Exposure therapy

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Deep Blue

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Exposure therapy
« 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.

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Deep Blue

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #1 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.

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Snowdrop

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #2 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:

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Three Roses

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #3 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:

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Deep Blue

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #4 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:


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sanmagic7

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #5 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:

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Jdog

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #6 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:

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notalone

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2019, 05:17:30 PM »
Very brave work that you've done.

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Deep Blue

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #8 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:

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notalone

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #9 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.

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Hope67

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #10 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  :)

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Jdog

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #11 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.

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Snowdrop

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #12 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.

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Blueberry

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 07:29:41 AM »
You are worthy and I'm standing with you Deep Blue

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Kizzie

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Re: Exposure therapy
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2019, 05:56:09 PM »
Here too Deep Blue and standing with you as you go through this  :grouphug: