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!


Why is therapy a slow process?

K. and I are reviewing treatment goals. 

“Of course,” She says, “There’s the ongoing goals of monitoring triggers, safety, improving internal communication…” She pauses while thinking.  “And we haven’t even gotten to grieving loss yet.”

I was trying to listen, but I lost the tail-end of her sentence.  “We haven’t gotten to what yet?”

“Grieving loss.  Loss of control of the body, loss of self-identity, loss of safety…”

I started to get floaty and check out.

K. nodded, “Aaaand, now I’m triggering you.  I think we’ll stop there.”

I can’t even talk about treatment goals without dissociating. :/

Recorder Parts

I’ve long suspected I have parts whose job it is to report back to our abusers, but I’ve never had internal communication with them. Clara hinted that she couldn’t talk to our therapist, K., as freely anymore now that she knows there are others listening.

I didn’t write about this, but our session last week was abruptly halted when another part came forward to stop Clara from sharing with K. This part was not cooperative with K. and would not say much else.

K. asked for more clarification, like what does Clara mean others are listening, who, etc. Clara took K.’s clipboard and a blank sheet of paper and started “pretend writing” like someone is recording notes. “Like this, when people write for a long time and write down everything that happens.”

“That’s why I have to be careful because I know things even they don’t know.” Clara said proudly.

“Oh, you know things they don’t? So that’s why you don’t want to say them out loud because you don’t want them to write it down?” K. repeats.

“Yes.” Clara nods. “But I think…” Clara believes the recording parts can see too, and she really wants to tell K. something but keep it a secret from those other parts. She starts to draw on the paper on the clipboard. It’s a drawing of what looks like a girl sitting alone somewhere indoors. She is frowning/sad and looks up at a Pac-Man ghost floating above her in the center of the drawing. Clara gives the drawing to K.

It is clear K. wants to ask questions but is unsure how to do so given Clara’s concerns. It was nearing the end of the session anyway, so she thanked Clara and promised nobody else would see the drawing. That she would keep it safe.

Fast forward today, I’m surprised I can even remember this happening. I have zero emotion attached to Clara’s session with K. I’m not really sure what Pac-Man means or why parts would be writing things down except to maybe scare us.

They always used to threaten that the government gave them supplies to monitor us at all times like tape recorders. I guess it would make sense that I have parts that literally record things.

Maybe that’s why I am struggling so much building internal communication. Everyone is too scared to talk and have their conversations written down.


Blaaaaargh.  I’m sick.

I’m having weird symptoms like nausea and dizziness, but that’s it.  No fever, no chills, no sinus issues, no pain.  At first I thought I must have eaten something bad, and the dizziness is a result of dehydration.

I called out of work today.  I had an appointment scheduled with our therapist, K. for this evening.  I thought “Eh, it’s just a stomach bug, I’ll be able to go to my appointment tonight.”  Then, I got hit with another wave of nausea.  I called K. and cancelled the appointment.

This is my first cancelled appointment since she returned to practicing.  Now, I’m starting to put some pieces of the puzzle together here…

K. and I have been attempting to work with Clara.  Clara is a part who is newer to our awareness.  Clara does not know me (Nel) or Mina (our other co-fronting part).  K., Mina, and I have been working to try to earn Clara’s trust and help her recognize we are safe in the present.  Understandably, Clara’s stuck in trauma time.

Now I’m wondering if Clara (or another part) is making us sick.  It could be that by trying to listen to Clara and ask her questions, Clara or another part feels like it is an interrogation.  Making us physically ill to the point where we can’t see K. sounds like a programming thing for sure.

Or I could have just eaten bad hot dogs yesterday. WHO KNOWS!

“Allonsy!” -The Doctor

Let’s go! 

Discovering Serenity is revamped and fully live.  It’s much simpler (for the time being), and I’m quite proud of its evolution.

My first set of posts, I am going to go over some of those fancy skills I’ve been talking about (which I learned at Sheppard Pratt).  But first…an update!

I’m finally back into the swing-of-things with therapy.  The adjustment back to working with K. (our therapist), has been long and difficult.  Trust has waxed and waned.  I’ve been highly self-critical when I find myself unable to open up/trust her.

“Nel,” K. said at our last session, “Go a little easier on yourself.  Returning to therapy has been hard, and rightfully so.”

I cringe a bit, not even wanting her to allude to the fact that her abrupt leaving was detrimental.  K. has always been so supportive and unconditionally believing in me, I hate to think anything negative about her.  Then she says…

“After all, it’s been a whole year.  We’re starting over.”

Starting over.  I hadn’t thought of it that way.  But–thinking this as starting over gave the whole scenario another voice.  It silenced the inner-critic and allowed me to internalize the turn of the page to a new chapter.

Thus, how fitting it is that life has pulled me to this decision to revamp my blog.

Starting over, starting anew, one door closes and you open a window, however you want to look at it…let’s go!