august 14, 2019
I’m not doing this for me…I’m doing this for her.
And yeah, maybe it’s a little unfair that I have to separate the two when biologically speaking, we’re the same girl. It’s a little anti-progressive if you want to call it that, and I hope you don’t because that would drive me bonkers and make me start picking at my skin in anxiety. But we have to be two totally different entities for the time being. The person I am now at twenty-five is not that little three-year-old me that I’m going to therapy for. And the six year old. Thirteen and seventeen, God forbid nineteen and twenty. All those ghosts of me that followed the shadows in the alley and led to some unfortunate circumstances. My maternal instincts kick in with them.
Since the beginning of the year I have been pitching the idea of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to my therapist. Her response has been along the lines of, “Are you sure you want to risk your progress for something triggering?” My response without hesitation every time has been a resounding yes.
To better understand what has led me to EMDR it might be helpful to explain my road to recovery and healing with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). And to better understand why someone as young as me would need healing already when life has just begun it would help to know my traumas; however I don’t feel ready to disclose them as I feel like they would be best translated once the therapy has actually begun. At this point, despite spending my entire life in therapy, I have not had much opportunity to talk of the abuses inflicted on me and the graphic memories I have. At this point I have dissociated so far from the events that they have become fuzzy; I don’t always trust my memory. Still, I can detail the past five years and what has led me here.
Starting in 2011 I was in and out of the hospital for mental health crisis’s. After a lifetime of therapy my mental illness started to bubble over into every aspect of my life, deterioration me from the inside out and destroying every sweet thing in my life. But I digress; that was then and this is now and the future is sweet. I have been committed to the same therapist for the past two years (going on three) and although progress has been made, I really attribute my recovery to educated parents, a supportive spouse, and a really mindful best friend who I imagine reads the DSM for fun. However, I have found three things that I have been doing on my own that have been really helpful keys in coping with the fluctuations of mood that comes with BPD.
a strong anti-psychotic
Taken every day, around the same time, on a full tummy right before bed. Before I found the right medication for me there were a lot of “as needed” doses of self-prescribed concoctions of leftover prescriptions and sometimes they would help but mostly they fucked up my liver and aided in overdosing suicide attempts. Finally admitting that I might need help because my brain chemistry was really hard. I daydream of a world where my CBD was my only aide in making me stable, but alas, big pharma won this round.
no binge drinking
I have been drunk once in ten months and even that was just a slight buzz. I don’t remember a young me living on her own where she wasn’t always drinking and I’m thankful for sobering up for being a stay at home as of late. Guzzling liquor became a heavy vice that I fed into for a little too long, but one I no longer miss. Not having a surplus of depressants entering my system every night has made for consistency and stability.
inner child work
This is where I stop pussyfooting around why I’m doing EMDR therapy and get to the root of what we’re doing here. There’s this unsettling feeling that adult trauma survivors get when their own children approach the age their life fell apart. Sometimes, it can be a little shocking. When Jack turned three I knew that my PTSD related flashbacks might start getting worse as the earliest trauma on record for me was at three. What I wasn’t expecting was the innocence in a small child, not quite toddler not quite kid. Seeing the pure wonder my Jack holds for the world, the fascination in small things, the beauty in his eyes when they light up when he discovers something (and he’s always discovering something)…that at one point that was me and it was someone’s job to make sue nothing bad happened and from the start people let me down…it fucked with my head but made ancient wounds connect to fresher ones and provided the Ah-ha moment I needed to clarify what I needed next in my step to healing.
I don’t want to look back on my life when I get old (because fuck BPD and suicidal tendencies, I will get old!) and be sad that I spent so many of my years hating myself. When I was a teenager I used to be mad at that little girl, frightened of the world presented to her, for not doing more and protecting herself. Now, with the wisdom and instincts I’ve gained as a mother, I recognize that she was not at fault. I needed to nurture those younger versions of myself and fill them with love as a way to re-claim power and fall in love with who I am today; thick ankles, hairy legs, pimples on my cheeks, fat on my thighs, snarls in my hair. Because if I’m being honest, I can’t and don’t love me entirely right now. I’ve made progress, in waves I feel gratitude for my body and appreciation for my mind, but overall I would still rather be anyone else.
So, I’m doing this for her, littler me. And I hope in return, that means I’m doing this for who I am today and who I will be tomorrow.