Scared… Prolonged Exposure Therapy

It has been a while since I have written here. Not sure why… I have plenty of topics to write about. In fact, I write in my mind almost every night. For some reason, gathering those thoughts, getting to my laptop and writing seems difficult.

Anyway, I figured it was time to write, plus I am having a difficult time with something. That is what I will be writing about tonight.

I am going through Prolonged Exposure therapy for my PTSD from history of sexual assault/abuse. Prolonged Exposure therapy is done in steps.

  • Education: the therapist discusses the process, what the therapy entails, and the goals of treatment.
  • Breathing: the therapist teaches a breathing technique to help to calm one down.
  • Imaginal Exposure: this is where the patient talks about the traumatic experience in detail over and over. All of the sessions are recorded. Part of this step is to listen to the recording over and over.
  • Real World Practice/In Vivo exposure: This is where the patient is exposed to real activities/places/situations which the patient avoided because of the trauma.

All of this is done to relieve the trauma symptoms and the stress it causes. There is much more to it, I am not going to much into details now.

I have been to two sessions, Friday will be my third session. This means I am on the third step: Imaginal Exposure. I am terrified. I will have to discuss in detail everything that took place. I have a great imagination and see things clearly when I think of them. So when I will be going over what happened, I will be seeing it in my mind like it is happening all over again. I know talking about it won’t kill me and that I am in a safe environment… but still… I am not looking forward to it.

I have thought maybe this is not a good time of the year to be doing this. The Holidays. The weather. I do not want to ruin Christmas because I am doing this. And then what? Will I associate every Christmas with this? (Since that is what we tend to do). I did not have the option when to start this therapy. I am hoping this will not send me over the edge. The purpose of doing this is to be able to get over what happened. I do not like that phrase, but it is the only way I think of it. Not necessarily ‘get over it’, but not letting it affect me the way it does. Being able to move on with my life, move past it.

I have many traumatic events, not just one. There is one that sticks out the most though. I will be discussing many traumatic events. Who in their right mind would want to do this? I don’t want to do this, I need to do this. I am tired of the traumatic events affecting my daily life, my marriage. I am ready (not really) to face this. I want to move on. I never discussed this before in my regular therapy sessions for many reasons: shame, fear, embarrassment. I wanted to forget about it… that did not work.

Has anyone done this type of therapy or know anyone that has done it? What was your/their experience with it?

Riddle Me This… :(

**********POSSIBLE TRIGGER ALERT*************

How do you tell your spouse to not take something personally, when they can’t help but take it personally?

This has started within the past few years. Perhaps because of self-awareness and the growing up I have done. And/or my life changes (no longer promiscuous or using sex as an escape). I guess I have no other option but to face it , deal with it, and come to terms with it… I really don’t know…

I am not as loving/cuddly as I used to be, I am much more standoffish to the one I love. Sometimes… most of the time, when my husband touches my skin, it feels like razors. His touch feels like razors… or fire… it physically hurts and makes me cringe. I tell him time and time again, it is not him, it is me. And in this case, it IS totally me (sort of). But something like that, again… how could anyone not take that personally. He knows my long history of sexual abuse/assault (which is probably a large causing factor in these ‘feelings/symptoms’.

So until I come to terms with my past sexual abuse/assaults, we have to ‘deal’ with this as best we can. And coming to terms with this is probably going to take a while, and this will only happen when I am able to open up about it in therapy. Which is not going to be easy… I freak out just from the thought of it… bringing all of it back… talking about it… making it real, all over again.

I ask if any of you have dealt with this to write me back on here or message me to my email address at graciella75@hotmail.com. Anything, any little help or advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

My Voodoo Skull Fairy

 

  • Do you or have you ever gotten a tattoo instead of self harming?
  • Have you used the pain of getting a tattoo or piercings to help you “get by”, without you physically harming yourself? To keep you from harming yourself?
  • Do you tend to get more tattoos when you are manic? or depressed?

For me, yes to all the above.

And here is a photo of one. She was not last-minute, I had wanted to get her for a while. But I was manic when I got her. And about 3 more tattoos within a 2 month period. I was also depressed. I do not regret getting her.

IMG_6923

IMG_6204

Finding Bekr

************TRIGGER WARNING*************
Weight issues… Mirrors are evil… Finding myself…

I was always the petite one. 5ft, 100lbs. Then with medications, and getting older I started gaining weight… quickly. My blood pressure was skyrocketing. 165lbs was the heaviest I had ever been. Being 5ft, every lb is noticeable. I became miserable. I felt like a fat lazy piglet. This was 2008, since then I was able to lose some weight, it was not easy. I was able to get to 130 lbs. I gain and lose 10lbs, I am constantly going from 130lbs to 140lbs, up and down. Now I am up to 150lbs. BUT this time, I do not criticize myself like I used to and I feel comfortable with my body. What is the difference now? I have no mirrors. I do have 1 in the bathroom, but all I can see is my face. I have always needed a mirror, so I can see how I look before going out. Don’t want to look like a fool ;) I have also had a magnifying mirror (for when I tweeze my eyebrows)… while also noticing every ‘flaw’ extremely close up.

I just started working out a bit, because I do want to lose weight for health reasons. I feel “fat/large” when I see full body pictures of myself and when I put on clothes that used to fit loosely. But again, I am not feeling completely awful about it. My conclusion: Mirrors are evil.
___________________________________________________________________________

Moving right along… to me. When I would look at myself in the mirror, and I mean REALLY look at myself, I did not see me. There was something else staring back at me. It was strange, sometimes awful and scary. Other times, I saw nothing, I was just an empty shell. I had no soul… nothing… emptiness…

Last week I was taking photos with my cell phone. I was taking photos with the zoom on, then I decided to take some selfies… I forgot to zoom back out. I did this a few times, and did not realize it until I looked at the photos a little later. So these photos were completely ‘accidental’. I was amazed by what I saw and how I felt. I saw me! Yes, me, a soul a person, everything I am and represent. It was such a wonderful experience, although a bit odd. I saw myself and saw beauty (and yes, that feels weird for me to say/write that). I no longer saw my ‘flaws’ as ‘flaws’, but as experience and life. I have been so critical about every little thing on my body and face. I have always been self-conscious about my smaller puffy eye, I hated it (that eye is smaller than my other one, I think it is a ‘lazy eye’). It looked like I got punched in the eye. I do not see it that way any more. I was born with it, it is part of me, I now accept it. On to my wrinkles… oh my goodness, it felt like my eyes got wrinkly overnight. Crows feet and lines, I no longer felt youthful. I was disgusted by them. Not anymore… I now see them as life. I liked the few freckles I had, never had any issues with those. But I now have some really bad dark/sun spots. I was embarrassed by them. I have a huge one right in the middle of my forehead. Now, I have no problem with it. To me it looks like a heart and/or a butterfly.

Now, every time I look at these photos, I still feel amazement by my acceptance. I have lived. I have been in and through hell. I have been blessed with MANY things. Why fight and constantly criticize my looks, when that is NOT who I am. It is only a part of me. I can’t fight getting older and everything that comes along with it.

It only took 39 years to see myself and accept what I saw, that my ‘shell’ is not really who I am (just a small part). I look into my eyes, and that is who I am. The person behind those eyes. And I have become a pretty cool person. Not like I used to be: a lying, manipulative, deceitful person for self gain. I was not a ‘bad’ person, I just made some bad choices… MANY bad choices, but they have led me to where I am now. I have always been a giving person though. Contradictory, I know… Anyway, I am now full of love and acceptance, of myself and others. My conclusion… again… mirrors are evil.

Here are the photos that helped me find myself (no editing/no photoshop): Pieces of Me

me

 

20140510_141454

 

me3

20140510_141259

I am whole :) My Spiritual Awakening

me5

I am whole :) My Spiritual Awakening

update

I seriously need to do an update. I think about it almost every night, oh I will do it tomorrow… and of course tomorrow never comes.

Debating on whether doing a video update or written update because I have so much to tell you all about. I will probably have to break it down in to a few posts, so it won’t be a long-drawn-out bleh, bleh, bleh. ;)

Just wanted you all to know, I am still here, and doing MUCH better at the moment.

Hugs, peace, happiness, love and all of good stuff <3 Bekr

In Memory of Sammie (Aug.98-Dec.13)

This is my most recent tattoo. This is a picture (doodle) I did of Sammie last year. In honor of her memory, I decided to get her tattooed on my leg. So I could still take her out for walks ;)

Sammie was my baby for 15 wonderful years. She found me in Germany in 1998. She was the runt of the litter, as soon as I saw her, I knew she would be an important part of my life. She traveled the world with me, always faithfully by my side. I love her and miss her so much. Putting her to rest was the most difficult decision I have ever made. But I knew it was time. I decided to be in the room while it was done. My husband and her ‘sister’ Roxy were also there. My heart hurt so much watching her as she slipped away. I did NOT want to let her go, but I had no choice. While it was extremely rough being there when it happened, I am glad I was there, as she made her way to the Rainbow Bridge.

Image

Image

Image

Thank you!

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you all for the love and support you show me on a daily basis. It truly makes a difference, and I appreciate you all. I am feeling better. Just taking it day by day.

much love <3 Bekr