Over the past couple of months I have made some major progress in therapy. It definitely wasn’t easy by any means and I made some mistakes along the way. I decided I was going to really throw myself into therapy even though it terrified me. I learned quick that recovery and progress takes time and a lot of effort. Healing from trauma is not easy, trauma comes in layers and you have to peel each layer off one by one. It’s difficult and time consuming, it takes everything in your body to shed one layer but it’s worth it.
I was terrified honestly of healing what is broken, because for two years now my life has revolved around the trauma, without it I don’t know who I am anymore. It’s odd really I have almost become familiar with the trauma/ptsd symptoms… it’s as if without the constant panic attacks, flashbacks and nightmares, who am I? What do I do with a “normal life” that isn’t focused on the trauma? As much as I despise what Cameron did to me it has shaped me into the person I am today. I had to find myself again and I still am trying to piece it all together once more.
The process of recovery began by my Therapist asking me if I really wanted to move on from what was done to me. This led to me realizing that in some ways I felt I wasn’t worthy of being saved, of being helped. After I admitted this to my therapist she worked on helping me realize my worth.
With that I realized I am more than what was done to me, I am more than the trauma and the abuse I endured. I am more than another notch in Cameron’s belt of far too many girls whom he pried their legs open to take what he wanted. I am more than just another body, just another statistic, I am more than just another sad story. I am so much more and once I accepted that the real recovery began.
EMDR therapy is the most challenging thing I think I’ve ever experienced. It’s draining to have to go back to a memory from that night over and over again. However, it has definitely worked and I can honestly say some parts of that night do not haunt me nearly bad as they used to. I can mostly recall that night and not fall back into a flashback which is major and something I never thought I would be able to do. I am identifying more of what triggers me and really focusing on how things make me feel. Feelings are not my strong suit, so having to feel, having to be real has been a challenge. I don’t like to admit when things hurt me, I like to pretend I am emotionless and nothing bothers me… this has been difficult to change. I still catch myself saying everything’s perfectly fine, I’m fine, it’s good, great, amazing, when things are the exact opposite. I am still learning.
With all the progress came a lot of set backs, I fell back into my all too familiar ways of coping and dealing. I invited my old friend Vodka on this journey of mine and began drinking heavily once more. I also decided Anorexia would be a nice addition to the party and picked up my lovely eating disorder along the way. I was eating 300 calories a day and had dropped 20 pounds in just under two months, this of course was terrible given that I am already underweight for my height as is. The eating disorder was back in full swing and I began fainting more and more.
It seemed as though with every inch of progress I would make I would set myself back a foot with my poor coping skills. My therapist started noticing and began to ask if I was eating enough or if I was drinking again. (Honesty, apparently is kind of a big deal when it comes to healing) So I let her in which was difficult because I have a hard time letting people see my real struggles, I want to deal with it all on my own without the help of others. My therapist has been amazing with all of this and introduced me to an eating disorder clinician which in turn led me to meeting other women whom also share this struggle. As much as I was totally against it at first (and in denial) I showed up and spoke with them, still currently working on overcoming the eating disorder.
After going to work hung over (and a little tipsy) in the middle of the week, sipping a coffee with a shot of tequila in it and ultimately ended up hiding under my desk with sunglasses on for the majority of the morning, and then winging it (totally embarrassing myself) when it came to a very important business presentation, I realized the drinking was a problem. I decided to get back into AA. So I convinced one of my friends to attend the first AA meeting I’ve been to in 10 months. (Going strong with being sober for a grand total of 10 days now, it’s been difficult)
Between all the progress and set backs I also ended up having a complete manic episode that lasted 10 days, where I didn’t sleep for 4 days straight (only to crash for two hours and then repeat) During this I was on cloud 9, not sleeping, not eating and yet full of energy. I was convinced I could do anything, I ended up spending way too much money on unnecessary Christmas decor, repainted my home twice, started new hobbies such as pottery making, sewing, wood crafting, playing the guitar, and attempted to learn Japanese. The manic episode came with some really bad choices too such as kissing my best friends girl friend and sleeping with a married coworker. I ended up crashing hard from the mania two days after thanksgiving, of course this fiasco led to my Therapist, a psychiatrist and my best friends informing me I was bipolar. I didn’t want to believe it because I have enough labels as it is already but surprise I’m bipolar. On top of healing from the trauma I now get to deal with my new diagnosis of bipolar disorder which is frustrating, but like everything lately, I’m going to give it my all and strive to learn to cope with this disorder in the best way.