I’ve been seeing my therapist for over three years, every week. During this pandemic we meet via telehealth. In this series come along with me through each appointment as I reflect on the session and my progress.
I went into tonight’s session feeling much better than weeks past. My depression is lifting and I am feeling more focused, connected, and in control.
I am still not 100%, fighting through a lack of motivation that seems to be lingering – but in general, leaps and bounds from where I was last week.
Memories in the Music
Music is a big memory trigger for me. In the early months of my healing I had some experiences with flashbacks induced by music in the car that caused me great distress. Or, to the opposite extreme, I’d have flash memories with absolutely no emotional connection to them.
Recently I’ve been hitting the 90’s playlists hard when I’m in the car. In turn, due to my receptiveness to my healing these past few months, there has been no shortage of memories flooding me. One instance, I swear it evoked a sense of remembered smell.
This new flood of memories has been different. Not all bad, mostly just pieces of my childhood. And I feel a connection to them now.
One of the things all of the new memories have done is allow me to start piecing together a childhood I thought I had completely forgotten. As the release dates of songs assign a year and an age to my memories – I am realizing that I haven’t fogotten my childhood, I lost time.
I have memories floating around in my head from a time that I can’t cement myself in because of how disconnected I was at that time as a child.
As I rebuild the timeline of my childhood I find this new life with memories of a childhood lost for so long to be uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and leaving me with a sense of surrealness.
How Can I Use Them to Get To Know My Inner Child?
Yep, my counselor totally asked me this. I felt like a dear in headlights. I didn’t even understand the concept of an inner child until a few years ago when I started this healing journey. How am I supposed to know how to connect to her?
So my first thought was – I’ll write about it. That’s what I do with everything; I write about it as a way of processing stuff. I lay it out in order with my words until it makes sense.
Gah, this stuff always makes me cry. Anytime I think about my childhood I am filled with so much sadness. I almost made it through the session with no tears.
Now, three hours later, after further thought about this connection to my inner child – I realize on an even deeper level, as I write about it I can also explore the feelings that come up. I image as I connect to and understand those emotions, I will get to know the kid I was.
Inner child stuff is definitely not my forte quite yet, there is still work to be done.
As the weeks continue to pass, things with my son are moving in what I believe is the right direction. I am learning what it means to truly let go so that he can live the life he is meant to without my interference.
Through this journey to acceptance, I have come face to face with my codependent tendencies as a parent with an untreated mental injury. As I have explored the ways this displayed through out my son’s young life, I realized it was all rooted in feelings of inadequecy.
My feelings of worthlessness manifested in needing my child’s approval his whole life which hindered my ability to set proper boundaries or teach him emotional responsibility. I just needed him to love me and accept me like no one had before in my life.
Heavy stuff to move through.
It is paying off though; as I do the work I need to do – he is getting the space he needed. He recently got in touch, after period of not speaking to chat with his little sister. As a result of their conversation he and I got to talk a small amount. He has expressed boundaries which I have let him know will be respected and that is where we are.
I am happy here. I think we both need this. My love for him is unwavering and I know our paths will reunite when the time is right.
PTSD Spectrum Survey
The main goal of my therapy, the one achievement all other goals are leading me towards – is 3 months symptom free from PTSD.
So, how is that quantified you might wonder?
Every quarter I go through a questionnaire with my counselor that scores my symptoms based on my answers. Most of the questions ask me to rate sleep disruptions, flashback, avoidance, memories, connection to the people in my life, my anxieties, etc 1-5.
The higher the score, the more intense the symptoms. The questionnaire is out of 100; when I first came to therapy I scored in the 70s.
For the last few months I’ve plateaued but we will be doing the survey next week and other than my depression, I’ve been feeling good. I’m excited to see what my score will be – I think it has gone down!
I Took the Pause
Despite the new bag of stresses, since the pandemic started and I stopped working my previous job I’ve done some serious work on myself because I can. Nothing has been taking up my time and energy. I feel like I have made more progress in the last few months with my healing than in the last year.
That feels good!
And my counselor said, I am clearly making the most of this pandemic – I took the pause.
- The way I am handling my recent run with depression is an example of what I am learning.
- I am on the right path with my son, and I am learning a lot about myself in that regard.
- Remembering my childhood isn’t always bad, and I do have memories worth exploring more.
- Exploring my inner child scares me a little bit.
Stay tuned for next week’s post.
Related posts: read through my previous Therapy Dumps.
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