This is something I think about often, especially when thinking about the flashbacks that I have from the childhood sexual trauma. By the way, it took me a long time to even be able to actually admit that I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Therapy has gotten me to the point where I can almost say it without completely cringing in pain anymore. That’s not the say that it doesn’t still bother me, because saying it, typing it, and just generally admitting it still gives me anxiety. It still makes feel uneasy and embarrassed. I don’t exactly go around advertising this information to just anyone and I don’t know that I ever will. Anyways, I just wanted to share that it’s been a difficult road, and still is, to be able to actually admit this stuff to myself. It’s embarrassing and I still struggle with how this in my some way is my fault or I at least contributed to it.
Anyways, back to the suffering and pain feelings. In my sessions with my therapist, one of the things we talk about regularly is the fact that wanting to feel the pain, embrace the suffering, and trying to emotionally connect with it is much easier to deal with, than trying to heal.
I was prompted about this through a recent tweet I came across from someone I follow, who posted up this:
— Preside Meditation (@presidelife) February 7, 2016
That is so true for me, and I have to imagine it sounds ridiculous to someone who’s never been through some type of trauma, and doesn’t deal with PTSD in some form. It doesn’t sound logical at all, although trust me I’m not someone who can use logic to rationalize something. I’d rather over analyze, and completely over think everything.
Trying to understand and wanting to feel the pain, embrace a flashback, and just generally feel depressed, is comforting to me. It’s what I know, it’s what I’ve known for so long I don’t know how to feel any way else. I’m learning that trying to re-train or rewire my brain from this type of mentality is so unbelievably difficult. You know the old saying, “old habits die hard”, that couldn’t be any truer than in cases of sexual abuse as a kid.
Who would want to relive being sexually abused, who wants to try and emotionally connect with and understand those events? Why would you want stand there in the shower in the mornings, and know that a flashback is imminent and you don’t want to fight it off? You want make sure that you embrace and feel your daily dose of pain and trauma because you feel that’s what you deserve, what you should do, and what in some strange way is comforting? Me, right here! I do all of that…and that’s what slows the healing process for me.
So, I’ve started medication at the recommendation of my therapist and family doctor; it’s been 5 days as of today so far. While neither of them wants me on it long time, they feel a low dosage for a while will help take the edge off of all those feelings I’m describing, so I can be more open to the healing process instead of fighting it.
One of the things that I’m finding this medication is doing, is that it’s starting to take the edge off the flashbacks a bit, and to be honest, I don’t like it! It actually makes me feel upset and gives me some anxiety to think that I cannot emotionally connect with them like in the small way that I was able too, up until about a week ago.
I mean I’m still learning as it is, that some memories may never fully come back, and that I may never be able to fully put all the pieces of the puzzle together to make sense of what happened. I hope that’s not the case! That in itself is stressful enough, but when you can emotionally embrace a flashback and relive those events a bit, I can get some sort of temporary relief each day.
Now, I’m worried that getting on this medication is going to continue to hamper those feelings, and I don’t know how to handle that yet. I know that’s the point of meds like this, in my case, but that doesn’t make it any easier right now.