Body sensitive trauma therapy 3

Trigger warning. SRA memory. *******************************************************************

Round 3 of memory work tonight. The cycle of stomach pain. Bowled over, clutching my stomach. What can I say? It’s a dissociated memory of birth. Was I 12? Or 13? I didn’t even know it was happening. It didn’t happen to me or me or me or me or me or me or me or me or me or me. It happened to her. So sad. So so sad. What does one do with this? Grow stronger, of course, not let them win, of course. My stomach hurts so bad. I’m tired. Other survivors have done it worse. Put it into context. I can’t move though. So don’t. Just lie here until sleep overtakes. God, why are they so mean? So cruel? I don’t know what to believe anymore. I feel angry at my mother, my father, my brother. Of course I don’t want to talk with them anymore. They don’t deserve to have relationship with me. I am strong and brave and tough. I won’t slide back. Damn you and your filthy shame and you sticking your ugliness inside me. Good, have the baby. You sick mother fu**ers. How sick is that? Me, some vessel for putrid. I am in shock. Never have I felt so awake. Lord, I pray for the narrative, why do you taunt me so? Why do you leave me blank and searching in darkness for missing parts of me? Lord, do you weep for me? I know you weep for others, but I’m not sure I feel your love anymore. As though I don’t deserve it. And I’m tired of feeling like I have to work at it. All the time. Maybe it’s not inbuilt in me like others? I used to feel like there was darkness growing inside me. I have no words for the feelings. Why are people so cruel?

Body sensitive trauma therapy 2

Last night had another session with my therapist progressing memory through body work. It wasn’t as intense as last week, but it still hurt. It’s hard to describe, the pain is real yet it feels alive on a cellular level. Meaning, not outwardly physical, but an inner existential and energetic pain. I was able to visualise some things last night. This is usually so hard for me. I’m 40 and I struggle to imagine things. I can’t create pictures in my head. I don’t know if this is because of the trauma. But in the session I could see a black thick wall and it blocked me. It was impenetrable. My T said to just be with it, move with it. And so I imagined myself holding this black wall, touching it and then dancing with it, against it, in a rhythmic gentle way. And then the wall morphed and kind of crumbled and turned into what felt like hell. I was standing in a burning ugly hell like environment. My T said to keep going with it and then I saw myself on a table. And I struggled to see more than that. I felt like I was in a horror movie though, yet I couldn’t see or feel anything. I rolled over onto my side and felt that pain in my belly again and in my lower bits. And a little part asked T if she was disgusting and stupid. The abusers told her she was disgusting and stupid and to shut up. Poor little one. My T said they made her feel that way. They did that to her. She’s not disgusting.

In some ways I was able to comfort myself and be with self in a way I haven’t been able to before. I dreamt strange dreams about a cow, which apparently can represent mothering and nurturing aspects of yourself. Today the depression and suicidal ideation has lifted that has been with me all week. I feel more capable and strong and connected. This comes in waves. I hope I can ride it for a bit longer.

Text book trauma

I’ve read so many books about trauma and ritual abuse and often I have difficulty retaining the information. I could hardly tell you what I’ve read, but it always resonates. I’m not sure why that is. I am reading a book right now about using imagery to heal PTSD and it saddens but affirms me that I find myself fitting into every category of the effects of trauma listed. From dissociation, to low self worth, to negative thinking, panic, disconnection, through to fear, living in a heightened state and not feeling. It makes me sad that I am a walking talking text book of symptoms and effects. It does give me comfort however to normalise the way I am thinking and feeling and perhaps even find some compassion. The last bits hard, I’m not there yet. I still struggle with self blame and low self esteem. I struggle to not think the effects are about me in the present day. My therapist reminds me that these thoughts and feelings are memory. My present day is so good. I know she’s right but then why do I feel so empty? Memory. I feel as though parts of me gave up on life at an early age. Experiencing SRA, they just thought what was the point of life? I have built meaning and given myself purpose in many ways, but underneath it sits this existential plight; this deep despair, that if I left the earth tomorrow, life would just go on. And it’s true. It would. And there’s something just really sad about that. Some would say, “that’s why you should live every day as though it’s your last”. It might not sound like it on this blog, but I am an optimist in my daily life. Yet I don’t feel this Joie de Vivre or at least I often return to a black hole or a state of internal despair. It’s like a cave inside me where I seek refuge in. I think when I was young nothing made sense. Why did horrible things happen at night and why did everyone just forget they happened the next day? There is no certainty in this space, no trust and no truth. A survivor recently asked me, “why are people so cruel, so evil?” I answered the best I could at the time, but I really don’t know. I wish I knew but maybe it’s good that I don’t because it means that I am living with a heart to be good. With a desire to be good. But I am deeply aware that evil and cruelty exist all around me and sometimes it can feel too hard to face that.

Body sensitive trauma therapy

I am in lockdown in Melbourne, Victoria. Curfew is 9pm. I went to see my therapist at 8pm and it’s a 50 minute session. I had a letter with me so all was okay but it felt like a “night out”, that’s how freaking pathetic a life in ISO is lol.

That’s not the point of this post though. I’m working on accessing memories through body work and so tonight’s session was very intense. I’m a bit out of it as I write this. I feel slow.

I got to my T’s, we talked a bit, I lay down and did the usual body scan, check in. It took a while but I felt paralysed. A part says they can’t move. I feel like I can’t move. I keep going. T says I can move now and maybe I could help my parts move and so I do, a little bit. I move my feet and it feels strange, comforting but disconnected. And then I turn, and roll over and when I do that, that’s when the pain hits. It is in my lower stomach, it is excruciating. I am shaking. T asks me some questions and I can’t really remember. I think she says, who’s there. I don’t know. I can’t see them. I’m shaking. Eventually I say they’ve gone. Later, I say, I need to clean myself up. I’m so disgusting. I feel so disgusting. T says I’m not disgusting, what was done to me was disgusting. She knows I feel it but she keeps telling me I’m not disgusting. It is very hard for me to not believe her. T says I don’t need to clean myself up now, but I feel like I do. She asks me about the pain. What it means. She says she is reluctant to say anything because she doesn’t want to put things in my head. I don’t know what she means. But then it hits me and I look at her and a little part knows what shes thinking. The little one says, “yeah I didn’t know what it was, but it feels so bad and i don’t know what they are doing down there”. They are prodding me, sticking things inside me, searching me. Saying they are putting things inside me. The little part says she doesn’t want to know and she just forgets it’s happening. Super quick, super disconnected from body. Separated. My T tells her it’s okay and to cuddle the toy we have and I can’t remember now what’s happening but I know T makes me a cup of herbal tea and the part needs to check there’s nothing in it before she drinks it. Oh that’s right, the part was saying she didn’t want to be killed and was worried T would get killed. And all this was over in about 40 minutes and then I grounded myself as best I could and drove home. It’s a bit hard for me to move and walk and my private bits hurt. I am still in pain but it’s hard to describe it. My dog was in the car and so that was good as she rested her head on my lap on the drive home. Sorry if this is a bit all over the place.

One more thing. I remember saying to T, “I’m lucky I survived”. And she said yes, and that’s because I dissociated. And it was the first time that I felt thankful to be alive, as though being alive was in many ways a miracle. And then I felt so angry, so deeply angry at what they had done. And T said to make sure I tell my parts that I’m not angry at them. That I’m angry for them. On their behalf.

Emotional release therapy

I’ve started emotional release therapy with my T. We did the first session online yesterday but next week I am going to her place so that’s good. I lay down and did a body scan, checking in with what I was feeling. My stomach / lower stomach hurt. I moved and rolled over onto my side and then the pain just got stronger. Eventually it moved down my legs and I started shaking. I didn’t get any narrative with it but I just tried to sit with the intensity of the feelings and the emotions. That was the point. To feel the trauma memory and let it release a little bit at a time. I did cry and I felt sad and shameful and lots of other feelings. My body hurt, an existential pain rather than physical. As though the idea of being in my body was just too hard to comprehend, but I guess I did stay in my body. I felt better today but I am dissociative tonight. I wish this would all go away or I wish I could really know what happened to me.

Oh that’s right, I had a part come out who felt such shame about feeling her body. As though putting on weight is the worst thing I could do because it would mean feeling my body. And to feel my body would mean feeling all the shame and disgust and filth. I had an a-ha moment about being anorexic in my late teens to early twenties. I guess it was around this but i am struggling to remember. This part just wants to remain thin and in control and being slim is part of that. I don’t think I have fully accepted I had anorexia at this age. Maybe because it doesn’t feel as bad or as severe as other women. I never really dealt with it, I just got on with life. My anorexia was because I never wanted to feel Or enjoy my body because If I did, it would mean feeling or enjoying what they did to me. In many ways I have rejected my body and I like to put it in pain because it’s the only way I feel connected to it.

Gradual, slow, awkward.

I am doing okay. I can do this. I am feeling overwhelmed and work is stressing me. I take on too much to reenact the feelings of overwhelm. It’s like a trauma reenactment. Like betrayal trauma.

I kept having affairs, for a number of reasons I am sure – alcoholism certainly at the top of that list. I listened to a podcast the other day and the person talked about the child’s betrayal by the parents, the abusers and I had never thought that I had been betrayed. I just thought I betrayed. I was enacting this trauma through my betrayal of others. It was what was done to me. As soon as I recognised that, I felt this shift inside me, like I’m done having affairs, I think I can actually trust myself in this area.

I’m done hating myself. I’m done thinking I’m not good enough and giving other people my power. I’m done. I have fought to be here, not even knowing why half the time. I still don’t know why sometimes. I still don’t feel like I have found my purpose. I’ve been searching for it for so long. Devaluing myself.

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Too much work sends me into a spin and I feel overwhelm. I know overwhelm. I know confusion, heightened state of being. I don’t know capacity because when it got bad I just split so now I just split. Now. I am invited into conversations and spaces that I am not ready for, not part of, wondering why I am there. I am getting better at fitting in. I am able to think better, speak better, feel better, but still when those old tapes are put on, they hurt. My ex girlfriend used to say “you always hang out with people who are less than you” and i felt it was such a judgmental comment on so many levels. One, it presupposes a power relationship that one has to be better, one worse. Two, It doesn’t value me or the other person – it suggests I am supposedly better than but at the same time, less than because I lack self worth- the ability to choose “better” people or the “right” people. Which then becomes problematic because my worth is then measured and “approved” by how my (ex) girlfriend sees me. A strange cycle I eventually broke with her, praise God.

I want to live in a good world and I don’t think we have a good world. I want to be a good person because there are so many people who aren’t good. I have to value me to do that and it is such a difficult journey. It’s not a switch. It’s a process of deep layers, shedding worn thick skin. It hurts. Like body memory hurts. It’s not as simple as “fake it till you make it”, although there is some truth in that. It’s gradual, slow, awkward and full of mistakes and regrets and melancholy and learning how to accept the grief of being betrayed and abused when I had no choice, no say, no power, no escape, no voice, no memory. It involves waking up again and again and again.