Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Welcome to womanhood"

In fifth grade, I remember my teacher telling all of the boys to report to a specific room and all of the girls to report to a different room. From the permission slip we had to get signed and rumors that were circulating, I knew that we were about to attend a class that had something to do with sex education. I was nervous. Excited. Scared.

I remember watching the video they showed us. It went over the importance of proper hygiene as you go through puberty and how puberty was not something of which to be ashamed. Each of the girls in the video was met with an enthusiastic "congratulations" when they told their mothers they had started their period. "Welcome to womanhood" was the general, peppy message.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Emotional Baggage: It's Time to Repack!

I discussed the evolution of my issues with boundaries from childhood to the present in a recent post. In response to that post, an online friend posted the comment shown below. Also included is my response to the questions she posed.

Until fairly recently, I have tried to compartmentalize painful life experiences and view them as entirely separate entities. However, my efforts to do so have proven impossible because, as I finally acknowledged, if you don't address pain as it comes to you, it carries over into other experiences regardless of whether you are consciously aware of the emotional baggage you are totting around.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Memory to Sleep On

Below is a description of a memory from childhood I fell asleep thinking about last night. When my alarm went off this morning, I immediately started crying. I guess my emotions were being carried over from the memory.

I haven't been able to shake the feelings of sadness today (hence writing about this on my lunch break!). The memory is so much more peaceful than many other ones from childhood, but I guess it is powerful because it encompasses the feelings of emotional abandonment and neglect I've felt for most of my life.

I just realized that was a big confession to myself.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Therapy: To continue or not to continue, that is the question

My clinical externship lasts 10 weeks, and upon its completion, I will no longer qualify for the counseling services at my school’s counseling center. My excitement about no longer being a student is also met with apprehension and mixed emotions as the end of the most intimate and helpful therapy relationship I’ve experienced rapidly approaches.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I emotion-surfed right on over to my clinical externship :)

I've been rather MIA recently so I wanted to post a quick update. And not to mention, things are going fairly well right now, and I do not want to miss an opportunity to write a positive post!

Last Tuesday I began my externship at an outpatient rehabilitation hospital for adults. I am excited to begin this phase of my graduate program - it's a great learning experience AND it means I'm close to being done! :)

The days leading up to the externship start date were quite tough because, before beginning the clinic work, I needed to complete a nice chunk of my make up work from the semester I took off (i.e., to deal with myself). I haven't written much about this yet, but for quite some time, it has been really difficult for me to get things accomplished, particularly school work. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I choose boundaries!

"Can't live with them, can't live without them." 
And such has been my relationship with boundaries...

From a very young age, I have been taught to ignore my personal boundaries. I grew up in a household with no locks on the doors, including my bedroom and bathroom. When I was younger this household stipulation did not pose too many problems, but as I reached adolescence, I sure missed the luxury of being able to slam my door and lock myself in my room!

Even within my bedroom, I would learn that no place was considered off-limits to others. My practice of keeping a diary came to an abrupt halt after my mother responded in writing to an entry I had written about a fight with her. My "perfect" hiding place for my diary had proven otherwise. I tearfully confronted my mother, informing her that I felt my privacy had been violated. She responded that she didn't understand why I was so upset; she was my mother, right...?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Therapy: 1st Appointment with New Psychiatrist

I had my first appointment with a new psychiatrist today. I had been seeing a male psychiatrist for antidepressants and sleeping aids through my school's counseling center, but I decided to change to someone else because the sessions became very triggering.

It wasn't that I didn't like my male psychiatrist; for the most part, I thought he was great. However, there was an incident, in which he pushed me to detail a nightmare I had experienced, and I ended up feeling horribly violated and exposed. Though I know those feelings belong in my past, dealing with them in the present is sometimes just as overwhelming and convincing, even in harmless contexts that do not warrant such an extreme reaction. I know it was his job to gather information regarding my experience, but I think at this point in my treatment, it is imperative that I feel in control at all times.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Story: Home, sweet...home?

Sobbing, I called my parents two weeks into Spring semester of my sophomore year of college.

I need to go home, and I need to leave here - now.
I'm...miserable. I can't take it any more. I'm actually losing my mind. 

I had no idea what Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) were at the time, but I had a textbook case. I was doing everything the doctors were telling me to do, which mainly involved reducing my alcohol intake and staying on top of my prescription meds; however, when I returned to school to begin my spring semester, there was something happening inside me that no amount of Zyprexa, Risperdal, Depakote, Wellbutrin, or Ativan could mask.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who should I tell about my assault?

I started my blog in September 2011 shortly after I acknowledged that my past was still very much a part of my present life. My therapist whom I had been seeing for almost two years at that point knew that I had been sexually assaulted and had not received adequate professional and parental support following my assault, but she only knew the most basic gist because I refused to talk about it, insisting that I had dealt with it.

Now that I go back through my past events and really, truly look at them for the first time, it is amazing to me that I did not realize how much of my struggles with anxiety, depression, a fragmented sense of self, and low self-esteem were due to unresolved issues of the past. But then again, going back and looking at my past is also allowing me to understand why I leaned so heavily toward denial.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Story: Seeking comfort from a previous boyfriend following my assault

According to Resurrection After Rape, written by rape advocate and counselor Matt Atkinson, part of the reason for creating a narrative of your assault is to identify "stuck points," areas of shame, blame, or guilt which impede your healing progress. "Stuck points" may "happen wherever the rape story seems to confirm a prior negative belief you have had about yourself" (p. 119).

Though I am collectively doing much better, after spending a weekend in my college town and roaming around the campus and surrounding area (and avoiding particular spots that remain triggering) for my brother-in-law's graduation last weekend, I realize there are still numerous areas of my narrative that I need to flesh out and address.