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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate: I think it would be helpful to continue to work on the

Resolved Question:

I think it would be helpful to continue to work on the issues while I sort out things with Linda, unless you don't want to, which I understand.
I have been trolling the after silence forums and such and have read about 5 books on recovery (which, honestly, don't seem to povide much in the way of practical application unless the incident has recently occurred and/or you have a bunch of time you can take off and go stay with your supportive parents and heal, other than the across-the-board suggestion to get into therapy). I keep thinking I'm doing things to help myself, and they backfire. I think maybe because my inclinations about healing are about ignoring things or putting them in a light which makes me feel better or feel nothing. Let's face it -- I m a moron when it comes to these things (thank goodness I have other skills! :) )
So -- if you are willing to work with me --- what do I do next?
Because if I don't keep some kind of momentum going, it will be easy for me to quit (because every fiber in my body is telling me I can just stop and forget anything ever happened and be happy and healthy).
By the way -- I got my bipap machine yesterday. Boy does it have a lot of bells and whistles - and SD card so the doctor can download the info form my mahcine (which also means they can tell if I've actually been wearing it) and it humidifies the air, which is good, and I can set it at different temperatures. But it is going to take some getting used to. I couldn't sleep very well last night,and the mask wasn't uncomfortable -- it was just the whole thing. I think I didn't have much trouble with it there because 91) I took heavier sleeping pills; and (2) considering I had wires taped and pastedall over my body, the mask and tube were the least uncomfortable. So, we'll see. I'm curious to see if it makes a difference once I'm used to it.
Also, I had emailed C on Monday and told him I wanted to take a break from choir and PT. I didn't tell him how long. I just said it would be a while. He emailed me back yesterday and said that was just fine. But since then, in one day, it ends up that I do have to sing this sunday and have to do our duet next Sunday, and uggh. This never works. But if I have a rough evening tonight again, it may be for the best.
Also -- something funny that happened today -- we had an emergency telephone hearing this afternoon on the case where LP and I represent opposing parties. It has happened a number of times in htis case where we were both there for the hearing, both have the transcript, but have totally different opinions about what was ordered. (For the record, I have been right every time). The Judge said somethng today about the fact that LP and I seem to be able to hear the same thing and read the same thing, yet end up with drastically different interpretations. He said, "sometimes I can't imagine how you two were ever partners or even worked in the same firm. How did you even order lunch?" Little does he know .....
Okay, well, let me know what I can do ... and maybe some suggestions on what I could work on tonight, since I will be home alone again (unless I work until 8:30), and don't want to sit around worrying about having another flashback or worrying about my appointment with Linda tomorrow.
Thanks, Kate.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


It's perfectly fine that we work on your issues together. We had been doing that before the situation with Linda so it won't be hard to pick up again.

I do not think you are a moron when it comes to dealing with your feelings. What does happen is that you revert back to what you were taught as a child, repressing what you feel. It is an illusion that ignoring or repressing your feelings makes you healthy and happy. It is like saying you will ignore your bills. You certainly can do that, but eventually it will come back to haunt you and it will be harder to deal with the second time around.

What we work on depends on where you are at this point. Since the situation with Linda came up, how have things changed for you? Are you are still dealing with the nightmares? How are you feeling about the attack?

I'm glad to hear that you finally got the bipap machine. I hear it takes a while to get used to but once you do, it can help a lot. Let me know how it goes.

How do you end up scheduled to sing if you tell C that you don't want to anymore? Does he just schedule you anyway and let you know? What would happen if you tell him you can't make it those days?

That is funny about you and LP! Won't that judge be surprised when the two of you end up together again?

Don't work too hard tonight!


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Funny that you brought up people ignoring their bills, considering the fact that I do a lot of bankruptcy law. I'll have to ask some of my clients sometime whether ignoring their bills gives them the illusion of being rich. :)

As far as where I am right now, the nightmares have been better since I started the clonazapam and mirapex. I have had some, but not every night. But with that, I started having them when I nap, which used to be extremely rare. But that's easily remedied by not napping. :)

I was super upset, as you know, with what happened when we tried the EMDR, and that night I did have a bad nightmare, and the whole incident was more present in my mind, waking and sleeping, I guess because it got really stirred up. But along with that, I was very upset about my reaction and feeling like I was stuck there and hearing the voices and the whole floating-above-my-head thing. I felt like my mind betrayed me again. And since then, when I think about it, the whole shame thing is much worse. The guilt maybe is the same, but the shame was becoming unbearable. But I have tried not to think about it, and have been able to more since last Monday, when I felt like my session with Linda went so horribly. And I haven't had to think about the real issues much since I've been so worried about the whole thing with Linda, although I came out of Monday's session feeling ashamed more about other stuff. About how I am feeling about the thing that happened, I don't know. I haven't thought about it a whole lot lately. But like last night, when I had no choice, I was thinking afterwards: "how did that even happen? how could that be real?" Then I was thinking (and am kind of thinking right now): "how is it possible that this one thing so many years ago even bothers me in the slightest? This is ridiculous." And the thing is, I'm not really sure what about it bothers me. If I try to break it down, it makes no sense. Like: (1) I was physically injured. So what? I'm fine now. There are a lot of things that would have hurt a lot worse. I've been physically injured before -- I don't think about those times any more. (2) it was on purpose - not an accident or sports thing -- again, I have been punched before. That was on purpose. Doesnn't bother me anymore. (3) they r***d me. Okay. Break that down, and it is forcing me to have sex, right? I had sex before that, and although I now think that wasn't a great judgment call, I can accept it as just that. And why does it matter so much that I didn't really want to do it? (4) I said and did things I didn't want to or didn't mean. Well, at the basic level, it's not like I never lied before or said something I didn't mean, to avoid hurting someone's feelings or to get out of trouble when I was younger, or whatever. (5) i swallowed urine and blood and experienced some other not-so-great things. Okay. I have eaten pretty disgusting meatloaf that probably tasted worse.

But, see, logic doesn't work here. I can't seem to grasp why I am so bothered by what happened, yet can't explain it away to myself. It seems so "large" for me, yet it was a few hours out of thosands, and to see it as the big deal I sometimes feel it is seems overdramatic. I read all of the things people post on after silence and stuff, and it's hard to believe I am "one of them," although some of the things they say, I just somehow innately understand and realate to. And I have begun ( a while ago) to recognize just how abnormal it is for me not to have had sex, other than that, in my 20's or 30's and I feel like it's somehow wrong that I kind of want to.

So -- to answer your question -- I guess I'm just going around in circles still. :)

About the singing thing --- it's a long story. It's not like C "schedules" me to sing -- there are technically 2 praise teams, and they are scheduled for alternating weeks, but I am on both, so I'm supposed to sing every Sunday. He said it was fne if I took a break from both choir and PT, but at that time told me he wasnts us to sing our song from our Easter program soon. I told him I would, if he would tell me ahead of time, and I woudl come to practice on that Wed night, if he agreed to practice that song first so I could leave. He agreed. But then he told P last night that he had to move things around and wanted to do that song this Sunday. Fine. P told him that I would probably come to choir tonight if he promised to practice that first, then I could leave. He agreed. He called me today and we had the same conversation. P told me last night that no singers showed up at PT last night at all (various reasons, none of it my problem) - but C said today that he still didn't know what he was going to do about singers Sunday. Since i only gave him a short warning about my "break" and since I would have to be there early Sunday anyway to do a mic check and practice our song, I agreed to sing on PT - because I'll be there anyway. But then he had CG (the other girl who sings wih me on that song) call me and tell me he had to reset things again, and we won't be doing it until next Sunday. She then emailed me and said he still needed me for PT Sunday, and then C called and said the same things, and that he really needed me still on Sunday. But now, since I have to go early again next Sunday, I might as well sing on PT ..... It was my own fault and got convoluted. but it seems like C refuses to get someone else to be on the other team, even, or to fill in for me. Does he think he needs to keep me close or to keep an eye on me or something?

Well, I need to get some more work done. :)

Thanks, Kate.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


You mentioned that your mind betrayed you during the EMDR, like your mind is a different entity than who you are. It is an interesting perspective because it means that there is some distancing between you and what is happening with your feelings.

You also talked about feeling a lot more shame since the incident with Linda. But you have put it aside for now. But in order to heal, that part needs attention (when you feel ready).

And your feelings about the attack seem to have been put aside as well. You say you have a hard time believing that the attack even happened and that although you identify with the other people on the forum, you still see yourself as separate.

Breaking down the attack and challenging yourself as to why it still bothers you is a way to try to intellectualize what happened. Like if you can find reasons why it should not bother you, then you can move on without having to deal with how you feel. That comes from what you learned as a child. Pushing away your emotions is how you should handle everything is what you were taught. And since the trauma is a very emotional event, it is even more imperative that you push it aside.

There is no logic to what happened to you. It makes no sense why you were attacked, why they did what they did and the aftermath. But how you reacted makes a lot of sense. It is not normal to be sexually assaulted. It is not normal to have to drink urine or be forced to have sex with people you do not know. It is not normal to be forced to fear for your life. So reacting with strong emotions is perfectly normal. That is why you are having a lot of trouble intellectualizing it.

It sounds like C might want to respect your need for space! Hopefully, he is just having trouble organizing himself and will be able to give you the time you need soon. If not, you may have to be more firm with him to get what you need.

Good night, Shay!


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I want to distance myself from what is happening with my feelngs. That seems natural to me. But more and more, I can't. It's all melting together. But when that happened the night we were trying the EMDR, that was disturbing. Obviously, my mind went somewhere -- not me. And my mind heard the voices -- they weren't really there. And apparently, when my mind had had enough, it decided to fly above my head. These do not seem like normal things a normal person does. Have any of those things ever happened to you? It's freaky and it made me feel like I must be crazy.

I have put aside a lot of the stuff that was becoming more real or more present -- since the whole issue arose with Linda. Part of it is that I welcome any distraction/excuse to not think about it,I think, and part of it is self-preservation. I can't trust how I will deal with it, and I can't trust Linda to help me (it's not, in reality, that black-and-white - I am oversimplifying here, but you get the point). It has been really risky to let myself feel some of this stuff, and I can't risk it right now, I guess.

And I go back and forth -- it's not like I am always thinking "how could this have really happened." t's like feel right in the middle of it and there is no denying it -- but then I take a step back and think "really?" it seems so weird. And it seems so incongruent with my life --- even since it happened. It's like I had it so compartmentalized that it WAS a separate thing -- and so separate that it's hard to reconcile that it happened and happened to me. That's the thing that really "snapped" for me in talking to Dr. M a few months ago --- not to be crass, but it suddenly ocurred to me right after that telephone conversaton that I was REALLY just having a REAL conversation with my doctor about how a guy penetrating me with a broken bottle could have caused death, and the ways a broken bottle being used for anal penetration caneasily cause death. Like it was hard to believe I was having a serious conversation about that with someone - and it was about me. The realization kind of knocked the wind out of me. Weird. It's hard, sometimes, to look at it as a real thing that happened to me. Maybe because it's ben such a long time?

And you are right --- there is no logic, no sense to the whole thing. that's what I was saying -- I try to break it down in my mind, but it can't be rationalized, it seems, first of all; and second, the whole seems so much bigger than its parts.

Do you think I would be/feel so damaged if everything that happened had happened, except for them having sex with me?

You know how you said once that the nightmares and/or flashbacks mean that the feelings need to come out and they are going to come out somehow? I think that's right. Did you or your kids ever have that toy "slime"? Pretty disgusting and smelled really chemically --- but we used to shove 2 "cans" worth of slime into one of the plastic cans, and then poke holes with tacs all over the can. Nothing would happen at first, but the slime would start coming out one hole then more and more --- and sometimees, if the holes were close enough together, once it started coming out the holes, the plasttic between them would break and a big blob would come out. ind of what this reminds me of -- it's like I have too much crap in there, and am trying to keep the lid on, but it's seeping out any crack it can and making a big mess. I know I should learn that it is much less messy if I just open the lid, it's not that easy to me.

I agree C needs to respect my need for a break. I just think he -- I'm not sure what I think. But I need to set and keep my own boundaries as well. The key, I think, is starting --- and convince him that I really am not showing up for a while. But a lot of it IS his lack of organization. It drives me insane sometimes.

Well, I got a ton accomplished today. I think I will go home and have at least a little time by myself before P gets back home. I'll take some work, though, in case I can't get to sleep or in case I start getting all worried about my appointment with Linda tomorrow.

By the way -- I decided to just go in and talk to her - and like you said, not to put pressure on myself to raise all the issues in one session. I think I will just tell her I have been upset since our last session and I want to say some things. i don't know what I'll start with -- probably the things she said and what I felt last time, and by not seeming so invested in our work anymore (since she has no clue, whereas she obviously knows there are issues from trying the EMDR). Not sure how I will put it. I'm not going to worry about it right now -- it's just making me angry and feel embarassed about what happened last week. ack.

Okay, well, hope you sleep well!

Hasta Manana.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Kate. Don't mean to fill your inbox, but I just wanted to connect. The stuff we were discussing today and the flashback last night I think stirred things up. Something feels wrong.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


I understand how upset you feel about what happened during EMDR. But I can reassure you that you are not crazy and what happened to you is very normal. There are many people who live with those symptoms every day because of trauma they have experienced. It is dissociation and probably a flashback in the middle of it. It would feel very overwhelming and re traumatize you, which is exactly what you are experiencing.

It's ok that you have put some of this aside since the incidents with Linda. You may no longer feel you are safe enough to feel or express your feelings because that safety net (Linda) is no longer reliable. You are just reacting normally to the situation by protecting yourself and pushing the trauma away for now.

What you have done since the attack is distance yourself from it. It is a way to depersonalize it so it does not seem real. This is a way to defend yourself from experiencing the emotions connected to it. The mind protects itself by keeping the reality of the situation at arm's length so you do not feel overwhelmed by the nature of what happened to you. And it is easier for you to do that since you were taught to repress your feelings as a child. But now that you are facing what happened, it is getting harder to repress so the two worlds are blending.

I like your analogy with the slime! It's a great description of what happens when you have something like a trauma. Your mind can contain it only for so long then the "holes" appear and it starts to come out, often as a flood. Anxiety, depression and nightmares are just some ways that people express trauma after trying to repress it.

I do think you still would be traumatized even if those guys did not have sex with you. People experience trauma in many ways and the symptoms are there regardless of what type of trauma it is. But it's hard to tell how you would have reacted without the sexual assault. There still would be symptoms but they might be slightly different.

It sounds like a plan with Linda. You can't put yourself under too much pressure over this. As long as you get out what you need to and have your needs addressed, it doesn't matter how you do it.

You mentioned that you feel something is wrong. What do you feel it is?

I hope you had a good night. I like your sign off. I had to look it up though! I'm no good at Spanish!


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I don't know what it is. Something just feels wrong.
Last night wasn't great again. My whole body hurt for some unknown reason and I couldnt get comfortable. I took my mask off, which I'm not supposed to do, but it was just making me more uncomfortable. I still hurt all over this morning, for no apparent reason, and something still feels wrong.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
PS - I did take Spanish all through HS and took Spanish and Japanese in college. If it had ever entered my mind that I might someday move to NM, I would have paid much more attention!
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
Do you feel it is emotional or physical?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
It sounds like you may be very tense for some reason. It could be the stress you have been under with the situation with Linda. Or it could be that you are more worried about your session today than you thought.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I was rambling, so I don't think I was being very clear. It was the emotional, not the physical, that I was talking about when I said I felt something was wrong (although I do understand that sometimes they are connected). But it occurred to me to take my temperature, and I have a fever, so that's one mystery solved.

Linda called me this morning before I left the house. I wasn't going to answer it, but I thought maybe she was canceling our appointment, since she rarely calls on my home phone. She was acting all weird saying was I okay, because she hadn't heard from me and I had missed my appointment earlier this week. I told her we didn't have an appointment until this evening. She said she had had me down also for Tuesday, but maybe we never ended up making a decision on that last week. I told her that she had told me she had a possible availability Tuesday, but I told her I didn't think I could make it then because I had an appointment an hour earlier and didn't think I'd be done in time to get there, so we set our appointment for today. (I didn't remind her that this arose in the first place because she gave my normal Monday session time to someone else). But she was being weird saying that she'd left me a message on my phone but I hadn't called back, and she wanted to make sure I was doing okay, etc. I thought "dude, I'm on my way out and I have my phone on silent .Give me a few minutes, I would have called you back." But then when I was checking my phone, I realized she had also called Tuesday evening (apparently when she thought I was supposed to be there) and left me a message, also saying that she never got a letter from me. Oops. So that made more sense. I'll have to let her know this evening that I really wasn't ignoring her - I didn't know I had a message from her. Oh well. It kind of worked me up just talking to her on the phone, though.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It's good that Linda did call. It gave you a chance to kind of get a warm up to your appointment later.

It sounds like Linda senses something is going on between you. Either she feels it from you not calling her back or it's because of last week and she is not sure how to approach it.

I'm glad you figured out why you were feeling so odd. Do you think you have an infection?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Who knows? I hardly ever get sick, and I have no clue what kind of infection I would have ?? I think my stomach has been bleeding again; can that cause a fever? It's only 99.9. My regular temp is 96.8 (don't know why it's not the normal 98.6), so it's still not too bad. I'll try to find some tylenol around here.

I really don't think Linda sensed anything was awry when I left my session last Monday -- mostly because I wasn't mad or upset or hurt until I thought about it after I left. I think she sensed something was up, because I didn't drop off the letter had said on my message I intended to, and I didn't return her call from Tuesday, and in her mind, she thought I just didn't show up to an appointment, none of which I've ever done before. And although I was nice on the phone this morning, i was confused (because I didn't know she'd left me a message earlier in the week) and I was a little irritated that she couldn't keep her appointments straight, so I'm sure she knows now that somehing is up. But that's good - even if it is based on her thinking I got her message and purposely didn't call her back -- because at least she probably won't immediately launch into giddy banter like usual, so I won't have to reign her in to tell her that I'm upset. Any way it goes, I think it will be fine.

I don't know what kind of church you attend, but do you do sing contemporary praise songs? Do you know Hillsong's "The Stand"? I was just listening to that. I love that song. I really like playing drums with our band and singing it at the top of my lungs while I play (when I have no mic, of course):) If you've not hear dit, try to pull it up on youtube or something. It's a cool song.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You should also check out "Until the Whole World Hears" by Casting Crowns and "Your Grace Is Enough" by Chris Tomlin, if you don't know those. Those are my 2 favorite ones to play on the drums.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

You may want to call your doctor about your fever. That doesn't sound good.

If you get a chance, let me know how it goes with Linda tonight.

We do sing contemporary songs but I'm not sure I have heard the one you named. I need to look it up to see.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I'll call my doctor later if I'm not feeling better. I'm just relieved there's a reason I felt bad.

My appointment with Linda isn't until 5, so I'll let you know, but you may not get it until tomorrow morning.

Yeah -- check out those 3 songs (I sent you the names of 2 others after my initial post)

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
Sounds good!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Others of my recent favorite Christian songs you should check out:

1. Amazing Love (You are My King) - Chris Tomlin;

2. Amazing grace (My Chains Are Gone) - Chris Tomlin;

3. From the Inside Out - Hillsong;

4. He Reigns - Newsboys;

5. You Never Let Go - Matt Redmon;

6. I Shall Believe - Matt Brouwer (NOT the Cheryl Crow version :) );

7. For the First Time Again - ***** *****.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the list! I'll take a look at them.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm a little nervous about my appointment.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
What do you feel might happen?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I don't know. That's what makes me nervous. If I already knew, I wouldn't be nervous :)

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

what do YOU think is going to happen?

Usually when I worry, things work out much better than I expected, though.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well, I'm taking off now.
Hasta Luego.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
worrying usually means that it will turn out better, though I'm not sure how that works!

I think you will do fine. You just need to focus on getting your needs met. As long as you can tell Linda that you feel hurt and want to try to find a way to repair this situation, it should work out.

Don't be afraid of being honest. As long as you can tell her in a gentle but firm way that this needs addressed and that you need answers, she should respond well.

It sounds like from your interactions with her that she seems almost nervous and jumpy lately. I am wondering if something personal is going on with her or if this is just part of her personality. Not that it matters so much in getting what you need, but it might help to know that it has nothing to do with you.

I think Linda will want to work this out with you. She cares what happens to you and may just be unsure of how to proceed. But getting some of your questions answered and clearing the air will help you both move on. It may be that this ends up being good for your relationship in the long run.

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