Prolonged Exposure Therapy…

… is a beast! I have never felt so very run down. The aftermath feels like the flu, insomnia, and migraines all rolled into one. Don’t know what prolonged exposure therapy is? Let me tell you. It is a therapy method for PTSD where you will describe your trauma, from beginning to end, with as much detail as you can possibly remember, in first person, and it is recorded. Your homework in between sessions is to listen to yourself. REALLY listen to yourself. I had never had flashbacks before. I would get flashes or feelings from time to time and I would stuff those down as best I could. Now, it is like I’m convulsing. My body remembers what it was doing. I’m like a puppet and my memory has the strings. It is the weirdest thing I’ve experienced. Part two of my homework is to pretty much induce a panic attack, acknowledge it in all its glory, and calm myself while still in the midst of what I’m scared of. I have to do both of these things every day until my next session. Then we record again, pick a new task, wash, rinse, repeat.

My logical self knows that this is needed. I feel a change in me. Really really feel it. I’m not sure it is good or not yet, but something is stirring in the dark cave of my brain. I know that the only way out is through. I can do this. I will do this.

I have a non logical self as well. I see her as a 12 year old me. She’s hurt. She’s trying to hide. She just wants the pain to stop. Can’t we just be quiet again and let all this dust and debris settle?

No, little one. We can’t. But, I guarantee you are safe. You’ve already gone through the worst, and survived. We just need to remember, and create a whole memory that can be filed away. We need a beginning, middle, and end before we close the story.

I want to hug her. We’re going to be alright.

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Healing… slowly

So here’s something new and exciting. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. My therapist had an educated hunch, and in a session, she was guiding my memories from here to there and Boom! I curled in a ball and began sobbing. It was like I was a puppet. I didn’t make me do that, it just kind of happened. After we calmed me down and got me back in the present, she said, “I’m confident in my diagnosis. We can start discussing treatment options next session”.

Now, this is some nutty stuff for me, like it’ll challenge a whole lot of things that I’ve held as true for decades. Apparently, PTSD also causes my disconnect that I have between what I know and what I feel. And add to the list my obsessing, feelings of self-loathing, anxiety, depression, weight… All of this lousy stuff I’ve been carrying around and labeling as part of my personality. I’m a whole better me, underneath. I just need her help to get me there now.

I am eager and terrified all at once. It is a peculiar feeling. I know treatment will help me and make things a whole lot better. Yay! I know it is going to be way harder than my last session and it felt miserable and near impossible. Boo! She says that I agree with her suggestions far faster than she thought I would. My answer is simply that I know that she’s right, and although I don’t want to go through more pain, I know it will truly be better on the other side. She likes my logical approach.

In other news, I have reinstated my weekly goals. They are tiny ones because I am so far off my healthy living wagon that I can’t even catch up with a scooter. If I go back to all my changes I made at once, then I’ll be overwhelmed and crash out. Three cheers for self awareness! This week (I’m on day 2) I will make my step goal of 10k steps every day. I’m also trying to log my food and water again, but I’m not forcing it or being strict with it just yet. I’m going baby steps so that I don’t freak me out and rebel… against myself. Weird crap right there. One of my future goals will be to battle my processed sugar intake. Gummies and Twizzlers shouldn’t be a main food group, but there they are. I bought a dehydrator yesterday. My banana chips are fantastic and I have strawberries going now. I know we still have sugar there, but it feels less evil and processy. Plus! I’ll be able to make my own trail mixes that I won’t be allergic to since I won’t be dousing them in preservatives.

That’s all for now. Just a quick update. I hope everyone is doing well 🙂

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