More Therapy Less Counseling

Posted: 16 June 2017 in therapy

Well I thought I was going to tackle some EMDR. I didn’t. Mostly because I spent the better part of the hour reminding myself to breathe so that I could talk so that I could be honest because I’m not taking time and spending money to still be having night terrors. And I was honest, more honest than I usually am talking about the scary stuff. I guess honest isn’t the right word. Open, probably. I don’t lie but I do withhold. Lots.

And lots.

And lots.

I had to breathe so I could ask questions and say the really dumb stuff, to get it out of the way. This trauma probably isn’t bad as far as trauma goes. This isn’t something that needs therapy. It’s a waste of her time. I’m preventing her from helping me because I can’t seem to get my shit together, unclench my fists, breathe the color back into my lips. I suppose you know the answers to those and of course you know that she did, too. I also know the answers but that’s what crazy is. It knows the answers and it doesn’t care.

This therapist is the sort of smart that works for me. Frank, compassionate, confident. She was certain that this would happen (though my kind of smart also includes a purposeful lie here and there) and that we wouldn’t be doing any explicit EMDR that visit. She defined therapy as different than counseling. She said that we were still doing the work, if if it didn’t appear that we were doing the work. I could tell she believed this fully although I’m still not sure. She told me that my story had haunted her and then she assured me that it was okay to have told her, that it didn’t damage her, but that this is big and terrible trauma and while it isn’t going away, she and I together can stop it from screaming into my ears.

The last week has been better. Fewer nightmares but more details. The color of the shirt on one dead child, dressing him in the hall of the morgue as he flopped, no, stood stiffly, somehow both, between two men. Blue. The room full of body-sized boxes stacked to the ceiling, empty but shiny silver. Not what an American coffin looks like on TV. The demonstration of the seal and the sympathetic but graphic explanation of the function of the plug to drain bodily fluids. I wish I’d listened more carefully. You’d think that if I was going to be stuck with this horror, I’d at least get some good writing material out of it.

My next visit is Friday and I’ve given myself one monstrous task before then. This trauma is not nothing. Anything that can strip a person of part of themselves is not nothing. I will believe that and treat it with respect.



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