I have been seeing my current psychologist for approximately 10 months now and over that time we have done quite a lot of work regarding stabilisation. I’m learning to understand me and my alters, the other parts of me and how best to communicate and work as a team.
One thing we haven’t discussed very much though has been any trauma, that’s because quite simply it hasn’t been the right time. I need to be able to contain myself outside of the one hour a week of therapy, especially if I’m to start discussing sensitive issues such as trauma. At times I’ve realised we have talked about my past but often in a generic sense, my parenting and the skills I’ve never learnt.
Overtime I’ve learnt that I’m inpatient and want to run at 100miles per hour when in truth I really ought to be doing nothing more than a slow walk. I’ve started to communicate with some of my alters and I have begun to have fun, take calculated risks and accept that I have D.I.D instead of the denial that seemed to plague my days.
A couple of sessions ago it was kind of hinted in therapy that maybe it was time to think about my feelings and the trauma that is the cause of my dissociative disorder. At the time I was shocked and it felt as if I did everything I could to block such an idea, ‘what ifs’ flooded my mind as did reasons for this not to be the right time.
Since then I have found myself questioning my doubts and thinking about the issue more and more, I have had so many awkward experiences with feelings and emotions that I am averse to wanting to feel at all. That’s why at times I still find the feelings that I carry can overwhelm me and take control. It’s as if by trying to dampen them down and block them I just store up trouble as they need to come out and they do, just not at the times when it’s safe or suitable.
About a week ago I sat at home and something triggered me causing feelings to erupt and instantly catapult me back in time. I could feel the tears welling in my eyes as a memory suddenly flooded back, I did what I do best I blocked it. I switched off any feelings and refused to deal with the pain, the memory or my feelings. But it really caused me to think, how long was I going to allow this to keep happening especially when I have the opportunity to try and process some of these things.
You see whilst I still have flashbacks, some memories have either never been forgotten at all or have been a part of my conscious for some time. I remember the event or in many cases the flashbacks from a few years ago but it’s as if it happening to another being and not me. Yet I can’t keep on denying the reality that these are my memories, my pain and my feelings and it’s time I processed some of this. It’s not that I need to process or deal with every single memory or event that ever happened to me but I do need to process enough to enable me to deal with the feelings these evoke, to lessen their emotional intensity. I need to work through my grief and the negative effects upon my life, and my trauma. I need to accept this was me and not someone else who they abused and I need to come to terms with it all.
In my last session I found myself raising the issue of trauma work and being honest about my fears and concerns. I seemed to have so many concerns, so many what ifs and so many doubts and fears. The conversation that followed this openness however has really helped me understand more about trauma work and it’s enabled me to think more openly.
If I wasn’t frightened it would I now realise be more concerning, my psychology sessions are a safe environment and the best place to be myself, feelings and all. The fact I won’t be alone with my feelings or the memories and that my psychologist can help me to stay safely contained, makes me realise I will have a virtual safety net. Understanding I will be supported in this process and it will be done at a safe and measured pace, is also reassuring.
That’s why this week I’ve agreed to work internally with the other parts of me at discussing the option of starting trauma work. I going to look at the fears and concerns other parts of me have and then with my psychologist we can work at trying to resolve some of those fears. I now need to make sure I protect all of me in this process, that means taking onboard the real concerns parts of me have, helping to reassure and put safety mechanisms in place ahead of starting the work.
I don’t know yet when that work will begin, but I do know I’m certain that I’m ready to begin trauma work, the second phase of the recovery model. I just need to ensure all of me is able to understand and deal with the journey I want to embark us all on. Yes this won’t be easy, it will hurt and at times it will overwhelm me and feel too much. It’s at these times I will need to utilise the techniques I’ve learnt in the past 10 months and to seek guidance and external help if and when I need it. I know for certain my psychologist won’t let me go too fast and if I need a break from the intensity of this work I can always ask to revert back to stabilisation work until I’m ready to move forwards once again.
I think my motto over the next few months needs to be slow and steady and not marathon runner, this isn’t going to be a fast race but that’s ok, what matters is I do this right – speed or perfection isn’t always everything.
Whilst I’m certain I am stronger now than I’ve ever been and I understand me better than I ever have, I also know this is a single step on a very long road. Yet right now it does feels like I’m standing on the edge of a huge divide ready to jump and take one gigantic leap of faith.