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kitten 1I am devoted to this blog being about healing, not abuse porn. That said, sometimes to talk about healing I will have to talk about hurting. Please consider this sticky post a trigger warning for every entry for childhood abuse of all kinds. If you are having a difficult day, this blog will still be here tomorrow! Consider looking at this picture of a kitten, instead, for now. Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

Theory of Mind. Surety of Self.

growA few years ago, I was laid off from a job I hated.

After the initial jubilant joy and relief, when I didn’t find a new job right away, I went into a hideous panic.

Like many people, I feared the world was ending. I’ve posted before about fearing that my family will have to live in a gutter somewhere.

I was in a constant state of anxiety, panic, and pressure. For months.

It has now been about five months since I’ve had any substantial income. We are applying for food stamps and I’ve gone to the food shelf and I’ve accepted horrifically large amounts of money from people and we’re applying for Medical Assistance.

My spouse is in a constant panic. He can barely think. His heart rate is elevated. He is filled with shame, anxiety, and horror at the thought of possibly declaring bankruptcy.

When our wonderful couple’s counselor asked me how I was feeling, I searched my heart and said: fine! A little irritated with my spouse for being so anxious.

I can only thank EMDR for this — not only for helping me to address some of my childhood fears and anguish related to poverty, but for helping me to understand I am my own self. Separate from who I am to other people. I’m not sure if this is something that I can explain to non-traumatized people, because I think most other folks figure this out around the age of four or five. Theory of Mind, they call it.

But I am me. And I will still be me if we are forced to declare bankruptcy, if we get hungry. Even if we have to move in with friends or a shelter. I am me. Honestly, selling the house and moving somewhere could be a great adventure!

And a credit rating is a score on a sheet that will mean I will find it harder to rent something that fits into our society’s vision of what a ‘normal life’ is, but who gives a shit! I seriously would be happier living in a Tiny House in someone’s back yard.

I am utterly serene in the face of this.

It is so astounding, I cannot even tell you.

I am still looking,( and in case friends of mine are worried I know for a fact that a place I applied is calling my references and will probably give me some sort of an offer soon), I am still taking a job/freelance gig search seriously. But I am not in a panic.

And except for brief flashes in the last few months, I continue not to be in a panic.

If I stop EMDR therapy today, if I still fight myself to not hit, if I drink too much or I lose my home or I have to live in my sister’s basement, I will still be me. And I will be fine. EMDR has given me a precious gift that I cannot lose. I am so deeply grateful.

Courage

courage2

“I don’t know why,” I texted to my partner yesterday, “but I’m nervous about my therapy appointment.”

“Well that’s odd you are not usually anxious,” she texted back. And then: “:-P”

“Am I usually anxious about therapy, though?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes, honey,” she texted. I could practically hear the sigh. “Pretty much every week.”

Let’s set aside my denial for the moment and focus on the fact that I am anxious about my appointment every week.

My shrink thinks I should be looking forward to it and fears that this is a bad sign. With all due respect to her expertise, I think it’s a good sign, actually. I am still afraid. I am still trepedatious. I still have to face myself. And if I was managing to hide from myself during sessions, I’d be waltzing in there, whistling. Yeah?

So, yesterday.

I talked with her about my anxiety dreams regarding finding work. And then I drew the dream, on the white board. A cave where I’m not sure if I’m actually hired or not; the situation is nebulous. Everything is covered in mold and all of the equipment is very old — dictation machines and old PCs and answering machines and broken chairs. Everyone seems depressed. I have no clearly defined duties or job status.

Anyway I drew the cave and the office and the boss talking big on the phone about nothing in particular, and she had me cross it out with sideways strokes: back and forth.

“This is EMDR, isn’t it?” I asked as I worked.

“Yes!” she crowed.

Next session, in two weeks, we’ll apparently do a session on it. Very interesting.

FWIW, last night I had a nightmare about my marriage, not my job situation.

um yay i guess

Things I Have Recently Discovered

  1. I don’t miss drinking at all. I have no urge to drink. I had some wine with a fancy pizza because it was my spouse’s bday and it didn’t even taste good.
  2. Some of my issues with childhood poverty don’t even have to do with the misery, alcoholism, and the beatings associated with it but just the plain old American Shame of it. Interestingly, though, treating my world as if I am poor is not as upsetting as I thought. I went to a food shelf this week, expecting to feel humiliated and upset. But since my family never did that (my Mom apparently preferred to eat food with bugs in it than go to a food shelf), I had no negative associations. It helped that the woman doing intake was kind, warm, matter-of-fact, and cheerful. She is going to help me apply for food stamps.
  3. EMDR continues to be amazing. I think perhaps if I hadn’t done some EMDR processing some of my childhood fears of poverty before I went, the food shelf would have been more upsetting. I have also been able to accept help from friends and relatives who have offered. I still need to work on being more gracious about it, but I have been able to accept it. This would have been COMPLETELY impossible without years of working on my crazy.
  4. I am a goddamned rock star and can walk into job interviews right after I have visited a food shelf and act like whether they offer me the job or not isn’t a life-or-death situation. Mainly because it is NOT, no matter how much my anxious childhood self fears it is.
  5. People in my life are very, very, very, very kind.

peaceful-womanAlso: my Aunt Brigid, about whom I have written before, came for a surprise visit on Friday.

To my knowledge, she has had no counseling, no Al-Anon. The only thing I know about her mental health is that she recently stopped taking anti-depressants.

And she is doing GREAT. She is still a traumatized person (for, sadly, really really really really good reasons) but she no longer sounds routinely hostile. She looks about 15-20 years younger than when I last saw her.

What changed?

She divorced someone who was toxic to her.

I guess I’m pointing this out to say that although this blog is about EMDR, there are many ways to become more healthy mentally, and removing yourself from a source of pain and poison is often a terrific way to do it.

This post was disjointed, I know. I’m feeling a little disjointed and will probably feel that way for a while until I’m bringing in more regular money. Thank you for reading anyway, and for writing such kind comments, and for emailing me and offering to help.

And thank you for doing whatever you are doing to feel and get healthier: be it therapy, removing ugliness from your life, walking with your face in the sun, kinky sex, 12-stepping, cuddling kids and pets, primal scream therapy, or yoga.

We are not alone, even when we are confused and unfocused. Love to you.

Long-term effects of EMDR: clarity

thinkerI’ve been writing a lot of negative things lately, and I’m not in the best of places.

But what is really interesting to me is how I’m handing things now — post/during EMDR — compared to before.

EMDR seems to have cured me of pointless guilt.

Saturday night I did a really stupid thing: I split a bottle of whiskey with a friend. An entire. Bottle. Of whiskey. I was belligerent and rude to my spouse. I spent a lot of time puking in the bathroom right next to my kids’ room, with unpleasant resonances to my own childhood of listening to my dad puking in the room next to where I was supposed to be sleeping.

Now, I’ve never drunk this much before as far as I know. So I don’t have anything specific to compare it to. But I know the old Moxie would have spent the entire miserable Sunday berating herself, wallowing in guilt, hating herself, beating herself up, melodramatically comparing herself to her alcoholic parents, ignoring her actual drinking habits. Running over and over in her head her own childhood trauma dealing with them and imagining that her own kids just went through the same thing.

This has been what has happened when I hit my kid and when I did other horrible things.

What doesn’t happen when you are wallowing in guilt and self-hatred: legitimate, helpful self-reflection.

I see now that I was using guilt and self-recrimination, bizarrely, as a way to avoid actually facing what I’d done and why I’d done it.

I have no idea why I woke up the next morning concerned about myself and what my kids did and did not hear — but not feeling agonized guilt. I mean, I know that it was thanks to EMDR, but I don’t know what specific mechanisms did it. Perhaps I am less endlessly trapped in my own trauma.

In any case, taking a good hard look at yourself after a shock like that is not what I’m used to. I think I am understanding some of why I did it, and what I can do about it — although some things are too personal to put even in this anonymous blog, so I’ll leave it at that.

Is this was normies do after making dumb mistakes?

 

PS omg google image search ‘thoughtful woman.’ ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah. I’ll use another image than silly, pouty, pretty, or sexy — thanks.

It’s like she has ESP

ragefingerI have hit a very low point in my life at the moment. My freelance work has dried up and I’m applying for full-time work. Even work in the suburbs that doesn’t pay much, that will keep me on the road for hours and away from my kids and my own writing that matters to me. I know that most people work full time jobs and wah wah wah poor me, but I have a disability that is much worse when I am not able to sleep on my own schedule and get tons of exercise. I am also getting older and sick to death of spending the vast majority of my life keeping a chair warm.

Guess who sends word to me through one of my sisters that she is going to dole out a very small token to each of us from her enormous inheritance? But that I have to ‘arrange it with her?’

Arrange it with her. She has my address, unfortunately. She knows how to write a check, I assume.

It’s funny — I think I’m doing so well. So calm and happy. But the realization that she thinks I can be manipulated with such a small amount of money and be willing to contact her and discuss anything with a woman who is unable to utter a word without poison dripping from her fangs has filled with with such incoherent rage that I can barely see.

Sure, she raised me in disgusting poverty so she could drink and act like a fool. She probably thinks I don’t know what I’m worth.

I suppose we all have a price. Well, bitch, mine is six figures. You want me to hand over my ears to you for abuse? $500K. Not a penny less.