I left my therapist’s office and as soon as I hit the hallway, where she could not see me, tears began to flow. Head tucked down in embarrassment, I strode quickly to the parking lot. I wished to be invisible. Fumbling with my keys, I unlocked the doors and jumped inside. “Safe” inside my car, I began to sob uncontrollably. I sobbed for two hours. The kind of cry which makes your eyes swell, your face red and makes you feel like you cannot breathe. I could not drive and all I wanted to do was go home. I reached out to my husband, who thankfully came to my rescue, physically at least.
The hurt and pain of the memory swelled up inside of me. I felt as though at times, I could not possibly contain it and I did not want to share it ever again! Hurt cascaded into anger, then anger into shame. I was ashamed of myself. I must be honest and admit to you things got much worse before they ever started to get better.
You see, inside I am a gentle soul. I am pro-life. What I mean, is inside and out, I have a huge respect and zest for life. For me, death and the idea of dying, has always been in my view……the greatest tragedy of living. I have a hard time killing anything…..except spiders. My fear of the spider is great. 🙂
In all seriousness, it really hurts my heart. Yet, I had made the decision. It literally was either me or him and I had willfully chosen him. I had committed to the idea of taking another person’s life, in order to protect myself. This brought me great shame. I did not like the concept, the idea part of myself was capable of even thinking about it, let alone following through with it! I was grossly disgusted with this side of me.
For a while, I was bombarded by images of death and dying, everywhere I went. Everywhere I looked. I clammed up again and would not talk about it. I was silent, except within my head. I endured horrific nightmares. I had panic attacks. Over time, things eased up and I thought I had made it through the worst part. Until….I was triggered by a massage incident involving a male therapist, then it all came rushing back full force!
I started looking for answers. If it would not go away on its own, I knew I had to not just face it, but work through it. The VA had left me without care for a long period of time after my intern therapist had moved on. She left me midstream in my treatment and the VA did nothing to back fill her position or get me in with someone new. I am sure this does not come as a surprise. So, I turned to my meditation teacher at Mayu Sanctuary for some answers, until I could get back in to meet with someone.
I called her and told her I had an emergency situation. My PTSD was severely triggered and I needed to talk with someone about it asap! I was somewhat frantic and more than a little desperate. I was practically crawling out of my skin. She returned my email promptly with a phone call and we set up a private session for the very next day. It could not come fast enough.
I settled into my cushion across from her, explained to her my ordeal with the male massage therapist and described a little bit about the PTSD incident it triggered in me.
I was angry, agitated….restless and ashamed. It has also surfaced a tendency for violence, which I almost enacted on the massage therapist. Thank goodness for self-control, but I wanted to find and beat the shit out of something! As I mentioned earlier, I am really not a violent person. So, I was highly disturbed by these feelings and my shame increased ten fold. I explained to her just enough for her to get the idea of what happened, as I have not been very good with talking to, well….anyone…..about it. (I revealed more in my last post than I did to my meditation teacher.)
To my surprise, she took it all in and replied calmly with something similar to this: “Well thank goodness your inner warrior chose to show up and reveal herself to you that day. I would hate to imagine what might of happened if she hadn’t. You should thank her. Neither of you have anything to be ashamed of.” (Imagine an astonished face and a long pause here)
Wait….what? My inner warrior……? I have one of those?
Wow…she just put a positive spin on my story, in a very unexpected way! I think her short and thoughtful reply packed a powerful and healing punch. It was one of the most healing things anyone has ever said to me. She recommended to me I spend some time meditating and getting in touch with my inner warrior. She also recommended I get in touch with the massage location where I had experienced the incident, stand up for myself, let my voice be heard and make sure this person was held accountable for his actions. Her last recommendation was I should definitely find and beat the shit out of something. Ha! Love this woman!
Preferably something soft she advised, like a bed and/or some pillows, so I wouldn’t get hurt. She encouraged me to kick, scream and yell as loud as I wanted/needed. She said I needed to let it out…so I could stop trying to hold it in.
Holding it in is more dangerous than letting it out, was the last thing she said to me.
I did all of the above! I am still practicing meditation and working on getting in touch with my inner warrior. I find now I wish to cultivate, grow and get to know “her.” I also wanted to thank her for showing up, when I needed her the most. I had never really needed to access this side of me in such an extreme way in the past, so I was not truly aware it existed. I might have had an inkling she existed before the particular event in which I speak of now, but sort of in the back of my mind, not really in a knowing kind of way.
Oh…I should probably tell you, he is NOT dead!
But, you probably figured that out. The incident in which I speak of happened in the military and so I have to be very careful with what I share. Let’s suffice to say, I was abruptly interrupted before I could follow through and he was quickly “escorted” out.
Stayed tuned for my next post on – Lessons Learned About Dissociation and Therapy. I want to share with you, my opinion on both, as a future counselor. I would also like to tell you about what worked, and what did not as far as therapy is concerned.
Photo credit www.wellhappypeaceful.com