Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Therapy #6: Trying to build a bridge...

…between my mind and mouth, that is. 

I am getting so frustrated with myself. Everyone – and by everyone, I mean forum friends, my therapist, and reading materials – says talking about your story and
feelings surrounding it is the key to overcoming sexual assault.

But, where the heck is my voice?

I get so frustrated and confused by myself during therapy sessions. I want so badly to move on from sophomore year of college – I am almost 30 for crying out loud – and I have dedicated myself to doing the “dirty work” to get there. But how do I get there when there is a huge disconnect between my thoughts and my mouth?

I don’t understand because I think I could have talked my head off about my experience sophomore year of college and probably junior year as well. Sure, it would have been difficult, but I know that I would have been able to do it. I’m wondering if it’s because I forced it out of my mind and didn’t allow myself to talk about it for so long that there is a true disconnect between what my mind will allow me to think and openly express. I don’t know. But I guess I do know that psychoanalyzing yourself can be sticky territory J

I was so geared up when I realized that I needed to address my rape in therapy. I guess I just thought that by the sixth session, we’d be so much further along in discussing what happened and I’d be on my way to processing it. That’s not to say that I haven’t made any progress – in some regards, I know that I have made some progress. For example, I can now type out the word “rape” – say it? Heck no, but I can write it and that’s a huge step. 

Also, I am learning how to “contain” my emotions regarding what happened so instead of being taken over by a tornado of them, I am getting to a point where I have more control over when and where I experience them. I met with a professor yesterday, and I was able to discuss difficulties with depression and anxiety without my mind immediately turning to sophomore year, thus flipping the lid off my emotions. I actually kept myself together. Definitely a step in the right direction, so I know that I shouldn’t overlook the areas of progress I have made.

I never imagined though that I would be on therapy session #6 without having so much as made a peep about the past. All I can do is talk about how to start talking about it. I made a list before therapy today of different topics of interest, and I was honestly happy as a lark making the list. Then, I went into my therapy session – the majority of which we had to spend going over logistical stuff (i.e., I will likely take "Incompletes" in my courses this semester, so I have to get the proper documentation, etc.) – and when I told my therapist that I had a list of topics, she was all for it, but the second I looked down at my sheet – the same one that I had happily made an hour before – I clammed up and the emotions were ready to erupt. All I could say was, “never mind,” with tears streaming down my face.

Sometimes I feel like there’s enough distance between myself and what happened that I can talk about it, at least in a circumlocutory way. But without much warning, I sometimes completely connect to the words, and past emotions and insecurities surface out of nowhere. Honestly like a light switch.

I know that I have to stick with this. There’s always next week. I will print out some of what I have written over the past few weeks and take it into therapy. At least that way, if I lose my voice, I will still have my words.

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”
[Chinese Proverb]


  1. It's hard, so hard to talk about this stuff face to face with another person. There's a sense of vulnerability that goes along with a face to face sharing that can't be felt by sharing online. After all online sharing is text. Face to face it is so easy to worry and even fear seeing another's eyes stare at us in a seemingly judgmental way, they can even hear the shakiness of our voice, but more than that we feel trapped in the situation, even if the feeling of being trapped is only temporary. Online we can write, edit, and remove content that you later feel uncomfortable with. Whereas in person once the words come out of your mouth it can't be retracted, the words can't be edited, and the truth can't be deleted from others memory.

    I wish I had a good suggestion to help you build a bridge between your brain and mouth. Maybe you aren't ready for the flood of little truth soldiers to easily traverse this symbolic bridge, maybe you are still just ready to let the truth trickle out and this missing bridge is your body's way of governing truth flow. I doubt that makes sense.

    Just like your Q.O.T.W. says, As long as you are moving forward, forward is progress.

    You are doing good, I know you will continue to heal. Take your time and set realistic goals.


  2. I forgot something. "Circumlocution"?? I had to look that word up, it was new to me. I often talk in that style of basic descriptive type of communication. Many times I write and talk metaphorically because I think it's easier for me. It also creates a slight artificial disconnect between my truth and the reality. Sometimes talking metaphorically gives me a chance to mentally adjust to the fact that I just revealed a truth because I know that sometimes metaphorical speech can take a while to decipher and even then it's still open to personal perception.

    Anyway, thanks for the new word. :)

  3. Thanks so much, Jaime. And, you are welcome for the new word! Circumlocution is actually a speech therapy strategy we teach patients who are struggling with word retrieval, so maybe it's a good strategy for those of us who don't want to retrieve words :)

  4. Yeah it uses for example:

    I can't find those cotton tube like cloth things used to keep my feet warm.


    I can't find my socks.

    A way of communicating what you want to say without using a word you don't wish to use.

    I will look more into it as it applies to therapy when I get home from school.