Attached

girl,heart,sad,tears-fb2fece012f4e3a51fc8ef275afdb5c2_m

I decided to find another therapist

This time a Christian and a specialist

She explained dissociative disorders

In a way that was less frightening

And gave tips on teaching my son to be mindful

I walked away both comfortable and okay

And as for my primary therapist

I guess it’s time to say goodbye

I cried in front of her a few times

That’s so rare.

I mean really really cried in front of her

She normalizes my struggles as a parent

Normalizes my struggle with self-harm

The part of me that carries anger

Trusts her.

So rare.

She normalizes my transference and says

“You can always keep me in your back pocket”

When I am dissociated

She teaches me to walk down into the dungeon

And pull my little girl out

She addresses my little girl

And that is what I need at times

She gives me a juice box and sometimes two

Last time even a granola bar

Because I didn’t eat breakfast

And now I must say goodbye

I felt so safe with her

When do you choose to find someone new

When the choice is safety versus

More specialized treatment?

Will I heal with this new person?

Or will I fall apart with every

time I must separate from someone I trust

For the rest of my life?

Am I making a good choice?

What if I miss her?

Am I stupid because I have attached?

I quit once because I realized I was attached

And now I must leave for good

Where will the rage inside go

If I am not safe anymore?

I need a hug.

And. My. Therapist.

Photo credit: http://the1bookblog.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html

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Containment Skills

During an emergency therapy session last week, therapist #2 had me work on containment in order to ground me. She had me write out trigger words and items that are triggers around my home, and how I feel when I am triggered. Then, I folded them as many times as I could and placed them into an envelope, and then sealed the envelope. She asked me what I wanted to do with the envelope. I told her to keep it. She said that the point of the exercise is to give me control. I am putting these triggers and feelings away until I choose to pull them out one at a time, and I get to control how long they are out (ie, for a therapy session only). I mostly felt better after session. Then, yesterday I had supervision at work (speaking with a licensed therapist to share and collaborate on my cases, which is a requirement for me as I seek licensure), where I shared some of my problems containing my own “issues,” especially regarding a specific client. She again shared the concept of containing the issues in either an imaginary box or a real box. I told her the words keep escaping from their imaginary box, and that my box continued to explode. She told me to stop making up excuses and to practice what I preach.

crayons

Once I returned to my office, I had a no-show, so I decided to use my art therapy supplies to contain my feelings and triggers again.

trigger words

I folded them up and placed them in my work bag, for lack of a better place at work.

in purse

On an afterthought, I wrote something else to place in my pocket to help ground me when I needed, along with this Lego. The Lego has been in my pocket since my session on Thursday. She gave me a polished rock for my pocket as a tangible grounder, and I replaced it with the Lego because it reminds me that I’m fighting for my children. The paper reminds me that no matter how dirty I feel, my body is white as snow.

lego

Therapist By A Thread

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

bfmh14-copy-e1388959797718http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/

I came across this my very first day blogging and have been meaning to officially take this pledge ever since. My main purpose in starting this blog was to raise awareness of mental health and erase the stigma of carrying a mental health diagnosis.

When I am in the therapist’s chair, my clients often say things like, “You wouldn’t understand” or “I wish I had it so together like you!” I usually respond with something similar to, “I understand you feel so alone and isolated” for the former and, “Everybody’s got something to work on!” for the latter. On the outside, my job as a professional is to create a safe, one-sided relationship for my clients so they can achieve whatever goals they are in therapy to achieve. I am good at this. I am good at putting the attention on others, and I am very good at redirecting clients. I have even become a star at answering the mandatory personal questions (ie. “What’s the most difficult thing you have ever experienced?” to which I often replied while pregnant, “Making it through this therapy session without peeing my pants!”) while playing therapy games with clients. My clients have no idea of my diagnosis, and that is ethical and professional. At times, my heart breaks at their feelings of isolation, but it is not my job (on the contrary, it would be quite unethical of me to do this) to share the personal information they would need from me in order to realize that I understand them on a deeper level than the books I studied in graduate school.

But I do understand them on a deeper level. At times, I am struck by their ability to verbalize the feelings I have been working to verbalize in my own therapy for months. I actually sometimes type out what I want to say and bring it to therapy with me, in a desperate attempt to not shut down or dissociate in session. After work, I pull off my professional mask and put on my mommy mask. This includes homeschooling my almost four year old, breastfeeding a five and half month old at all hours of the night, and making half-assed dinners that at least one person will not be interested in consuming. I do my best to keep my mask on until the kids are in bed for the night, but this does not always happen; my son has found me, on several occasions, hiding in the dark bathroom as I struggle to pull myself together.

Finally, I pull off my mask and what is underneath is ugly. There are scars. There is blood. There are tears. There is anger. There is hurt. Hatred. Need. Desire. And there is sin. It is officially labeled posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a world that it seems nobody wants to acknowledge. There are deep secrets that, as someone said to me recently, “Our family tends to forget.”

This is why I am writing a blog. It is wrong to forget family secrets. Family secrets strengthen generational cycles so that more and more children are consumed by darkness. I have shared this blog with my real world, and many in my real world are unimpressed. Most have quietly ignored my loud proclamation from this rock I have climbed upon. I am shaking as I make this proclamation, but I am shouting as loud as I can. I am scared to speak out, but I am. I shout louder with the more courage I have, and with the more healing I have experienced. Inside I am weak and bloody, but I will not stop shouting. People need to stop quietly ignoring family secrets. Family secrets need to be exposed and changed… and healed, so that the cycle will stop. If this blog leads just one person to speak up about their scary secrets in attempt to make healthy change, my goal has been reached.

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them… . When anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light” -Ephesians 5:11-14.