Today my husband had made an appointment for me back in the city to see an EMDR therapist. To be honest I had been so anxious about uni I hadn’t even thought about this appointment.
I’ve tried EMDR before when we were back in the UK, but found I had little results. For one, I had to make a three hour one way trip, so it became an overnight thing for me. My psychiatrist at the time wanted me to work in conjunction with someone he trusted, hence the commute. It might have been me and the headspace I was in being in the UK, it might have been him, it might have been the environment- or all of those things. But I found it made little difference.
EMDR has gained a lot of respect and quite a good reputation amongst professionals and clients alike so I felt prepared to give it another shot.
I didn’t sleep overly well. Dreams about nasty dark rooms with horrible big spiders and other creepy crawlies and the fear of not being safe was the theme. Always feeling someone is after me, and if my dreams aren’t graphically violent they are tense, eerie and leave me feeling bad inside out.
This morning my husband left for work and I was logging onto the university site. I had no feelings about the day. I called out to the kids to make sure they were getting ready and to announce I was heading in the shower.
In the shower, I suddenly felt my breathing go short. It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. The anxious and breathlessness almost brought me to my knees. It was overwhelming and scary and completely unexpected. I thought about the appointment, what I might be expected to say, then I thought about the appointments in the UK, I thought about my fears and I thought about things that happened when we were there. My mind played a movie compiled of snapshots of all these times I felt scared, when I felt vulnerable, when things felt out of my control. Then I began to cry. Sob. Uncontrollable sobbing. The shower ended up lasting a while. There was no way I was going to let my children see me emerge from the shower in such a state.
Fortunately as per every morning they were no where to be seen. Busy watching TV or on ipads.
I calmed myself down and noticed my husband had called. It’s unusual that he’d call at that time. I called back and he was enquiring as to how I was doing. I tried to brave it out but my voice wobbled too much and he knows me too well. I was not ok. And I still had to muster the kids together and get myself into the city.
With not a second to spare we made it. I met my husband and went together for the initial appointment. I already said I didn’t want to talk. It was up to him to talk for me! But that didn’t work, he kind of bowed and I was left to answer questions. He later explained that I looked really pissed off and unfriendly and it was better I got the hang of talking to her.
The office was lovely. Surprisingly large for the city. Modern decor, not cluttered. The woman is quite old, a qualified therapist, been doing EMDR for a while. I gather my husband and her had chatted via email about me and my situation.
Her voice was soothing but there’s something about someone talking overly smoothly to me. Overly slow and gently. It gets my defences up. In retrospect perhaps I was quite stand offish with her.
Naturally she wanted me to tell my story. From start to end. My husband caught my wince and I gave him a look of panic. He told her we prefer to build trust and a rapport before getting into that. So she asked more ambiguous questions, the things that I hear in my head but feel weird saying out loud. Sharing. I disassociated a lot. My husband would catch me constantly and squeeze my hand. It was so difficult to stay in the room. I didn’t want to feel.
The hardest question to answer was about triggers. My ‘bad’ days. The days when I jump at every noise, don’t want to touched, am more emotional and irritable, more paranoid, tired. It’s sad to see my husband talk about watching me like that. Hearing how he copes around me and watches the cues. I’ve become so accustomed to my ‘issues’ I forget that another adult, another person I’m linked to has to do the same.
My fears and triggers, terrify me and I have to manage them, but so does my husband. Who admitted he has learnt the cues on when he thinks he’s allowed to touch me, but mostly waits on me.
Of course we covered my enstragement from my parents as well. Talking about their behaviours and let downs and seeing the shocked face but knowing that for a long time to be treated like that was perfectly normal to me.
I was a scraped out saucepan by the end. I avoided the grisly stuff but the emotional stuff was pretty tough. I will be seeing her weekly now.
I came home with a view to tidying up and then vegging on the couch watching mindless TV. Unfortunately the school called to ask me to get one of my daughter’s who was feeling unwell.
It is what it is.
I have uni again tomorrow- back into the city. I’m anxious again about that. I’ll be glad when I find my groove.
It’s a long week. I hope I can stay focussed. I hope I can keep it together.