Sadielady3's Diary

Sadielady3

Confident
There was a time not too long ago that I really wished my therapy sessions were in person. Now as the time to return to normalcy gets closer, I dread the idea of being anywhere around people.

I remember before the big shut down for Covid, my T had been trying to get me to join groups and socialize more. I was working on gathering enough courage to actually do so and then everything was shut down. His argument was that I'd been going to group therapy and that was going okay so other groups should be okay too.

Except now I'm even nervous about going in for group. When the pandemic started, I missed my colleagues, the kids at school, and the limited social interactions I had. But today, as more and more students talked about going back to the building, I just felt dread. Maybe my social anxiety grew in the comfort of my nearly complete isolation. There is definitely a part of me that would remain locked in my house, given the option. And I realize remaining here in this comfortable cage is a half-life at best.

I'm not sure EMDR or any other type of therapy can ever really heal that part of me that would choose the safety of isolation over the joys of having real experiences. That part has existed for a long time and grew when nurtured. This might be something worth bringing up in group tonight. Maybe someone else has the same feeling? Most people don't. For most people, getting back to at least semi-normal will alleviate some of their symptoms. I wonder how much worse I'll get when forced back into the real world.

This would be a great topic to discuss with my T, I know. But EMDR essentially canceled therapy for me. It's no longer a place to discuss and work on minor issues. I suppose it's possible that as I heal through EMDR it'll help with this. I feel so conflicted today.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
Sadie, you can have both. Talk and EMDR. It's not all or nothing. And you can ask people here how they feel about being socially anxious. I am. I had bank business to do today. I did not want to be there, but I got into the rhythm of business once I got there.

Sorry, you don't feel comfortable asking here. Maybe one day.

I Hope group goes well for you. gentle hugs
 

Sadielady3

Confident
@ladee , I know you can do both talk therapy and EMDR at once. The problem is that my talk therapist became my EMDR therapist so it changed things over. My insurance won't cover a second therapist. At least I still have group for talking I suppose. I'm lucky that my insurance has covered so much therapy for me for free during this pandemic. All of the group therapy, individual therapy, and even the urgent care appointments have all been 100% free to me through my HMO. Even without individual talk therapy, I'm still pretty fortunate.

As for asking here, I know I can. Sometimes it's nice to have an actual conversation with someone though where you can hear the other person's voice and engage in real time conversations. I know there's at least a remote chance that I'm going to go back to struggling to want to do therapy activities when it means I have to be around people. And that fight is getting closer. My T has no trouble standing up to me and having heated conversations, lol. He does it gently and professionally but he is quite firm about things when he feels strongly.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
Had X's group tonight. We mostly discussed anger and where that emotion comes from. X says that it's mostly based around fear, especially fear of isolation. This hit hard. I've been really angry lately. Anger has been interesting for me- don't think I've felt it much in my life. I think I learned when I was young to suppress that feeling. Remembering so much from my childhood, I've been starting to get really angry. I can feel all of the fear, loneliness, and despair. But I rarely get really sad. Maybe some part of me is worried that it will happen again, that I'll be powerless and alone again. Maybe some part of me believes that it's all I deserve.

I wish I had happy memories of my mother from my childhood but I don't. I don't have memories of her hugging me or telling me that she loves me. I don't have memories of mommy-daughter days. I remember we would go out for the day to do errands and how impatient she always got with me. The few pictures of me from childhood are rarely smiling. I look downright creepy, like I have no soul. It makes me wonder if I really survived childhood or am just physically still alive. It makes me wonder if I'm a shell with the echoes of the past just rattling around in there making me look human.

Talked to the husband creature about my therapy dilemma. He says that I need to talk to my T about my concerns. Although I am generally hesitant to discuss the things that I should with my T, with this one I have a good reason. If I bring up my need for talk therapy, it might tell him that I am not committed to EMDR. I am. I just hadn't thought through the whole concept that I would be giving up regular therapy to do it. I probably didn't ask enough questions about what treatment was going to look like from this point forward. I'm comfortable enough with the EMDR itself so I guess I thought that was enough. I get the impression from the internet that most people don't do EMDR with their regular therapist unless that's why they went in the first place. Perhaps this will be good though to get away from talk therapy and do something more clinical and structured for awhile. I have no idea. I doubt anyone could fortune tell well enough to give me that answer.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
Had my T's group tonight. We discussed being vulnerable. I sensed early on in the discussion that I am far more dysfunctional than most in this area. It was a good discussion though overall.

I mentioned that I am dreading having to re-enter society. No one else felt that way but I could see my T's reaction to that. He's definitely going to fight me on coming back in person. I know that's the healthy thing to do but I've just reached this level of comfort and safety being in my house. Turns out, when given the choice, I'd rather just be alone.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
I've been super busy with school- end of the quarter grading nonsense and IEP writing. Some of these children are incredibly entitled.

Overall, my mind's been quiet. I was able to really crank out serious hours of work yesterday. Today I was distracted by thinking about the end of therapy and what that looks like. I don't think I'm anywhere near that point but I think I have some goals I'd like to achieve before leaving therapy. Right now, I have a lot of supports in place that I think are keeping me stable while in therapy. Much like my special education students, I would never want to rip all of their supports away at once- gradual is key.

I think the first support I should look at getting rid of is X's group. I think this is the right first step for me because once the lockdown is over, his office is really inconvenient for me to travel to. His group also starts much earlier than my T's group so it's a little harder to get there. Additionally, the topics we discuss in there are much deeper than in my T's group and as I heal, I would like to think that I won't need as much soul-searching support. Finally, I think my T's group is important for me as I do EMDR. Not only does it let him keep tabs on me a little easier if the EMDR gets really rough but it also gives me a place to maintain a relationship with him. I feel like EMDR is a bit colder and more formulaic, which I like overall, but I also know that the therapeutic relationship is actually important for me to help me heal my attachment issues. I adore X. I truly do. But he is distant enough from me that there is no transference there and I think that relationship isn't as likely to help me with the attachment issues.

I also think that the last thing to go should be individual therapy. As much as it's the least consistent thing in my treatment, it's definitely the most individually targeted.

I would also like to quit my T's group and get off of my meds before I leave. Quitting my T's group should be doable at some point. I don't know about the meds but before I leave, I'd like to try. I honestly think that the prazosin should be realistic since it's purpose is to decrease nightmares and theoretically, if I process through the trauma, the nightmares may be a thing of the past. The gabapentin may or may not be possible. But I'd sure like to try. Not sure on the order of these three things, definitely prazosin before gabapentin. Not sure where group should fall though.

Some of these things are a long time away from now I think. I could be wrong. A told me yesterday that she's been reading up on EMDR and believes I could be done with therapy by the end of March. I find it highly unlikely that I'll be done that soon. I'd like to think that the EMDR won't be the end of therapy for the simple reason that even if we processed the very last thing, I think I'd want to check in at least once or twice more to make sure nothing new came up. I'd also like a proper ending to therapy this time with actual closure. I'd like the chance to reflect on the journey and express my gratitude. I feel like those things are important. I don't really want to be in therapy and I honestly believe that I will actually know when I am ready.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
I've been thinking lately about how incredibly lucky I got with my current T. When I came back to therapy last January, I was diagnosed as having depression and anxiety. As time progressed, I discovered I had massive amounts of trauma. It takes a special type of therapist and a special type of therapeutic alliance to deal with trauma.

My T was not EMDR certified when I came into therapy. He doesn't advertise that he works with trauma. It's entirely possible, given that he just got certified to do EMDR in November that he's still not well versed in trauma. I might be that first real case of it he's ever worked with. This would give a lot of people cause to worry. And I did worry about this for awhile. But as time has marched on and he's learned bits and pieces of my past, he seems to be able to handle it.

I kept wanting to quit therapy for quite awhile. I was convinced my T couldn't handle it, that I'd end up worse off or that he's give up. M kept telling me that I needed to stick with him because it was the power of that relationship that was moving me to realize what my real issues are. I told her that he wasn't going to be able to help me once he got a good look inside. She always believed that he would. Her theory was that the way he does therapy is very congruent with how trauma therapists are. He's never overly positive and pushing things like affirmations. He has a very calm demeanor and will interact with me using logic and gentle reassurance. The fact that he was suggesting EMDR before I even knew I had significant trauma told her that he sees me a lot more clearly than I think he does. And so I've stayed despite not knowing if he could handle my trauma.

But the thing I've marveled at recently is the fact that I somehow wound up with a T that does EMDR even though I wouldn't have thought to look for that back in January because I wouldn't have known it could help me nor did I even know what it was and if I had been looking for EMDR, he wouldn't have been a choice back then. What were the chances that I would have a need come up like this that he'd be able to meet? It feels too big to be a coincidence and like the universe might be sending me a sign that it's time to heal.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
You've made some miles in recovery Sadie!! In a very short time. Your attitude toward healing and your T has made a huge turnaround.

And it IS your turn to heal. A Zen saying, ' When the student is ready, the teacher appears'.

You got this Sadie!!! Hugs
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Hi Sadie. Just passing by and tell you that you aren’t alone in fearing the end of the lockdown. Receding and isolating is a reassuring way to cope. The lockdown has given me so much good reasons not to go to places. Staying in a room doing thingies forever without interruption? I’m in. I know it’s unhealthy, but it’s something that I know well. It’s helped me to cross horrible waves. Rationally I want this pandemic to end otherwise my entire field will just vanish, and I do miss things like going out dancing, but it demands me to gather a lot of energy to make myself to finally go. Having therapy by visio is also something that I find less problematic than doing it in person. I can’t miss the appointments or get distracted on the way and annoyed at the waiting room.

I do have a bit of social contact. Actually quite a lot, taking my standards into account. I can’t manage to make myself visible without a lot of uncluttering and turn the pumpkin I feel I am into a carriage. It takes hours. Every single time, I dread it. Then it goes okay. And I find that in dispersed work settings it’s more difficult because you have this ebb and flow of people going in and out, having to shift between what you’re doing several times a day, which I find very exhausting. The shift. When we’re locked in rooms, the shifts come in less stressful forms. Phones and screens. They can’t yell at you or get mad. Or, at least, in a way that is more controllable than the actual person in front of you. I, at least, feel I have a sense of decision over it while in the normal world I feel pushed in relationships and don’t know where to place myself. I don’t know for you, but perhaps it is something you are familiar with?

In any case, kudos for your awareness too. I really appreciate your writing, questioning and honesty. I hope you’re having a good Sunday!
 

Sadielady3

Confident
@ladee , I sometimes feel like it hasn't been long enough for me to feel the way that I do. I've spent so many years in a dark place that having these positive thoughts and mindset still feel a bit alien to me. I hope it lasts and isn't some temporary phase.

@ruborcoraxxx , I am a teacher so my job is done far better in person. Honestly, if the job I've had this year was how it would be forever, I really would be looking to switch careers. I think going back to in-person school is where I would be most comfortable getting back to life outside my four walls. Although I certainly do have triggers waiting for me in the building, most of the time I have a lot of control over my environment in my classroom. Regular social situations, not so much, and I generally start looking for my escape as soon as I arrive most places. Like you, it takes a lot of effort for me to just leave the house. So much anxiety hits me, even when seeing just a few close friends. I inevitably end up apologizing for something that I feel I did wrong. I am 100% that person who will sneak out of a social gathering when no one is looking. I've made some people upset by doing this but I just reach this level of anxiety where I feel unwelcome and need to get out of there. A part of me believes that not saying goodbye avoids the awkwardness of people having to pretend that they don't want me to leave. It's also less confrontational.

And even though being so isolated has made me overly focused on my mental health and therapy, it has eliminated many, many things that I normally don't cope well with. I completely relate to the safety of being behind a screen. The only time that distance makes me sad is when I am with my students. Most of the time, I enjoy that distance. With therapy, this is a significant concern. My T started working with me last January. A week after our first meeting (which was by video visit), he was sending me to the IOP program. During my next two visits, which were both in person, I wasn't engaging in normal life since I was pulled out of work for IOP. I think he saw me one other time in person and we spent most of that session discussing ways to get me to leave my house and socialize more. Everything else we've done has been in quarantine. All of the dysfunction he's really been working on me with are the things that are left when normal stressors disappear. Being home by myself with just my husband would normally be the thing he'd be trying to get me to stop doing because that is what is comfortable for me.

All of the self-isolation that I embraced before Covid is only a significant problem because it leaves my life kind of blank. There are these pockets of time that need to be filled. So, I fill them with work. And more work. It is not uncommon for me to stay at school until 8 or 9 o'clock at night. I'd get home, eat some food, and go to bed. My whole life was my job. I've even willingly gone into work on some Saturdays. I hide from life, even without a quarantine. The quarantine made it acceptable. At least I know this about myself. At least, when asked where I wanted to start with EMDR I knew I needed to start with the belief that I am unlovable. After nearly a year of being isolated from others, at least I still remember what it is about myself that makes me want to hide from the world.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
I got my first vaccine shot today. My arm is a bit sore but I feel fine otherwise so far. I was afraid to get the shot, not because of the shot itself, because it represents a very real step towards rejoining the world and going back to interacting with others. But in the end, I know that that's inevitable and it's better not to get sick.

I'm a bit worried about how therapy might change when I do return to the world. I've been doing so well with working on myself but I know with the old triggers coming back, will I just regress? I don't think I've really confronted those issues in therapy because they really haven't been issues. I'm a little nervous about how this is going to change the work I'm doing. A part of me is inclined to try to hide that dysfunction when it comes back and a part of me feels like those are big things that probably need to be the center of the work for awhile.

I have really felt a lot better since starting the EMDR. So much so that I keep thinking I'm cured and can leave therapy now. I hope I am better but I suspect this is some new defense mechanism that's trying to push my T away again. Now sure why that's coming up right now though. My feeling is that it's not related to the triggers that are coming. It's something else. Maybe I'm nervous about processing some of the harder memories? We've worked on the suicide attempt and that one is bad but there are worse memories, memories that define some of my soul far more than that one. Ones that are much harder to look in the eye and stare down. Not sure about this.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sure your friend will validate that it is normal to start having some anxiety about what is ahead. And it is normal. But I feel when it comes down to it, you will chose to stay in therapy.

You are self aware enough to know there are other things that need to be talked about and dealt with. You are going to do fine with it all Sadie.

Glad to hear you are having no problems with the vaccine shot. That's good to hear. I'm getting it too when it's available here. I want to be able to go into the world if I want to.

Gentle hugs to you Sadie. You are going to learn to trust yourself and know you are making the right choices for the right reasons!! You got this!!
 
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