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The Invisible Hand that Guides my Life

Thread starter #1
I have written about my childhood and abuse here before please feel free to read. It has been 4 years since I stopped therapy and my disassociation has protected me by burying the horrors of my childhood abuse. I live with an ongoing internal battle of wanting to remember and being terrified too.

Will the truth free me or destroy me, honestly not sure. Are there things that are so horrific that my mind understands the danger of remembering in detail? I am confused and despite my efforts memories and feelings are leaking out through emotional flashbacks. I am not a person who cry's, ever but recently if I am watching TV or reading a story that features a child being saved the tears begin to come and I feel sick so I quickly shut it down.

The more I try to remember the sicker I feel but at the same time can not handle the feeling of not being in control.
 
#4
@David1959, I think I felt the same as you do. I thought I couldn't do therapy as really thinking about the memories would cause me untold damage that it seemed phsycially impossible. It took every inch of me to go to that first therapy session. I nearly didn't. And as soon as I was there I was telling my T how I was nearly walking out and my fears about not doing able to contain the memories. It was like I would combust with emotion because of these memories.
But, the worst had already happened many years before. Whilst it's painful processing, particularly because disassociating has protected us from so much. But it still isn't happening again. We're 'just' remembering.

If the memories are coming back, it is your mind telling you : now is the time. Because the part that has disassociated is now letting that memory out. It wouldn't be 'leaking' if you couldn't handle it now. (And maybe re-frame it from looking at it leaking out to looking at it building a picture? Something positive?)

It might feel like you can't handle it. But you can.

I agree with @Survivor3, having a therapist help you with this might really assist.
 
#5
I am confused and despite my efforts memories and feelings are leaking out through emotional flashbacks.
It sounds like this process is happening, like it or loathe it. So, for me, the question is, do you have the proper supports in place to learn the skills to cope with what's happening? Probably more support right now would be a good idea...?

The more I try to remember the sicker I feel but at the same time can not handle the feeling of not being in control.
Definitely this is something that we don't exert conscious effort with. The more we try and fill in blanks? The more our brain will do just that, filling in blanks with information that may be accurate, or simply your brain's best guess.

This is probably a period where you want to limit reading other people's trauma stories, just for a while, so that your brain goes about its process naturally, without taking on elements of other people's stories to fill in those blanks (very common for our brains to do that - brains are expert at drawing on all sorts of sources to fill in blanks, so protect what sources your brain can draw on right now).

You're going to get through whatever your brain decides it's time to share with you. You survived it when it happened, you will survive the memories.

Grounding skills would be a good place to invest some time right now. So that when you get overwhelmed with memories, you have rock solid ways to bring yourself back to the present moment, where the trauma is no longer happening. A therapist can help you with that.
 
#6
@David1959, I think I felt the same as you do. I thought I couldn't do therapy as really thinking about the memories would cause me untold damage that it seemed phsycially impossible. It took every inch of me to go to that first therapy session. I nearly didn't. And as soon as I was there I was telling my T how I was nearly walking out and my fears about not doing able to contain the memories. It was like I would combust with emotion because of these memories.
But, the worst had already happened many years before. Whilst it's painful processing, particularly because disassociating has protected us from so much. But it still isn't happening again. We're 'just' remembering.

If the memories are coming back, it is your mind telling you : now is the time. Because the part that has disassociated is now letting that memory out. It wouldn't be 'leaking' if you couldn't handle it now. (And maybe re-frame it from looking at it leaking out to looking at it building a picture? Something positive?)

It might feel like you can't handle it. But you can.

I agree with @Survivor3, having a therapist help you with this might really assist.
I agree with what has been said.

A couple suggestions: maybe reach out to your former therapist and ask for referrals? Also when you are in the hunt for therapists, keep an open mind. My therapist is specialized in PTSD and trauma but not on dissociative disorders. However, she is seeking consultation from an experienced therapist versed on dissociative disorders and is also learning and reading about this.

It feels right to work with her and so far it's worked.

David1959 I can relate so much to what you said about the more you try to remember the sicker you feel but not being able to cope with the out of control feeling. You are so strong and there is a lot of determination in your words. Fear too, but that is totally nirmal and expectable.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
#7
It is like broken leg, when you reach the emergency, they have to hurt it or rebreak it to put it back again.
I can attest to losing my mind after i went to therapy and was one step short of becoming un-functional (like quitting my job or school)...but I kept reminding myself...it is a memory that I survived when I was a child...I was that lucky or resilient and for some reason this sort of soothed me to push me back to reality and in my body and let me see few good days in between the hell houses of memory.

I am not saying you will experience the same but I honestly thing a good therapist or even a group of supportive people also recovering from their trauma will be helpful and beneficial while you find your footing again. The fear is real but you have already shown even as a child or young person, you survived worse than remembering.
 
Thread starter #8
I want to thank everyone for comments and recommendations. My thinking brain understands this but I am so messed up that I don't trust my mind. Example, I found out last week that I have a herniated disk and am having back surgery Friday. While waiting for surgery I spend about 75% of the day on the couch in extreme pain and while I am working from home (Covid) I feel guilty not working and just laying on the couch.

I think the most damaging part of where I am is that after 45 years of having the door bolted shut it is open a crack and while I still know almost nothing I have come to realize that my entire life has been guided by this invisible hand around my throat.
 
#9
I'm sorry to hear you are having back surgery. That alone is a lot to deal with. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
You are in pain and need surgery = work will not expect you to be tip top on performance right now, so don't feel guilty! You are about to have surgery. Give yourself permission to have some sick leave.

I totally understand the 'not trusting you mind' thing right now. I think that is usual?
My door was shut tight too. It opened a bit mid 20's. But I slammed it shut again. And then it opened wide aged 41. So I get where you are coming from.
It brings up so much: who am I? What happened? How have I not known? Who would I have been? What decisions in my life have been guided by what happened? Why am I in my 40's an only just beginning to know how I am? I thought I knew who I was and how I felt? Etc etc etc.
All of which doesn't build in trust in your own mind.
It sucks.
But: it creates depths of you. It cements you to yourself.
You can do this!
But first: you need your surgery and recovery.
 
Thread starter #10
Thanks forward10.

Your comment, who would I have been? really hits home. I guess that is part of it I really could have been so much more than I am. It is terrifying to think that at 10yo I made decisions that changed the course of my life.

I am trying to find an online therapist but having trouble concentrating to do it. I want a T that deals with this regularly I reached out to one online group and they sent me a "match" for a therapist that was no one I would ever talk to.
 
#11
Yeah. We have to grieve for what we lost and what might have been. It's a crappy old process. But doable.

What country are you in?
I found my therapist by searching through a couple of sites that register therapists in the UK.
 
#12
@David1959 I am so sorry to hear what you are going through and I imagine the situation with your pain is intensifying everything. I have been through some similar circumstances with my T retiring. I took time off therapy after that too as I really don't trust easily, or rather at all really. I have then recently experienced a sort of similar episode where memories were coming back and my tendency to deal with them through dissociation wasn't really working any longer. I have since started seeing a T again, I am doing so online via a health-system type zoom for therapy set up in Australia. I have been back with this T for about three months and it is helping but progress is slow as is trusting. When I left my first T after she retired I looked for a new T but the ones I tried did not fit me at all. I don't know what country you're in, but sometimes GPs have a handle on Ts that might be good? I hope that you are able to find somebody to help you through this tough time.
 
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