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?