Therapy Archive

EMDR

Posted June 10, 2021 By kmarrs

Despite the trauma train that has been the last 6 months kicking up some dust, I’m actually fairly stable. So in this spirit, I’m working on processing the trauma I’ve been through in the past 37 years. There are all sorts of things, big and little, and I’m ready to deal with it all.

DBT is great for helping to survive the day to day. But I’m doing that fairly well. Even when I was dying, I made it through each day intact. DBT isn’t set up to deal with the past.

There is a form of therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing it’s perfectly set up to help process past traumas and desensitize people with PTSD. It is a little tricky to explain, but it’s basically puts the patient almost into a trance. I’m going to provide some links to web pages and books that can explain this much better than I can below.

I will say that it is helpful. I’ve only just begun the process and I have a long ways to go, but I finally feel hope that I can let go of the past and come out the other end happier and less angry. PTSD makes me angry and I don’t like that about myself. But I can fix it. And EMDR is the key.

https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/
https://youtu.be/Pkfln-ZtWeY

Bannit, S.P. (2012). The trauma toolkit: Healing trauma from the inside out. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books.
Scaer, R. (2005). The trauma spectrum: Hidden wounds and human resiliency. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Van Der Kolk, B. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York: Viking.
Parnell, L. (2008). Tapping in: A step-by-step guide to activating your healing resources through bilateral stimulation. Boulder, CO: Sounds True Books.
Shapiro, F., & Forrest, M. (1997). EMDR: The breakthrough “eye movement” therapy for overcoming stress, anxiety, and trauma. New York: Basic Books.
Shapiro, F. (2013). Getting past your past: Take control of your life with self-help techniques from EMDR therapy. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books.

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The Spectrum

Posted July 29, 2019 By kmarrs

Nothing is official. I refuse to be officially tested because I don’t want this on my permanent record. Unless and until a time comes that I need it there.

I had my suspicion that I’m autistic validated. Sort of. My therapist and I had a long conversation about it. We compared my symptoms with other issues like ADHD (which I have and they share symptoms, but they are also comorbid frequently), my history of trauma, and my attachment issues.

The general consensus is that if I went and got tested for autism, I would probably walk away with that diagnosis. However, it could also be because of the ADHD combined with the attachment issues, combined with my general mental health. So it’s hard to tell.

That said, I relate to heavily to the autistic community. When they talk about what it’s like to be autistic, I share the symptoms and experiences. To quote the meme: Big Mood.

I would be diagnosed autistic if I went for testing, though they wouldn’t be looking at my history of trauma.

So for now, I’m calling myself autistic. For simplicity’s sake. Because the symptoms are there. Because I fit the mold.

So yes, I’m autistic. It’s not just ADHD.

(The ADHD is, btw, confirmed and on the record.)

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Self Worth

Posted June 17, 2019 By kmarrs

For so long now, my self worth has directly tied into my grades. I have an amazing GPA, I’m graduating Summa Cum Laude, this is what my value as a person is based on, in my eyes.

My therapist is working to convince me that this is not the best thing to measure my worth on.

She also went as far as to suggest that in grad school, I won’t continue to be a straight-A student; which I immediately took as a challenge. I will defy that or die trying.

Then when I shared that sentiment with my friends and family on Facebook, someone else pointed out that it’s not worth the die trying sentiment because literally, no one is going to care about my grades after I graduate.

So really, aside from being useful towards getting into grad school, grades don’t matter.

So then maybe this is why I shouldn’t base my self worth on them.

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Keeping a Finger on the Problem

Posted May 27, 2019 By kmarrs

I have a new app recommended to me by my therapist called HeartRate+ Pro that I’m supposed to use for 5 minutes, 3 times a day (or 15 minutes once a day) to learn how to better control my heart rate.

The idea of the app is that the camera flash tracks your pulse while you breathe in time to the preset pattern. This breathing pattern is supposed to trigger the ideal heart rate.

So far I’m having limited luck with it. But it’s early yet and I’m not using it religiously like I should.

I need… I need to get better about that.

Because the thing is, if this tool can help lower my heart rate, I can start ADHD meds all the faster!

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Meditation

Posted May 13, 2019 By kmarrs

In the past, meditation has actually given me increased anxiety. This was because I was of the impression that the goal was to clear my mind completely. Which… is impossible. You can not clear the mind that has ADHD. I’m not even convinced you can clear the neurotypical mind.

Then somewhere along the way, recently, I learned the goal isn’t to clear the mind. You’re going to have thoughts. The trick is to acknowledge them then let them pass you by. Move them aside. And go back to focusing on your breathing until the next thought.

So, with therapist instructions that I’m supposed to meditate for 5 minutes a day, I attempted this. She wants me to spend those 5 minutes focusing on what I’m feeling. So I began the journey of daily meditation.

But it still made me nervous. Was I doing it right?

It took me a couple of days, but I finally downloaded a guided meditation app. The one I have has a beginner’s class that teaches you how to meditate mid practice. It’s not exactly what my therapist had in mind, as she’s since confirmed, but it’s a start. And I can spend an additional 5 minutes focusing on what Ruby wants me to focus on.

So, I guess I meditate now. I do it right before bed as part of my relaxation routine.

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Stress

Posted April 15, 2019 By kmarrs

It has come to my therapist’s attention that I self create most of my stress and that I need to be taught how to not do that.

It’s on the list of things to work on.

The list is, uh growing.

Anyway, as I mentioned previously, my resting pulse is like stupidly high. So if I can get my stress under control, I can hopefully get my pulse under control.

Also. While we’re on the subject of my therapist…

I really like her still. She calls me on my bullshit without hesitation, but in a caring manor. And then once she calls me on it, she makes it clear she’s happy to do the work to help me do the work towards correcting my bullshit. It’s really great!

She also isn’t afraid to challenge my psychiatrist of 12 years. Which really takes me out of my comfort zone. But it isn’t that she thinks anything bad of my med doc. She in fact understands how wonderful she is. Ruby, my therapist, just sometimes has a better view of the big picture because I’m with her for an hour every week and that’s a lot of time dedicated to figuring out my needs.

When I found out from my meds doc that I couldn’t be on anxiety meds and ADHD meds at the same time, my meds doc and I both agreed that the anxiety meds were probably more important.

It was Ruby who went “well actually” and helped frame the consideration that my ADHD is the root cause of a lot of my anxiety and that treating the ADHD would help with both.

So anyway, therapy is great. I really like my therapist. She isn’t afraid to call things as she sees it, but just it in the most supportive manner. It’s really, really great!

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