Holy Shit, That Was Intense

(Little disclaimer, I currently have quite the potty mouth)

I saw A today. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I am currently exhausted and feeling completely broken. But I also feel heard and validated and cared for.

I had followed strongs advice and made a bullet point list of everything that has happened since last Friday – and fuck, there was a ton of stuff. 

I wanted A to read it, and she said it felt different, and important, for me to read it. Of course I was having none of that (the first part was literally “something you said last week upset me”) and told her “fine, if you really want that, we don’t have to talk at all.”

She paused. And then said “remember why you show up here.” Which just made me defiant. 

She asked me some questions about a variety of things and I didn’t answer her. She paused again, and said “what are you feeling.”

“I don’t know”

“You sure?”

Defiant.”

“Well I knew that, but it’s good you can name it. Why don’t you want to share with me?”

“It doesn’t feel safe. Nothing feels safe.”

Eventually, I can’t remember how, but it was skillful and very A, she drew me out and I said “fuck, fine, I’ll read it.

I did. And she was like “that, that is a lot. PD, that is a lot for anybody.” Another pause. “Do you want to tell me what I said that upset you?”

It’s silly. I know you didn’t mean it.

Tell me anyways, it’s ok if it’s silly. I want to know. It’s how I grow. I want to avoid upsetting you next time if I can”

So I told her that she was like “oh good” when we were scheduling and I was reducing my hours – she honestly looked so shocked – I knew then she didn’t mean it but she was like “oh no PD you thought I was happy and excited and couldn’t wait to push you out?! Oh no, oh no no no. How often we see each other and for how long is up to you, within boundaries that we both know and understand. I do not want out of this. I want to be on this path with you. I’m so sorry that my words had that impact.

I wasn’t looking at her. 

PD“, she said. “PD” – a little strong now. I looked, “I care about you, and I want to be here. How hard that you felt so disconnected from me and then your family stuff started. You know I want to be here yes?”

I nodded. We started to talk about my parents and the message from my brother and OMG it’s so overwhelming to even recount now… but she was like 

“I want to talk about your parents, I do. But I need to address us one more time. Can you answer me out loud? Do you, in any way, feel rejected by me?”

I shook my head and said “no. Not anymore.”

Okay. Because I do want you here. Whenever, within limits, you want to be here.

I’m gonna come right out and say I really really needed to hear that from her. I didn’t realize how much I had bought into the idea that I didn’t matter to her, half a day before I got those messages from my family. 

We talked about the messages. I told her I was proud of myself – and we talked about that for a while. I told her I was proud that even if I can’t separate the emotions or gain clarity that way, that I can intellectually realize that not all the emotions I’m having are present emotions (thanks Rachel). And then I told her what Lu said to me today, that even if I couldn’t see it I was making so much progress and drawing a line and really showing up for myself, and that she was proud of me. And I don’t know if Lu knew the impact that had on me in that moment. I needed to hear that from someone who isn’t in love with me and someone I don’t pay. Someone who I trust to always be honest with me.

And then A said “I see the proud wagon going by, and I need to get on it. Because I’m proud of you. Not only for making it this far but for trying to be in the emotions, and trying out identifying them. And for drawing a line and drawing a boundary and not giving in. And for the fact that you are always so brave in telling me when I’ve said or done something that is upsetting to you.

I said to her “a part of me wants to give in to them because it would be easier. Doing what they want would relieve me of so much pain and be easier.” 

And she said “yes, but a large and growing larger part of you wants to draw a line. And Lu supports that, and I support that, and husband [fun PD note, that autocorrected to Gunther, which gave me quite the laugh, which felt really good] supports that.

We talked about my text messages and how I felt, when I was reading them to her, how mundane and normal they felt. How the only part of my brothers message that hurt me was the cutting me off part – the rest was, well, mild. She looked surprised when I said that that was a nice message.

She said that it spoke to how incredibly painful and manipulative and difficult my childhood must have been – because I was really looking at her as if it was normal. Like those messages weren’t anything out of the ordinary. And she said “they are not normal, and the fact that these are mild to you, and you’re looking to my reaction as to figure out how you should feel, gives me insight into how traumatic your childhood was at times. I love and care for that child who went though that, and I love and care for the woman she has become.” 

We talked about how I wanted to see her again tomorrow, but felt bad cause I had just cancelled that time – but she said not to worry and she made time for me (an hour) at 8am. I don’t really have the money because I sent money to my Mom to get her to shut up, but I will have it, and it will be fine. I am not in dire straits by any stretch of the imagination, just being careful.

Then we started talking about being scared of everything. She asked if I wanted to talk about how I was feeling. I said it’s like an emotional assault on all my senses – auditory memories, nightmares, dreams I don’t know whether or not happened in real life, a leaf blowing by or someone who looks like a member of my family – anything out of the ordinary is startling and upsetting and can spiral me out of control so quickly and I’m so, so, tired… because there is nobody to tell about this that will understand really at work. I’m in charge of millions of dollars of advertising spend and employees and I can’t be jumping every time someone walks by me – even today at work I don’t know what the trigger was but suddenly I was hyperventilating and covered in goosebumps. I also don’t feel safe in my normal safe places – my bed, my bathroom. I can’t turn off the stress response. 

I told her I felt crazy. It felt crazymaking, like I am nuts. She said “it’s a normal trauma response. It is more normal than you think.”

We talked a bit and I was suddenly just crying and felt myself slipping and then she was like “PD, PD you’re leaving, you’re going somewhere else. Can you stay here with me? You’re safe, we are two grown women, here in my office. Can you hear me?” I nodded, “Good, that’s good, can you look at me? Can you see me?” I didn’t answer, I was caught up in a memory that was eating me from the inside out. “Hey, PD, I’m going to move closer to you now, okay?” I nodded again and she came closer. “Can you look at me? It’s really important that you are here with me right now, and breathing. It’s okay, you’re safe, I know you’re safe right now even though you don’t feel safe.” I looked over and nodded and then we breathed some. I think that’s the closest I’ve come to completely checking out on her. 

We grounded and talked about emotions and talked about how it is okay and how I’m safe with her and how our relationship is fine – she was reassuring and validating and helpful. 

Then she looked at me, dead center, and said “PD, are you safe? You are going through a lot right now, and I need to make sure that you feel like you can stay safe.

“I am not okay but I am also not going to do anything I shouldn’t. I think the greatest thing I can do for myself is get healthy – so when or if my family wants me back in their lives I have something to show for all the work I’ve done. And I can’t do that if I’m self-harming, or drunk all the time.”

She gave me one of her ‘I-am-in-awe-that-came-out-of-your-mouth’ looks. 

If that changes, you have the crisis plan to follow, yes? And you know I’m ok with seeing you more if you need it.

I said yes. It’s true, I do know she is ok with that. I also know she checked on purpose because of what I brought up and I like that about A – I like that she owns it. It’s helpful for me to see that modelled. 

I am mother fucking exhausted. And my biggest issue right now is thinking that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. That I’m totally way off base for feeling any of this. That it’s laughable I think this is worth anybody’s time or energy… and that’s the hardest part. 

I was pretty sure I was handling things well. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were hard. Monday and Tuesday were easier and I thought it was because I was moving through the emotions. And I was, at least at a level I could handle. But when I was with A, after she made it past my defiance, I was open and felt everything. And it was overwhelming and I am exhausted. Fucking exhausted. 

I’ll just keep going. That’s all I can do. But I’m really grateful for A, and Lu, and my husband, and all of you. 

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26 thoughts on “Holy Shit, That Was Intense

  1. This… this sounds VERY similar to what happened in my hypnosis session. Wow. Unfortunately T did not react well, and that is why I ended up in the hospital. I am SO glad that A was there for you through it. This work is exhausting, but in the end I have to believe it will be so healing.
    PD, you are amazing. I don’t really have anything insightful to say right now, but just wanted you to know that. Lots of love to you. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for calling me amazing – I don’t feel that way right now so it’s nice to hear it externally. Did you read my post after this, “We Have Time”? It is an even more extreme version of this session, and afterwards I actually thought of you. I’m so glad A can hold it for me, can hold that space while I am not able to get through it.

      I think you’re amazing, Lily ❤️

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      • OH WAIT I’m sorry PD that’s the post I thought I was commenting on!! See what happens is I read all your posts as they were published and just went back and commented now, so I must have gotten the two mixed up. Yes, the “We Have Time” one is the one that I felt was exactly like what I went through. It was an incredibly physical, visceral, and terrifying experience. It also left me with no doubt that the trauma I have experienced, is real. Thanks PD. I don’t feel amazing either, but I’m glad to hear that encouragement for you. I know it’s genuine, and I hope you know that my encouragement to you is genuine as well! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh it’s so nice to have someone who can understand – I did think of you right away… when I had my head back on and isn’t it incredible (at least for me) that watching it like that and seeing everything so freaking clearly… it made it undeniable. It made it undeniable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It feels validating for me, too, that this happened to someone else (that I’m not just crazy). The scenes happened so quickly, too, and they were relentless. And then my whole body just started shaking and my muscles were twitching uncontrollably. At the time I didn’t see it, but now I see that it was a trauma response, just as yours is. And it was so painful.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes it was partial. Stairs, school, my brothers first suicide attempt (some of the others), the time I tried to ask for help, all of them – and a particular one that affects me the most. Things I had thought of yesterday, things I hadn’t thought of in fifteen years. All true, all real, all compounded. I was also shaking.

        I don’t know if I’ve ever been in more pain in my life than I was in that moment.

        And A calling my name or grabbing my hand compounded that pain somehow, as if looking away from it made it more dangerous, like it could jump out and get me at any time. If I wasn’t hyper vigilant I wasn’t going to survive it – and she asked me why I had trouble grounding and I couldn’t articulate it but now I can.

        I associate calm and slow – breathing normally and not being hyper aware – with taking a break from being vigilant – and, when I wasn’t paying attention was when the worst things happened.

        I don’t think I can thank you enough for being united in this experience with me

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry I sort of dropped out of this comment thread, PD. Yes, it’s intense, and it’s indescribable. And you are absolutely right, that when you’re not watching out, is when the shit hits the fan – it’s hard to train yourself now, to learn that calm can be safe. I don’t think I can thank you enough for being united in this experience with me, too – it really does mean a lot. I’ve read your recent posts and am so glad you are doing better – so happy for you. Will be glad to hear more about it, whenever you are ready. ❤ xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. PD- wow!!! I was exhausted reading all you went through and processed in that hour!!! You are amazing and strong and so worth all of this!!! I am so glad that you were first reassured and validated by A… I could feel how much you needed that and truthfully have been in that place before and know that pain. Your story, your growth, your journey helps me!!! I am so new on this path, but you and others here help me to understand my fears and insecurities are ok and even normal in the face of the overwhelming trauma I had in my life. So thank you and take good care of you. And one more thing…I am so happy you have another appointment with A tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you ngerbie! And especially thank you for saying it helps you – it makes the pain easier to deal with when I know that my journey is helping others.

      Your fears and insecurities are more than okay. I am happy I asked for the second one too.

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  3. What you are describing is a normal trauma response; you are reacting in a normal way to a very abnormal situation. You aren’t crazy. I know it feels that way, that all the hyper awareness is crazy making. And you aren’t making a mountain out of a molehill. I’m glad you brought all of it to A, and that you were able to stay present and talk about this hard stuff. You have a lot to be proud about! 💟

    Liked by 1 person

    • It DOES feel crazy making – being so constantly vigilant. I am so tired – I dread session because it’s so intense right now but I also need it because it’s the only place I can let my guard down.

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  4. PD never feel like you are making a mountain out of a molehill. Your feeling/thoughts/experiences matter and I am so glad and happy that you have A.
    It sounds like a very intense session. You did amazingly, well done, I am super proud of you too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You *are* making enormous progress. None of what is happening is small stuff. And the things you are getting from A – feeling like you are truly heard, and learning how to negotiate to get what you want from a relationship (such as being able to say when something she has done has not sat right with you, and then working through that with her) are things that I know from my own therapy relationship are really really important but also very new and strange and exhausting. And far from being a burden by posting about any of this – I want to hear your story and how it turns out 😉 You are also modelling new stuff for all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for validating that I am making progress, dangerous. It is really big stuff, isn’t it. And thank you for telling me I’m not a burden but instead that you want to hear my story – that, was a very lovely thing to read today xx

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  6. That was intense and I’m sure you are exhausted. It sounds like a lot was discussed. I’m glad that she said what she did regarding the thing she’d said that upset you. She wants to be there and she will be. I’m also glad that you want to make it through all this and become healthy. You’ll get there, you continue working there each day.

    Liked by 2 people

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