Sunday, November 20, 2011

Break in Transmission

So I've been going to see a Psychologist for the past several months. The first few appointments were spent discussing my health and subsequent infertility woes. It was hard work and each session I felt thoroughly drained and more often than not, in tears most of the session. I turned inward and began writing in my journal more and left this space blank. I guess I felt a little awkward because admitting that I wasn't coping and needing to see someone about it made it all a little too real. I have learnt many things since I have been going and the biggest thing I've learnt is it's OK. I'm not nuts or anything close, actually some sessions I do wonder why I'm going at all? But the reality is just having someone to talk to, who at most times is impartial has made it easier to deal with things and I have moved far from my initial visits. No longer are we spending a whole hour discussing my infertility and health woes, & while the pain of that still remains and probably always will in some small way, I have learnt to cope with what is thrown my way and no longer feel a crushing sadness that feels as though it will break my chest in two. Nowadays it's a lingering sadness, but I am looking at other ways in life to go on and accept my little family of three.

However. Now that we have worked through my initial issues (and I know those issues will crop up again eventually, at the moment I am living parallel to it - not quite accepting, but getting on with life so to speak.... far better than where I was a few months back) we have also touched on some aspects of grief that I have successfully managed to bury beneath all the other stuff; I sat at the last appointment & felt like I was about to twiddle my thumbs. Not wanting to waste dollars, I briefly touched on a subject that has been bothering me for many years now and one that I know should have been addressed when it happened. With the stigma attached to therapy and a chance meeting with a psychologist many years ago (that did not give me one iota of confidence in what they can do) I have been putting off dealing with my issues that stem from a bad car accident nearly 14 years ago.

A little background, I was 20 at the time I had a head on collision with a car trailer (which doesn't sound too bad) but at 80klms an hour and the car trailer going even faster, it managed to total the car and both my passengers ended up with broken bones. Personally I was fine, a few bruises and a small bump on my head I was very lucky indeed. However the mental side has been suppressed for years and it's only now that I am actually finally admitting that I might need help. And help I need. I have gotten myself to a stage where I won't let anyone else (except my husband) drive me anywhere. My daughter aged 4.5 has been in ONE car trip with my best friend and that was a 10 min drive only, she has never been with anyone other than my husband and I. I can't see myself EVER letting her get in someone else's car. Which may seem a little over the top to you, but I can't do it. I just can't. Thankfully most people close to me know my past and understand my reasons and they don't push the subject.

After mentioning it to my therapist, she agreed that I most likely have PTSD (considering the number of years I have tried dealing with it alone) it has compounded to the stage that if I see a car pull out in front of another, even if there is plenty of room - I will have some form of panic attack. It feels s though my heart actually stops and aches for ages after. These are fucking scary as. I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy and I am so thankful that after the initial shock, it does tend to go back to normal and I feel better not long after. The only problem is these attacks have been occurring more frequently and apart from drugging myself (with Rescue Remedy) every time I go driving with DH, I need to feel safe once more. Actually it's not even ME not feeling safe. It's a fear for other drivers. It's so hard to explain. Anyhow to cut a long story short, we discussed this and it was suggested that I try EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. I probably should have read up on it before today's appointment, but I didn't and I sat there with a ball of anxiety in my chest cavity and waited for the pain. Thankfully it didn't hurt.

Basically I had to focus on a happy place, and develop a safety word before a series of two fingers rapidly crossed back and forth across my eyes began. Back and forth, following it with my eyes. Remembering the day of the accident and then having to say ONE word to sum up how I felt that day.


Which is odd, I wasn't at fault in any way shape or form - I just felt guilt that I had control but couldn't control the situation & that my passengers were injured when I was not.

We continued doing the 2 finger movement and each time I had to say how I felt. A lot of the time was the same. At one stage, I felt there was light surrounding the accident scene, making it feel less horrific, as though there were a greater force at play (I have my theories on that, but don't want to go into it today) Once we had completed a series of maybe 6 of these focus exercises, we moved onto my feelings of Guilt and where I felt it in my body. Again another several series of movement finishing each with how I was feeling and where I was feeling it. At one stage it felt as though the feeling was stuck between my chest and my head. A tug of war, perhaps between what I feel in my heart and what my head tells me? Perhaps?

This went on for a while until finally I just felt tired. During the set where I felt tired, my eyes watered and I couldn't keep a smile off my face and ended up breaking focus and laughing (trust me when I say I felt like a complete loon at that point) but when I explained that I was really tired, she decided to stop as that was enough for me. For the next 10 mins we chatted about other things. Tomorrow and the next morning, I need to record any dreams I may have as this therapy can unlock the trauma and let the brain deal with it during sleep.

I'm not sure if it worked, while I've never been big on mind control I have always believed in the power of the mind and in the old days I would be able to concentrate and will a headache to leave my body or ease my body into a false sense of relaxation. So I guess in a way I am in awe of the power of the mind. I will say as soon as I walked out of the room today, I developed the hugest headache above my eyes as though the built up tension was released.

I feel drained and while I'm a long way from cured - perhaps I have moved a small step toward recovery and some hope for the future!     

ETA - Three nights later and I haven't had any dreams that I was aware of, so I guess time will tell.

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