November 01, 2006
The Heavy Weight Of Grief
Yesterday, I sobbed so hard that I went into fits of coughing. Then, my face started contorting in gigantic yawns--my body's way of getting in some oxygen in between wracking sobs, I think. This feels really bad. No wonder some of us stay in the denial stage for so long.
At least I'm "feeling the feelings," right? They were really big on that down at the Colin A. Ross trauma program in Dallas. They gave us patients these large, extensive lists of "Feeling Words."
You know, this is very new territory for me. I have a dissociative disorder (along with my lovely PTSD) that is very descriptively called, DDNOS. It stands for "Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified." There's a really helpful label for ya, isn't it?
Ironically, my therapist gave me The Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule which was developed by Colin Ross...four years ago. Basically, I do not have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). However, I have experienced (and at times continue to have) the following: Somatic Complaints, Major Depressive Episodes, Sleepwalking and Trances, Dissociative Amnesia, Dissociative Fugues and Depersonalization. Some of you may be familiar with all of these terms. Maybe I'll go into more detail about some of these some other time--I don't want to get off on too far a tangent now.
My point is that, with my dissociative disorder previously firmly in place, I am new to feeling the feelings. Heck, it was only a few years ago that I wasn't even in my body. When I first started with my current therapist, he would ask, "And how does that feel in your body?" At first, I would just stare at him blankly or answer back with my own question: "What body?"
So, now, we're making progress and feeling the body as well as feeling the lovely feelings involved in healing from childhood sexual abuse (and every other form of abuse and neglect) and sadistic torture.
When I first got this list of feeling words, I was dumbfounded. I scanned the list and realized I didn't even know some of these descriptive words were actually feelings. Now, I'm fairly good with words and I'm pretty intelligent. But, as I said, this feelings stuff is new territory for me. I just didn't know half of these "feelings" even existed.
But, I'm rollin' with it now. Right at this moment, for example (referring to my handy dandy list here) I feel: tearful, sorrowful, pained, grieved, mournful, desolate, crushed, heartbroken, wronged, dejected, rejected, abandoned, diminished, miserable, disillusioned, vulnerable, raw, exposed...and probably most powerfully: a feeling of deep anguish.
It's all slamming me in the face right now because of this big realization I had down in Dallas. In some ways, it was a great relief to finally piece so much together, once and for all. But it is excruciating. It is more "feeling" pain than I've ever let myself experience.
My next post will attempt to explain all this shit I finally figured out, so that I could get in touch with the corresponding feelings. For now, let me just say that it is causing me a lot of grief. And, fate and timing being what they so often are, I've also got an additional grief on top of this biggie. My long-time friend, who I have known (albeit on and off) for 20 years is now gone. I tried to be assertive with her and set some boundaries and limits. She opted, instead, for no friendship at all.
It's hard for me right now not to focus too much attention on those feelings in the rejected, dejected, disappointed, diminished, detestable, repugnant, etc. category. I've been working on this for some time, but it remains difficult to keep from letting my wounded inner child get stuck on the feelings I just mentioned. It's hard not to feel like I am just very unlikable and unlovable. It seems, as so often in my life, that I am just so easy for others to hate (including my own parents). This is sticky, slimy, shitty stuff to "get over." I'm gonna go do the work with my therapist soon. That's all I can do right now.
I'm editing this post to add a more upbeat ending--the flip side, good side--is this: Right now, I am not feeling fear. I was dealing with a lot of fear when I first went down to Dallas. My reaction to the fear was that I was slipping into old dissociative patterns. I am not doing that now. I guess, when you finally face the worst thing you thought you could possibly be afraid of, the fear goes away. I figure, I'm feeling this really bad stuff and I'm still alive. So, what remains to be afraid of?
The other plus is that getting out all this feeling shit that's been trapped in my body for decades has a positive somatic effect. My muscles are feeling much less tense now. I like that benefit a lot!
You are loved and these *feelings* you are having are normal. I don't have all the healing you need, but I want you to know that I care deeply for you and think you are very brave to tell us all about you. Please know that whatever you need from me, I will try to help you.
I did want to let you know, that the reason my link doesn't work for the carnival is because of a typo. Just click back on my name. :)
One of the things I found was that until I let myself feel the painful feelings I couldn't really feel the good ones--like joy and happiness--either. It's not easy to make this healing journey but it IS worth it.
I agree wholeheartedly with April by the way, I never really felt a lot of pain for years, but I also never felt any real joy or happiness either. Now that I can feel all of lifes highs and lows, I wouldn't trace it for anything.
When the emotion floodgates finally opened, I felt like I'd fallen into Pandora's box. But, it was a turning point in my healing journey.
Hang in there! People you don't even know are sending you virtual hugs and warm wishes.
I think that "feeling the feelings" is sometimes the hardest thing for me.
I'm sorry that you have to go through this, but I hope that this process will make you a happier person on the other side of it all.
"Let your tears come. Let them water your soul." ~Eileen Mayhew
Uh, I didn't actually have a therapy session yesterday. I arrived on time but my old therapist had double-booked the session. So, now I'm feeling very stuck (among quite a few other things). I guess I'll put up a post about this.
As soon as I get the courage, I'll start reading through the carnival.
Good luck in finding a new therapist