session one…the emdr series

august 15, 2019

About two days ago I ran out of CBD and I had the awful realization that I would be without the latest addition to my medicinal team for my first EMDR session. I went through the stages of grief when this happened. At first I was in denial, trying to pull the tincture into the dropper, exploding into anger at myself for not rationing as well as I thought I had been, debating if I could swing it financially to pick it up from somewhere local although I had just placed an order for it online a week prior, a big “oof” of depression coursed over me, and then finally I decided I had to be a big girl and just be cognizant of my DBT tool belt for this session. I was really proud of myself for cycling through all of it so effortlessly (does this mean some growing has happened through all of these treatments?!). However, when I went to check the mail a half hour before leaving the house for my first session I had the great privilege and comfort to see that my order had shipped and arrived, and promptly placed a drop under my tongue as soon as I got back through the door. Good looking out, Universe. *

*I swear listening to all this Lizzo lately has made it so much easier to manifest some really grounding successful vibes.

Throughout the week I’ve been on vocal repeat of how excited I was for Thursday because Thursday meant EMDR and joining my new crafting group. I have a really bad habit of setting my expectations on the top shelf and I’m only five foot, so I can’t reach even with a step stool. I’m grateful for the CBD shipment and the 20+ years of therapy so I am okay and present now, as I write this, annoying my husband with a smooth jazz playlist and low-lighting as I get into the writing zone. Bless you, Jones.

It is important to note that one of my terrible attributes is that I don’t drive and I had to get a ride from my best friend and her honey today. But before I dive into how I interrupted the love nest and tried to not seem bat shit crazy in front of the new addition to our circle, I want to point out that when I say things like “one of my terrible attributes” people like to rebuttal with “You’re wonderful!” etc. and it makes my skin crawl off my bones. I had started to spiral last night into these deep, dark thoughts of all the terrible things I’ve done and although I have this great online persona I don’t feel like it reflects who I am as a whole. I don’t want to add to this stigma of “mentally ill people are violent” that’s been riddling the media lately in the argument against gun control, but unmedicated and without therapy and support I have gotten violent, to the point of being arrested in my teens and committed to a psychiatric hospital for my rage. Tonight I yelled at my husband for trying to kill a carpenter ant and forced him to capture it to release it back outside, so I think there’s been a lot of change. Anger management really helped me, as well as getting out of abusive environments and stopping substance use.

My point being, I know the shadow I live with and all the crimes I’ve committed. And yes, I recognize the good I put into the Universe now and how I’m trying to actively change my ways to be the kind of person I would want to be friends with, but does my past negate that?

(I think we’ll go into this dark side as we dive deeper into treatment and I feel a little more exposed but there’s a small part of my brain telling me that may not be the best side of me to put up for the world to see)

But back to being awful and needing Aya and her honey to take me across the bridge…

Aya lost track of time and was running a little late, which made me feel guilty that when she was trying to get some alone time in with her new beau I had to be an inconvenience. I wish when I felt like this I felt a little more inspired to get behind the wheel, but my phobias consume me. I’m perpetually hating myself and protecting myself at the same time. We made it to the appointment on time and although I didn’t feel like there was any judgement there was some shame of meeting someone new and so important to someone close to you and having that initial, “Why yes, I need a lot of mental treatment because I’m all fucked up,” doesn’t get easier. No matter how far we come in stigma, the nineties kid in me with a minuscule (but loud) amount of biased boomers in their life who think mental illness is the result of lesions and parasites in your body is always screaming THEY THINK YOU’RE CRAZY! You loon! You goon! You stupid fucking buffoon!

It’s a really nasty habit and I’m hoping I break it every time I’m candid about the hurtles I’ve had to face with a brain that works against you.

I checked into my appointment and took a seat. I always choose the seat opposite the door that leads into the therapy rooms at the building I attend, and I’m always conscious of my first impression and what I’m doing when whoever comes to get me sees me. I suck in my gut, sit up straight, and scroll through my phone, acting as though I’m not watching them like an impatient dog waiting for the mailman.

I watched in pain as each minute past my appointment ticked by without a therapist coming to get me. I pretended it didn’t bother me, because I’m the new and improved Tea Jay who doesn’t unravel when people are late and don’t tell me why or what’s going on. I set a time in my head; fifteen minutes. If fifteen minutes passed then and only then would I ask someone at front desk if everything is okay, because that’s more reasonable than four minutes ticking by and me having a panic attack already feeling abandoned by my new therapist.

As soon as fifteen minutes passed I was up and at a different receptionist’s desk. It turned out that the original receptionist hadn’t checked me in and the therapist had just left. But she would try to get him back, after I expressed my difficulties getting to the appointment of arraigning childcare, having to alter my friend’s schedule, my husband needing time off work so I can come. She probably didn’t need my whole life story, but I didn’t need the panic attack, so I felt a tiny bit justified in my ramblings. After a few more passed moments I was called into my therapist’s office to begin our shortened session.

When my primary therapist asked if I was comfortable seeing a male for trauma therapy I insisted I was fine with the change, that gender didn’t matter, and that is mostly true because I’m more hesitant around females than males. Yet being alone with a man in an office, talking about my traumas seemed to test my comfort.

He asked what I knew about EMDR and I told him what I had heard about it getting worse before it gets better and that being about the baseline knowledge I had. He took a moment to himself to mull over what I said. I found it to be a little exaggerated and wanted to rush his thinking process, and really it felt rather dramatic to have such a long beat just to reply with, “Not quite.” He expressed that with the grounding meditations we will be learning over the next two weeks before the actual EMDR starts it won’t be exactly as described, however his long hesitation to simply reply that made me not completely trust his reassurance.

He told me the military history of EMDR and I listened intently, interested that they don’t still treat trauma in soldiers with EMDR in a lot of military practice because of deployments. He tole me that the way I’ll be experiencing this therapy is my following his finger in a rapid motion as we eventually chip away at my traumas. He had me list three of my traumas in a little detail that I would want to tackle. I gave him four; two from childhood, two from my pre-recovery adulthood. He ended our brief session by assigning me to watch John Kabat-Zinn meditations online; I have yet to do any research at the time of writing this but will be updating with a response to Full Catastrophe Living within the next few days.

I should have paid more attention to my therpaist in our session, I admit, but to be frank I was distracted by the fact he had a Robin Williams hairstyle and thinking how I couldn’t just automatically trust this man just based off his credentials and coincidental homage to my favorite celebrity to grace my viewing pleasure.

about the author/series
Tea Jay is a mother, yarn artist, and author. With her upcoming release, Bruised Peaches, a storybook for adults about childhood trauma, she felt it necessary to document alongside her own recovery with EMDR therapy in aide to nursing her inner child. Tea Jay is best known for her bestselling book, In The Gray Area of Being Suicidal, based off a video and article she wrote for The Mighty with the same title detailing life with suicidal ideation. Currently Tea Jay is working on creations for her etsy shop and writing her next novel(s).

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