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Archive for December 17th, 2008

I recently paid a visit to my therapist. I have been out of therapy for a couple of years now, but I felt like I needed a “therapy tweak.”

I told my therapist about how challenging it was to keep getting triggered and then be okay a few days later. It made me feel like I was going crazy. He reassured me that this is normal.

I also told him that I was surprised that I was still recovering new memories from time to time. He said that this will probably happen for the rest of my life. The big difference is that they will no longer rock me like they once did. (This transformation has already happened.) Flashbacks in the later stages of healing provide more information, but the feelings don’t carry the punch that they once did. Hooray!

It was very reassuring to have a professional, who I trust, tell me that everything that I am feeling is normal. He pointed out that the Christmas season is filled with triggers because of my history, so it makes sense that I would be triggered much more frequently at this time of year.

From the very first appointment, my therapist did a great job in guiding me toward what the end goal was. It is not realistic to expect that my past will completely “go away” and never influence any aspect of my life again. However, my life does not have to be defined by my past. I can learn how to let the triggers pass through me as they come.

A friend of mine said to remember that I am the fire hose, not the water coursing through it. My emotions from the triggers are like the high-pressure water racing through. As the hose, I feel the emotions rushing through, but I do not have to follow them. I can simply accept that emotions are part of the human experience. Let them run their course, don’t fight them, and I will be okay.

My therapist also told me that I need to give myself permission to enjoy my life. It okay for me to do fun things and enjoy them. It is okay for me to feel good about the things in my life that are going well. That is such a hard habit for me to break.

I always stay so focused on how far I have to go. I see where I want to be at the top of the mountain, and I get discouraged that I am not yet there. However, if I will take some time to look behind me, I will notice that where I was five years ago is not even visible on the horizon.

I don’t think the healing process ever ends, but it becomes much more enjoyable as you go along.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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