    That said, it sounds like a really painful session, but it also sounds like A is working very well with you. I am so glad you have her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yea of course.

      We work a lot on bringing me to the present – especially when I’m feeling like I’m in the past. A’s explanation is that it helps heal the neural pathways by creating safety.

      Above all it helps me leave as a capable 28 year old, no matter who I was in session. We usually do a lot of focus on the body sensations and she will always ask me to put my feet on the ground. Sometimes if I am really activated she will have me name things in the room or tell her what I see/smell/feel/taste as a way of bringing me back to the present.

      Things have been messy lately but I trust her and I do believe we work well together. If only my ‘vacation’ wasn’t coming up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s really interesting. I often do leave my session in a different “timeframe,” so it sounds like something that might be helpful.
        I’m glad that even though things are messy, you still have confidence in her, your relationship, and your self. That speaks a lot to the wonderful work you are doing. 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I find grounding difficult because 1) I am often furious it is time to leave, and refuse to do it when she prompts me 2) feeling the pain of having to leave/abandonment sucks 3) I don’t want to admit to myself I am a person who needs to identify 5 colors and 5 sounds in order to walk out of an office 4) I don’t want to feel vulnerable with her present (being watched, as others have mentioned) 5) self-care is still hard sometimes, the pull to stay in suffering is strong

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh do I ever know the fear of trying to be grounded. I have blog posts about it, and can try to find them of you want links, but I get it. Bea did this sensorimotor training last year which just made everything awful for a long time. I hated it. I did not want to breathe and feel my breath. I did not want to look around the room and name things I saw. I did not want to notice that I had my hands clenched. I did not want anymore part of it. The idea of being present felt so unsafe to me, I would shut down and go really, really far away. In fact, this trying to be truly present sent me into this sort of depersonalized state where nothing felt okay for almost a full month. Bea said that it makes sense to her that being present was never safe before, so trying to be present now is going to send signals to my brain and body that it is not safe. We worked on it by coloring. Yeah. I colored with my therapist twice a week for 90 minutes for weeks and simply tried to be truly present. And it was hard. It was a struggle. It still is a struggle. I don’t find being present enjoyable. But I’m working on it.

    I think that middle space is what I call the “here but not here” space. I’m there enough to fake being present, but not there enough for the memories to not be blurry or have that hazy dreamy quality to them.

    Bea says that dissociating is a skill, and it helped me survive, and that the goal of grounding is to give me a choice, it’s not to say I shouldn’t ever dissociate, just that I should learn to control it more, so I can choose. Does that make sense? Maybe you could think of it like that? As a choice you are making learn to ground so you have more control over what is going on? I don’t know.

    I’m sorry this got long and sort of scattered. I hope you had a good night, and that you were gentle with yourself. I’m glad you know when self care needs to be a priority. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh man it makes so much sense – Alice this comment of yours has helped me immensely, you have no idea.

      Oh my goodness do not apologize for the length or perceived scatteredness I desperately needed to read this! A says the goal is to “heal the neural pathways” so that I can eventually return to the memories without “going away” but that it’s okay if I need to go away. And it’s ok to disassociate.

      Anyways Alice, thank you xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A sounds lovely! Its just so hard to trust isnt it?
    Grounding is hard for me because sometimes it’s​ just preferabl​​​​e to be in a dissociative state rather than trying to deal with the cold reality of life.
    Look after yourself.

    Forever xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is easier sometimes. I try so hard to not disassociate that I end up in this weird middle space sometimes. But I have access to feelings that need escaping. And I think losing that access is desperately sad to the child in me that needs to be heard


  5. I love reading about your sessions with A. She seems like she’s just so lovely with you in those raw difficult moments. And grounding is so hard it’s still impossible for me, so you’re not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have always wondered why it’s so difficult. I asked A today in the middle of it and she was like “I need you to breathe right now, we can talk about this later”

      She is so lovely. I think I trust her. And that scares me. I also love her in the very intimate close connection type of way. And that means I can do this work.


      • I’m sure it’s different for you, but for me it’s scary because being watched is really uncomfortable, I feel frightened and resistant to following instructions about physical things she wants me to do (even though it’s just putting my feet on the floor) and I think because if I’m more grounded I will probably still be feeling awful but maybe not able to self harm if I’m less dissociated so can’t resort to my usual coping mechanism. Being present doesn’t feel safe – that’s the whole reason for dissociation.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Being watched IS super uncomfortable, isn’t it. That makes so much sense Rea, what you said.

        I told A yesterday that I don’t believe I’m capable of keeping myself safe and she thinks that part of all of this is I don’t trust myself – and she’s right.

        Lots to think about.


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