I’ve started Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy to help cope with my repressed memories and PTSD. Since I don’t have any clear memories of traditional childhood sexual abuse, we’re focusing on traumatic memories that are clear (including my memories of non-traditional childhood sexual abuse), and we’re also focusing on the cognition that I am not “crazy” or “fucked up”. I carry a lot of baggage with my diagnosis of bipolar disorder – it’s something that’s internal and that isn’t curable, whereas diagnoses such as PTSD or borderline personality disorder come with a trauma history and even the potential to go away. I’ve internalized my diagnosis and tend to feel like it’s my fault, whereas a diagnosis like PTSD or borderline is something I can blame on someone else. Obviously it’s not healthy to assign blame to a diagnosis at all, so this is something else I’ll have to work on.
I’ve had people whom I normally keep in the dark about my mental health ask me lately how I’ve been doing, and I’ve been struggling with whether or not I should disclose the work I’m doing in therapy with them. I tend to get questions along the lines of “So when are you going back to school/work? When will you be off the disability?” (which, by the way, can we not? Those are incredibly personal questions and imply that the work I’m doing to cope with my disability isn’t worthwhile). To be honest, I don’t have the answer to those questions. I know that the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s legal department offers aid in seeking disability, so I know it’s not an unreasonable expectation to want to do some significant work surrounding my past trauma before I go back to holding down a job. I can’t imagine – being triggered as easily as I currently am, and doing this difficult work in therapy – having to balance and separate a work life from my personal life. I have memories of the end of my former position in retail, being in a fog and sneaking off with other coworkers to discuss painful cognitions or realizations as they came up. Even thinking about that time is difficult, because it was when I was beginning to try and process my trauma on my own and it wasn’t long after that I was imploring my former coworkers for a place to stay because I felt constantly triggered in my current residence.
I don’t know how long EMDR sessions will continue, and I don’t know how long it will take for me to find peace with the limited amount of knowledge I have. It’s been three years of this hell and I’m ready to be done. At least now I have a therapist who is willing to work with me, instead of wasting two years bouncing between people who weren’t a good fit for me and not having my concerns as a client respected.
I just want to be done.