Starting Again…This Time From The Very Beginning
The AT totally understood what I was saying about being overwhelmed and wanting to start over. We talked a bit about what starting over would look like, and I said that I was slipping back into old therapy habits (from my prior therapist) and that I had really wanted to try to do therapy differently this time. I had decided that I would talk more and censor myself less when I started with the AT and for a while it worked…And then things got hard and I just slipped back into safe and familiar habits. The other thing I used to do that I wanted to change was that I would talk to my PNP about some stuff, but not my therapist. However, I didn’t think this the best approach as it is stuff that I think I should be talking to my therapist about…Really, I can talk to both of them…But I shouldn’t be excluding one over the other. That is a habit I have slipped back into that I want to pull out of. So, those were my ideas about starting over, to get back on track with developing new therapy habits.
From the AT’s perspective, he wants to do starting over by starting at the beginning. What was life like for me pre-trauma? It was so long ago…It is almost hard to remember, but there are wispy bits of security and happiness that I can feel. So, in true Art Therapist form, he asked me to draw a picture of the pre-trauma me. (Later, he encouraged me to take a picture of it…So, I actually have a picture of something that I did in a session to share with you!)
Here’s the picture:
Then he had me write what the little girl would say. I said that she would say that she wishes she could take the feelings of safety and freedom and joy with her through her life…Ummm…I can’t remember the next part I wrote, but then she said that she was plucky and stubborn and caring and that these were things that could help her. Welll…It was something along those lines anyway.
And then we chatted a little bit about the context of the picture and I told the AT that I had grown up on a sheep farm. In the picture, I am holding a bottle to bottle feed the lamb next to me. That is one of my happiest memories from when I was a little girl. I loved taking care of the lambs…I used to spend hours in the barnyard playing with the lambs and the sheep…It was good times then.
And for the first time in a very long time, I did not leave my therapy session dissociated. As matter of fact, I think I barely dissociated at all. And for the first time in a long time, I left feeling like, “I can do this.” And I actually felt good about our session.
What I didn’t realize was how stressful therapy has been for me…I see it now because after I left yesterday, I felt hugely relieved, like a big burden had been taken off my back…Relieved that the AT heard what I was saying about therapy being too much, relieved that he is taking a new angle on our work, and relieved that I feel like I can do it.
Now…the next question is….Will this big sigh of relief mean that I can stop my food hyper-focus? Will I still need to have inflexible control? Or can I sit back a little bit and cut myself some slack? We shall see.
Oh…and the AT also told me to get back on board with the mandalas. 😉 As you can see, I have!