The Same but Different

"The present and the past coexist, but the past shouldn’t be in flashback. – Alain Resnais

Been a tough week.

The good news is that I believe I found an apartment. It has all I wanted: a family nieghborhood, character in the unit, first floor, great location, hardwood floors throughout, updated kitchen, nice paint colors, working fireplace, porches front and back, off street parking, close to a playground, five minutes from my office and my childrens school…and an owner that is a divorced female with a ten year old son. I liked her.

Finding that unit was certainly something I needed. The stress of my housing situation was causing incredible flashbacks to years ago.

My situation of not having a place to live, of having children to care for, of having everyone wanting something from me, of having people look at at me like I had done something wrong, triggered a panic attack of epic proportions.

One part of my mind realized I was being ridiculous that my situation is NOT the same as it was when I lost my daughter but something in the situation felt EXACTLY the same and sent me into a hyperventilating ball of carbon waste earlier in the week. When the buyers of my house demanded more concessions and threatened to walk, I lost it. Completely irrationally lost it. My mother and sister (my real estate agent) were left in my wake wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

I was over reacting, under reacting, freakishly reacting. They did not understand that I was in the midst of a typical PTSD related flashback.  There were parallells. Somehow, something, sent me spiralling into the black abyss.   It is happening again. I have children to care for and no where to live. I was unable to grasp that this time I have friends and family and a good job. It did not seem to matter. The overwhelming feeling of terror and doom was crippling.  Someone might call me unfit. Someone might take my children.

I saw my therapist yesterday and while I felt fine upon entering his office I was not exactly fine when I left. I could not stop crying. My chest was tight. I could not breath. I was dizzy.

We decided to try EMDR. According to Wikipedia:

"Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an information processing psychotherapy that was developed to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing and unresolved life experiences. EMDR is rated in the highest category of effectiveness and research support in international guidelines for PTSD treatment. It uses a structured approach to address past, present, and future aspects of disturbing memories. The approach was developed by Francine Shapiro[1] to resolve symptoms resulting from exposure to a traumatic or distressing event, such as rape. Clinical trials have demonstrated EMDR’s efficacy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In some studies it has been shown to be equivalent to cognitive behavioral and exposure therapies, and more effective than some alternative treatments (see effectiveness sections below). Although some clinicians may use EMDR for various problems, its research support is primarily for disorders stemming from distressing life experiences"

There are certain individuals who believe EMDR is "bunk" and still others who believe it works and finally people like me who will try anything to get these anxiety and panic crying jags and flashbacks to stop. Placebo? Bring it on.

I left the session completely raw and drained. I was supposed to meet my sister to drop off some house closing paperwork. Her office was exactly 3 miles from my therapist. It took me over an hour to get there as I got lost. Dont ask me how. I knew where I was, I knew where I was going and how to get there, I just couldn’t find my way.  At one point I was literally driving in circles. At another I pulled over and laughed like a crazy woman.

I retired early last night and this morning I drove my ex-husband and my sons to the airport for their spring vacation in Orlando.  After they left, I collapsed in the car in a puddle of tears.

I am still weepy. I should be packing, cleaning, organizing the house.  Instead I am distracted, lacking focus and on the verge of tears.

But hey, I have a place to live now. 

8 Thoughts.

  1. Self Acceptence is a sure and a safe mode for speedy recovery to identify what you are and in finding a path of going where you want to go. Identify you cause of search, plan the route and just travel with out another thought, happiness is just at your doorstep, only thing is open it and take it.

  2. ((((((Suz))))))
    I’m really glad you found an apartment – that is a huge weight off your shoulders. The EMDR sounds incredibly stressful, but hopefully will provide relief from the panic attacks. Get some rest, the packing will get done in time.

  3. I hope the confusion, getting lost etc, is simply part of the process of letting go. I imagine if the EMDR is to work it will involve some chaos. Best of luck dear one.

  4. I’m sorry you had a PTSD reaction… I can totally understand. I am glad that you have an apartment, and I hope that the EDMR works. I’ve thought of doing it myself, but haven’t.

  5. I did EMDR during my therapy years ago. My therapist suggested it because I had general feelings of panic and dis-ease, but could not get to the actual experiences — in other words to break down my defenses so I could look at and work on them. I found it very helpful, even if exhausting. I hope it works for you, Suz. IMHO, anything is worth a try.

  6. I’m not a supporter of EMDR. A friend of mine did this therapy and ended up much worse off. The US army also began to use EMDR to speed up recovery times and has since abdandoned most of this theory and gone back to traditional talk therapy.
    Triggers can be so crippling. I am glad you found a new home. A new beginning. :o)

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