I discharged from my last hospitalization in Washington, D.C. on May 5, 2018. Since that time I have been seeing my current therapist multiple times per week. For several months I would be in her office three times per week, maybe even four times a time or two. Currently, I sit on the couch in her office two times per week trying to express where I am and what I need, or avoiding expressing those things. On Tuesdays I work directly on trauma-focused therapy through CPT (as you know), and on Fridays I am able to work through other parts of my past, present, and future.
I like to think of my Friday sessions as the “in-betweens” right now. For the first two weeks after starting CPT I pulled back on Fridays. I felt overwhelmed and consumed and could not dig deeper than humor, minor life events or activities, and stories. But, the more I backed away, the worse I felt. I tend to get overwhelmed, engage in negative coping skills, and then communicate that I “have a lot going on.” This past Friday, the Friday after CPT session 4, I could not continue to pretend that I was fine. I did in fact have a lot going on. My head was exploding from the nights of waking up soaked in sweat after dreams, living inside my head with thoughts of all of the ways I am failing my family, and feeling guilt and shame for things I believe to be true about myself.
I knew what I needed to do. I needed to talk about THAT THING. You know that thing you have thought about, lived with in agony, and kept silent about for years? That thing needed to be vomited out. The problem with me communicating about THAT THING is that any time I think about the situation related to it, I cannot make sounds or words come out, and sometimes I get lost in that moment. It replays over and over in my head while my heart pounds, a boulder sits on my chest making it impossible to get oxygen, my body loses all sensation, I feel like I am falling, and the room disappears or changes.
There was no plan in my head, but eventually my mouth opened and words started pouring out. I knew what I was saying, and with each pause I had to concentrate on how my feet felt inside my shoes as I moved my toes, what speed I thought the vehicles driving by were going based on the sounds they made, and how each breath filled my lungs and provided oxygen to be transported by my beating heart. I was aware of my words, my surroundings, and my emotions. I was aware of the chance that my therapist could be making judgments. I was aware that I was terrified of those judgments. I was aware of the fear that she would see me the way I see myself. I was aware of the guilt, shame, disgust, hatred, and sadness that I felt. I thought it and felt it all, and it sucked.
Each step, no matter how big or small, is a step. I am trying to trust myself. I am trying to trust the process. I am trying to trust the person with me in this process. Right now, the process feels like too much, but “feelings are not facts.”
“Your outer journey may contain a million steps; your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now.”