Making A Breakthrough in Therapy

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Today I make a major breakthrough at Therapy ! It was agonising work. We have been working on a particular flashback and issue for months and just getting stuck at each session at the same point. It’s been so frustrating. In between sessions, the flashbacks have been relentless, dogging me every day. They sometimes have a trigger like the smell of nicotine or alcohol or someone’s body odor but at other times they have no trigger and just come giving me no warning what so ever. I just end up curled up in a ball in the corner or wherever I am waiting for it to pass. If it’s in public the embarrassment is excruciating but there is nothing I can do about it.

As the months have gone by as we were making no progress and I eventually attempted suicide very nearly killing myself this time, spending two weeks in ICU and eleven weeks in a Mental Health Clinic, I seriously considered changing therapists. However, I have been with this psychotherapist for four years and she has been with me through thick and thin and got me through so much I felt I had to stick it out with her a bit longer and see could we get there together. She felt sure we were close.

This morning we talked as usual about how my week had been since I last saw her. I had cut again and needed stitches. I had dissociated during a flashback and used a staple. I don’t remember anything about it. I never do. I hate it and it scares me so much. I suffer from Dissociated Identity Disorder and my mother Alter drives the suicidality and self-harm. We decided to go straight into EMDR and began. I was plunged immediately into my trauma that had been causing me so much grief. We got to the point where I had been unable to continue each week but she encouraged me to keep going saying, “Erin, the pain of going on is far worse than what you have been enduring. I am here with you and will remain with you all the way. You are not on your own now. Now is the time to tell me what happened.”

I froze but continued with the EMDR sobbing as I did so and then started talking, the words spilling out of my mouth as I told of her of the rape of a nine-year-old girl by two men. I was only nine. Nine years old. Nine. How could they? I was bereft. Totally bereft. My body was in excruciating men as if it was being torn apart. I was going through the rape all over again. Such is the power of EMDR. I screamed and screamed. My psychotherapist stopped the EMDR and just held me in her arms and rocked me too and fro, holding my hand tightly, telling me I was not on my own and that she was there and then she tapped alternately one hand then the other looking into my eyes and brought me back to the present. We sat in silence while I cried while we held hands. Then we talked thoroughly through what I had told her and she reassured me that it had happened in the past and could not happen again. That it was not in any way my fault and I was in no way culpable for what had happened, that all the guilt had laid with the two men, the adults. That I was a mere innocent child. We had done it! We had broken through the psychological barrier and spoken of the awful event that I had been unable to talk about that had been causing me such grief and heartache. Admittedly it was one of only many events in the fourteen years of abuse I had suffered whilst a victim of a paedophile ring in Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s but it was a particularly harrowing one for me for some reason.

I feel sure this revelation is going to make a huge difference in my progress towards getting better. I feel a weight has been lifted off my chest. Thank goodness for my psychotherapist and EMDR.

I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin