Post Trauma Therapy Session 1: Things are often not as bad as you imagine.

So having spent a week doing an amazing job of frankly winding myself up and worrying about this therapy session it was definitely not as bad as I expected. I didn’t slam the laptop shut and walk out of the room. I didn’t throw up (although avoiding breakfast might have helped with that), I didn’t end up as a quivering wreck on the floor.

What we did talk about…

We started off the session checking in on my homework. One piece of my home work I utterly failed to do (but that is probably for a future conversation). I had nailed my homework to prepare for these sessions.

Extremely gratefully I have been able to take today off work. I had kept myself busy all morning, gone for a run, to the shops, dropped the littlest at school. I lined lots of activities for the rest of the day, storage shopping (one of my greatest loves), a hair cut (heaven) and then food and a film with a friend (luxury). I had done everything I could to create a positive environment.

Then we talked a little about my worries, what if this breaks me, what if I end up upset in front of the girls. As always brilliant advice from Chris, we talked through what I might say if the girls noticed me upset and I was immediately started feeling a little better.

Tricky but manageable

Then came the tricky bit. I had been given some homework of starting to plot out a timeline of events. In usual style I had a beautiful colour coded PowerPoint slide, though unusually I didn’t feel keen to show off my work. Still I braved it. There it was for all to see, well at least for Chris to see.

Those short titles jumped out at me some of them clawing at me. Others screaming that I should back the fuck off. Some obvious, some vague, titles of the chapters of my life.

I confidently talked about my process, what the colours meant, where I had little icons on some. I highlighted the one chapter I think will remain closed for ever (and gratefully he confirmed that no one would ever make me talk about the “unspeakable”. Seams daft it was even a worry but I felt a bit better hearing aloud that he would not press any subject.) Phew phase one complete.

Then started the grilling…

In all fairness it was far from a grilling a few carefully placed questions just starting to probe a little more at the overall view. Still I could feel the anxiety rising. I appear to have a real adrenaline issue when I get anxious so often after starting to feel nauseous I will start to shake. This has only been a problem since the burns, most the time it is a mild shaking in my hands like someone who is nervous and trying to write, at its worst my teeth chatter constantly. Today was just mild and Chris must have clocked something as he quickly enquired. How are feeling now? (We had a pre agreement that he would regularly check in and on a scale of 1-10 I would have to tell him how I was doing. I was a six and rising.

Chris paused the enquiries about the timeline and just started to talk me through what was happening. My fight or flight was kicking in and as soon as he mentioned it I noticed it. He was so right. After five minutes of talking through what was happening and then talking about something different I felt that anxiety dropping. I swear that man is a master of talking you down and coaching.

I should be proud!

The rest of the session was pretty easy we talked about some board games to further improve the vibe and then I wanted to take the opportunity to tell him about all the wonderful things about my parents. Mindful that they were in so many ways awesome people . (I was hoping it would make the balance of the conversation a little easier when we had to talk about the hard stuff).

Then came a very sideways question. How do you feel about yourself? I literally did not understand the question. He rephrased it. If your little sister had just done what you had done. Started a conversation about things long unspoken. I could see exactly where he was going. “I would be proud.” So…

It wasn’t a natural feeling to come up, on some level I still feel soft for making such a fuss over a conversation. But fair is fair. I should feel proud. I have taken a step. I braved writing down some chapter titles I successfully navigated the first attempt at my body to force me away.

This of course is just a short reflection and a very unique journey to me, but for anyone starting treatment or talking therapy the waiting is often worse than the talking. Have courage and be kind to yourself. You can do this. X


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