Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Kate, Thought I would start a new thread. I’m not sure if P will read the book or not. But I think it’s funny that the title popped up as soon as she turned her kindle on. She probably would say that I’m “out of my ever-loving mind,” but she won’t judge. I will let you know what I think after I read it. I do know, from looking at a sample online, that it has a lot of information about anatomy and where everything is ,etc. I think that would be helpful to me to understand.
It is such a nice day here. There is a family of lizards that lives outside of my office, and I just saw a few of the for the first time since winter began. Must mean it’s really spring! I can’t stand the cold weather. I like when it’s warm (probably because I am constantly cold) and when I don’t have court or meetings, I wear shorts to work.
I’m digging being alone in the office. Nic comes in at 1:00 and I sent him on some runs, so I should basically be alone for the rest of the afternoon. I’m getting a lot done and the phones have been quiet.
I see what you are saying about my being able to use my experience in some different and rewarding ways. And I agree that God will use it as a blessing. Convoluted way to be blessed, but .... But that seems far away right now, that I could even tell anyone else. It is true that I have a sneaky side — or probably more accurately, a devious side. Perhaps I need to find another form of entertainment, but it can be really funny, and I don’t intend to hurt people.
In Sunday School, we have a few people who are extremely outspoken on the issue of homosexuality. We always get in arguments, because I do know what the Bible says about it, but I feel like some people act like that is the “worst” sin, but sin is sin, and it’s no worse than gossip. The pastor’s wife read the scripture that talks about sexual immorality being “abominable” to God, and then her husband’s sermon that day was on the other list of what is “abominable “ to God, which was lying, gossiping, etc. In any event, I told them that they get up on their soapbox about homosexuality, because it’s the one sin that, by their age, they are pretty sure they won’t commit. I told our teacher that he emphasizes that sin because at age 50 or whatever, he’s pretty sure he’s not attracted to penises. I told them they are all hypocrites (which, of course, we all are). So the next Sunday, I put on the prayer list that I was having a really hard time because P broke up with me. I thought the guy reading form the list while we were praying was going to die. Everyone instantly looked up and stopped praying. I thought it was funny, since they are so homophobic and certain that’s the one straight shot to hell. Not everyone thought it was funny (including P – I’ve never seen her so red), but a lot of people thought it was funny – they were probably not as amused as I was, but ...
And, as an aside, the Sunday school teacher (and head deacon) who is so self-righteous about it is the same one who was constantly making sexual comments to me. One time, I was talking to him outside in the hall - I don’t remember what it was about, but it was something serious. I had a turtleneck sweater on that was not inappropriately tight in the least, but probably more form fitting than I usually wear. So I’m talking and he’s staring at my chest. I pushed up his chin so he stopped looking down and put my arms out to say “what are you doing?” he said “what? I like boobs” then went in and taught Bible study. I told him so many times to cut it out. He would do it somewhat in front of his wife, even (which was actually better), and she would put her hand over his mouth or something, but it was mild in front of her. The thing is, though, when I get upset about it, he is overly sensitive and acts like I am being unreasonable or mean or can’t take a joke. He has issues. I told C about it, since he is on praise team and we happened to be talking about his poor attitude. He was mad and offered to talk to him or take it to the other ministers. I told him no - to give me a little more time to try to handle it. So I finally told him that if he says another even remotely sexual thing to me, I will yell out and repeat what he said to me so everyone will know. I also told him that he really needs to get his crap together. He’s our Bible study leader and the head deacon and a worship leader, and he knows better, and young men look to him as an example, and making sexual comments or closer-than-you-should-be affection or gestures is not a good example, and neither is his poor all-about-me attitude. He hasn’t said a sexual thing since. But my point is — that’s no better than any other sin. He was mad about my fake prayer request – said that I should not be disrupting prayer time, and he’s right. But it was funny.
And you know, my parents CAN be supportive sometimes. A lot, really, it’s just mixed in with other not-so-supportive
stuff sometimes. I think my mom has told me about 3 times since I was there that she really did think it was a good decision to go to Katie’s funeral. I’m not sure why she keeps saying that, except maybe it bothers her that I acted as though it didn’t matter what she had ultimately decided because I didn’t need her permission? Also, I ended up telling my parents about the sleep test. I hadn’t told them at first, because I had feared they would make a connection with the nightmares and figure out I was still having issues, but then I thought there’s no way — it would be out of the realm of possibility to them that I would still have nightmares or any issues whatsoever. And that was right. They actually were really supportive of it and getting treatment. I had told my dad, and my mom called yesterday to ask about it. ??? Also, when I was home, my dad gave me my great-great-grandfather’s pocket watch, which I had always liked when I was younger. He said he wanted me to have it. Also, he has asked about how talks are going with my former partner and stuff. ???
I won’t cut. I want to, but I won’t. After I was writing to you, I remembered that I have a razor blade in my desk drawer. So I thought about it – but only for about a minute. Sometimes I think to myself that if I stab myself in the chest with a huge knife, like all the bad feelings would just go to that area and leave. (Don’t worry - I am not considering this :) ) I sometimes think that maybe I feel that way because somewhere in my mind I think that it’s okay to express physical pain, but not emotional pain. ?? So maybe physical pain would be an outlet to express my emotional pain? I’m just babbling now. I don’t really understand what it is. But I’m not going to do it. I don’t want to create another issue – I want to work through the ones I already have. But I’m glad I can tell you I’m tempted and you don’t scold me. :)
It sounds like there is a lot of stuff going on at your church. It's hard to believe one of your church leaders was being sexually inappropriate with you, especially in front of his wife. I cannot imagine how she feels, let alone how you feel about it. After what you have been through in your past, do you feel his behavior bothered you or brought up any issues for you?
The Bible does say that homosexuality is a sin. But as for us judging other people, that is not what we should be doing. That is between the person and God. Because if you judge a person who is homosexual, then how are they supposed to feel God would accept them? What if they want to believe and the discrimination against them prevents it? Then they are a lost soul and the chance for a relationship with God is gone. Ok, I'm off my soap box!
I am glad you were able to tell your parents about your sleep study and have them be supportive. And your mother changing her mind about you going to Katie's funeral is good too. I think you are right, she realized that you did not need her input and you can make your own decisions now. It could be too that you ignored her protests and she felt that she was making too big a deal of it. In other words, you turned the tables and made her feel ashamed of how she was reacting. Not that you meant to, but with her refusal to acknowledge her feelings shame might be an automatic response for her. But either way, it sounds like you are getting some solid support right now and that is good.
Your assessment of your desire to cut sounds very possible. Good insight! Physical pain is probably much more acceptable. Expressing yourself emotionally has always been dangerous for you so cutting would help you relieve some of your emotions without having to express yourself directly. I'm glad you decided against trying it. It is a dangerous road to start on and very tough to stop. We can talk about it anytime- definitely no scolding or any judgment involved!
I'm sorry that it went so badly last night. It sounds like the EMDR brought up too many memories and feelings at once. It may be that you need something that is a little slower paced to allow you to get used to the feelings a bit at a time. When dealing with a trauma, recalling details and the feelings connected to them needs to be at a pace you feel you can manage.
I know you feel embarrassed about Linda seeing you like this. But therapists see a lot of people in varying states of trauma and distress. It's like feeling embarrassed that a doctor sees you without clothes. It can make you self conscious, but the doctor is so used to it they don't give it a second thought. It's the same for therapists. We expect people to act out feelings in many ways and a therapist should be prepared to help when it happens. You didn't do anything wrong, Shay.
How are you feeling today? Did sleep help any?
As you go through today, you should start to feel better. It takes some time for your mind to process what happened and find ways to put up some defenses to protect you. Try thinking about intellectual things. Read a law book, focus on a complex problem, talk to a colleague about a case, anything that keeps you in your head and not focused on your feelings. I usually would not recommend that, but if you are overly upset, it can help you to refocus until you feel you can go back to allowing your feelings back in.
Let me know how you are doing,Kate
A lot of what you experienced in your session was about how you felt showing Linda this side of you and telling her the details of what went on that night. Linda is not there to judge you or decide if what you did during the attack was right or wrong. It's easy to feel that she would care because you care. Transferring your feelings onto her is a way for you to put shame on yourself and assume that Linda feels about you like you feel about yourself.
I have heard your story and I feel that you were amazingly brave. When you first told me, I felt very sad then I felt some anger, at the guys who could be so evil and hurt a young college girl like that. And since then, I have felt nothing but the strong desire to help you. Linda no doubt feels the same.
It would help you a lot to confront these feelings of embarrassment and shame with Linda. The next time you see her, bring up your feelings of shame about the session. Be as open and honest as you can. I know this is very hard. But by confronting your feelings, you take the power out of them. She is on your side. She is not going to hurt you over this.
I understand your anger about having to go through this experience. I felt the same when I suffered through my recovery. Being angry at those guys is a good sign. Take the energy from your angry, shame and other feelings and throw it at them. They deserve it.
Is it possible at all for you to take a break from your activities at church? You need down time so you can process how you feel. You also need more rest. Without rest, it is harder to control your feelings and manage the symptoms you are experiencing. Even cutting back would help.
I hope you feel better as your day goes on. I imagine talking to LP and your client will help you move away from your feelings for a while and may even help you feel calmer.
Let me know how you are when you get a chance.
Actually, this writing with you helps. I thought maybe I should avoid it today, so I don't get overly upset, but it is actually helping me calm down a little. Thank you.
I didn't just tell Linda the details last night. I wrote it out and let her read it quite some time ago, and we have discussed a lot of it since. (I just didn't know if you thought I meant I told her new details last night). But I was fine with it until last night. Sure, it was hard to do, but I felt fine that she knew these things and felt that it was probably necessary that she know them. But now I don't feel fine about it. I want to undo it and just tell her the super-abridged version I told The counselors before her. I couldn't stand sitting a foot or two away from a person who knows I begged someone to have anal sex with me and offered myself to him. That's too much. Just thinking about it now makes my skin crawl and my eyes well up and makes me nauseous.
I know you say that I am transferring my feelings onto Linda, but I cannot understand how she wouldn't be disgusted with me, or how you wouldn't be. I can't fathom that right now. I know that you and Linda want to help me, but how can either of you stand it?
I know that talking to Linda about it is what I should do, but I don't know if I can force myself to go on Friday.. Maybe I will feel differently about it by then. I don't know what to say. I asked last night, when I was coming out of my little freak-out how she can stand this, knowing what I did. She said she knows what they did to me and asked if I thought she would be mad at me or something. I'm sure she didn't understand what I was feeling, because I didn't tell her. I said about 6 sentences the whole time. She would ask questions and I just couldn't speak or didn't want to.
And then, on top of it, for me to have the kind of meltdown. I'm sitting in a chair for a long time with my hands over my ears and my eyes closed, crying. I was hearing voices, for goodness sake. I felt like I was going crazy, and I really really didn't want anyone witnessing it. I feel like I'm losing it.
If I say something to her about it, she will brush it off and say it's fine and doesn't matter. But clearly it matters to me. And I know she really wants to do the EMDR. She's pretty new to it, and is excited to try it with me. But I don't want to do it again right now.
I don't know what to say to her, if I do force myself to go. I am afraid I will just sit there and not be able to say anything. I would email her, but she doesn't use email regularly (not the most tech savvy - but hey, she's 63). I guess I could write it out and give it to her??
Maybe I should take a break from therapy, since right now the thought of being in the same room with her makes me want to vomit?
As for church stuff, I have to stick with this until Sunday night, then Easter Sunday. But I have tried as much as possible to minimize my participation in special things. But after that, I am going to take a break. I don't give a hoot if C gets pissed or hurt, and I'm not going to let him suck me back in after a week or 2 and be in more stuff. I was telling Linda this last night before we started the EMDR - just that I was tired and wanted a break from all that, and we were discussing that I have tried it a few times already, and the result is usually only a few weeks off. She said that it seems C wants me around all the time and asked if he had a crush on me. I said definitely not, and told her that I actually have had a little crush on him, which she was surprised about. In any event, I agree - I need some time to process things. And I need some time alone. I need to have time when I am at home and P is not. Last night I didn't want to be in the house alone, but that is a rare thing for me. But when I got home last night, I just wanted to go in my room, away from P. Linda told me I should ask P if I could sleep with her last night because she thought I might get scared after what happened (as in sleep in her room with her - not as in have sex with her, just to clarify :) ) But I needed to be by myself in my room. If I take a break form church stuff, I will have Tuesday and Wednesday nights to myself.
And you are also right that I need sleep. I am getting to that point again where I can tell the lack of sleep is affecting everything I do. I will try the new meds tonight for the first time, so maybe they will help me sleep. And hopefully I can start the breathing stuff soon. I need to sleep or I'm going to have serious issues (as will those around me).
This morning, in the 9 minutes between when my alarm went off and I pressed the snooze button, to when it went off again, I had a dream that you might find encouraging. I was standing up against a red wall with those 2 guys, and it was like a firing squad thing, but only one person was going to shoot, and they were going to shoot all 3 of us, and I had my hands tied behind my back. But just as the man was about to shoot, he stood up and came to me and untied my hands and said that there was a misunderstanding, that I wasn't supposed to be shot - I was supposed to do the shooting. And so he walked me over to this wooden thing where the gun was. Strange. I am always amazed at all the dreams I can have between pressing the snooze button.
When you went through your recovery, did you struggle with self-blame? If so, how did you change your thinking on that? Did you ever want to just shake your parents and try to get them to understand what they did to you? Did they abuse your brother and sister, too? I take it that your mom did not get treatment for her issues with her past?
We can spend our time talking about how you feel and not delving too deeply into more serious issues if you feel it would help you. You do need time to process this and talking about it helps a lot but I see no reason to get any deeper than that unless you feel you want to.
I though maybe that you had not told Linda all of what happened to you originally and that it came out last night. Thanks for explaining.
I feel no sense of disgust with you or anything remotely like it. But what is important here is why you feel I should. I understand it is transference- that makes sense. But you are very focused on Linda and I thinking this about you which means shame and self hatred are both strong emotions for you.
I think you will feel differently by Friday. You will have had two whole days to work through your feelings and it might be easier to cope with by then.
It sounds like the EMDR brought you too close to your feelings from the past. EMDR is a controversial therapy that has not been proven to work any better than traditional therapy. So if you feel uncomfortable about using it again, it is ok to let Linda know that you don't want to try it again for now. It could be too that you do not have the coping mechanisms in place yet to cope with the flood of memories that EMDR triggers. Waiting till later may be better for you just for that reason.
When you are highly emotional, it is hard to focus on your thoughts. It would be helpful write out your feelings and talk to Linda about them that way next time you see her. It will make it easier to have a script if you feel stuck or need a reminder.
Your dream is very telling! Thanks for sharing it. I think it represents you separating yourself from identifying with the attackers and seeing yourself as different from them in regards XXXXX XXXXX and participation. Does that seem to fit?
Abuse tends to create self hatred and some self blame. I struggled with both to a degree as did my siblings who were also abused. I had an excellent counselor who knew a lot about trauma who helped me change my thinking. I did try to talk to my parents about what happened but both of them were too damaged to understand it. Neither one is open to changing so treatment doesn't help. I am glad I tried through. It helped me even if it didn't make a difference to them.
I just saw your last post.
You probably feel as if you heart is broken because figuratively it is. You are going through a very rough time emotionally. Facing these feelings is not easy and can make you feel overwhelmed and broken. Right now, your feelings are outweighing your ability to cope with them. And that can cause how you feel. It will pass as you work through it and you will feel more whole than you did before.
Whoops, sorry you lost your post. JA can be finicky like that. I've lost many myself. It's very frustrating.
I am very glad to be here for you, Shay. Anytime. It's good you are feeling better too.
Let me know how it goes with LP. You are in my prayers!
Hi Kate. Things went well with LP. We both are in line with our thinking of how we want things to be, but the issue is that we have a big case going, where we represent the different sides. In order for me to rejoin the firm, both of us would have to withdraw from representing our clients, which neither of us want to do. So he suggested an "office sharing" arrangement at first, until that case goes away. I would basically still have my own firm, and run it separately, but would move into his office space. There is a part of the office that is kind of separate, and we sublet it to a realtor, because the office was way too big for us from the start. The realtor wants to retire soon, and had offered to move out of that office and take another space when another lawyer wanted the space (not someone they knew), so LP thinks he would be more than willing to move for me. He is never there anyway. So things would basically remain the same for a while, except my rent would be $1000 cheaper each month. But we are totally on the same page when it comes to the point where I rejoin the firm.
LP avoids conflict at all costs (except in the courtroom), and could care less if everyone is fighting, as long as the work gets done. He ignores personnel issues and infighting and is kind of oblivious, which is why I would always handle that. He wants to keep his associate on, which is fine with me, but I am not moving into a smaller office. I wanted my office back, because it was built for me originally. But we decided that I would just stay in the other office - it is larger and suits my needs. I told LP that was a good resolution, because his associate may already feel threatened when I come back, especially coming back as her boss, and if the first thing I did was take her office, that would make her feel worse. LP said he was going to tell his staff our plans sooner rather than later, so they wouldn't be surprised. (However, I happen to know his whole staff, except the associate attorney, already knows and they are thrilled). But I suggested that before he announce it to everyone else, I think he and the other attorney and I should go out to lunch. I don't know her - I have met her once. But I told Louis he doesn't understand women's reactions. I told him that if it were me, if it were presented in a way in which I felt like I was involved in the plans and decisions, and if it was made clear to me that my job was secure, I would not feel as threatened. So he agreed to do that. I told him I know that he doesn't care if people are unhappy, but I do, and I don't want to start things out by polarizing the office - everyone vs. the other attorney. Because that is how she will feel. So we have some plans now, which is good.
I kept my emotions totally under control during my lunch with him, as I expected. He commented that I looked really tired. I told him I just had a lot of work, which is true.
What I had said in my "lost" post was, basically, from what I remember:
You didn't answer about whether it would be best to take a break from therapy for a while. Should I?
No - Linda knows everything, I think. So why did it suddenly devastate me that she knew all these things?
Are you sure you aren't disgusted? Or disappointed in me? Or something? How could you not be? Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up.
I forgot to tell you - this morning when I woke up, I ached all over. Even my gums hurt. It's all better now, except a headache which I know is a migraine kind of headache because I had some flashes and intermittent blind spots. But it's just hanging there now. I took some meds, which, unfortunately make me more tired, but I'm hoping they'll stop the headache from getting worse. I think crying makes my head hurt. And apparently my heart.
I am exhausted - not just tired, but I feel as though I just hiked up a mountain. I am totally worn out. Uggh.
I think I will tell Linda I don't want to do EMDR right now. I know she'll be disappointed. She thought it was working, I think, since it obviously led me to some strong emotions. I understand that, and I know it is better if I get to those emotions and process them, but it is too intense. I swear, when I was hearing the voices, I almost felt like I was hovering above myself for a few seconds. I don't like how that feels. Isn't there some in-between thing which is a bit less intense? Of course, right now, I don't want to do anything with her.
If I write down how I am feeling before I go see Linda again (if I do), will you look it over? I can't always express how I'm feeling so that someone else can understand. I can argue a legal point clearly - but not regular feelings and stuff.
I do think that dream this morning was telling, as well, and I kind of interpreted it the same way you did.
I am glad you got good counseling. Did your siblings? Are they okay? Are you okay now? When did you figure out that you were being abused? (I mean, I know you knew when you got hit or humiliated, etc., but when did you figure out it was wrong and they weren't supposed to be doing that to you?) Why didn't anyone intervene? Did your parents keep it pretty hidden? I don't like your parents.
I'm glad things worked out with you and LP! That is great. I could not agree with you more about going to lunch with the other attorney to get to know one another. Great call. It's a good way to be sure everything goes smoothly.
Taking a break from therapy is probably not the best option, though it is always your choice. But if you break now, you will lose the momentum you have gained. Therapy often can make you feel worse before you feel better. This is a bad analogy but it's like digging out a clogged drain. It's going to get a lot ickier before you clear it out and have a smooth running drain.
It may be that you feel more upset this time around that Linda knows everything because you are getting more in touch with your feelings about it, which would also explain why you feel your heart hurts. This is painful and feels overwhelming. Linda knowing before may have been tough but now that you feel your emotions, you are transferring them onto her and wondering why she doesn't feel upset with you.
I am positive that I do not feel any disgust or disappointment towards you. Absolutely sure. What you feel is about transference. It is what you feel about what happened or you feel your parents might feel. But I am not your parent. I am not judging you. I admire you and what you did to survive. Do you feel you can trust that? If not, why?
I imagine that you did feel achy this morning after what you went through last night. Try to keep reminding yourself to breath deep and practice your progressive relaxation as much as you can.
You are not going crazy. Hearing voices are only a concern if you feel you are not crazy when you hear them. It is only the trauma you suffered coming through. You said that the one thing that upset you about the attack was hearing the one guy talk. That is probably what you are experiencing, a sort of flashback about that.
Try talking to Linda about going back to regular therapy for now. Leave the EMDR for later when you feel you have more resources to cope.
Of course I am more than willing to look over your thoughts for your next session. Whenever you are ready.
Thank you for your concern over my childhood abuse. I appreciate it. We are all doing fine now and have pretty much moved on. I wanted to tell you about my experience so it would help you feel less alone with what you are facing but I don't want you to feel you need to concern yourself with what happened to me. This is about you and I want to focus on helping you feel better. I had all the help and support I needed when I was suffering through recovery. God took care of me, just as He will with you now.
Good night Shay. I hope tonight goes easier for you,
I am not like preoccupied with concern over your childhood abuse. But I do care. And I wanted to know if you guys were okay, so I could pray. And it does make me feel not so alone. I think there are things which you can learn, but you can't have as much of an understanding if you have not experienced something similar.
Tonight's rehearsal went okay - except for the first time ever, C said our song was the one that needed work, and he made us stay. Apparently, the other woman singing with me was having tempo and rhythm issues in her solo part, but I didn't even notice. And all the same, he wanted me to work on it, too, so apparently it wasn't up to par. As I said, that was the first time it ever happened to me. Usually I'm the one who has my songs down and am the dependable one who C doesn't have to worry about. Oh well. It was kind of funny. It could be because doing this is pretty far down on my list of priorities and on my list of things I want to do right now. C wasn't in as bad a mood as I feared, but he was not in a great mood.
The whole plan with LP and I easing his associate into the idea already fell apart. I got a text from their office manager. She said LP came back into the office after lunch and immediately told several of them that I wanted to come back. She said he seemed pretty excited. Oh well.
I am feeling calmer than I was last night and earlier today - much calmer, actually. But I still have a sinking-like feeling in my chest. Like I'm not focusing on things for a little bit, then I remember and it upsets me. I still feel kind of on the edge of crying, but not as much like I will burst into tears at any moment.
I understand your point about taking a break from therapy messing up the momentum. I also know that things frequently get worse before they get better. And your analogy, although gross, did show your point. But I feel like things are getting worse and worse. I keep thinking "okay, this is expected. I knew it would get worse and now it will get better." But it keeps getting even worse. And I'm scared to go back. I'm scared because of what happened last evening, and also am embarrassed. I totally lost control, I felt. And I'm not sure I can explain just how terrible it felt for me to sit there with Linda, knowing that she knows all these things.
You are right that I don't understand how she could feel anything but negatively about me and what I've done. I'm sure you are right that it is transference, but I feel so sure it's true. As for how you feel or don't feel about me, I don't know if I can trust it. I mean, I trust you, but you would not tell me if you did feel disgust towards me, because you would think it would hurt me. And right now, I just can't see how you could feel otherwise.
I still don't want to go to my session on Friday. My inclination is to stay away from Linda. The thought of facing her makes me wince.
If I don't go, I will have to call her and I will eventually have to explain. If I do go, I will tell her I don't want to do any more EMDR right now. I hate to disappoint her, but I don't want to go through that again just so I can play along with what she wants to do. I trust her, but even she said last night that she didn't go into it with any expectations because anything can happen.
I picked up my new prescriptions today. It dawned on me that I have no idea whether I can or should take sleeping pills along with them. When I went to my initial appointment with Dr. Krakow, he was telling me that I could have Dr. M prescribe me something even stringer for the night of the sleep study, unless it was clonazepam, because since that is the treatment for the rem sleep disorder and they wouldn't be able to tell if I had it or not if I was already taking the treatment for it. So that says to me that sometimes clonazepam is used for a sleeping aid. So I just took the 2 new meds (the clonazepam and the Mirapex) and my gabapentin, but none of the sleeping pills. I took the smallest doses of each, since I have never taken them before. I already am feeling really tired and fairly relaxed. So this stuff may be good all the way around. I'll let you know how the nightmares fair.
Thanks again for being here. I was shocked at what a rough time I was havinglast night and today. And now I feel like I have totally alienated myself from Linda.
I am going to go to sleep now. This stuff seems to really be working.
It is normal to have a sinking feeling like you do. When you think about what you are dealing with, it's understandable to feel strong emotions. Try this: if the feeling in your chest could have a voice, what would it say?
It is going to be hard to go back to face Linda. But it's not Linda that you are facing, it's your feelings about what she thinks of you. Your feelings of transference are strong, probably because you were used to being judged in the past for what you felt. You were told to feel ashamed for your feelings and that you were defective for showing feelings or weakness. The EMDR probably made some of your more intense feelings come out and Linda was with you, so you took those feelings and put them on her looking for judgment and feeling shame.
I may not tell you that I feel disgust with you, but if you did do something that was wrong, I would not ignore it. I would help you address it. We would not be talking about how you feel regarding what happened but instead, we would be addressing what made you do those things during the attack. In other words, your actions would be a focus of therapy. But Linda and I know you did those things to survive. They were not wrong at all. They were not dysfunctional, crazy or bad for you to do. So they are not something that needs fixed. What does come out of what you did is your reaction to it and the feelings you struggle with about what you had to do. That is the important part to help you through.
It's perfectly fine to not want to do more EMDR right now. You do have a choice in this and can choose to have regular therapy, which will allow you to go at a slower pace and therefore at a more manageable pace. We can work on that letter to Linda so you have more of an idea of what you want to say.
If the voices bother you and you fear going crazy, it's usually a sign that you are ok. I know, pretty strange. But I have worked with people who were very mentally ill and it's much different than what you are experiencing.
How did it go with the new medications last night? It sounded like they worked pretty well before you went to bed! Hopefully, they helped you get a good night's sleep.
Talk to you soon,Kate
Your letter to Linda is great. It explains how you feel and gives her reasons why you feel as you do. I wouldn't change any of it.
I'm glad that the medications did something to help, whatever it was! You needed to have some solid, uninterrupted sleep. Even if you did wake up once, that is better than it has been. And no nightmares is a big bonus! If the bipap machine could help, you might feel a whole lot better during the day. People underestimate how much a good night's sleep helps regulate emotions.
I can tell you Shay that you are not reading my feelings about what you did during your attack. The shame, embarrassment and judgment you feel are your feelings alone. Let me ask this- what would it mean to you if I accepted what you did during the attack and even thought is was brave? What feelings do you experience when you think of that possibility?
I think you transfer your feelings about the attack onto Linda because she not only knows about what happened to you, she is seeing you when you are vulnerable. She cares and she is involved.
I was thinking about your out of body experience and it sounds like you may have depersonalized for a moment. That is a defense mechanism where you can feel outside of yourself, as if you are not part of what is going on. It's a way for your mind to protect itself from the strong emotions related to your trauma. It is not unusual for someone who has experienced trauma to have depersonalization.
It is also ok that you are having the voices. I believe this is directly related to the trauma and although it is frightening, it is not harmful.
It is good news that you will have a whole day to yourself this Saturday! that gives you something to look forward to. You really need some down time. Try not to work too much, though. This would be a great day to pamper yourself and catch up on your rest.
I woke up several times last night, but it was still much better than it has been. I feel so much better this morning than I have all week!
Will Linda know what's happening (the transference or whatever)? What will she say? She is going to think I am going backwards. I did tell her on Monday that I did have some anger towards those guys.
It's going to be so awkward if I go tomorrow.
So - the depersonalization thing makes sense. I think Linda has asked me about that before. When I have told her that sometimes my dreams are like I am watching myself in a movie and sometimes when I have daytime thoughts, it is the same thing, she has asked me a number of times whether that is the way I felt when it was happening - like I was watching it or out of my body. The answer was no, but I gathered it might be common during that kind of situation, since she asked about it so much. But is it common when I am not in the trauma, but just thinking about it? And it's nothing to be worried about, right?
I'm sure you can see, though, how experiencing that and experiencing the voices on Monday made em think I was going crazy. ?? (Plus the way I reacted).
P asked me last night what happened in my session Monday. I just can't tell her. I just told her it went poorly.
I don't know what I would feel if you accepted what I did and thought it was brave. I might think you don't really remember the whole story, maybe. It would mean to me that you are a nice, nonjudgmental person. But I don't understand right now how you could honestly not think I'm at least a slut, if not something worse. I swallowed his urine. I gave the guy a blow job and followed his directions on how to make it feel good to him. I asked for him to have sex with me. I told him I liked it. I laid there on the ground, with my legs spread just waiting for him (do you know hard that is for me to even write, let alone picture n my head?) I moved with him and put my legs around him and said I liked it. I asked him to have anal sex with me. I got on my hands and knees, without him even touching me, and offered that to him. Who does that?
I don't even feel this is a control thing right now -- at least not the intensity with which I have been feeling things since Monday evening. I can't bear to look at myself in the mirror. I feel like if everyone knew what I did, they would stay far away from me, and I wouldn't blame them. I just don't like myself very much right now, I guess.
Linda may agree that you are experiencing transference with your feelings on to her. Every therapist has their way of looking at it, but no matter what she is going to see that you are not to blame for what happened, but that you feel you should be to blame.
What happened to you during the attack is awful. The acts that you were forced to do are horrendous. By themselves, they are meant to be shameful and degrading. That is why the mean one did what he did to you. He wanted to show you how he felt inside. He wanted to make you part of his sickness. In some way, he thought this was the right way to handle how he feels. But these acts that you had to do are not who you are. They were done to make you feel like him, but they are not you. You asked who does things like that? Someone who is trying to survive.
Since you were attacked, you have convinced yourself that these acts represent who you are. They have become part of you because that is how you handled what happened. Your feelings about what you had to do are entrenched and are not easy to change. Linda and I are both telling you that we do not believe the same thing about you that you believe about yourself. But since this has become part of the way you handled the attack, it is hard for you to believe what we are saying. It does not help that your parents drove home the idea that feelings are shameful and weak. This adds to your belief about yourself as shameful.
Depersonalization can happen during an attack, but it's not the only reaction people can have. Some just shut off, some become hysterical, others cry or plead. It involves many factors including background, personality and coping mechanisms. It can also happen at any time either during or after the attack. Both depersonalizing and the voices are trauma reactions. They do not mean you are crazy. You are quite sane.
Do you really think the mean one thought this was the "right way?" Do you think it made him feel better?
But some people do the things I did because they want to, and maybe they can feel good. I myself have thought about doing some of these things or at least trying them at some point, but with someone I love. What does that say about me? What if I did try and I enjoyed it? What does that say about me?
Sometimes I think it would help me if I couldjust feel that pain again, so I could maybe have a better perspective on my choices. But I'm not willing to do that just to try to prove a point to myself. I wonder if I would feel differently if he had not actually hurt me or used the bottle, but had a gun and threatened me with it. ??
You said you don't feel the same way about me that I feel about myself. What DO you believe/feel? If you promise to be honest and not candy-coat things, I will believe you. But if you don't feel like you can say, ethically (or just by preference), without candy-coating, then just don't say.
I think the mean one thought he had a right to do what he did. He may have known it was wrong to do legally , but emotionally he probably felt he had the right to hurt you. He may have even felt it was right, based on what he was exposed to growing up. Many men learn as children that hitting women, putting them down or even raping them is their right. So in that way, the mean one may have felt what is was doing was right.
Yes some people do the things you had to do by choice. But usually when they do, it is usually not because it makes them feel good about themselves but because they learned somewhere that by doing those things they are accepted. Or they feel it is their place to be degraded because they always have been. A lot of women who accept being treated in a degrading way sexually were abused as children.
If you have thought about trying those things with someone you love, that is ok. It could mean that because you view the attack as part of your sexual experience, that you see what was done to you as what is part of a sexual experience. Or you feel you deserve that type of treatment. Have you thought of how your partner might react to your ideas? That is a consideration. Also, doing those things and enjoying them could mean two things- either you feel you deserve being treated this way (degraded) or you made a choice to be treated this way. The point is it would be a choice. Not at all what you had during the attack.
Let's look at it this way- If the mean one had said to you, you can get up and leave, what do you feel you would have done? And if you could repeat what happened to you, would you?
Another thing to consider. If you had enjoyed the attack, why would you be struggling right now? It would not bother you to have done all those things. You would just move on. Instead, you are reacting to what happened by being traumatized. That means what you did was not who you are, but instead the opposite of who you are.
What makes you think I have been candy coating my opinion so far? Being honest with you is important to me. If I am not honest with you, then I cannot help you. Also, I get nothing out of being dishonest with you. How do I benefit by saying "No, Shay you are right. You did this by choice so what is the problem?" Matter or fact, if I was out to hurt you, it would be better if I said that there was nothing wrong with what was done to you.
I understand your fear. But I am not lying to you or even trying to be ethical about my opinion (it would not be ethical for me to lie to you anyway). What I said I mean. This was not your fault.
I dont think I was totally clear. When I said that some people do these kinds of things by choice and maybe because they feel good, and that I had thought about sometime trying some things with someone I love and what if I enjoyed it, I didn't mean the abusive/degrading parts. I didn't mean the bottle or the swallowing urine. I meant having sex and moving and doing the things he told me to do, but maybe actually because I wanted to or enjoyed it, and maybe the oral sex. As far as the other, I can't imagine that being appealing to me, but I do understand that some couples have anal sex because they want to.
I would not want to do anything if my partner was angry or trying to degrade me or hurt me - or probably even if he was pushy at all. From what I understand, and from what I experienced with my HS boyfriend, I imagine that if I ever have sex again, it will hurt, but that's not the same thing.
You are right -- if they would have said I could leave, I would have left. And no, I would not choose to repeat it. Good point, too, about why I am struggling. Of course, part of that is guilt and shame, which one certainly feel even if they wanted to a chose to do something. But I felt I should not have had sex with my HS boyfriend, but I don't really have any issues with that, and I have done a lot of other things of which I'm not proud, but I moved on without a whole lot of difficulty. So I'm sure I would not be having nightmares all this time or now the flashbacks. They do not JUST involve things I did. And I have never been as scared doing sometihng I even kind of wanted or was willing to do.
The thought that you don't think i did ANYTHING wrong, and rally mean that, made me cry. It makes me feel valued.I can't get my head around it, but ....
I am glad that you felt valued, Shay. You are valuable, not just to me, Linda, your friends and family but to God most of all. Try and let some of those thoughts sit with you for a while. It will be hard to believe because of what you have believed about yourself all these years, but it is the truth.