A New Exercise and Self-Test

Some of you following my blog here will already know that I’m largely forced to self-heal as much as possible on account of limitations to my health insurance plan and other monetary aspects that exclude me from access to outpatient therapy. There is one exception to this in the “form” of a trusted therapist and now also friend, whom I’ve seen in 2008 and later, and who treats me on a compensation based model – a give and take sort of thing, but technically free of charge. He is a clinical hypnotherapist and I see him every other week or so. We have now entered a new phase of loosely connected sessions, where we’ll try to access the trauma content that happened in the very first few weeks into my life and which is usually deemed inaccessible by most trauma experts and neuroscientists, since active memory isn’t supposed to form until ages 2 going forward. Anyway, the point is: Other than him and this blog, where I’ve connected with fellow survivors of C-PTSD, I don’t have access to outpatient therapy. So I need to educate myself on the subject and do most of the associated work by myself. As I have become almost obsessively controlling of myself and my life as one of the outcomes of traumatizing events that happened right in the beginning of my life and then continued in my later years of infancy and childhood, I begin to think that this way of going about the recovery process is actually not bad at all. Plus, I’ve had so many disappointing borderline devastating experiences with the clinically trained “experts” that I have the hardest of times opening up to them at all any more. So all in all, this is o.k. with me.

In this process of rolling back as many outcomes and symptoms of C-PTSD as possible, I have already worked through and undergone various stages. Wanting to know as much as possible about my illness came first or rather: Identifying what exactly it was that I was suffering from, as I found myself confronted with a whole bag of – erroneous – diagnoses over the past 8 years. So “pinpointing” the problem came first, then education on the status quo of medical research in an attempt to scout available remedies, if at all possible. I wish I had documented my process from the start in as clearly organized a way as Kimberly has, but the first steps happened in silence and without exposing myself like I do now. And while I’d have rather preferred to make this blog into a resourceful tool than the occasional vent-o-rama, I can’t deny that it has become a bit of both: A written documentary as well as an outlet. Oh well. I can always go for perfect “on the other side” 😉 (i.e. after my physical demise).

So, anyway. Enough ado about technicalities. Since my release from a much dreaded hospital stay about four weeks ago, which I could no longer put off due to major health problems and risks with my left salivary gland, on the plus side I felt a huge boost in self-confidence from having overcome this major fear of going in, since I knew for a fact that hospital is another heavily triggering situation with the potential of activating old and so far unprocessed trauma content. From this experience and some other “overcoming episodes” less pronounced, but with similar effects on my self-confidence, I seem to have – in part – reembarked on a course of simply kicking myself in the butt by almost masochistically and violently “overcoming” or rising above fear bearing situations. However, reading Jean’s blog today about her latest session with her therapist, I suddenly realized that ignoring fear is not equal to overcoming it. It’s actually just resuming a position of being in denial of myself and my emotional being and the latter from trying to get ahead of myself in an attempt to return to being functional in one way or the other and this as soon as possible. While I still strive for that – becoming better functional in society at large again -, doing so at the expense of suppressing my emotional needs is nothing else but perpetuating former abuse with the only difference that it is now me who is the abuser against myself, thus fooling myself into thinking I had control. Well, o.k., I do have control, but it’s not healthy. And what would be so “attractive” about being in control anyway? Doesn’t in fact being in control rob life of everything that potentially makes it into a mystical, mysterious, marvellous experience? I would think so.

One post ago I seem to have tried to make a point for self-healing by going for exactly this approach: Kicking myself in the butt whenever I’d be confronted with unprocessed fears. On a short term basis this does work miracles, yes, and leaves you with a wonderful natural high. On the other hand it doesn’t seem to leave a mid- or longterm effect. Or does it? I can’t really tell at this point. I seem to have identified more permanent progress in regards to feelings of major physical discomfort with physical proximity of other people. (See the waiting room episode in this blog). Will the same be true for more violent triggers like swimming in the lake and in deep waters and wrestling down panic attacks? Will they eventually stop to return? And what about other triggers, like noises from neighbours and such, something that had me almost lose all impulse control in the place I lived in before this one?

Well, on the latter, I will get an opportunity to check on how far I can come with exercising constant cognitive interception as a means of “reprocessing” and “reprogramming”: Starting today, my landlady will have her family over for two weeks. It’s a young family of four with two adorable, but – naturally – lively young children, a girl and a boy. What is more, instead of only one person living above and next to my flat, which I “share” in part with her – I have to cross the main stairwell in order to get to my bedroom in the basement -, there’ll be five persons for the next two weeks. To be brutally honest, this prospect scares me shitless! And aggravates me, too, as so far triggering situations would leave me with a full blown replay of unprocessed trauma content including all the physical symptoms of major discomfort. When I suffer from these symptoms, any creative work or simply chilling out and enjoying whatever it is that I’m doing, even simply house chores, become this much harder to do or completely impossible. In other words: I don’t expect to get much writing, reading or practicing my instruments done in the next two weeks. That is, unless I find a way of coercing myself into a different state of mind and being whenever triggers activate this physical response. In other words: It’s a forced-on opportunity to exercise mindful interception. Forced-on, but an opportunity nonetheless. I am doing my best to see it as such: An opportunity. Sadly, though, I don’t have an exit plan, if my approach fails. It is one of so many situations that have abounded in the more recent past, where my choices are for pest or cholera, as we say in my language, meaning to say finding yourself between a rock and a hard place in one way or the other, and where my only option is to make the most of it, whether I chose for it or not.

Wish me luck! 😉

As for my inevitable post-scriptum (P.S.): Just found this. I can’t begin to tell you what impact this just had on me. Maybe and after all, that’s the only way to overcome anything, i.e. by saying and acting along the lines of telling yourself “inspite of it all”. Detroiters seem to follow this exact approach.

“Lemonade: Detroit” 17-minute short from Erik Proulx on Vimeo.

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2 thoughts on “A New Exercise and Self-Test

  1. Am watching “Lemonade: Detroit” – looks good.
    I now tell myself with each emotion, “This is what anger feels like. This is what sadness feels like. (etc.) Also, I play youtube videos – carry my kindle around in a pack to do my work and wear earphones. Sometimes it seems like working from one coping skill to another hoping something will stick. The help you are getting right now sounds wonderful – to have a person that can be a friend to help you, and the give and take involved there is great. Sending happiness your way today.

  2. That’s a cool approach, too, Suzicue – just making yourself aware of the emotion involved. I’ve been thinking along those lines for some time: Why not simply allow the feelings come forth and admit to them? After all, we’re only human. Screw it, what any other person may think in regards to whether an emotion or emotional response is justified or appropriate or whatever. 😉
    Thanks for your kind words. And sending you thoughts of strength, perseverance and happiness, too! 🙂

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