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DDNOS and therapy

A quick update since my last post. I got baptized on Sunday (in a pool), an absolutely amazing day, full of warmth, joy and emotional intensity as I committed to Jesus and God once and for all. I have never been two feet in with anything in my life, so it was very strange to take the plunge (mind the pun) and essentially renounce my old life and welcome in the new. Who knows what it means, but I feel stronger knowing that my recovery journey will have Jesus and God guiding me and supporting me along the way. It’s funny, a little over a year ago I would have scoffed at the idea of being a Christian. The only reason I started to get to know God was because I walked into the rooms of AA – emotionally wrecked, riddled with low self esteem, suicidal ideation and incredible self loathing. The way to get sober was to find a power greater than myself and that led me, in a roundabout way to Church, which led me to getting to know God through Jesus and so on and so on. I will write more about this another time, however it was an important milestone in the past week. In addition to this, I met the prayer ministry ladies last week and discovered more of my child parts – Jack, Janey, Mitzi and Rita, plus ‘Little’ was there. More about this later too.

Onto DDNOS and therapy. I don’t know what this means to you, if anything, but for me it has been a pretty weird and exhilarating journey over the last 12 months with my therapist. I am lucky to have found this woman and definitely appreciate when my instincts nudge me in the right direction. It is quite special to start to feel as though you can be more vulnerable with someone, (it has taken me a year to get there), but that makes sense though. I mean, seriously, when you have small parts in you and you regress to a childlike state (irrespective of whether you are co-conscious or not), it is totally scary and means having to let my guard down. I am so not used to this and am amazed that I am finally starting to be able to do it. Who knows, maybe I will take it back again, though I do feel like things are starting to shift in this area. I am able to tolerate my feelings, just that bit more. I certainly don’t believe anymore that I will ‘die’ from feeling and I am not acting out in self sabotaging ways to squash the feelings. I still keep myself super busy so know that I have heaps more work to do there, to remain present and feel safe that is, but things are definitely improving. It is nice to celebrate and notice some good for a change, rather than the dark, horrid stuff.

So today, we did some body work – noticing breathing, areas of body that feel tense. And then out of the blue I am noticing tension around my mouth area. I can’t breathe. There is something around my mouth (I think a gag) and I am literally frozen in my spot. If I move, they are going to slit my throat. T says I should think about moving though. I can either observe and just notice what is going on, or I can take action and do something different to see what happens. I ask her to count to three to help me and then I move, I just shift my knees up closer to my chest. That helps a bit. Then a part of me wants to talk, I say ‘I am in a box’. This part can’t come out because it says it will get killed. T reminds me that this is a lie and that we are safe. She encourages me to talk to this part (which I do in my head, not aloud… I can still be self-conscious in this process – unbelievable). The part says they are watching from outside. Again, T reminds me this is a lie. She suggests I make some contact, maybe put out my hand. I actually feel some tenderness and compassion toward this part (so different from my usual response which is to feel disgusted and want to reject). I feel sad that this little person is in a box and want to help. I see myself put my hand out and just hold on. The session ends. I talk to this part on the drive home, just about meeting my best friend’s dog – Ziggy – a beautiful poodle cross. Everyone likes Ziggy as she is very pretty and heaps of fun and full of love. I tell this part that we are going to see Ziggy soon and perhaps she would like to meet her. I imagine poking a couple of holes in the box for her to look out and watch. I hope she did. I have lost that connection since.

Oh dear, this probably all sounds so strange. I wonder what will come up next?

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When it hurts to pray.

Praying should give us a sense of relief right? The trouble is since my latest prayer ministry session I have had a terrible time praying to God and in fact, it has been more painful than not. I hear voices shouting inside me; ‘stop’, ‘it hurts’, ‘I am burning’ and so on. It turns me off as you can imagine and the want to push through this and pray to God lessens dramatically. It has been a bit better recently, though I have prayed more on the fly, not spending the five or so minutes that I was doing in the morning connecting with God and thinking about my day. Life certainly hasn’t gotten better for avoiding prayer and I know it is something that I need to do, must do. This is mostly because I don’t want to forget that God is the one who I believe will heal me, along with keeping me sober. I know I cannot do life anymore on my own, I have tried it for 32 years now and ended up depressed, suicidal and an alcoholic. Mmh… yep, I surrender. God can have me. Do with me what he will, I totally give up. As I write I know I am contradicting myself. If I totally gave up then I would be able to pray right? The challenge is that I identify now as a Christian, but I don’t think many of my parts do. I think they are still scared of God and don’t trust him at all. I feel like I have been like that all my life, one foot in, one foot out. It is very much unconscious and as much as I believe with all earnestness that I humbly wish to follow God (or love that person, or follow that career path), there is chunks of me that feel very disconnected from these decisions and thoughts. At least I am getting more awareness around this now. I think… lol.

I sometimes wish I knew what it was like to jump with both feet into the things that I do, but I honestly don’t know whether I am capable of doing that yet. Without recovering parts of me, is it possible? Does anyone else feel this way? Think this way? Act this way?

 

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Making a decision to feel

For many years I have avoided facing my feelings. I drank, I drugged, I kept myself really busy with work and creative activities. I drank lots of coffee, I smoked, I isolated, I watched TV, I exercised… I did whatever I could to just keep moving, so I wouldn’t have to stop and check in with how I was feeling. You see, when I did, I just felt a deep, penetrable sadness, an emptiness that left me thinking that there was really no point to life and that it was probably better to end it all. Why would I want to feel, when this was what was coming up? So I just keep moving and controlling situations and working to a packed schedule that didn’t allow for any rest. Drinking in a sense was a ‘switch off button’. It allowed me to stop and to just ‘be’, to be present. The irony was that it only contributed to me being more disconnected from myself in the long run and numbed me out even more. Hell, at least it stopped the voices in my head and made me forget about the pain. But now that my drinking is no longer an effective coping mechanism and with one year sobriety up (my birthday is actually in 5 minutes), I am left with finally having to make a decision and that is to feel or not to feel. To not feel, to remain in avoidant behaviour only causes me more emotional pain and grief. I have come to realise this more and more over the past year. I have to learn how to feel, I have to experience the intensity of the feelings – the sadness, the terror, the confusion, the fear – I think to start to release it and truly heal. I am scared. I know it will be okay though, there have been times when I have actually felt my feelings and although overwhelming at the time, a great sense of relief, coupled with joy swept over me soon after. It was exhilarating. I think it is just the fear of the unknown that cripples me and stops me from wanting to be present and check in with my emotions. The thing is too, I often find it difficult to even know how I am feeling. So that will be a challenge, to even start the process. Like lately, I have just been feeling disgusting all over. I just get this sense that my body is foul, gross, slimy, yukky. My therapist says that this is likely memory, but the fact that I don’t delve deeper into wanting to know this, probably stops me from recovering what it is or at least kickstart the process to release these trapped feelings or give voice to these parts of self.

When I think i get close to some sort of memory retrieval or breakthrough, I also shut down, I get very depressed, experience a lot of suicidal ideation and become very controlling in other areas of my life. I think i have to be careful, perhaps this is programming, I have no idea. The voices in my head get louder, more frantic, fearful and they stop me from going deeper. I am not sure how to confront this yet. If anyone has any ideas out there let me know…