Archive for September, 2012

Therapy & Pushing Myself

25 Sep

A brief update after yesterday’s post about being scared for today’s therapy session and revisiting the nightmares etc. I think I’d worked myself up so much that by the time I got to therapy I was actually quite detached from everything.

We had a weekly catch up as usual and then she asked if I was ok to carry on where we left off. I told her I was scared about being there but I think we just needed to get on with it. And so for the first time since my last session, I read my nightmare over again. And this is where it got a bit strange – I felt no fear! I read it, and nothing! I’m asked to rate 0-10 what the fear factor is and I rated it zero. I thought seriously, that’s all it took, one session and I’m free to read it all.

But no, my therapist wasn’t quite so positive about it. She asked me to read it again and this time add in any extra details I’d missed out – sounds, sensations etc. Yet again, I did it with a zero rating. And then my therapist explained that she thought I’d completely detached from it and this in fact wasn’t me dealing with it but in fact the opposite, that I wasn’t ready to work through it. I was really disappointed, I wanted to fight this and have one less thing in my daily life to worry about.

My therapist suggested we do some more work on coping strategies and come back to the nightmare at a later appointment. If I’m honest, I would have gone along with this if I didn’t know she was going on leave, but as she was, I asked how I could ‘reattach’ myself to that memory – I needed to work on this today! She talked to me about recreating a certain part of the nightmare to see if that invoked any feeling but explained it wasn’t something she felt capable of doing. I suggested maybe going through a different memory and seeing if I could bring the fear back and so she agreed we could try that.

And so I did, I thought of another hot spot as they call it (when the fear is at the worst) and talked through it. It worked and yet again I found myself reaching for the tissue box as the tears just started. By this time we only had about 30 mins left of our session and so we went straight back to the nightmare. It was at this point that I wished I hadn’t pushed for me to carry on. It’s every bit as scary as I thought it would be and I found it really hard. My therapist is off next week so I’ve got 2 weeks before I see her again and this is what I was fearful of – opening this can of worms and not being able to close it when I’m on my own. I know it’s only two weeks but sometimes I just wish my stubbornness backed off and I didn’t push myself so hard!


Nightmares and PTSD

24 Sep

Nightmares and night terrors in PTSD are really common and although I’m not too sure on the difference between a nightmare and a night terror, I tend to use my own language when describing what happens.

For me, it is like having a flashback in my sleep with the main difference being the fact that I have no control over it and the first I know is when I have woken up screaming, in tears and sometimes out of bed. They are so bad that I have become fearful of actually going to sleep and so my nights are very much my worst time. It is when, trying to stay awake, I think too much and my mood dips a lot!

So, knowing I don’t have many therapy sessions left, this was an area I knew needed addressing. My main concern was that I would open a can of worms and in the short time left, wouldn’t be able to close it again and would be left with no therapy sessions left and in the middle of something I couldn’t cope with.

Me and my therapist spoke about it at length and we decided we were going to give it a go. We were to use graded exposure to help with them and the plan was for me to write down the nightmare the day before my next therapy session. Then in session I was to read it (either to myself or out loud) and deal with emotions it brought up. Once the emotions settled down, I would read again and again until the fear associated with the nightmare was diminished enough for it not to be a problem.

This was the plan, but firstly the task of writing it down took a lot more effort than I thought! The first week I tried, I failed spectacularly. I just couldn’t get the words on to paper and I ended up dissociating really badly. I did go to therapy that week but only managed to stay for 30 mins as I just felt so unreal, I needed to get back to my apartment to be safe again.

The next week, I managed to write it down but if I’m being honest, part of me was scared of having the conversation with my therapist. I had never spoken about any details that had happened and I didn’t know how to. What language would I use? How would I get over the feeling of being judged? Or the disgust and shame behind my words?

I explained this to my therapist and told her although I knew it was her job not to judge me, I was still scared. On top of that fear was the fear that the actual nightmare made me feel. But we pushed through, with her reading it herself so I didn’t have to say it out loud.

I’m not going to lie, it was one of the hardest things I have done. Reliving a tiny part of my trauma elicited so many emotions I can’t begin to list them. But yet again, in session, I started to become detached and feeling like I wasn’t really sure where I was. I remember looking round the room and there was one of those springy door stops attached to the skirting board and that was all I could see, everything else seemed to just disappear. I am aware that this sounds absolutely ridiculous but it’s the only way I can describe it.

I managed to read through my nightmare 3 times in the session before it got too much. I have therapy tomorrow and already I am really scared. I haven’t looked at the nightmare since and I’m not supposed to but just thinking of reading those words again scares me so much!


Turning a Corner….?

09 Sep

I might be being completely pre-emptive here but these past few days have been really good for me. On Friday/Saturday I must have slept close to 24 hours. This is completely unheard of for me!

Since everything happened I have struggled to have more than one night’s sleep that a) has lasted more than a couple of hours and b) being woken by a night terror – sometimes so bad that I’ve had to take a shower due to the amount of sweat. Once adrenaline starts from something like that, there is very little sleep to be had!

So after my epic sleep, I was left feeling refreshed and for the first time in a long time, I felt that I wasn’t fighting against life, that I was living in the now and not battling suicidal thoughts and hatred. It was a small glimmer that I need to now use and move forward with.

Which brings me to today. After feeling quite pleased with myself for not feeling suicidal yesterday, I got a call this morning from the football team that I used to play for (I am still secretary) asking if I was free as they only had 10 players. Bear in mind I have barely been out of bed for the past few months and so my fitness is ridiculously low! But after yesterday I thought why not?

I was put in goal – with the least fitness needed although I learnt today actually how much running in the 18 yard box you do as a keeper! I usually play centre midfield so was well out of my comfort zone!! But I did it, I played for 90 minutes and kept a clean sheet – we won 1-0! I made a save that was going in the top corner and the feeling when my team were patting me on the back was amazing. As was the changing room banter that you get with a ladies football team.

So before I think of anything negative, I am ending this post on a high – is this me turning a corner? I really hope so!


It’s Been A Long Time

01 Sep

So it’s been a while! A lot has happened since my last post but I’m not sure I’m ready to fully go in to things at the moment. I am only just feeling like I am coming out of the other side of what I feel has been a bad depression and I’ve not had the motivation to be out of bed never mind write a blog post.

A brief update on my therapy – A couple of weeks ago my therapist told me she would be going on maternity leave in November. It felt like she expected some kind of reaction from me but I offered her my congratulations and we briefly discussed what we would be doing in that time and then moved on.

In this weeks therapy session, she said she had been checking how many actual sessions we had left and with her taking annual leave, we have 9 sessions (doesn’t sound much when put in figures rather than months!). I asked what would happen at the end of our time, thinking that over the last few sessions someone else might be introduced to take over. She explained she thought we would be done with the coping strategy side of things and so it would be a natural conclusion and I would go back on the waiting list for a different type of therapy – the waiting time is between 6 & 9 months plus depending on the type of therapy.

I asked if she wasn’t going on maternity leave would I still be stopping with her and moving to a different therapy? She explained the plan was to work on coping strategies and then trying again with EMDR with her, so I guess my question is why does the plan change because she is going on maternity leave, surely it should still be the same? But instead I’m being told that we won’t do EMDR and instead I’ll be looking at a different therapy (CAT and more psycho dynamic therapies have been mentioned) but that will be 9 months later. When I was waiting for therapy initially I was sold emdr as a magic pill, that is the best treatment available for PTSD, so why all of a sudden isn’t it?

I know I should be grateful that I’ve had therapy at all on the NHS and for the period I have (about 9 months), but I guess this is me feeling the cuts that have taking place as I don’t think they are replacing her when she goes, hence me going on a waiting list.

I’ve already seen her leaving have an effect my therapy; on weds, we spoke about the fact I’m scared to sleep because I can wake up screaming and dripping in sweat after a nightmare. We discussed exposure therapy in terms of writing out in detail my nightmare after I’ve had one and then in therapy exposing myself to it (reading it back) and doing this again and again, over weeks, so the impact of it diminishes.

As with any exposure therapy, the more you expose yourself to it, the less impact it has. But I told my therapist that I was worried we would open a can of worms and in 9 sessions wouldn’t be able to deal with that as well as the other stuff she has planned and then where would I be? Feeling exposed, vulnerable and on a 9 month waiting list!! Not too sure on this one what to do?

I know people have advised me to fight it, that it’s wrong but I know at the minute I’m fighting so many battles in myself that I can’t take another one on!! I had a visit from a cpn (community psychiatric nurse) who is covering for my usual cc and I asked her about the therapy thing and she basically agreed with therapist. She said that my cc will have access to psychology services in the meantime to ask questions and maybe work through things with me that they recommend but surely they are totally different jobs?

Anyway, that’s my rant over for today!!