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Treatment, Self-Help & Recovery => Treatment => Therapy => Topic started by: Deep Blue on September 08, 2019, 07:36:59 PM

Title: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 08, 2019, 07:36:59 PM
Hello all,
Itís been awhile since I posted anywhere but my own journal but I have been working really hard and I want to talk about it.  (I hope this isnít too long) Iíll try to break it up if it gets too long.

Since May my T and I have started doing exposure therapy.  For those who donít know, most of my abuse was physical and emotional.  The 2 led to a strange combination and I became obedient and now, 20 years later, I still struggle with some triggers.
1. Belts
2. Being bound or restrained in any sort of way
3. People being in the trunks of cars.

Why I struggle with all these can be guessed and I donít want to get into it.

óóóóóóóóóó-
The last month and a half we started dealing with the trunk. Exposure therapy began by first me writing about my own experiences.  Sights, smells, sounds, etc.

Then we watched a couple video clips that were supposed to be funny.  16 candles has a scene where 2 nerds are in a trunk.

Then we watched a ďsocial experimentĒ in the what would you do sort of style.

It wasnít till we watched a video of a reporter getting in the trunk and she talked about what she saw around her that things came to a halt for me.

It took me about 4 weeks to be able to watch the video without having a pretty massive reaction.

Good news is, Iím done with the trunk now.  I have not had any nightmares of being in a trunk or flashbacks for over a month now.

Next step is dealing with being restrained.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 08, 2019, 07:42:33 PM
Restraint therapy:
So week 1 my homework was to write about 1 memory.  Just 1 and we are going to talk about it.

Iím noticing something that is really really hard and Iím trying to learn how to deal with it.

Sometimes the flashbacks and memories hit me with anxiety.  I get panic attacks, canít sleep, become on edge.

Other times the memories cause me to get really really depressed.  Iím noticing that being restrained seems to fall more in the depression response.

Iím not sure what it means, itís just where I am at now. 

Thanks to anyone who managed to get through all that.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on September 08, 2019, 07:48:54 PM
It sounds like tough going, but I'm really impressed that you've not had nightmares or flashbacks about that particular trigger for so long. Progress! :applause:

Sending you a supportive hug if that helps.  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Three Roses on September 08, 2019, 09:30:27 PM
You're brave to be looking at these issues. It's not easy.

I'll just share that, for me anyway, my depression seems to be... Idk how to say it... Like, anger that I feel I can't express? Like, it's safer to get depressed than to feel the anger underneath; it feels like it could swallow me and everything around me.

Or, maybe, it's "permissible" to get depressed but "angry" is still taboo...?  :Idunno:

You have certainly made a huge amount of effort and progress, imo. So glad you're here.  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 08, 2019, 09:55:11 PM
Funny that you say that 3R.
To me, anger is an easier emotion to feel. Anger feels good to me.  Anger feels like I have power, like i have fire to protect myself.

Depression makes me feel helpless, needy and unwanted. It makes me want to SH, makes me want to sleep sleep sleep or drink  :stars:

Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on September 09, 2019, 03:05:23 AM
hey, db,

first, kudos to you for going thru this, and beginning to conquer it.  well done!   :thumbup:

an interesting thought came to my mind.  the abuse that you are speaking of all deals w/ keeping you helpless, without power, and no way to protect yourself.  stop me if i'm wrong here.  that type of obedience, then, would fall into the same category - can't help yourself, can't prevent it, can't resist in any way. 

you also described depression  as feeling helpless, needy, and unwanted.  it seems to me that undergoing such abuse, and the trauma that comes with it, would engender the same feelings as the depression.  maybe, even tho anger feels easier to you, it is an emotion that encompasses the exact opposite of what you felt during the abuse.  maybe, depression about it is the more comfortable of the two emotions, because it is similar to your feelings during the abuse. 

we often turn to what's comfortable, even if it doesn't help us, because it's familiar.  anger at such behavior toward you would be uncomfortable, because it wasn't allowed.  not allowed because it would be a form of resistance, which wasn't possible in your obedient state.  (i'm just thinking off the top of my head).   it would make sense to me that feeling weak and helpless when going thru these experiences again during exposure therapy is part of the trauma, part of what your brain stored while experiencing them originally. 

maybe i'm way off course here.  i'm trying to make sense of it, cuz sometimes that helps me w/ my own feelings or lack of them.  our brains have been our protectors for so long, under such adverse circumstances, that they help us survive even the triggers now toward what happened back then.  20 yrs., or 200 yrs., i don't think it matters until there's a shift, like there seems to have been with the trunk scenario.  for that i congratulate you on the difficult work it took to make that shift happen. :yes:

all credit to you, db, for undertaking such a difficult route to healing.    you are amazing, as is the work you've done.  thank you for sharing.  love and hugs, always.   :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jdog on September 09, 2019, 12:36:18 PM
DB-

I am getting ready to dress and get off to work, but just wanted to add my congrats for all your brave work.  You are climbing a tall mountain with grace, and sharing the journey here is likely to really help others.

Thanks and sending you  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on September 09, 2019, 05:17:30 PM
Very brave work that you've done.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 09, 2019, 09:34:31 PM
Itís not ok! Iím not ok! I hate this depression thing.  Therapy today made me really sad. Iím worthless

Please someone find me and pick me up! I just want to fast forward to when Iím done with this trigger.  :Idunno:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on September 09, 2019, 10:21:46 PM
I wish I could fast forward you through this. I wish I could take the pain and fear away. You are precious. One moment at a time, dear Deep Blue.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Hope67 on September 09, 2019, 10:32:44 PM
Dear Deep Blue,
I'm with you, I'd pick you up, try to keep you safe.  I agree with Notalone that you are precious and we are standing with you through this.   :grouphug:
Hope  :)
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jdog on September 09, 2019, 11:12:13 PM
Please just focus on your breath, and know that we are here.  One thing at a time.  You are loved.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on September 10, 2019, 04:15:51 AM
<fetches you a blanket and a comforting cup of tea>

You are worthy, Deep Blue. One step at a time. You can do this. Sending you a :hug: if that helps.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Blueberry on September 10, 2019, 07:29:41 AM
You are worthy and I'm standing with you Deep Blue
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Kizzie on September 10, 2019, 05:56:09 PM
Here too Deep Blue and standing with you as you go through this  :grouphug: 

Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 13, 2019, 01:55:59 AM
Thanks all for not letting me disappear.  I read and reread your posts during the worst of it.

So therapy was Monday and Iím noticing myself start to stabilize again today.  So Iím wondering if the patten is that it takes a few days to get my feet back under me each time.  Gosh I really would prefer my down days to be over the weekend, that way I can sleep or do more self care.

The fact that I seem to re-stabilize after a few days is promising. I hope to remember it if I go into the depression again
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on September 13, 2019, 02:23:34 AM
Glad you are feeling your feet underneath you again.  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Kizzie on September 13, 2019, 04:24:49 PM
 :grouphug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jdog on September 13, 2019, 05:28:39 PM
Happy to hear your positive update!
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Three Roses on September 14, 2019, 06:24:46 PM
Glad to hear you're feeling better! As far as having your recuperating days fall on the weekend - can you reschedule your appointments for Fridays?  :Idunno:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Kizzie on September 15, 2019, 04:14:14 PM
 :yeahthat:    :thumbup:   
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 22, 2019, 01:13:05 PM
So it wasnít till I was in my session Monday that my T pointed out I had dissociated the whole of the week before .  It just disappeared.  She told me what I had written to her and I argued that it was weeks ago. We looked back and uhhhh she was right.

I dissociated for a whole week and hadnít realized it  :stars:  It was strange to not have realized it either.  She asked me what I did, and it was so fuzzy I barely remembered.  Crazy cuz my memory is usually pretty good with that stuff.  so she made another appointment for me on Wednesday.

I was nervous on Wednesday.  I didnít want to dissociate again.  We didnít do exposure this week per se.  I read an entry but just to find out the belief and what seems to trigger the depression.

So yeah, back tomorrow. Deep breath
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jazzy on September 23, 2019, 12:09:33 AM
That sounds pretty intense. I hope tomorrow goes better for you. Remember to give your T some feedback about how you are handling things. There is no rush to fix it all up immediately.

Take care Deep Blue! :)
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jdog on September 23, 2019, 02:14:09 AM
Iím pulling for you, my teacher friend.  Deep breaths, and donít forget some self compassion.  This stuff isnít easy.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on September 23, 2019, 01:06:04 PM
with you all the way on this.  i echo what everyone says.  hang tough, ok?  you are so brave w/ this - like jdog says, this stuff isn't easy.  sending love and a hug filled w/ strength.   :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Kizzie on September 23, 2019, 03:00:04 PM
 :grouphug:  Deep Blue!
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: MoonBeam on September 24, 2019, 01:45:45 PM
Thinking of you Deep Blue.  :grouphug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 25, 2019, 12:06:08 AM
Ugh,
Went to therapy yesterday and fought fought fought not to dissociate again.  The world got fuzzy and I went to bed early.

I guess you canít really fight it.  Iím dissociated again.  Autopilot all day today.... not ideal cuz I have a ton of stuff to do. 

Also a note, shaving my legs when dissociated is a bad idea. 
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on September 25, 2019, 01:13:27 AM
Deep Blue,

You did not do anything wrong by dissociating. As others have said, these are painful, heavy issues you are dealing with.  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: MoonBeam on September 26, 2019, 09:20:24 PM
Deep Blue, I've been thinking about your post and the concept of fighting not to dissociate. I try to stay present, but when it kicks in, it kicks in and no matter how badly I want to stay present, I just can't.  I've been thinking, it happens when I don't feel safe (maybe its not that simple. I don't know). I'm wondering if I come out of it when I start to feel safe again? I can't say that I've been able to link the end of the dissociative episode with the feeling of safety, but I'm wanting to explore this more. I think I want to ask myself, what will make me feel safe right now, when I start to feel the spaciness, the inability to focus--when it begins...  Is it human connection i need, self care, crawling into my bed with covers over me, movement?
With delving into the kind of deep work you are doing it seems totally appropriate to dissociate. Maybe it will happen less as you journey or come on slower or last less time as you move ahead.

Thank you for sharing your journey. The work you are doing is tremendous. I think of you often--your strength, courage and healing. You are so incredibly brave.  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 26, 2019, 10:44:36 PM
MoonBeam,
Thanks for that.  You hit on something big there.  I donít feel safe. I need some human connection to get out of it. I will call a friend and talk to them to try and stay mindful.  Thanks  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on September 27, 2019, 06:07:58 PM
Quote
You are so incredibly brave.
:yeahthat:

I have the deepest respect for what you're doing.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 28, 2019, 12:50:23 AM
Thanks snowdrop,
So what Iím noticing is that most of what Iím fighting lately is the dissociation.

Itís frustrating because I need my wits about me.  Iím currently working full time as a teacher, being a parent, and taking 2 online classes at the masters level.  I need to pass them to be able to teach a class that my principals scheduled me to teach.

The problem is that it is too much.  Stress gets added and my brain gets foggy.  I was 3 pages into a paper today when I realized I was answering the wrong prompt   :stars:   So depressing! I had to chuck it and start from scratch. 

Itís hard to focus and buckle down on the online coursework when Iíve got the darn fog of dissociation ya know?

Trying to hang tough and fight the urge. Trying to take deep breaths and get extra sleep
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: MoonBeam on September 28, 2019, 04:51:12 PM
Deep Blue, yeah, that's a lot on your plate and would be a struggle for someone without all the extra we have to deal with. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You really are doing amazing work and getting stronger with each step from what I can see in your journaling.
 
Dissociation, what was once my safety net has become a huge disruption in my life, it renders me dysfunctional, when I feel I can't afford any more dysfunction. I have to show up, no matter what. I wish I had a magic wand that could put it all right. I just have to have faith that the more I strive to work through my trauma and learn new ways of coping, of taking care of me, of understanding the connection to safety and the difference between the past and the present, my brain, my being will also see how the dissociative way of coping is not helping me anymore and slowly start to fall away.

Big  :hug: to you and so much respect.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on September 29, 2019, 05:14:15 AM
i agree - one step, then the next, and the next.  i know you've got this.  you're juggling so much right now.   :stars: 

we're with you all the way.  love and a hug filled with amazement!   :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on September 29, 2019, 06:00:17 PM
Ok guys!!!! I have to brag here!!!

Today I was watching a new tv show.  The show began with a woman in the trunk of a car.  My heart rate went up, BUT!!!! No panic attack, no crippling anxiety.  I just took a breath and was ok.

Thatís progress  :yes:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on September 29, 2019, 06:06:47 PM
Oh wow! That's huge progress! :applause: :cheer:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on September 29, 2019, 06:16:36 PM
Enormous progress.  :party: :waveline:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Blueberry on September 29, 2019, 06:44:13 PM
Huge progress! Wow!  :yes:  :thumbup: :applause:

:cheer: :cheer: :cheer:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Three Roses on September 29, 2019, 08:37:58 PM
Wow!   :)). Great job, you!  :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Kizzie on September 30, 2019, 02:59:42 PM
 :grouphug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jdog on October 01, 2019, 04:33:58 AM
 :grouphug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: MoonBeam on October 03, 2019, 02:36:59 AM
Deep Blue, you are such an inspiration!    :cheer: :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on October 04, 2019, 12:29:47 AM
Thanks you guys.  I appreciate all your praise but Iím quite sure I donít deserve it.

This past week has been pretty good. 

I had therapy today and we are still working on restraint.  I hate every second of it but it will be worth it right? 


***Trigger warning *****



Sometimes I wish none of it happened to me.  I know that sounds selfish.  Why did I have to be tied and left there? Why was I gagged and shoved in a closet.  Why was I tied ankles to wrists? Itís crushing
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on October 04, 2019, 01:26:17 AM
You do deserve the praise. You've done a lot of brave, hard work.

Wishing it didn't happen is not selfish at all. I also wish it didn't happen to you.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: MoonBeam on October 04, 2019, 04:07:43 AM
Oh Deep Blue, You are an inspiration in the hard times as much as the victorious! You do deserve praise.

I'm so sorry those things happened to you. I am so sorry. I feel your pain and the great strength it took to survive. And here you are, a sovereign being, reclaiming your life, working through all the hard things, so you can be one with you. The simple fact that you are here now, beautiful and strong--as I know you are, is testament to all you have walked through. You will persevere. Your strength has no bounds.

One piece at a time. That's the safest way through. You are doing great. 

So much respect and appreciation for you.  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on October 04, 2019, 09:34:57 PM
db, i don't see anything selfish about wishing something bad didn't happen to you.   of course! we all wish this stuff hadn't happened to any of us!  it's too terrible and horrible to contemplate.

you deserve praise as much as anyone.  expression of approval, commendation, a compliment - that's what the dictionary says.  folks are telling you that they commend what you are doing, what you're going thru in order to heal from the horrors of your past.  there are so many who don't, for whatever reason.  those of us who do are admired by the rest of us because we know what it takes, and what it takes out of us, to face this beast head-on.   >:D

your strength, your warrior spirit, your shining courage are all showing as you continue on this very rough road.  you are to be praised for keeping on with this, as painful and awful as it might be at the time.  you are getting thru it, showing a beautiful example of what can be done by an undaunted human spirit.  you truly are an inspiration for the rest of us.  thank you so much.  love you, friend.  sending a hug filled with all the praise it can carry  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on November 14, 2019, 04:30:02 PM
Feeling nervous already today. We supposed to tackle some exposure with my trauma of being tied up.

I donít want to... I donít want to... I donít want to...

I was hoping that there would not be suitable images or videos to show me today.  Iím still hoping that....

Iím just scared 😨  and could use some comfort please.  What if I crash and burn tonight? What if it is too hard? What if I dissociate again?

Barf
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snookiebookie2 on November 14, 2019, 04:37:51 PM
I can totally understand how you're feeling  :aaauuugh:

Sending you a hug  :hug:

I hope get through it all right.  Perhaps you could explain how you feel - which is totally understandable.  Hopefully you'll be made to feel safe and guided through the process.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on November 14, 2019, 04:49:58 PM
I have so much respect for you for going to exposure therapy and facing these things. I'd be terrified, and I don't know if I could do it. But you can and you have.

I've just re-read your post from September 29th on this thread, and it's remarkable. You faced an unexpected trigger, and you were ok. That's huge progress.

I understand your nervousness and fear, but you're not alone. You're in safe hands with the therapist, you're strong, and we're all standing with you in solidarity.

:hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Three Roses on November 14, 2019, 05:36:46 PM
You are stronger than you know. You've been through stuff that might have literally destroyed anyone else. We all have. We should never forget that. We are here, we are strong, and we are courageous.

You're a wonderful human, Deep Blue.   :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on November 14, 2019, 10:15:49 PM
Sat outside... didnít want to go in today.

Then.... we didnít. No exposure happened. I wasted a whole session and feel empty inside.

Maybe Iím irreparably broken? Maybe Iím spinning my wheels? Maybe Iím a waste of space.  :Idunno:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Blueberry on November 14, 2019, 10:25:57 PM
Dear Deep Blue,

Not going in is legitimate! It's not a waste!

You are certainly not a waste of space!  :hug:  :grouphug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Perplex on November 14, 2019, 10:30:18 PM
Sat outside... didnít want to go in today.

Then.... we didnít. No exposure happened. I wasted a whole session and feel empty inside.

Maybe Iím irreparably broken? Maybe Iím spinning my wheels? Maybe Iím a waste of space.  :Idunno:
Hey Deep Blue, I don't think you're irreparable. Things take time... and that's okay. You'll get another chance, everyone does. You still have many opportunities. Just do whatever is comfortable for you. Only you know when you're ready.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on November 15, 2019, 02:15:54 AM
Quote
Maybe Iím irreparably broken? Maybe Iím spinning my wheels? Maybe Iím a waste of space.

You're none of these things. It just wasn't right for you today.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on November 15, 2019, 09:28:30 PM
You weren't ready today. That is okay. You are NOT a waste of space. You are precious.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jazzy on November 15, 2019, 11:40:48 PM
I agree with the others. There is a lot of future ahead. Give it time, it will work out when you are ready. :)
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on November 17, 2019, 03:20:37 PM
Thanks you guys.
Read and reread what everyone wrote and it helped a lot. 

Three Roses thanks for what you wrote.
You are right. We have survived things that literally may have destroyed other people.  It helps so much to hear it.

I did something last night that I NEVER do. I opened up to someone in person. I went out with a friend, and told her I was  in therapy for trauma. I told her I have cptsd... told her I struggle with SH.  I just plain donít do that. I DO NOT tell ANYONE about my trauma EVER. It felt scary...

Last night I slept through the night without nightmares.  Maybe there is something to opening up to people?  Just maybe...
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Three Roses on November 17, 2019, 04:28:44 PM
Wow, that's awesome! Opening up to receptive, supportive people can truly be validating and healing, I think. Makes us feel less alone. It's important to feel heard, and while we can get that here, I think face to face is important too. Great job, you! :applause: :applause: :applause: :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on November 17, 2019, 05:31:15 PM
Well done for telling your friend. :applause:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on November 17, 2019, 08:52:37 PM
Deep Blue, that is a big risk to open up to someone. You didn't write about the friend's response, so I trust it was accepting and caring. I couldn't do this without my friends. Sometimes it is as simple as a text saying I'm having a hard time and them texting back telling me they care. It makes a difference.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on November 21, 2019, 02:44:21 PM
verge of freaking out today

Today the plan is for my T and I to move the couch in her office.  She thinks I need to get into the position on the couch where much of my abuse took place.

Iím so scared you guys. Iíve never dreaded therapy as much as today.  Maybe she will forget? Maybe we wonít do it after all. 

Whatís gonna happen? Am I gonna be ok?
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on November 21, 2019, 02:51:19 PM
My heart goes out to you, Deep Blue. Being scared is completely understandable, but remember what Three Roses said to you: you are stronger than you know. Your therapist will be with you, and I'm sure she'll make sure you are safe. :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Three Roses on November 21, 2019, 04:16:10 PM
In addition to what Snowdrop says, remember that you are in the driver's seat. You can always tell your t it's too much too soon. That doesn't mean you won't do it, it just means you won't do it right now.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on November 22, 2019, 12:36:45 AM
Iím ok I think,
Yep... I took the wheel and made a hard left! I didnít do the exposure today.  I just couldnít.... it seemed too big... too scary today.

I still fought off a couple flashbacks while  I was in there so Iím worried about sleeping tonight.

Does anyone else do that??? Like the world gets fuzzy? And I know the flashback is coming and I force it down... shake my head a little and kinda shake it off.

I dunno  :Idunno:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on November 22, 2019, 01:09:04 AM
Deep Blue,
remember that you are in the driver's seat. You can always tell your t it's too much too soon. That doesn't mean you won't do it, it just means you won't do it right now.
:yeahthat:   Good that you let her know that today was not the day. It is your choice. Flashbacks are awful.  :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on November 22, 2019, 08:57:12 AM
I hope you slept OK, Deep Blue. Well done for recognising that yesterday was not the right day, and for doing something about it. Good awareness. :yes:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on November 23, 2019, 03:10:34 PM
i'm with the others, db.  you know when the time is right.

is there any way to break this down into smaller pieces?  something that might be manageable, do the exposure thing w/ that until it's tolerable, then move on to the next phase?  just a thought.

right beside you!  love and a hug filled w/ self-knowledge and confidence in it. :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on November 27, 2019, 12:49:04 PM
Back to therapy today,
My T keeps telling me that Iím stronger than I think. 

I just donít believe that.  I know this may be my inner critic but I donít think surviving trauma means Iím strong.  I think it just means learned how to roll over and play dead.

Well last week I didnít do the exposure... it was too big and scary. I like the idea of taking it slowly today.  I wonder though??? I have no idea if standing next to a couch, or even seeing someone else bent over a couch will elicit any reaction from me.  Is there a way of knowing?

Started a new thing to help bring me back down and ground when I wake up from panic attack at night.  Texting uses a different part of the brain.  So I started typing out my grounding on my phone when Iím having trouble coming back down from the panic attack.  Hoping it will serve me well... so far so good
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on November 27, 2019, 04:51:27 PM
Thinking of you, Deep Blue.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on November 28, 2019, 04:12:39 PM
hey, db,

i don't think there's a way of knowing till you actually do it.  if it doesn't elicit a neg. response, perhaps you can take it a step further, lean a bit further, move toward the position until you feel a neg. response.  that, then, might be your starting point.   does that make sense? just a thought.

the idea of surviving our traumas, getting thru them and still be physically alive, and mentally sane, takes great strength.  i just saw someone tell a battered woman, who was afraid to get out of the relationship because she wasn't strong enough, that it takes someone strong to have gone thru what she did.  inside, we were fighting to keep our 'selves' intact, even while we were being denied, demeaned, diminished in so many horrific ways.  that fight, tho we may have succumbed to their demands at the time, that fight was still in us, still working to keep us alive and sane.  that takes strength.

and, i'm not judging anyone who hasn't made it out of their abuse.  sometimes it's just too much.  too much pain, too much fear.  i can't ever say someone was weak cuz they went in a different direction.  but, i can say that every single one of us here is a very strong person, usually stronger than we believe.  we did what we had to do, even if it meant rolling over and pretending to be dead - that's what was needed to stay alive.

and stay alive you did.  thru everything, you did what was needed to be here today.  that takes brute strength.  you have that within you.  it may not seem like it, but it's definitely there.  all the exposure stuff you've already gone thru, wow!  i don't know if i'd have the strength for that!  but, cutting it into tinier pieces might be more manageable.  you're quite vulnerable at this time w/ all this, which feels like weakness.  honestly, it's not.  even the most fragile china cup can hold the hottest tea and not shatter.

i'm really glad you found something that helps during the night.  great idea.  something else you didn't know would work or help till you tried it.  you're getting there!  and, we've got you, won't let go.  sending love and warm, supportive hugs. :grouphug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on November 28, 2019, 05:05:06 PM
Thanks San,
Itís weird that I agree with you for everyone else except me...

I look at all the stories of people on the forum, all the awful trauma, and I think to myself... wow they are so strong.

But... I donít/canít recognize it in myself.

By body did hold up during all the PA... itís just my mind that feels very damaged... and my heart  :Idunno:

Standing next to the couch didn't elicit a reaction from me. My T leaned over the couch and I felt my heart begin to pound... my cheeks got red and I found myself pacing her office.

No flashback, no panic attack... just that feeling that I wanted to escape...

Last night I got nailed with nightmares.  I did self care last night before bed and did type out the grounding in the middle of the night.

Iím here today, Iím safe today, Iím cooking today (a favorite distraction)

Thanks for all of you
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on November 28, 2019, 06:14:23 PM
well, i think that's progress, db.  you now know where the beginning of your anxiety kicks in.  that might be enough exposure to begin with.  that piece.  maybe until you get that piece to be manageable, it's far enough.  when you don't get such a reaction from seeing that, you might be able to add another small piece.  how does that sound.

i know it's difficult to see in ourselves what we see in others.  i've heard that we can't see in others what we don't have in ourselves.  don't know if that's true.  i do know that i see your strength and courage, and i admire you for them both.

i do believe that as you continue with your healing, things will become clearer for you.  maybe ICr stuff is getting in the way of you seeing this for yourself.  what do you think?

and, yeah, it would make sense that your mind and heart were more terribly damaged than your body.  those wounds run deep.  they may be more fragile than your body, but, as the example about the broken vase, they can be repaired in a way to make them even more beautiful.  hang tough, ok?

love and hugs! :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jdog on December 29, 2019, 02:30:02 AM
 :cheer:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on December 31, 2019, 03:40:21 PM
Please let me find the strength to fight some of these triggers...

I have not done exposure in weeks and Iím still really struggling with the nightmares piece.  Iíve fallen into old bad habits of SH to deal with the sadness I feel and the terror that strikes me when I sleep.

Last night I was crippled with nightmares, body memories and an earth shattering panic attack... can the cptsd gods please cut me some slack?
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on December 31, 2019, 04:21:29 PM
sending lots of love and hugs filled w/ calm and peace.  what you're going thru is horrible, there is no doubt.    it also sounds like you're in mourning.

having your sleep interrupted like that is the worst.  you're in my thoughts and prayers - here's hoping the new year brings you some rest from all this.  i wish i had words to comfort you.   :bighug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on January 01, 2020, 03:43:53 AM
Deep Blue,
The sadness and pain you are in sound horrible. I've had body memories and they are awful. Sending you care.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on January 21, 2020, 01:42:17 AM
San, no words... just love ya

Notalone, thanks for the care. If itís ok Iím gonna think of it tonight as well. 

Did some exposure over the weekend,
Talked to my t about it today.  Well I say talk.... usually itís like pulling teeth wirh me.

So I described what my body felt when I was left tied up.  Ugh....

Iím gonna do some breathing and stuff before bed... I have a sneaking suspicion itís gonna be a nightmare kinda night.  Maybe Iíll get lucky? Ugh hope so
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on January 21, 2020, 01:52:41 AM
Deep Blue, you are safe. Sending you compassion and tenderness.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on January 21, 2020, 06:39:37 AM
db, all credit to you for continuing on this painful journey - it takes a lot of courage to go thru the pain, feel it, know it's going to be there, but doing it anyway because you believe it'll help in the long run.  well done :thumbup:

you are doing this because you are able to do this, you are strong enough and determined enough.  sending love and a hug filled w/ continuing thru it all to the other side, where you'll finally find peace. :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on February 13, 2020, 10:33:40 PM
Homework from last week came and went. I didnít do it.

My t asked me why I didnít do it.  Iím not sure...??? Maybe cuz I was worried there would be fallout? Maybe itís just cuz my flashbacks and physical abuse memories just plain scare me??

I told her Iíd do it tonight... she suggested to wait closer to next Thursday when I see her again....

Iím fully aware I have not said what the homework was....

***Trigger warning just In case:

My homework is to get out one of my own... belts.... gah... and crack it.

End trigger warning

It will be ok right? I donít want to do this...  :spooked:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on February 13, 2020, 11:40:27 PM
Deep Blue,
Yes you will be okay. Waiting until close to your session on Thursday sounds wise. Would it be helpful when you do your homework to remind yourself, "I am safe, this is just an object, it is in my hands and I am in control, in the past I was hurt by this; but now I am safe"? I know this is really hard and scary.
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on February 14, 2020, 06:27:31 AM
i agree with notalone that you will be okay.  the belt is in your hands now, not the hands of the one who used it to hurt you.  you are safe, because you have the power now.

when you feel the time is right, go ahead and do what you can.  maybe just picking the belt up might be a first step.  one hand, then the other, stretch it out - you can do this in the best way for you - always remember that each small step counts.  and that we're with you even while you do this. :grouphug:

sending love and a hug filled w/ clarity and power. :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Jdog on February 18, 2020, 01:37:47 AM
 :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on February 27, 2020, 12:14:36 AM
Ok update: trigger warning because it mentions PA from a tv show.
*********

So in session last week, we played a video clip from the tv show handmaids tale.  I guess it is a show and a book but Iíve never read it. 

Anyway I didnít have to watch the clip.  All I had to do was listen to it.  The scene is of a woman being hit with a b-

When I listened to the video I tried to distance myself from it.  I told myself it doesnít really sound like  that... itís a foley artist... itís probably snapping celery or something.

My T talked about the position of the woman being ďpunishedĒ in the video and that sent me into complete flight mode... I left my appointment 20 minutes early.  I just sorta ran.

So I listened to the video again yesterday. Iím done with it for the week. I have another appointment tomorrow but I donít have to listen to it. 

Itís so hard... I tried to act like it didnít matter, tried to act like I was ok, but I think my T saw me jump at the sound... I shook my head so the flashbacks would calm down... still having nightmares

Sorry that got so long anyway thatís where Iím at  :Idunno:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: sanmagic7 on February 27, 2020, 12:20:13 AM
encompassing you in healing warmth, care, and compassion.  it sounds like you have triggers within triggers, so you can't trust one image or sound cuz another might be imbedded.  how horrible. 

take it easy on you, ok?  love and a gentle hug, just bringing you in to relax against ems.  she'll carry it for you. :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Not Alone on February 27, 2020, 01:17:14 AM
Completely makes sense that you were so triggered and ran. I know the feelings are awful. Now, 2020, you are safe. Sending you loads of care.  :grouphug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Kizzie on February 27, 2020, 05:35:53 PM
Sending you much care and support Deep Blue.  I don't know if it will help but maybe picture all of us standing with you as you face this terrible truth no one should ever have to face. You are not alone with this any more  :grouphug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Snowdrop on February 28, 2020, 06:57:15 AM
Your reaction is completely understandable. I hope the nightmares have calmed down. :hug:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Deep Blue on February 28, 2020, 11:35:45 PM
Thanks so much San, snowdrop, Kizzie and Notalone.

Last night I had a couple nightmares but no panic attacks.  I am so glad I didnít have to listen to the video again.

It worked with the trunk, I do hope this works eventually. I can now watch a show with someone in the trunk of a car and I have not had nightmares or flashbacks of being in the trunk for a long time.

The thing about my PA flashbacks and nightmares that make them hard is cuz of the accompanying body memories.  Itís like an EF that I can feel NOW. My body thinks that what is happening in my mind is actually happening. 

So my t is gonna be gone for a week. Sheís getting emdr certified out of state next week.  She wants to start emdr with me when she comes back but it will be a couple weeks before I see her next.

Iím too happy to not have to do exposure for a bit that I have not even thought about the scariness of emdr...

Well I guess I will cross that bridge in a couple weeks  :Idunno:
Title: Re: Exposure therapy
Post by: Kizzie on February 29, 2020, 05:36:22 PM
Glad to hear it seems to be working Deep Blue but I understand it will be good to take a break.  I think it's healthy personally, especially when you're doing exposure therapy.  It's just a lot to face. 

I hope EMDR works well for you, the last time I went it really helped to shift me out of the despair I was feeling about my trauma.  It gave me some distance from it is probably the best way to describe it. 

Anyway, hope you enjoy your break from therapy  :grouphug: