Good news – I’m back!
Last time I really blogged, I was about to embark on a new journey as I would be attending a trauma retreat. I did promise daily diary entries to post after I finished but the truth is, I was so exhausted from all the work I was doing that I had no energy to write when I got home at the end of each day. I will, however, go over some of the highlights and give a brief description of how each day went.
The retreat was a total of five days long. On the first day, we did paperwork and went over a LOT of information on trauma and how it affects the brain. They use a lot of Pia Mellody’s material in the retreat. There were a lot of PowerPoint slides and a whole workbook for us to go through. That took the whole day.
The following days are kind of a blur. I remember everything we did, I just don’t remember what happened on which days in what order. I know we drew pictures, wrote letters to and from our inner child, wrote letters to our parents and abusers, and then the hard stuff.
We had to fill out something called a “Relational Trauma Worksheet” and this was basically a paper where we documented our abuse. We had to write our age at the time of the abuse, who the abuser was (mom, dad, other), what happened, how we felt at the time, and how we feel about it now. This took a while. They gave us a set of eight basic emotions, and we had to use those to describe our feelings. A lot of my answers were “shame.” After we did the worksheet, I thought the hard part was done. I was very very wrong.
The day after doing the relational trauma worksheet, we had to sit in front of the group and go through each event. It was hard. The group only had five people in it and each “debriefing” took a little over an hour. They had given us blankets, pillows, coloring books, markers, crayons, colored pencils… anything to keep us somewhat occupied as the group members went through their trauma with the therapist.
To be honest, I slept through most of this. I was exhausted and the therapist told us we could sleep if we needed to. I missed most of what the others said, but I heard some of it. Going in, I thought that my trauma was so small and insignificant. I just knew that everyone else there was going to have so much more trauma than I did and I would seem like such a waste of time for being there. I thought I was taking up a spot of someone that needed the retreat much more than I did.
After going through the debriefing, I no longer felt that I didn’t belong. I felt much more at peace with my decision to be there.
Anyway, after debriefing, I knew we were done with the hard stuff and it wouldn’t be so bad now. Wrong, again, Poppy! The next thing we did was the hardest part of the retreat.
Have you ever heard of Somatic Experience? I hadn’t before this. In case you haven’t either, I will try my best to explain it. Basically we had to go through our worksheets again, but this time, we did like an “empty chair” exercise with it. So, we had to visualize our abusers in the chair in front of us. For all of us, our abusers were our parents. First, I did my father. I had to visualize him in the chair, and then we went over each event that involved him. While doing this, we had to “give the shame back” where it belonged. I know this doesn’t make much sense, just bear with me.
So, one of the events I used was my father beating me with a PVC pipe. With me eyes closed, visualizing my father sitting in front of me, I repeated everything the therapist said. So, it was like, “dad, when you hit me, it made me feel shame and I’m angry about that” And then I would say, “I give that shame back to you,” and as I was saying all of this, I was pulling tissues out of a box and throwing them on the floor like I was “giving” the shame to him. It was really cool. It was something I had never done before, and it was very powerful. I cried a lot during this process. I soaked my mask and had to change it afterwards. We did other things too like unrolling toilet paper or pulling a towel from the therapist when I was supposed to be “taking something back.”
The Somatic Experience stuff also took about an hour per person. I slept through some of this too because the way we had to position the chairs, you couldn’t really hear what was going on anyway.
The last day, we did some paperwork and stuff like that. Overall, it was a WONDERFUL experience. As hard as it was, I am so glad I went and had the opportunity to process the stuff that I had never really told anyone before. I’ve never had a chance to look at my whole history and tell my story like that. It was amazing.
Since then, I have been working hard with K in my normal therapy sessions. She’s still so incredible and I’m lucky to have such a good therapist. We had a really tough session a couple weeks ago. I was telling her about some stuff I had going on and I was just sobbing. After a while, I started dissociating and she kept checking in on me. She would ask what I was thinking about because she knew I wasn’t focused, and I was typically thinking about cutting. I remember at one point, we were sitting in silence and I looked over at her and she just said, “talk to me” and it kind of broke my heart. I felt bad for shutting down, but I couldn’t help it.
I stayed there an extra twenty minutes that day because she wanted to make sure I was okay to leave, and I would be safe when I got home. She made me tell her that I would not harm myself and then she gave me a really long hug.
She’s just really great. It’s like I can tell she actually cares, you know?
My old therapist never let me message her or contact her outside of sessions. She said I could only reach out to her if it was an emergency in which case, she would just tell me to go to the hospital. Not that it’s a requirement to let your clients contact you, but K lets me text or call any time I need to and that means a lot to me. I don’t text her often, but I have a couple times when I was really struggling and needed her.
I also LOVE that she hugs me after almost every session. My old therapist wouldn’t hug me. She only did side hugs and only on special occasions. In the two years I saw her, she hugged me twice. Once when I gained the courage to ask how she felt about hugs, and once when I did some hard processing. K hugs me all the time. Especially after that session I was just talking about where I was dissociating a lot. She hugged me before I left and said it was a “grounding hug” and it was just really special.
I don’t think I’m developing inappropriate feelings or over attachment feelings for K, though. That’s been an issue in the past, but I don’t think I’m having that issue with her now. I just really like her and I appreciate the work she’s putting in for me. She works a LOT. She works full time at the hospital that I did my inpatient and outpatient treatment at and she does her private practice on the side. I sometimes feel bad for taking up her time, but… I guess if I don’t take it, someone else will. Plus, I was one of her first clients when she opened her practice.
Now, there’s something else I wanted to write about. I’m hoping that writing it here will get it off my chest so I can breathe a little easier.
There’s someone in my life that I am VERY close to. We’re going to call her J, for this story. J and I have known each other for about three years. She is someone I go to often to talk about life and the things that are hard. She’s someone I trust. She knows about my R, she knows about the problems I’ve had with my Ts, she knows about my self-harm, she knows just about everything. She was there for me when no one else was. When my mom left me and I had no one to fill in, she was there. When I felt all alone and out of place, she was there. When I transitioned to my new church and felt like an outsider, she was there. She’s been my rock and I love her with my whole heart.
Last week, she got sick. Well, let me back up. The Monday before last, I was at her house for my piano lesson and she told me that she had been having some abdominal pain. She said she was cramping, but she wasn’t menstruating. I thought it was odd, but I didn’t really have any answers for her. We moved past it and she never said anything about it again.
The following Sunday, she doesn’t come to church. I sent her a text and told her that I missed her and asked if she was okay. She said she was really sick and wasn’t feeling well. I was confused because I had seen a video of her from two nights before and she seemed totally fine. I wasn’t doubting that she was sick, because I know she wouldn’t lie to me, I was just confused.
She never let on to what was wrong or why she felt sick. She didn’t say if it was a cold or a stomach bug or anything. She told me that she was going to the doctor and I told her to let me know how it went and she never did. Again, I didn’t think too much of it. I just figured it was nothing or she forgot or something like that.
Wednesday came and she was at church. She seemed totally fine, but when I talked to her, she was not herself at all. Not even a little. She was acting so weird and I could tell something was going on, but she wouldn’t tell me what it was. She said she felt fine, but that she had another doctor appointment scheduled for Friday. Again, cue my confusion. If she was fine, why was she going to the doctor again? I should also add that she doesn’t have insurance… so she doesn’t go to the doctor for no reason because she has to pay out of pocket.
At this point, I’m getting really concerned. She isn’t letting on to what’s going on at all, she’s acting weird, and she’s got another doctor’s appointment and I don’t have any clue what it’s for. It’s not that I want to know what’s going on because I’m nosy, I’m just really concerned for her. I feel like it’s something really serious and she’s just not telling me.
I just need her to be okay. She’s my person.
I will hopefully get an update on that when I see her at my piano lesson tonight. Until then, the anxiety is eating away.
UPDATE: I spoke to her last night and she kind of told me what was going on. She said the abdominal pain just got unbearable and that’s what made her sick. She still doesn’t have her ultrasound results back yet, but she says she is feel a thousand times better and she feels like herself again. She said she’s hoping it’s nothing and that’s why they haven’t called with results yet. So, not much of an update, but it’s better than nothing. Hopefully she will let me know what her ultrasound results are!
Next on the list of things to write about are my interesting endeavors from this weekend. Let’s just say it was wild. I started out by going to the club that I frequent often. There’s a bartender there that likes me and so, I get in for free and I don’t pay for my drinks there. It’s pretty nice.
The only problem is.. well.. this bartender REALLY likes me. He texts me all the time, he always wants to see me, and honestly, when I go out, he’s not been letting other guys talk to me or hit on me which I don’t like. He’s acting like he’s my boyfriend and he’s not.
Speaking of boyfriend, while he’s been hitting on me and trying to get with me, he had a girlfriend the whole time. He told me he wasn’t happy with her, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was in a relationship and I wasn’t going to be the one to wreck that. On Friday night when I saw him. He told me that he had broken up with her the past Sunday. So, less than a week had passed.
While I was at the club, I met up with one of my friends and her fiancé. We hung out and had drinks and she told me that she and her fiancé had decided to have an open relationship. During the time we were there, she was getting several di*k pics on her Snapchat and she kept showing them to me. I was a tad uncomfortable with that, but I was also several drinks in, so I just said whatever and let her be.
At the same time that I’m sitting with my friends, the bartender is texting me things about how I’m cute and he wants to kiss me and things like that. Then my friend starts asking me about having a threesome with her and her fiancé.
I was in a really awkward position. I had two people trying to get with me and I just wanted to have a good time, you know? Let me cut to the chase.
I decided to go with my friend and her fiancé to have sex, but the bartender wanted to take me to breakfast after the bar closed. It was a little after midnight and I decided we would have sex, and then I would come back and go on the date.
I sound like a sl*t, I know. But, in my defense, the bartender and I are not in an exclusive relationship. I was simply enjoying my time as a single woman and he wanted to go out. But, there it is. S.L.U.T.
The sex wasn’t bad. It was actually the only enjoyable sex I’ve ever had, which is good. They were considerate in multiple ways. After we were done, we went back to the club and I got ready for my date.
The date was a bit awkward. I was drunk, so that helped. Oh, I forgot to mention something in the story!!
While I was at the club, the bartender kissed me several times. And when my friend and I got back from the hotel, she kept asking if he wanted the room with me or if he wanted to be a fourth. I was embarrassed, but also drunk.
Anyway, the date was fine. He kissed me goodnight and I made it home by 3:45am.
The thing is, I feel bad. The sex made me feel dirty and the date made me feel awkward. It was just a mess all around. Then the bartender asks me to go out on Tuesday night and I said yes. That’s tonight. I ended up cancelling because… I just can’t go. I don’t know why, but when I think about going on a date with him, it just makes me sick to my stomach.
He’s a really nice guy and I think I like him, there’s just something about it that feels off. I mean, the idea of a boyfriend is certainly enticing to me considering I’m 24 and very inexperienced with dating as I’ve only had one real boyfriend, but I don’t know if this bartender is someone I really want to be with. I like the idea of going out on dates and getting surprises at work and wanting to message someone from sun-up to sun-down, but I don’t know if HE is the one I want those things from.
I don’t know. I feel really torn and conflicted about the whole thing. Even now, just writing about it, my stomach is in knots. I think that’s a sign that this isn’t a good idea, but then why do I still feel so conflicted? It doesn’t make sense.
I just want to run away and start a new life. I hate this one. It’s messy and I feel like I’ve screwed too many things up and I don’t want to live this life anymore. I’m done.
You know, I really thought writing about this would help, but it hasn’t. I thought it would help me to get a clear head and sort everything out but as I’m writing this, I just want to cry. I’m not even sure why. I think maybe I’m a little tired and drained and I just need to put the blog away. This has been a rather long entry anyway, so I think I’ll go ahead and post it and release this.
If you read this far, thank you. It truly means a lot to me to know people are actually reading this and going on this journey with me.
That’s all I have for now. Be well, friends.
(No, I didn't proofread this, sorry for any typos!)