October 15, 2009
Frozen in Mid-Step; What Now?
I Don't Know Who I Am by Marj aka Thriver on Polyvore.com
So, I'm feeling frustrated, disappointed and overwhelmed in the therapy department. The healing journey is, once again, feeling like an attempt to reach the Mt. Everest summit. Right now, I feel like I've hit a raging blizzard and I'm clawing the jagged rocks, trying not to slip back down, negating a thousand feet of hard-won ascent progress. To be honest, I feel like I need to set up camp and hunker down in my tent while I wait for the storm to pass.
Unfortunately, recovery from a trauma-induced dissociative disorder doesn't work that way. When the storm hits is when I have to muster up the strength and courage to work even harder and keep on climbing, even if it feels like I'm barely putting one foot in front of the other and I can't see where I'm going.
What prompted this, you ask? Well, I've been talking to my twin sister a lot lately about the progress she made at the WIIT program --The Women's Institute For Incorporation Therapy--in Florida. It's a one-of-a-kind treatment facility that practices incorporation therapy for dissociative trauma survivors. The more I talked with her, the more I wanted to try to attend this program myself. I feel like it could help me progress light years faster than the progress I'm making in individual therapy right now.
Let me give you some background detail that may explain why I got so excited about this idea. You see, I've been working a lot lately with parts that I used to call the "punisher parts" in the beginning. In the last year, it's really become apparent to me that these self-harming parts work overtime to maintain the abuse secret.
Here's the scenario I often get, but have just become aware of and started to understand: A young part starts to feel some feelings (not allowed!) of sadness, abandonment, fear, etc. Then a part I like to call a "firefighter" type comes out and jumps through all kinds of crazy hoops trying to shut off/down the feelings. This could include running away in dissociative fugues, getting suicidal, getting drunk, over-spending, etc. etc. Then, one of these protector (punisher) parts comes out and says, "You're getting out of hand. You're drawing too much attention to yourself. You are acting crazy. You're going to blow it. People will find out the secret." So then there's usually some self-injury type behavior. The problem with this is that it brings about huge feelings of shame and guilt, which threatens to start the whole feelings--avoiding feelings spiral all over again. So, I have a part named Serena who takes over and shuts the whole body down. I don't move, I don't talk, I don't do anything.
I'm trying to break this cycle of dissociative dysfunction. I have found--yeah, my therapist was right--that most of these self-destructive parts are really trying to be protective. They think that, if the secret gets out, I am going to be killed. I have found (as scary as they are, at first, to approach) that they are often quite cooperative once we get a dialogue going, get a contract not to self-harm "signed," and then I find them some more appropriate job to do that makes them still feel useful. I have a part named Sentry, for example, who does NOT get to be inappropriate and in people's faces anymore, but he gets the job of always being alert and aware of my surroundings whenever I'm getting out of my car and it's dark outside.
Sounds great, right? Well the difficulty I'm having now is that I've got a few of these protector (punisher) parts "standing down" with contracts and/or new jobs and now all hell is breaking loose with lots of previously-exiled little parts wanting to tell me their part of the story. They're all clamoring to be heard. They have sadness, fear, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, etc. issues to express and abuse memories they have been holding and are now ready to hand off to me. I told my therapist I feel like there's a long line of them stretched out in the dark, waiting to come into the light and be healed. This is great healing/therapy news and sign of progress. But, you can only imagine how overwhelming it is. It's gotten so bad that I'm back to a lot of PTSD symptoms like huge startle response and triggers that are sending me into full-blown flashbacks again. These are symptoms that I've had under control for a few years. So, you can understand why I fear I'm already starting to backslide.
I really thought that the WIIT program would be a great place to process all this in some kind of timely manner with lots of support and without the distractions of my special needs son, my husband, house cleaning, cooking, blah blah blah, etc. Well, I finally got hold of a real, live person at WIIT on the phone yesterday. I was hoping, since I am private pay (no mental health coverage for this pre-existing condition; we pay cash), I would be able to customize my own treatment plan there. Nope. This intake person I talked to wasn't budging. She told me that out-of-state patients are required to spend a minimum of one week inpatient at this facility and then two weeks of intensive outpatient. The alternative is to stay two whole weeks inpatient. She quoted me a price for this that was a small fortune. It was enough to pay for a new car, as a matter of fact!
So, the long and the short of it is that I'm not going. Crap! I might try to stay in a hotel for several days and see my therapist for several hours for a week and see how much we're able to accomplish that way. I don't know. I'll keep you all posted. Pray for a miracle??
hugs, mile 191
That is just too bad that to get well can actually cost you your life savings. I am so very sorry dear one.
Hey, but the idea you came up with getting a hotel and seeing your t. for a whole week sounds pretty good, if that is okay with your t.? I am sure a lot cheaper.
Marj, in reading this post and all your 'littles' I am truly sorry for what had been done to you dear one! The agony you must all bear.
I do pray that one day all of you will become one and in freedom!
My heart truly goes out to you!!
Blessings and much hugs!!!
I am sorry for your current strugging...and I am equally sorry about the progam :-(
Wishing you peace...
they are slowly learning that it doenst work that way but its sure been a long slow road
I wish money wasn't an issue for you my friend. I understand how frusterating it can be. I myself pay 300 a month for my own counselor. Not nearly as much as what that program was going to cost you but I still understand how much a healthy state of mind can cost. And its not fair!
You have made some awesome adjustments to your life in the past year. And thougth its tough, I know you've got more fight in ya. You've got friends, family, and loved ones behind you girly. You can do this. Just stay open in communication as best as you can, practice a little self care, and know that you ROCK!!!! :-D
The hotel idea sounds really neat. How would that work? Would your therapist take time off from her normal schedule to spend extra time with you? I can totally understand how it would be better to get away from all of the normal life stuff to be able to focus on the healing stuff to get a little "jump start" in the right direction.
The frustration about the flashbacks and PTSD coming back is totally understandable, but I feel like it is a sign that you are about to make a breakthrough, not a sign that you are backsliding. (of course your feelings are what is important in this moment)
i think you know yourself better than anyone, and if it's time to buckle down and do some more intense work, than i wish you all the best in your healing.
i know too though that some part of me just "wants to be well already" and so sometimes i push myself too hard.
i hope no matter how hard you work, that you also take plenty of time for self-care and rest and to feel safe and loved. from what i think i know of you, i believe you do. you always have great ideas for self-care techniques.
your post also reminded me of that story of the farmer that they told in the movie, "the doctor", have you seen that film? it's one of my favorites.
from what i recall, there was a farmer who loved all the birds and creatures and wanted to welcome them to his land. so he went out one day and stood in his field with his arms outstretched to welcome them. but no birds came. not a creature was to be seen. because you see, they were too afraid of the farmer's new scarecrow.
i thought that was such a beautiful story, and for some reason, your post here reminded me of it, so i wanted to share it with you.
i think your post reminded me of this story because it sounds like you want to welcome all your feelings, all the parts of you that have something they need to tell you, but they and you are scared as well.
i think even though things are scary now, the fact that you are doing this work at all, even though it is terrifying at times, shows how much love you have for yourself. how much you want all the parts of you to feel safe and loved and welcomed. even though it takes time, i think it sounds like you are making your way steadily and surely along your path of healing.
sending you safe hugs this evening~~
i tried to go to WIIT years ago and again they gave me some god forsaken price that was impossible to pay.. or get a loan for.. the program does look amazing though.
I have arranged to stay some place quiet for five nights this coming week, to process, rest, write and have some comfort. So, this will be the "different miracle" I was looking for. I'm choosing to look at it like that. Thanks for all your support, evrybody. Huugggssss!
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