3 May 2020: The Day After EMDR

9:15 AM

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

Another day…another story.  It feels like I’m living in a fog.  Things don’t seem quite real, and it’s hard to focus on any one thing.  But I suppose that living in a fog is better than crashing and burning, so I’ll take it.  Today my emotions are sitting in my gut.  Things are churning in my tummy…like it’s all wanting to explode.

Sleep was hard to come by  last night.  I woke several times during the night, not from nightmares or any dreams I can even remember, but almost like I was being suffocated.  Each time I woke up I was almost gasping for air, and that was distressing.  But I made it through the night and into the morning.  Survived breakfast with the kiddos before retreating to the office for a few hours.  

Over the past 20 hours or so, I’ve returned several times to the idea of trust, what that means, and what it looks like.  And I don’t know what it means, I don’t know what it looks like, and I can’t identify in my life any substantial, true trusting relationship.  

Thinking back over various experiences in my life, I don’t think I’ve ever really trusted fully or felt safe emotionally.  I look back and I see myself constantly masking, downplaying my feelings, using sarcasm and charisma to deflect.  Things from any hospitalization I’ve ever had where I took on the role of a model patient, not being needy, dutifully doing what was expected of me, hiding any type of negative emotion (sorrow, pain, fear) and leading with my intellect and humor.  

Those aren’t the only times though.  Even at home as a kid, I remember many times being chastised for being afraid, or for expressing anger, or even asking for help.  And I think somewhere along the way, I just stopped.  I don’t know if it’s because I just don’t trust that those needs will be met?  Or if it feels weak to have those feelings and share them?  Or I’ll be rejected and dismissed for having weak feelings?  

I think about my relationship with my husband.  And I love him, and we’re happy…but it is superficial.  He rarely sees me cry, I never share my deepest most vulnerable feelings with him, and I can’t stand any type of emotional intimacy with him.  It feels yucky to share feelings, to be hugged or held, to be anything other than strong.   

And then there’s therapy.  I’ve had more of an emotionally intimate relationship with J for a longer period of time than quite possibly any other human…ever.  And I believe there have been many moments where I was able to push past trust issues and questions of feeling safe and share the real, weak, yucky things going on inside.  But I also think that a lot of it has been censored.  Sharing enough to ease the pain a little, but never everything.  Never laying it all out.  

Sometimes I think it’s because I’ve sat on the other side of the couch.  I’ve been the helper, and I have sat in hundreds of clinical staffings and trainings.  And I know what clinicians say about difficult clients around the water cooler.  I know frustration, the jokes, the venting that happens.  I also know what techniques are encouraged to deal with those clients.  Use validating statements…foster a feeling of safety and security…reassure…all those things that J does so well, and likely actually is sincere about.  But all I can see is clinical technique after clinical technique being thrown at me.  Using all the clinical tools in his toolbox to fix me.  The horrible thing is, he’s done nothing to make me feel this way.  At no time throughout our 12 years of work has he done anything to reinforce these feelings.  But it just seems to be the way I am.  Unable to trust that someone can see me, all of me, and not see a fucked up, hot mess of a person.  Because that’s all I see in myself.  

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

9:10 PM

This day is nearly over, and I can’t say I’m sad about it.  It has been one helluva day, and I am hopeful that tonight will bring restful sleep, a renewal of determination, and at least several hours of peace and stillness.  

It has been exhausting trying to make sense of everything today.  I’ve had a labile affect, which freakin’ bless my hubby’s heart…he’s had to put up with my shit.  And instead of just coming out and saying, “hey honey, just so you know I’m going through some stuff and am working on it in therapy, so be patient with me”, I just shut it down and push it aside.  

I have had moments today of intense anxiety, feeling like I might explode.  I have been crawling out of my skin, shaking, wondering if life will ever feel normal again.  And some moments of spiritual peace, where things seemed fine.  Exhaustion…irritability…tearfulness…the whole gamut of emotions.  Unpredictable…intense…and inconsistent.  

Among the most prominent of all the feelings has been a lingering feeling of worthlessness.  For the first time in a very long time, I have had the distinct thought that my family would be better off without me.  That I am causing more pain than anything else and they’d just be better off without me.  And it would be beneficial for me too, because I wouldn’t have to feel like this anymore.  I wouldn’t have to feel the hurt.  Feel the yuckiness and exhaustion.  I wouldn’t have to work so hard at life.  And for the first time in a long time, I rubbed the scars on my wrist, remembering the calmness I felt and longing for relief.  I won’t ever actually act on it, but death seems like a sweet release from this shit.  

I’m disappointed that today didn’t go better than it did.  Hoping the night is uneventful and I can hit the ground with a fresh view, rested and renewed. 

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