Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Shay, that is a great question. And it's one I think about often, because talking to a therapist on line and being seen in therapy at the same time can get complicated. That is one of the reasons I mention that you may want to hash something out with Linda instead of me. It may be more beneficial to do it face to face in case you feel strongly about it and your face to face therapy should take priority.
It is kind of you to be considerate of Linda's feelings. But this is about you. If you feel it would make you feel better and help your therapy, it's ok to share. And especially if you feel guilty hiding our talks. But you also have a right to reach out for any resource you feel would benefit you. And you are not obligated to be completely open with Linda about what you do outside of therapy, especially if you feel sharing would create issues. As long as you feel it is not harming you or interfering in your recovery, then it's fine. This is your life and your recovery.
What you and I do is not really therapy. It's more about questions and answers, guidance, and support. And you are right, our talks are not a substitute for face to face therapy. You can tell her what you think of our talks as, which is what you have done so far. It is advice from the internet. I can be a friend or whatever you label me as. I am not your therapist so it's your choice what you consider my role to be.
It is not an easy decision to make. You want to be open and honest and I understand that. It's a hard balance and Linda's feelings are creating a conflict for you. You may benefit from telling her, but you fear the consequences. In an ideal situation, she would be ok with our talks. So it is hard to decide how to proceed. You could give it more time as well. See how the EMDR goes then decide. You and I can talk it out some more as well and see if we can reach a decision for you.
The initial visit in therapy is usually an assessment to get an idea of what your presenting problem is and what your needs are. This is where you explain most of what you are in therapy for. The therapist usually asks a lot of questions about your past, your symptoms and what your goals are in therapy. I'm not sure if Linda did that with you, but it is how most therapists start. It is helpful at this stage to be as honest as you can.
It is very typical to tell your counselor things about your situation gradually. Being as open as you can about your presenting issue is important, because that is what you want help with. In your case, you might have explained the attack, how you felt about it, and your symptoms. Your focus may have been the nightmares initially. Whether or not you shared the more traumatizing parts of your attack was up to you. It helps Linda to know because it shows her how badly you were hurt and that you could have very strong emotions because of it, but you could still get help even if you didn't tell her. It just would not be as effective because the more traumatizing parts of your attack might be causing you more pain than you realize and that would not be resolved.
As for the rest of your life, you do not have to share anything that is not related to your presenting problem. So if your cousin committed suicide and you went through a time of mourning over it, you can choose whether or not this has an impact on your recovery and if sharing it might help you.
It may be hard to know what is important to reveal in therapy. One way to tell is if you keep thinking about something after you get into therapy. For example, if you had not thought of your cousin in years and you start therapy and suddenly she won't leave your thoughts, it might be something to bring up. Also, if your therapist asks you about something in your life, like has there ever been suicides in your family, you have the choice to tell her. Or you could ask how significant is that to deal with in therapy. It's really up to you.
It depends on the reason why, how you felt about it and how often it occurs. One of the things to consider is if it's a new behavior. Although no symptoms are bad in and of themselves, they can indicate how much distress you are in.
I think you were bathing so much because you are closer to your emotions than you have been since you were attacked. The more you get in touch with what you feel, the more present the attack seems to be. The flashbacks, defenses and now the bathing are all signs you are dealing with your feelings from what happened.
There is nothing wrong with what you are doing. All the bathing is is just a symptom of what you are feeling. It is actually a good sign. It shows you are making more progress.
I agree with you that most people have small compulsions. They are not an issue unless they begin to interfere in your life. But the bathing is not really a compulsion. It is connected to the feelings from the attack. It would help you to identify the feelings connected with the bathing. Also, you mentioned a trigger, the show you were watching. It made you cringe and you thought it was connected with what you were thinking this past week. I agree. But I also wonder how it connects with what you were feeling this past week? What feeling did you get when you watched the program and saw the woman getting sodomized? Was it anger, sadness, fear?
It's good that you feel gross and anger about what the guys did. What you feel is very normal and that is also a positive sign. I think you have some deeper feelings about this, but those will come. For now, what you are feeling is fine. If you can, stay with these feelings this week. Take time to explore them and see what happens. You may feel the same all week or you may discover another layer of feelings underneath. Be sure not to push it, though. Just see what happens.
Good night, Shay. I hope you had fun today! Sleep well,
I thought that the show you saw might have acted out the attack the woman went through before she was killed. I've seen some shows do that and it can be disturbing.
Identifying with the woman on the program shows that you are moving closer to your feelings about the attack. You mentioned that the police and ME were looking at her naked body and saw she was raped. That is a violation of her privacy, a complete loss of dignity even if she was deceased by then. The woman had not only been violated by the attackers, but she was again violated by the police and ME.
And seeing that she could represent what might have happened to you- how does that make you feel? She did go through what you went through so if she had lived, what do you feel she might be experiencing right now?
I like that you used the term "called on the carpet" about our talks last week. When I read that, it immediately called to mind that I was an authority figure or like a parent, and I was wondering if that is how you felt.
You are right, it does take an enormous amount of energy to look at the things you have faced in the past week. But it also takes incredible strength and a willingness to face them even though they are so painful. And you did face it. Head on. You were willing to trust and go with how you felt. It was a privilege to be with you and see your bravery. Facing such pain is not easy, in the least.
The Muppet movie is fun, isn't it? I'm glad you got the time to see it. I want to see the original again too. I have seen some of Happy Feet but I never saw the Descendants. I do love Up, Ratatouille and Aladdin. Those are three of my favorites. I always cry when I watch Up. The scene where his wife dies is so sad.
You're welcome, Shay. I want to be here for you.
I asked you about how the woman on the show might be feeling if she had lived to see if you felt any connection to her. You identified with the violation of her experience. And the aftermath as well. The more of a connection you feel, the more aware you are of your feelings. It's not necessary to your recovery, but it can be a good measurement of where you are now with your feelings. Since you watch shows that are about violent crimes, it may be a way for you to connect how strong your feelings are about what happened to similar events on TV, which is at a safe distance.
There is naturally a strong sense of shame around what you went through. But I wonder if there is an extra depth to how you feel because of the shame and repression you have connected to your feelings in general from your childhood. It's something to think about and explore if you feel there is a connection.
You are very good at defending your point of view. It's a blessing in the court room, but it can be a hurtle to overcome when dealing with your feelings. Defending yourself the way you do shows two things. One, you are deeply hurt and when I would get near something that bothered you, the defenses would come to the surface (not a bad thing, just something to work through). And two, defending yourself so strongly is a way to maintain control. If you are the one picking apart the answer and asking the questions, you keep control of your feelings and you feel in control of the other person (in this case, me). It helps protect you.
I liked that you used "called on the carpet" because it expressed how you felt about last week very well. That is why I asked about authority figures and parental feelings with you.
I agree, when it comes to therapy I do know more. But when it comes to law, you know more. It can be an unbalanced relationship, or at least seem so, either way. That is where trust comes in. And that is what we discovered last week. Trust between us means we work together to resolve how you feel. Just as you would do for me if I had a legal issue. I would need to trust you to help guide me and work to solve my problem.
Thank you for saying you think I am a good parent. That was nice to hear. My husband is a good father. He likes to spend time with the kids. He is a therapist as well so the poor kids not only get to here what they did wrong, but also why ;)
I'm glad you gave the other woman the job of singing to day in church today. You sound so tired. You probably feel like crying partly because of that. Being so exhausted can lower your defenses and bring your feelings closer to the surface. Also, you have gone through a lot in the past week and worked through a major road block in your recovery. Crying it out is a good way to let out some of the stress.
Don't worry about your typos. There is no need. It doesn't matter. As long as you are getting the thoughts and feelings out, how they come out is fine!
Good night, Shay. I hope tonight goes well for you and you get some deep and restful sleep.
I'm sorry to hear you had a bad night. I agree, having constant nightmares is very hard on you. What kinds of things is Linda and Dr. M working on with you in regards XXXXX XXXXX nightmares? Is it an issue that you talk about in therapy a lot? I'm asking so I don't step on anyone's toes if you and I work on it together.
Why you watch violent TV shows depends on a couple of things. One, did you watch these types of shows before you were attacked? If not, when did you start watching them? And two, is it your preferred type of show? Do you feel anything when you watch them?
I think the shame from your childhood came from your parents punishing you for being yourself. The message from parents who abuse is that there is something wrong with you. The fact that you were made to question yourself all the time is part of that. A child can get a general sense of shame and globalize it, which might have meant for you shame about your body. Or undressing could have symbolized you "exposing" yourself emotionally which was dangerous in your family. The mind handles abuse in different ways in order to cope with it and that could have been how you dealt with it.
It is a risk whenever you tell anyone anything private about yourself that they might turn it against you. And it's hard for you to trust me because you cannot see me. That leaves out an important way for you to gauge me as a person. I can tell you to trust me, but you cannot see my face when I say it, or watch my reactions to you. All you can do is read my words. That is scary. And it's good you are looking at it. What would it mean to you if I did make fun of you? Would that fall in line with what your family would do?
I can see when someone puts up defenses because it is what I am trained to do. Just as you might see the legal side of things in your everyday life, I see other people's reactions, behaviors and hang ups. But my training helps me know how to react so I can best help the person I am working with. I imagine all therapists are like that. Linda probably has her own way of dealing with defenses she sees with you.
Let me know if you hear from the sleep doctor today. I'm interested in what they are going to recommend.
My husband and I can sometimes overanalyze each other, or a situation. We have to watch that. And neither of us gets away with too much in the relationship! But I think we have found a balance and most of the time it works.
All of my kids have been saved, thank God! My son is only 8 but so far he seems to understand what believing means. My husband is a Christian too. He grew up in a Christan home, but it was the very legalistic type of Christianity, so it took him a while to work that through and get away from it. I was raised Catholic but never felt comfortable with it. When I met my husband, he told me about Jesus. I became a believer after that. How about you?
Deeply hurt is the connection to the basic emotions of what happened to you. It's when the pain feels as if it takes over and you are "all emotion". Grief is an example of deep pain. And yes, a moment of your life can cause deep pain. It is not how long the event happened but instead what happened that matters. Like a loved one dying in an accident. It only took less than a minute for the person to die, but the grief it caused will last a long time.
Talk to you soon,Kate
I AM SORRY THIS IS SO LONG!!!!
Linda and I don't talk about my nightmares a whole lot. She always asks me if I've had them, and on what nights, and if they've changed at all, and if they are about things that really happened (as opposed to those few things I sometimes dream about, but I'm pretty sure never happened). So the whole conversation takes about 2 minutes. She asked me more about them early on, and then when they were becoming different, or if I tell her I am really disturbed by something. But I don't have much to say. Generally, they are just about what happened, and don't change a whole lot. A lot of times, it's just part of it. Sometimes I see it like a movie, mostly I feel like it actually is happening. How much it disturbs me kind of depends on whether I wake up in the middle or after, and how disoriented I am when I wake up. I have terrible eyesight, and so when I wake up, I don't have my glasses on or contacts in, and I can't see anything, so I could be anywhere. Sometimes it takes me a while to realize were I am. Sometimes I know right away. I never knew what to tell Linda about them. I already told her what happened. The nightmares are the same thing, so ...
The main problem is that when I have nightmares, it feels like I have been struggling the whole night and don't feel as though I have slept. Plus, it's just not fun going through what happened every night.
Dr. M and I haven't worked on it at all, except she asked me a little about them when I first went to see her, and she will ask me if I'm having them and how often. I don't see Dr. M much at all. She does not accept my insurance, and so I have to self-pay, which is worth it, because I like her, but is still expensive. But she is so kind and handles most everything over the phone. The last time I actually saw her was when I was asking her about the medical stuff and had Linda tell her stuff. I used to talk to her about once a week to check on the meds, but we haven't been doing that because there is no sense changing any meds until the sleep doctor figured out if I had issues and if so, what to do about them. I will have to see her soon, though, because Dr. Krakow said in the report he wants me to review my meds with her to see if anything is aggravating the sleep disorders, because he said I am on a lot of "psychotropic medications." And he wants me to go on 2 additional medications - clonazapam and something else. I imagine she wouldprescribe those, although maybe he will. No clue. I already know Dr. Krakpw's recommendations. They were in his report. He said (I cut and pasted frm his report):
Recommendation: Ms.XXXXXXXXXX should initiate auto-bilevel as prescribed due to variable pressure needs based on position or stage of sleep and then return for a data download and Patient Management Appointment (PMA) in the first month of treatment, at which point she will be scheduled for a full night auto-bilevel retitration study to test pressures and reassess leg jerks and parasomnia behavior (see additional steps described in these Recommendations). We will also consider ASV therapy if centrals persist. Serum ferritin should be checked as values less than 50 have been linked to RLS/PLMD. But, at this point, we would strongly recommend initiating EBM pharmacotherapy (e.g. Requip, Mirapex, Neurontin, Horizant) for PLMD, because this step might further consolidate sleep and thereby enhance the response to PAP therapy. However, she is also on multiple psychotropic medications that might worsen leg movements, so she could discuss any possible changes of medications with Dr. Mxxxxxx. Furthermore, given the likely diagnosis now of RBD, the patient should initiate Clonazepam, which is 3rd-line treatment for leg jerks, but the top treatment for RBD. If the Clonazepam controls her RBD symptoms, we will then conduct the retitration study to determine whether Clonazepam is also proving effective for leg jerks. Initiation of Clonazepam for RBD starts at 0.25 mg and the patient should consider increases every 4 to 7 days depending upon her response to the mediation or its side-effects, such as feeling to groggy in the morning. Most RBD patients response to dosages between 0.25 and 2.0 mg. Last, there is still a possibility that it is her psychotropic medications that are worsening her RBD symptoms, so this issue should be reviewed by her psychiatrist.
Of course, I understand only about half of that. The whole report is 11 pages, and other than part of the above paragraph, the only thing I really understood was the tech describing what I was doing during my nightmares. I imagine they will have me come in and will set me up with a mask and probably a loaner machine (since I have to get things rechecked, apparently, in a month, and they may put me on another type of machine, from what I gather), and I will start doing that, and then Dr. M or Dr. Krakow will prescribe me the other meds, and I will come back and they will look at the data from the machine, and I will do another overnight test. I just want to get it started so I can see if it helps me sleep. And I want to get on the meds to see if it helps the nightmares. At the very least, it should stop me from giving myself a black eye in the middle of the night.
The thing about shame might be right. I don't know. Or maybe because my sister had no shame at all in showing her body, and I went the opposite way, as I did in most things. I don't know. I was beginning to feel a bit more comfortable with it all in college, but then that happened.
As to the tv shows - before that happened, they didn't have those kinds of shows on tv. Plus, I didn't watch very much tv at all. Maybe one show a week or something. I just had a lot of other things I was doing. I started watching them when they started to have these kinds of shows on. At first, there were just a few obscure ones on random channels, with the occasional dateline special. Now, as you know, they are everywhere. And yes - it is my preferred type of show. Definitely. I find it hard to go to sleep unless there are detectives or Das talking in the background. I mean, I have trouble sleeping anyway, so that may have nothing to do with it, but it seems so. But I also can go to sleep to other non-crime documentaries. I like real-life stuff way more than fiction. Except when I read - I like reading fiction. I don't know. I like those shows. I usually feel nothing when I watch them. At first, when I would watch them in the den and P. would be in there, if someone was raped, I would sit there hoping P didn't say anything. But she never did, so I don't worry about it. When I am by myself, I usually don't think anything.
Yes - if you did make fun of me, it would fall into line with what my family would do. But my family never had this much information abut me, either. And I am no longer used to anyone doing that. It would really really hurt my feelings and I would stop talking to you. That's a trust thing, too. I have no idea what your reactions are because I can't see or feel them. I have no idea if you are sitting there rolling your eyes or making fun of me without telling me. I don't see the point in it, and I can't see why you would do that, but it is a possibility, and I have to trust that's not what's happening.
That all makes sense about you recognizing defenses more because that's what you are trained to do. Are you taught to react the same way to everyone, depending on the "defense" employed, or different ways for different types of people, or do you just have to take what you know and make a judgment call? It's kind of nice talking to someone I can't BS. Linda said, pretty soon after I started seeing her, that one of my problems is that I think I'm smarter than everyone else, and in the past, when I felt like I was smarter than a counselor, I didn't take the person seriously, and if I was able to control what they thought and knew (in regards XXXXX XXXXX), then I thought they would be of no help and discounted what they said. But she said it was ironic, when they said I was doing fine and was "over it" (not really those words), I would believe that. She told me that I might very well be smarter than her, but she could guarantee that she knew more about how to help me than I knew how to help myself on this. She told me I was my own worst enemy. I think that's why I liked her, too - because she could see through some of my crap. And then she could see things I wasn't even trying to hide - I had no idea were even there.
That would be an interesting dynamic - 2 therapists in the same household. Although, I think just having one would have the potential to be kind of unfair and lopsided. But if he is a therapist, it must mean he is a pretty compassionate person, so that would be great, especially in a guy.
That is so cool that your husband is the one who showed Christ to you. Did it take you long to "get it"? I'm so glad your kids are saved!
I grew up Lutheran. We went to church every week, but I never learned about having a relationship with Jesus or anything of the sort. I went through first communion classes, then catechism classes, and was an acolyte for years. But I was clueless. And I really think most people were. I learned all of the rituals and all of the creeds, and some stuff about Martin Luther, but nothing more. It was a very small congregation, and a 150 year old church. There were actually about 7 kids around my age that went there, but we didn't have much in the way of youth activities. The pastor was one of my friends' dads, and I couldn't stand him. And every week he wore more and more robes and capes and gold. We didn't have many youth activities, because our youth group leader had a sex change (or was starting his year of hormones and cross-dressing before the operation), and so he was asked not to come back to church, which sucked. Then anything the pastor tried was a disaster, and would end up with drunk kids or a fire or something.
But I always had a strong sense of God and was very curious. I used to draw crosses around my room with nail polish and I wrote the Lord's Prayer on a piece of wood and stuck it in the window, and would ask God to visit me. But I didn't really feel like I ever got an answer.
My freshman year in college, one of the girls on my basketball team told me about accepting Christ and gave me a tract with the "prayer" on it. I didn't even think it over - instantly, I was like "okay," and I said the prayer. But I never really did anything about it, never went to church or any Bible studies, never even read the Bible. I went to a few Christian concerts with her, but nothing more. Then she graduated, and I kind of forgot about everything. I knew it, and I knew it in the back of my head, but I never did anything. And I was still drinking and doing the same things I always had. When the thing happened, I never even asked for God's help. I did not seek Him at al, either during or after.
In Law School, I pretty much continued as I had been, except I went out to bars less, I guess, because I didn't feel comfortable. At the end of law school I joined a band and we sang at bars, and actually, a lot of gay bars, because the guitar player was a lesbian. After I took the bar exam, and after living alone for a year, I ended up moving in with the guitar player and 2 more people, in a big house, and the things I witnessed there were beyond bizarre. It's like I was exposed to a whole different side of society. I'll just say I learned a lot. And to them, I was like their straight-laced mascot. Most of my good friends from college lived in the same city, so I hung out a lot with them, which helped balance out things. But I just knew that I was kind of on the edge during that time. Then I moved to NM, which is a whole other long story of which I'm not too proud, but I knew I was supposed to come here. I came for the wrong reasons, but God had His own reasons.
I had interviewed with a few firms when I came here to take the bar exam, and I was offered a few jobs. So the day after I got here, I started working for LP (my former partner, with whom, by the way, I am having lunch on Wed.). I ended up being totally alone here, with no friends and no money. And that was a great time in my life. It really was. I sang at our office managers wedding a few years after coming here, and so LP's wife asked me to join a women's singing group. She told me we practiced at a church, but it was not a church group, etc. So I went. Pat was the director. I learned pretty quickly that it WAS a church related group, and I had to go to church a few times because we were singing. Another woman started working at our firm, and she went to the same church, and asked me to stay for Sunday school once. I went out of obligation. But I started to make friends, and joined the choir for a Christmas production, and just started going all the time. I think I went for about 4 years before I joined, and I had to get baptized. I knew about Jesus and I knew the language and what to say, etc. I was the chairman of the personnel committee and sang all the time. Then we had a revival. It started on Sunday morning for the members, then was in the evenings all week, and I had to go because I sang on the praise team. This guy, Ronnie Hill (?), was our speaker for the week. On Sunday morning, he was giving the message, and he was talking about being involved in church and doing the right things, etc., but not having a relationship with Christ- a REAL relationship. He said it's like baseball - you can round all the bases and hit home plate, but it won't count if you missed first base. I felt like a brick hit me in the chest, and I just started crying. During the prayer before the invitation, he asked for anyone who feels they need to commit to Christ to look up at him during the prayer, and I did. But during the invitation, I couldn't bring myself to go forward. I just stood there and cried. That night at the service, I asked C if I could come and talk to him the next day. I knew I had missed first base. I got the Jesus as Savior part - but not the Jesus as Lord. I was a bit humiliated, because I was a leader in church at that time. But I told C everything and told him I didn't really have a relationship with Jesus like I was supposed to, etc. I told him I just knew. So I prayed with him, and he said that he knew I was embarrassed, but the Bible says I need to get baptized again, so that night we told Ronnie Hill, who was able to turn it into a message and use me as an example, since I had been up there singing in front of everyone but apparently wasn't really saved, and C baptized me and everyone was a bit surprised, but what could I do? This was very important, obviously. I just had to tell everyone I missed the boat and was just playing the part and not really living it. That was about 5-6 years ago.
None of my family is saved. My parents believe they are Christians because they go to church every week. They won't listen to me. I feel like my sister got close, when she was taking classes to convert to catholicism, because it raised questions and we were able to talk about it. My brother has moved from atheist to agnostic. I worry so much about the kids. I am my nieces' godmother. (My brother's stepdaughter and his son got christened a few years ago, and they let her choose her godmother and god father). I take that seriously. My brother's daughter has gone to an evangelistic church with her great aunt a lot, and she kind of gets it. But my nephew doesn't at all. My sister's kids go to a catholic school, so are fairly focused on God, but don't really get it, either. I pray for them a lot. I don't want to spend eternity without them, and I cannot stand the thought of any of them spending eternity in Hell. I would do anything. I would go through what I did 20 times if it meant they would be saved.
Kate, I want to unhook myself from those guys. I don't want them to be a part of me. They had no business being in me and on me and doing what they did, and I feel like they've stayed with me, and they have no right to be here, and no right to be with me when I'm sleeping. Can you help me get rid of them??
We could work on the nightmares together if you feel safe doing so. I want to leave it up to you because it is the issue that brought you to therapy and because it is central problem for you, involving a lot of strong emotion. Think it over and let me know if you want to give it a go. We can take baby steps and see how you feel. We can also stop at any time. Another option is to bring it up again the therapy and tell Linda you want to work on it with her and see what she says. I can be there to help explain things and support you through it.
I'm with you, the sleep study report might as well be in Greek! I can figure out some of it, but most of it is in sleep study doctor language. At least they seem clear on how they want to handle this and they feel they can do something to help.
I do think your choice of TV shows is significant. Those types of shows are traumatic and can bring out a lot of strong emotion. But if you don't really feel anything when you see them, that means something in itself. It could be that by watching them, you are identifying with the intensity but you have repressed your feelings about it. This represents how you feel about your attack. You went through something dramatic but are struggling to get in touch with your feelings about it. The shows mirror your issue, which is why it seems so appealing.
I would never make fun of you, ever. When someone makes fun of another person, it is about who that someone is, not the person they are making fun of. If you have a bad self esteem, making fun of others is a way to try to make yourself feel better. It is putting another down below you in status so you feel raised up. I do not feel that way about you. I have no need to put you down, or anyone I work with. You are in pain, Shay. Making fun of that would take a special kind of cruelty. But if you ever feel that I might, bring it up and we can talk it out. I'd rather you voice how you feel than doubt our relationship.
You had quite a journey on your way to find Christ! Wow, you went through a lot. But from reading what you wrote, it sounds like to me that He was always with you. He kept pointing you in the right direction. And He got your attention at just the right time. It's a wonderful story and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about how you must have felt hearing that you needed to have a relationship with Him.
I understand how you feel about your nieces and nephews. Praying for them is the best thing you can do, next to representing Jesus to them. It's what they teach in my church. You can tell everyone about God and be that disciple but only God can work that miracle of salvation.
We can work on putting those guys in the past. The incident will always be part of your life but it won't always be your life. That is what I want to help you with. Working through your feelings so the past stays in the past and you can move on, taking only what you have learned and the strength you have gained from this.
I don't feel like you would make fun of me. I'm just really sensitive about where I am right now. I feel dumb because I'm dealing with things I should have dealt with a long time ago, and I feel like anyone else would think "why aren't you over this?" I feel like that's what C thinks, and I feel like others would think that if they knew. I know it's different with you and Dr. M and Linda, but I am still self-conscious that I am upset about this so long after the fact. I know now that comes from my parents, but that's still the way I feel about it. I feel like there's something inherently wrong with me. When I first met with Dr. Krakow, he had asked me what kind of therapy I had and what I was doing now. He said: "so you are just now processing it, after 19 years of nightmares, it sounds like, and you have not received any treatment for PTSD symptoms except recent medication." I guess that's true. It makes me feel like I am weak because it was so delayed because I obviously couldn't face it before. How did I convince myself I was okay with it?
I do think I want to work on the nightmares. I didn't realize it was a separate issue. I mean, initially, I thought it was the only issue. But Linda made it clear right off the bat that there are a lot of underlying issues. I guess I am now looking at it more as a symptom and not an issue in and of itself. Is that not true? Is it a separate issue? Or is it just a symptom, but a symptom we can work with while I am working on the underlying issues?
I'm not sure what to say about my nightmares. I have documented them in my journal, off and on, but I have nothing to say about them except "it was this part" and "felt like it was happening" or "felt like I was watching it from a distance."
So - yes, please, if we can work on it. But I also want to work on what we discussed last week. I feel like there's not enough time to work on all of this with Linda - even seeing her 2x/week for over an hour. And she really wants to do the EMDR, and I want to try it, and that leaves no room for other issues right now. And I'm afraid that by the time we get to all this, it will take years.
Why do you think I may not feel safe? Because we're doing this online and I am alone? Am I going to freak out or something?
This might sound really weird, but Saturday evening I was so tired and I laid on the couch with my head in P's lap and slept that way for a while. Is that getting too weird?
So - is watching those tv shows helping or hurting me? I would think I would react strongly to them, but I don't at all (except the other night). It amazes me that women who didn't die but were raped can go on tv and talk about it and go to court and talk about it.
... also, I do understand it will always be there, but not in nightmares, right? I know I have learned a lot from it already, but I am not ready to say it was worth it. But even though it will be there, because it's part of my past and who I am, it won't be who I am, and I won't feel like I still have them in me or that I'm tethered to them, right?
Shay, there is no "should" in therapy. You delayed reaction to what happened because that was the way you learned how to handle your problems. There is no shame in that. Everyone handles problems differently. Some solve them right away, some delay them and others never deal with them (for example, someone who is abusive his or her whole life or a life long alcoholic). I think Dr. Krakow was just commenting that you never had a chance to get treatment. Think of it like a chronic medical condition- you have always had it and because you were used to it, you never knew you needed to see a doctor until the symptoms got bad enough to interfere in your life.
Nightmares are not a separate issue. They are a symptom. I wanted to be sure that you were ok working on them on line in case you did feel upset and wanted someone with you. I do not think you will freak out or do anything unusual. I just want to be sure you have enough support so you don't feel upset and have no one to turn to for face to face contact.
Journaling your nightmares is a very good start. Let's continue that, with you writing down your nightmares each time you have them. The more detail, the better. When you have a few written down, let's look at the nightmares and see what we can pick out of them to work with.
Laying your head on P's lap reminds me of a parental or even just a comforting position. How did you feel about it?
The TV shows are not hurting you, they are just a sign that you are in tune with the violence but not with the feelings, yet. You are getting there, because you did react to the program with the rape on it. That shows that you are more connected with those feelings.
The nightmares should go away once you work through the PTSD and other symptoms. Another sign therapy worked is when you feel you can put the attack behind you and you can move on, without having to repress it. You will remember the event and have feelings attached to it, but it won't affect you like it does now. It won't be as vivid and real. It'll be more like a sad memory.