I started having flashbacks. Upsetting glimpses of something I couldn’t get a handle on. There are a lot of traumas that I have endured in my life so to think that there is something I’ve hidden away that might be worse is quite unsettling. I had a doctor once who was helping me with various mysterious health problems. He told me that my body was holding onto something and that at night before I go to sleep to ask myself to show me in my dream. I would then get up the next day and write out whatever I remembered from my dreams and Rob and I would analyze them. We had a backlog so one night he suggested we work on some. We started on one that took place in a hotel and as he asked me questions about the various parts of the dream, he said, “What happened in the room on the first floor?” I. Freaked. Out. I cried hysterically and shouted,”Nothing happened in that room!! Don’t you ever say that!! Nothing happened!! Nothing happened!!” And I sobbed. Yeah, that had never happened to me before. It was so shocking. I’ve known for a while that there was something that I’ve blocked. It’s been 18 years since then and I’m starting to get flashes of things and it’s unsettling. I was talking to one of my best friends about it and she immediately told me that I need a therapist. This is not something that anyone should try to maneuver on their own. We had no insurance at the time and very little income as we were still building our company. She contacted her friend who is a therapist and asked if she could help me. The therapist had a sliding scale and my friend paid for the first month of appointments.
I went and it was quite obvious that I had a lifetime of various traumas that had never been dealt with. I described being molested and raped like I was reading my grocery list. “Have you ever felt any of the feelings around these events?” the therapist asked. Ummm…hell no. Why would I do that?! I’ve spent my life trying not to feel it. This was not going to be easy, or pretty. My last attempt at therapy was spent with the therapist just getting me to do the most basic self care. We never even touched on the trauma so this was a first for me.
Therapy is hard. Really hard. It sucks to dig through painful experiences. I had done so much work over the years and felt like I was starting over. I felt so hopeless, at first. I felt like I would never be free and my abusers were off living their lives and I was left to repair the damage they caused. When do I get to live? Will I ever be whole? It took me several months before I could see progress. The work I had done on my own was important and it did matter and it did help. I just needed an objective outsider who is trained in dealing with developmental trauma and complex PTSD to help me process further. I could only go so far with a book on my own. The books are still valuable and I still use them, but sometimes bravery is knowing when you can’t do it alone.