Abuse,  Mental Health,  PTSD,  Symptoms

Trauma Therapy

When I went to the mental health organisation because I realised I was in desperate need of help, I was at a point where I felt like I only had two options left. I was either going to fight for the trauma therapy that I need, or I was going to die. That’s right, I just said die. I couldn’t do this any more. I saw the pattern where I kept looking for the wrong kind of people who would use and abuse me like I had been in childhood. And after the almost 11 years I had left home, I was still feeling (and being treated) the same way as before I moved out. And I let it happen because I couldn’t see that I was attracting the wrong kind of people, nor could I see why I attracted these people. All I knew was they triggered every trauma from my childhood and not did I “just” have nightmares and flashbacks, I was reliving the nightmare of my past every single day and night. I was exhausted and terrified to be around these people (more so because they didn’t stop when I begged them to), so I isolated myself more and more until I went to seek help.

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It has been life changing, it has absolutely been the best (and the hardest) thing I have ever done in my life. I have been running away from people, situations, my thoughts and even my feelings. I knew if I wanted the right help, I could not run any more. After the first conversation with my therapist, I found out at the psychiatrist’s that my therapist wanted to treat me with CBT again. CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and this has not worked for me in the past 16 years, why would it now and why am I not being taken serious, again? I was at the psychiatrist’s for new medication because the one I had been taken for the past 7 years, didn’t do its job. I exploded, told him I wanted to be taken serious for once in my life and get the trauma therapy I know I need. He went off to talk to her about treating me with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

I had my appointment with my therapist right after this outburst. I was terrified for the reaction I would get from her. I can tell you, it was not what I had expected. She respected my feelings and praised the fact I stood up for myself and demand the help I need. She explained that CBT is a lot more than the therapy I received before and asked if I could open up to look in to other forms within CBT. I was.
She had to ask a colleague if I was able to receive EMDR (you need to fit a certain criteria) and told me she could not give that kind of therapy. I found out only certified therapists are able to treat someone with EMDR. A week later she told me I was able to do EMDR because I have PTSD, but there was a waiting list until the end of January. She was however, able to give another form of trauma therapy which has the same results as EMDR. This therapy is called Exposure Therapy. I have to relive the traumatic events in my mind as if it is happening in that moment. While I relive the events, I have to tell what is going on, in the smallest details. By doing this I learn that I can handle the images and the emotions I associate with the trauma and I can learn to process them. Recording of the session is part of homework, I listen to the recordering every day at home. Ever since the first session I have been feeling changes, although most of the time I feel like I can’t handle it. My body has gotten out of fight or flight mode and started to relax. I can calm myself down more when I am triggered, I can allow myself to experience the emotions without getting panic attacks because I try to not feel them. And most of all, I am able to talk about my PTSD and traumas more with the right kind of people (and let these people be closer in my life). I don’t feel like I need to run and hide any more and I definitely don’t feel ashamed any more.

Above image is courtesy of Everett Dixon

Love & Light, Sandra

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