Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Augmented EMDR & the Doctor is IN
I've been outta touch for a couple of days, but I want to try and capture what my therapy session was like last Thursday.
My therapist said this was a good opportunity to begin to do some parts work.
My therapist wanted to try some augmented Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) and my Zen part decided that Little-J & Montreal (6 year old twins) would not have enough time in a 60 minute session to open up and say what they needed to say and then have to abruptly shut down so that I could safely drive home. We scheduled some 90-minute sessions in the future so the twins could know they'll have their time and they aren't being overlooked.
It was pretty fascinating to me and my therapist how I was able to have this 'team meeting' in my mind. Co-Consciousness is a gift if tethered to some sense of direction, otherwise co-consciousness is like being a substitute teacher thrown into a kindergarten class of hyperactive children. And that sense of direction is what I have been needing for as long as I have been in treatment.
Anyway, whether by default or design Dr-J got to talk. Now, Dr-J is the part of me who is pretty close to my core self and who is in the driver's seat at work. Also, Dr-J is the part of me that in the past I have presented to my past therapists, so that our discussions would be more like 'shop talk' on clinical perspectives and theories, rather than to go into the scary world of emotions. This is why at almost 48 years old, I am still dealing with past traumas, bc Dr-J stealthfully deflected the previous therapists' questions about feelings and spun every other therapist's comment into some intellectualized response while name-dropping some author or study. None of the other therapists were wise enough to get it that there was a change the subject at all costs program running in my mind.
I believe my Dr-J part was born out of my experiences of cutting school to get away from being called out, humiliated and hit ... and instead of cutting school to get high or getting into other trouble, I would take refuge in the public library and I would get a stack of books and find an isolated seat and read & read, trying to learn how to make sense of this world I was in. And so learning about everything became paramount as means of self-soothing and also as a means of giving my mind something to do besides be aware of the present-moment.
At first my therapist was going pretty much by the EMDR playbook and asking me goals* questions and Subjective Units of Distress (SUDS) estimations while she was filling out some form. *Well its pretty tough to answer goals questions when the answers could be coming from eight or so part's perspectives, and I have no idea who will actually show up and talk ... Dissociative Disorders are not like some county fair freak-show, where you can puts parts on display on your command. More likely (for me anyway) everybody shows up all at once.
Dr-J who is very pragmatic just blurted out (something which "I" would probably not be so bold to do) "Why don't you just ask me what its like to be me?"
So the process was the therapist would do a round of the finger movements across my field of vision, to get the bilateral component (activating both hemispheres of the brain) of the EMDR going.
And so indeed my therapist asked "What is it like to be You?"
... and I acknowledge I may be rambling here, but I can't seem to capture the significance of this moment for me ... I have been having the thoughts, moods and behaviors of my parts for years & years and here was like the first time I was being given a chance to be whichever part, without having to filter myself. In fact the un-filtering of my emotions and thoughts will be what breaks the dam and facilitates my healing from years of keeping things to myself to make others less uncomfortable, or to avoid conflict and violence.
At one point I said that Little-J & Montreal were 'watching' this whole process and so I paused, got my stuffed "Dolphin" [that's his name] out of my backpack and held Dolphin as a way to acknowledge my twins, even as I resumed Dr-J. So if you summarized the content of what Dr-J said in between rounds of EMDR here's what came out of the session.
I heard a part of myself saying things which were surprising. Dr-J acknowledged missing a woman I had dated in the past who literally had a genius IQ (> 170) bc Dr-J missed the deep and educational conversations we had. Dr-J discussed feeling bored in my current circumstances and frustrated bc there are so many things to learn about and explore, and yet I am unable to afford even the gas money to drive to a book club meeting or some interesting speaking/networking event. And Dr-J voiced wariness of my Zen's part "New Age'ie" positivism. In fact, to me Dr-J came off as kind of 'snooty' at times. But Zen reminded me that was Dr-J's defense against getting too emotionally close.
And the odd thing is that I voiced my awareness that Zen was 'watching' this and was not offended by Dr-J, instead Zen could see how my life had been directed towards emotional healing and now was more balanced than just 'hoarding data' to avoid feelings. I owe that increased emotional balance to my beautiful heart Wifey. She is indeed a wonderful example in being free with her whole range of feelings. So as I begin to be more aware of my own feelings by watching her, I am more animated, agitated and anxious bc of her. I had to stifle a hell of a lot in my earlier life.
My therapist was amazed and said she had a hunch that a lot of Dr-J's comments and frustrations had been brewing for awhile but "I" had not allowed myself to let loose and voice my feelings.
We ended the session with my therapist suggesting that I try to find some kind of outlet for my need to learn and experience knowledgeable things.