Stored Up & Disassociation

I saw A today. She asked about the wedding and congratulated me and said hey “Mrs. new last name” and all of those things felt empty and hollow and wrong because I’m not feeling so great about any of those things and I told her I felt guilty. 

I read her the microcosm post and that way at least I knew she knew everything and that it was all on the table – from the shame comments to the drinking so much I made myself sick on my wedding night. Because avoidance was the name of the game. I was trying to remind myself she is a safe trusted person and I couldn’t get there. I told her I’ve been in my high functioning disassociative state, with the exception of the fight Tuesday, since Saturday night, the evening of my wedding. 

I did manage to tell her about what my Dad said and that it didn’t hit me until later, and I drank it away and haven’t felt since then… she was like “so this is a new trigger, we haven’t talked about this before.” 

I told her she looked concerned and she said “PD I am concerned. You are in a different place, even here. And you are so upset. You got it from all sides last weekend and you haven’t let it out. Instead you’re in this half here state. I am concerned” 

She invited me to put my feet on the ground. “PD, I need you to join me here. I need you to arrive here with me. I am going to invite you to look at me, and put your feet on the floor – for a little while, not long.” The last part came out as I made that I-hate-grounding face. 

I did, and instantly felt more present so I averted my eyes. She was leaning forward, “PD, who am I. You know me. This is a safe place and a safe room and you’re okay here. I welcome all parts of you here. It seems like that critical voice is driving the bus and that’s okay, but it doesn’t need to be here. Can you look at me and breathe with me?” 

She’s never had me do grounding mid session before. I honestly didn’t realize how disassociated I was – that I was operating in this high functioning state of not being myself and not feeling – until she had me ground. She saw me slowly come back into myself.

“There you go. There, yes, that’s good. Okay PD, nope, look at me. PD, stay here. It’s okay. Tell me what you see in my eyes” 

I hate that question – I raced through mumbling the answers. 

“slower.”

Care. Compassion. Respect. You look at me like I’m worth something. And concern, that’s not always there, but concern.”

And we talked about being cared for – about that being uncomfortable but also feeling safe. I unfurled my arms and dropped the pillow I was holding and looked at her and said “okay.”

“Okay. Hi. Welcome” 

This was 45 minutes in. At least. 

“Can I put my feet up.”

“Sure. Tell me how your body feels. Tell me what you’re feeling.”

And I tried. I was trying. She knew that. She knew I wasn’t actively avoiding her. 

“I am feeling… young and vulnerable. Angry. Grief. My body is really tense like I’m ready to run. I’m shaking.” 

“Yea there is a lot in there.”

“I don’t feel safe with myself.”

“Can you elaborate?”

“I mean, I will make it through to November but right now I don’t think I will get there in one piece. I will drink or use sleeping pills or my spare stash of Ativan to get through to next month. And that makes me sad. Because I haven’t hated myself or not trusted myself in a long time. And I’m not someone who attacks outwards, but inwards, when I feel vulnerable. I haven’t not trusted myself or felt this disconnected in a long time and I worry I’ll miss what happens there and come back in even more pieces. And it hurts”

“Where does it hurt.” 

I pointed to the same damn spot I always do. 

Can you hold it? Can you try to touch it.”

I shook my head no and brought the pillow up between me and her. 

“PD, what would happen if you did?”

“I would cry. It would all come out.”

“We are almost out of time but I want to make an observation if I can. *she paused, I nodded* I think that there is a lot of stored emotion in there. And I think that you believe that feeling that is bad and wrong and unhelpful and harmful, and the critical voice backs that up. But I think this disassociation, this is what hurts you. And that’s a tough thing to reverse. To believe that being in touch with your emotions is good and healthy and provides release – because it wasn’t before. But you’re denying these and it hurts you in the end. And that’s what we work on bit by bit here because it feels like emotions are painful but it’s where we need to go.”

I closed my eyes briefly “where did you go just then, PD”

“I agree with you, but it’s terrifying. I don’t feel like I can go back to MO right now. I don’t feel safe. And I feel the need to verbally reassure you that I would make it back here and without self harming – with the exception of substance abuse – and I say that out loud both as a promise to you and because I can tell you’re concerned with this version of me that arrived here today, this separated me. But I wouldn’t come back in one piece. I would come back fragmented. This is the first time I feel like I can’t safely be there.”

“We don’t have time to explore it now but whether it is with me or on your own, you need to let that emotion out. And 6 days is a long time, if you want to see me I can see you tomorrow morning, and try to help with that. But regardless you need to be really nice to yourself right now. Because I too believe you can’t go back to MO in the state you’re in, it wouldn’t be safe.”

“I would come back more damaged than I’ve felt in a long time. But I don’t know – okay, I know how to feel them – but I don’t want to feel them… I feel stuck. It’s so much easier. But I know I can survive it now… so let’s mine out these feelings I guess.”

I was quiet for a bit. 

It’s when you offer me 2 appointments in less than 24 hours that I know you’re worried. You can’t hide that, A”

“Well, I’m not going to hide that.”

“I would like to come in tomorrow and thank you, it makes me feel cared for”

“I am glad. I am glad you feel cared for. I will see you tomorrow morning. I think that’s a good choice.”

I managed to show her a few photos after despite the body shame and that was actually helpful. She sat on the arm of the couch and looked with me for a few minutes. 

I can feel again. I didn’t even realize I wasn’t feeling. It’s not a lot and it’s mostly this wavy tenseness, but my body feels real to me. And I’m hungry for the first time since Saturday.

I picture letting these emotions out like some sort of excavation – And tomorrow I’m going to let A try to help me get them out. Because I’m right, I can’t not go back to MO next week, and I certainly can’t go in the state I’m in. 

So I’m going to try not to drink tonight and try to sleep because I’m done. I’m just done. And I’m scared, I’m scared of what tomorrow will bring. And my critical voice is so angry we are going back for 8am. 



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8 thoughts on “Stored Up & Disassociation

  1. Beautiful you….so strong!

    I am not where you are yet, so I know I can learn from you! I cannot tolerate this kind of close, sort of naked honesty with a T or even an intimate partner. I think I’ve gotten so good at high-functioning dissociation that I’ve begun to believe my own b.s., haha! Someone is going to find me out soon!

    Hugs to you, brave lady! You inspire.

    Sweet dreams!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This used to happen to me too some time ago with my previous therapist; about feeling your body, emotions, being present. That grounding exercise was like a flashback.

    Anyways, like others have said, it’s a good choice to go see A again tomorrow morning. Shows courage and determination on your part. Kudos to you and hope it goes well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You can do this!! I think you made the right choice to take the second appointment. Sometimes therapy helps me see things in a totally new way, which can be oddly healing. I hope it can be for you. Keep us posted – I’ll be thinking of you!

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  4. I think you made a good choice in going back to see A tomorrow. I really hope you’re able to let out the emotions, either tomorrow with her or on your own, I just really hope you get that release.

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      • Your welcome. It’s definitely important, especially because you’re going back to MO. I applaud your awareness of that. I can understand that fear, I have it too, I can’t face my own stuff right now either. I’m really glad though that A is there for you. I’m here for you too ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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