Took a Risk

I took a risk tonight, and I shared something really personal with someone I trust.  To be fair, it was amidst a conversation where we were talking about other things that were emotionally charged for him.  So, I don’t think he really heard me.

On one hand, one of my parts is okay that he didn’t hear me, because she understands he was not in a good headspace to receive the information.  We know how that feels like–it happens to us every single Monday in therapy with K.  She gives us feedback on something and I’m like, “What the heck are you talking about?” I get overwhelmed with traumatic material and lose content of the conversation.

On the other hand, one of my parts is devastated emotionally.  We’ve come a long way to be in a space in life where we are choosing healthy, safe relationships and investing in them out of love, to care and grow, and be committed to this relationship for a lifetime.  To tell someone of that significance the personal trauma trigger and share why–I mean, it was the wrong time, sure.  It just happened, in the natural flow of the conversation.  So, for this person to be in their own overwhelmed state and unable to hear what this child part shared was just…devastating.

Now she feels unhappy, to say the least.  She’s struggling with low self-esteem and self-hatred, feelings of guilt, anxiety, and its overwhelming our brain power to cope.  I can’t even grasp on to a symptom management skill long enough to employ it.

Uuuuughh….struggling really hard to vent the feelings in a safe way, that’s why we’re writing them out.  I could use as many positive thoughts as you can throw my way right now.

-Nel/Mina/Clara

Containment, for the win!

I had therapy yesterday with our therapist, K.  We spent the session reviewing some therapy homework.  At the end of the session, I told her there was something I needed to say.

K. waited, quietly.  Sometimes she takes the approach of saying nothing, to allow my to get internal communication or put my words together.

I continued, “It’s to do with being in the shower.  Nearly every time I’m in the shower, I hear things people said to me.  I never have a picture memory, it’s just these things that were said.”

K. waited.  I didn’t say anything.  “Do you need to say them outloud?”

“I don’t want to say them outloud.  I don’t want to hear it, even though I hear it in my head all the time.” My eyesight diverted to the floor as the shame came on.

“Could you write them down?” K. asked.

I thought for a moment. “Yeah, maybe.  I mean, it might work.”  I reach over for my journal.

K. stopped me.  “Would you rather write them on a sticky?  Instead of having them in your notebook, where it might be difficult to tear it out, if someone doesn’t want the words in there?”

I feel a big YES! from inside.  I nod.

K. hands me a stack of blue sticky notes.

I’m including the following words I wrote for support.  However, there is no expectation you read them.  Often, I click on trigger warnings out of curiosity.  I want you to know that the words below are NOT safe. I do NOT expect you to read them.  In fact, they are not necessary to “get” the rest of this post.

Trigger Warning:  Graphic words behind this break!
      • “You like that, don’t you?”
      • “She likes that.”
      • “I’m going to make you —.
      • “You’re going to —, NOW.”

 
I handed the sticky to her.  “I want to leave these here.”  I don’t remember if she read them or not.  But as I told her I wanted to leave them, we simultaneously spoke internally.  Parts understood that the memory/words would be left behind in her office.  Everything tough that comes along with it would stay there, safe, until next week.

It was a success in Containment! I did some grounding skills and was able to leave/drive safely home.  Today, I have had zero “fallout” from the session, which is a-freakin-mazing.

It’s great to be reminded that I can use these symptom management skills, and–oh yeah–they DO work!

After Group Fun Times

End of group (check in before we end):

Me: “I think I did pretty good tonight. I was grounded. I was able to hear everyone’s feedback and give my own input. If I’m being honest though,” I take in a deep breath because I’m afraid of what is going to happen next, “I became internally aware we must be ending group, and I started having a lot of self-harm urges.”

K. gave us props for being honest. She moved on to the rest of the group members. She checked in on everyone’s safety plans for the night, then she came to me last. “Nel, you’re staying for a second right? And when I say second, I don’t mean it literally.”

Meg sighs. “Sure. But we’re gonna try to get it as close to literal as we can.”

It was an extra 25 minutes. Could have been worse.

It was weird, though. She asked trickery questions to discover just how much passive influence/vying for control was going on. Then, she pulled out some really shocking grounding.

Grounding example: She blows out a candle that has been burning all group. She asks me if I know what’s different about the candle? Looks like a regular off-white candle. Barely any scent. No, I have no idea what’s different.

“It’s not wax.” She points at the melted liquid around the wick. “It’s hand lotion.”

I must have had the biggest WTF look on my face.

I touched it. She was right.