I feel like I just ran a marathon 

9:55am I’m in bed, heart racing and body exhausted as though I’ve just collapsed over the finishing line at the end of an arduous race. 

I’ve just completed my first session with my trauma therapist since the 8th of February. I’ve phoned in for our regular session (this is a voluntary sector trauma therapy service that is delivered by means of a 50 minute weekly telephone call) most weeks in the intervening period but have been unable to utter a single word, not even so much as hello, and have felt utterly compelled to hang up. This is not a natural course of events for a chatterbox like me who is ordinarily an engaged and proactive therapy client.

Fear, even terror, and shame forced the silence, exacerbated by my having not yet established a relationship with my therapist, as I only became her client at the very end of last year. There’s much to unpick within that fear and shame. In the simplest terms, it’s fear that, after the terrible events of last year, there is now no hope of receiving any support, and shame at being who I  am, where I am. The terror is at potentially being hurt again by a ‘caring professional’ and, worst still, that if no help is possible, my fight to not only survive but to thrive could have been in vain. 

It’s taken a lot of work on my part to get to the point where I could today regain my voice. For a moment there as I wrote that I had the urge to cry hang out the flags … I did it! 

I may write some more later about the content of today’s session but my focus here is on the result of the session.

I feel glad that I was able to reconnect with my therapist today. We don’t yet have any real connection and I wish we could have talked for so much longer than 50 minutes but it was something, and it was helpful if only in as much as I could share some things and feel heard. 

I feel a renewed determination to try to finish the, to date, 75% completed pair of blog posts telling the story of the last year. In order to write about it, I must confront the events of the year and that is proving to be traumatic. 

Realistically, I’m unlikely to wotk on those posts today as I’m shattered having only slept for 90 minutes last night. I’m genuinely struggling to keep my eyes open and my brain focused. I’m looking forward to an early night. I hope to work on completing those blog posts tomorrow. 

I’m clean! 

Having changed out of fetid pyjamas, showered and brushed my teeth, I’m back in the realm of daylight and a whiff of fresh air

While I’m happy to be more functioning, the more that I do, be it washing myself, eating, doing chores or whatever, the more  that I’m forced to confront how bad things are for me right now. Uh oh, there goes that guilt again that I spoke of in my last post .. I’m moaning/whining/being pathetic. I should think myself lucky, shut up and get on with it or, at the very least, seek to justify my every thought and action. Ho hum, I’ll try to ignore that.

Yesterday’s second dishwasher load has been unloaded, load number three is on the go and those few items that require handwashing are bathing in hot soapy water. I’ve stripped my bed, organised some paperwork for shredding, rinsed some items for recycling, and dealt with a pile of post.I’ve rested periodically, vital ‘spoonie‘ pacing, to try to avoid crashing and burning. Although, I’m sensing that the more I gather momentum the more I feel an urge to keep going and so resist the need to rest.

I’m now munching on some of last night’s banana loaf. Next I’ll wipe the kitchen work surfaces, do a quick swish and swipe in the bathroom and remake my bed, …then I’ll flop for a bit with BBC Radio iPlayer.

Daylight and a whiff of fresh air

It’s 6pm. I’m sprawled on my bed, tapping this out on my phone, squinting because I’m tired and I’m not wearing my specs. 

I’m feeling sore (meaning in this case in pain rather than angry or grumpy, should I happen to have any American readers :)) but I’m also feeling accomplished.

And here I relent, shift myself to close my bedroom window and the window blind, before putting on a light and then donning my specs after cleaning them. 

It’s not easy to type a blog post on a phone when you need to hold said phone at arm’s length to prevent the text from becoming blurry. I really need to visit my optician. I was due to have an eye test last June but have put it off because for now I can’t afford to buy a new pair of glasses.

Still, I digress, I’m feeling accomplished because I’ve had a productive day … although perhaps not what many people would consider all that productive or fruitful.

I spent an hour detangling my dirty matted hair; cleaned my teeth and took a shower for the first time in a fortnight, before getting dressed.I stripped my bed and threw open the bedroom window, giving me my first clear sight of daylight and.hint of fresh air in two weeks.

I liberated my kitchen from under the detritus strewn worktops by way of three dishwasher loads, a sinkful of dishes, and much wiping and tidying. 

With seven extremely brown bananas begging not to be wasted, I baked a quick batch of banana and oat bars using four of them (I’ll make a banana loaf tomorrow to use up the rest), four cups of organic porridge oats and eight tablespoons of milk. They make a healthy snack. They’re pretty irregular in size, today was not a day for perfectionism! BBC Radio 4 was a very welcome companion, particularly the engrossing Resistance by Val McDermid.

I cleared and dealt with the mound of mail piled behind my flat door, and organised a batch of recyclables.

I composed and sent vital emails to my physiotherapist and a local advocacy service. I’ve crunched my way through  a bowl of cornflakes, quaffed a very large mug of tea, and scoffed a couple of the banana oat bars. I’ve blogged … twice!

I am very tidy and very organised and other people often describe my home as immaculate. I care about and take care over my appearance. I’m also resourceful, driven and very self motivated. Exceptional circumstances left me unable to take care of myself or my home in recent weeks. Whatever you might imagine, I doubt that you could guess correctly … 

And on that thrilling cliffhamger, for now I must stop writing for the sake of my increasing pain levels, and your attention span ;), and I must remake my bed before I seize up entirely! 

See you anon … 

I am awake and content to be so. 

I’ve woken this morning, for the first time in many days, without the feeling that I can’t bear to be awake.

This morning I did not so desperately clamour to again escape into sleep that I forced myself away from wakefulness and into a half sleep, punctuated by nightmares of the darkest variety. 

This is progress.

***** N.B. Hello again dear readers. It’s been a while since I posted, and there is quite a story a tell. It would be too large a task to try to bring you up to date all at once, and it would certainly overwhelm me, and perhaps you too. With that in mind, I’m going to do as a middle-aged American woman, with a passion for fly-fishing and a plethora of strategies for overcoming the overwhelming, once told me … don’t try to catch up, just jump in where you are. I trust that in doing  this the fuller story will, in time, unfold. This is likely to be one of many ‘bite-sized dispatches’. In the meantime, I’ll just say that it feels good to be back and that I hope you’ll encourage me in my quest to post regularly. *****

Trauma Therapy or Day 2 of The Rest of My Life.

therapy

I have a trauma counselling session at 1 o’clock this afternoon.

This is the first time that trauma-specific counselling has been available to me and it will be my first session after an initial assessment session with my counsellor two weeks ago.

Between 2002 and 2011, I had some four years of general psychotherapy/counselling. This took the form of a one year period with the same therapist, a two year period with another therapist and otherwise dribs and drabs of therapy with variously a CBT therapist, a psychologist, a Victim Support worker and a trainee therapist.

This trauma counselling is provided weekly via 50 minute telephone sessions by a voluntary sector organisation. Twelve sessions are offered, with the option to extend that period for up to 12 months if both parties are in agreement. After referring myself to the service, I waited a little over two months to be allocated a counsellor. I have been waiting since February of this year to be assessed for trauma therapy on the NHS, despite my then GP denoting my need URGENT.

 

Return to regular blogging imminent

It’s been SO long since my last post but I am soon to return.  This has been a huge year. Pressed for time doesn’t begin to cover it. In just over 10 months I have:

* ended my marriage
* moved home
* been bereaved
* started a major work project
* continued to deal with chronic illness
* made huge strides on the road to rebuilding my life following trauma and serious illness
* made new friends
* developed my first ever support network
* and much MUCH more

It is such hard work. I’ve fallen over many times … and feared I couldn’t get up again. Still, it IS worth it. I am no longer existing; I am living. As the blog says, I have survived and now I plan to thrive. I’m not there yet but I can see it.