Hypnosis session.

Today I did hypnosis. I have recently gotten private health insurance and I noticed it as an option so thought I would give it a go. I have done hypnosis before. In fact I’m actually trained in it. That’s a story for another day, but I’m one of those people who have a certificate in everything. It’s quite funny really. In my twenties I was so desperate to “be well” that I undertook a lot of courses and programs to try and change. I ended up getting a master practitioner certificate in NLP which taught hypnosis. I became a level one reiki practitioner, learnt how to do soul retrieval’s and got a certificate in EFT. Not to forget I also did a real estate course for wealth building… which didn’t work out. I was all over the place. The only one I really value is a trainers certificate in laughing yoga. That was a fun one and I got paid a couple of times to deliver some training. The rest I burned through money I didn’t have and never did anything with these things.

I digress, I went today to just talk about my programming and see if anything could be done about bridging the gap between me and my parts. The woman seemed open to multiplicity and satanic ritual abuse and I appreciated that. She believed me and that was important. Although some of her beliefs differed from mine (she did say she believed in Jesus), I felt her practice was ultimately connected to God or in pursuit of and so I didn’t feel it was too new age. She got me to renounce lies, programming and beliefs which I have done many times in the past with prayer ministry. I think it is very important and have experienced big shifts from this kind of work. That took some time as she was feeling very cold and sensing lots of dark energy. I didn’t feel this darkness thankfully. Then she took me through a visualisation exercise and I connected with a part. She helped me to look after her and take her to hospital to get treated. I gave the part an oxygen mark and told her everything was okay now. I am here and can look after her now. I just remember showing the part a lot of love and just being there for her. I asked for the parts forgiveness. She accepted it. I felt very tired in the session but when she woke me out of the trance she said I would feel refreshed for the rest of the day and I did. I am glad I went and feel okay tonight. In some ways it feels a bit anti climatic. I am going to go another two times just to work on some other stuff that’s been bugging me. Stay tuned…

Adult self

Yesterday my therapist reminded me I am adult. The adult part of me wants to work together with my system as a team. I saw a picture of somebody hanging. Then I just felt despair. I recognised it was a feeling – a memory state of despair. My T says that is my memory and that’s the bit I think, “really, is it?” And she says, yes, and I need to validate it otherwise the parts will feel mistrust again.

I spoke about a part coming up who really doesn’t like my partner S. I am going to compare what my adult self and this part feels about S so I have record.

Adult part: S is very kind and smart and loving and funny and a bit nerdy and strange. She is quite innocent, very beautiful, creative, a good conversationalist, caring, full of life, witty, talented, clean, organised, careful, mature, considerate, healthy and wise. She is also soft and sweet and thoughtful. She is politically minded and wants to contribute to the world we live in.

The part that doesn’t like her thinks that she is too young and naive and is going to change her mind and move on and then say “I was only in my 20s back then, i didn’t know what I was doing.” She is too skinny and immature and taking advantage of everyone until she gets her shit together.

The tension is that my adult self does feel concerned about the age difference so this part gets triggered by that. It’s a delicate balance of working out what’s my stuff vs the parts stuff. My T suggested the best thing I can do is to work on my attachment issues and regain a sense of self so that if anything happens, then I know that I am okay to face it. I have a lot of attachment and betrayal trauma issues but I don’t feel I understand this very much so it plays out unconsciously. I have quite a limited understand of attachment and betrayal, so need to read more about it.

Sand tray therapy continues

Last night in therapy we did sand play work. T invited the part who came out last week to join in. I don’t know whether it was them that appeared or not but T suggested we pick some objects from her shelf that appealed to us. The part picked a toy puppy, a penguin, koala, panda and monkey. T suggested we choose one to speak for. I felt very shy so she went first, selecting the puppy. He said hello to everyone and went for a scoot around the sand. I picked the monkey, who said hello and that we were having a meeting.

T then picked the panda and said that she was hungry. We got the panda some bamboo and added it to the sand tray. Then T asked me what each of them represented. I said the monkey was the leader and he was wise. The puppy spoke for the littles, the penguin; mother nurturer type and the panda represented the parts of me that felt stupid and the koala those that felt fear. T suggested I pick an object for each of them that made them feel safe. I picked a bed for the penguin who was carrying a baby penguin in her pouch, so the baby penguin could have a nap, an eeyore toy dog for the puppy, a tree for the koala, a gold jewel for the panda and a lovely mosaic stone for the monkey.

We talked about what would happen at the meeting and the monkey said that issues could be discussed and anything else the parts wanted to bring up.

Finally, T asked if I would like to reposition the monkey as he was sitting opposite the koala, as she thought it might help the koala feel less fearful. The photos below show the objects I got for the toy parts and also the final position that everyone ended up in.

Then the session was over. Today I woke extremely exhausted and dissociative but I’m feeling okay now.

New rules

No celebrating Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter or my birthday. Christmas remains obligatory for now, but simple with quick escape routes.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, I knew it was coming and I was a little concerned but probably didn’t give it the attention it deserved – in terms of preparing myself for the day. I said yes to go to S’s mums for brunch. I felt reluctant but obliged but I also value her family so wanted to be part of. When we arrived there was a bit of waiting around. Her mum had set up the table so nicely and laid out croissants and hot cakes and tea. Finally the rest of the family arrived and we all ate and I was starting to get triggered. The niceties, the presents, the care, the ease. I know they’re family isn’t perfect but it is very foreign to what I experienced growing up. We didn’t really celebrate Mother’s Day and now, being estranged, I find the event difficult to engage with. I said to S after brunch, “can we go home” and she said yes but was taking her time. Eventually I took some dishes to the kitchen and I said, “I’m at capacity” and we got the hell out of dodge. I’d pretty much dissociated by then. Later, I went and got my nails done (aw, pretty) and then crawled into bed and napped. By evening, my little ones had come out and just sat silently on the couch and then we went to bed by 7:00 pm.

Today was back to it with a 6am boxing class and work. Nice to be back to “normal.”

Making mistakes

@surviving childhood trauma is a good resource and I particularly like their Instagram posts. They are often right on the money. Today’s post caught my attention:

“As an abused child you were not taught that mistakes happen as you grow and learn. Instead you learned that mistakes made you a bad person. They brought consequences, and they reaffirmed that you were not good enough for the people you looked up to for love and reflection. You are not a bad person when you make a mistake. Please be kind when you do and remember you are healing, learning and growing.”

In the past, mistakes have affirmed worthlessness, and my badness. This core belief stopped me from embracing new situations and environments. It prevented me from relaxing and being at ease. I constantly thought I was going to get in trouble, people hated me, I was going to be found out.

At school I got into a lot of trouble because I thought I was bad. So I just acted out. Later, in professional environments, I experienced a lot of anxiety and internal self loathing. This was linked to a number of things, including fear of making a mistake. Doing something wrong meant severe punishment, in some cases death. I always felt on guard.

I have learnt a lot through making mistakes however. I pretty much started making films that way and fell into most things through the process of learning by doing. Mistakes were a natural part of this, but on self reflection, the core belief that I was bad if I didn’t get something right held me down. Depression kept me in a fog and disconnected to my feelings, so I just got on with things. I learnt how to apologise effectively and sincerely. Over time though I think my fear of making mistakes and the belief that I was bad, contributed to my alcoholism and downfall. I retreated, gave up, got scared. Doing twelve step recovery helped me to unpack some of these things and also helped me to become more willing to make mistakes. I can take on board critical feedback now with greater capacity, but I still have a long way to go. It was good to read the post and identify to start to challenge these deep seated beliefs, although I feel like I am poking at a wound.

Parts who have jobs

At therapy last night we discussed doing more body memory work again. T mentioned me “owning” the room and asked if I was comfortable to do that. She means feeling like I can get up and walk around or saying what I want and need at any point. I don’t think I am at that point yet. I like it when she tells me what to do I guess. But she explained it in a way that made me think it could be a good metaphoric shift. I.e. me learning how to take control in the therapy room could translate to that happening more outside the session, in daily life.

I ended up lying down on the mattress floor bed and T checked in with my parts. A part came out who likes to cause chaos and confusion, which results in feelings of guilt and shame. The chaos and confusion is about not remembering. T also wondered whether things felt chaotic and confusing because they didn’t make sense as a child. She’s probably right.

I can’t recall what happened next – T spoke to a part who felt ugly and deeply ashamed.

Later, I facilitated a local group for D.I.D people and that was good. But when I got home my eye got all itchy again and puffed up with an allergy. I missed group this morning because I woke and it was still very swollen and I didn’t feel great. I worked from home and went to the doctor to get a blood test to then book in with an allergy specialist. It could be psychosomatic or it could be an allergy. I would rather go medical route to begin and see if anything reveals itself. I can see why people find the day after therapy so hard. I used to never identify with that but I notice it’s a hard slog to get out of bed and to face the day. But I did it.

Privileges and under privileges

Today at work we had a cultural competency workshop. It was very powerful and effective. One of the first activities we did was to go around the room and introduce ourselves, saying our privileges and our under privileges. It was big. Many staff cried and shared some powerful and illuminating aspects of themselves. When it came to me I said, I am privileged because I am a white cis gender, middle class, able bodied woman, who is physically strong and active and enjoys exercise. I am privileged because my mother got me into drama lessons at the age of seven and I found art and performance and theatre and making and curiosity. That sense of curiosity kept me stimulated and alive. I was privileged because my mother cooked home meals and taught me the value of basic but healthy eating. I am privileged because I learnt how to work and get a job at a young age and that helped me develop skills and confidence that has served me later in life. It also means that I am not afraid to work. I like to work. I am privileged because I now work at a university and in education and in the arts. All these things are life changing and transformative.

My under privilege is that I am a survivor of ritual abuse and that has caused dissociation and a fractured sense of self. It has also meant I experienced the adverse effects of childhood abuse so later suffered drug and alcohol addiction, body dysmorphia, shame, stress, other addictions, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation (I didn’t rattle off the list so eloquently). But my privilege is my dissociation because it means that I have an incredible capacity to hold information and accomplish things. My privilege is also a resilience that is within me that does not feel mine, that has spurred me to take action and get recovery and heal. My privilege is a desire to live although I often want to give up.

My little rant wasn’t as neat as the above, but I wanted to share this so I have for keepsake.

I didn’t have time, but wanted to say: my privilege is that I was raised in a white supremacist family and culture and I am not proud of that privilege. That privilege kept me divided and separate from self and others through slavery – to a system and set of ideals that were duty bound, oppressive, damaging, sadistic and evil. My privilege came from a schooling that was religious (Catholic), that’s focus was on exclusion, domination and silencing – which meant that I walked these conservative circles with ease unbeknownst to me, but did so without love, community or empathy. I disrupted that privilege through becoming alternative in clothes and style and getting into the alternative arts scene, but my body held this domination and silencing. I was therefore unable to critically engage with ideas – I just “did” – I was programmed to do and take and get – without understanding the impact of this thinking and behaviour until many years later. There was an inherent self serving in all that I did.

My under privilege of abuse meant I was so disconnected with my body and mind that it took me a long time to deeply learn the effects of my behaviour and to unpack my thinking. Through the arts I developed a reflexive practice but it was internal and not fully formed.

My privileges have included benefiting from the patriarchy and also from the systemic racism in my country- where I walk daily on stolen and bloodshed lands. The trauma lies in the earth and is generational. I am privileged that I can work and that I own a one bedroom apartment and have a functional car and a beautiful dog and partner and her dog. My under privilege of abuse means that I find it difficult to value these things when I am in a cycle of depression or suicidal ideation or memory. My under privilege is being gay, although I don’t see this fully as under privilege even though I have hardly scratched at the surface of my internalised homophobia and how this has damaged my internal sense of worth and confusion around my sexual identity. My under privilege is the confusion and sadness and shame that I feel because of the abuse, but my privilege is that I have nine years sobriety, a language of recovery and faith in a God that will heal me.

Sleeping memory

I spent the day in bed after going to sleep at 8pm Friday night. I had been pushing through all week with work, although I had a cold. End of week, it just hit me. Migraine and then my eyes got all puffy and allergic again. They still haven’t gone down. I don’t know why I get these puffy allergic eyes. I never used to. I am deeply fatigued. I have slept for 21 hours yet it does not feel enough. I dreamt memory all day, waking in fright. I tried to speak and yell out in my dreams but no sound would come out. I was trapped. When I eventually woke, I let out a small scream and shivered and shook. S came to me and said “it’s okay it’s just a bad dream.”

It’s Beltane today. I wonder if it’s why I am sick but there are other reasons for it too. It’s 8pm now I need to go back to sleep.