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Monday, June 24, 2013

Today I am breathing again...and completely, horribly embarrassed. The aftermath of a simple mammogram was much greater than I had anticipated. Yesterday I was a mess. If I called or sent emails, please pretend I did not. Fortunately, none of the people I contacted was able to answer so I don't have to apologize for panicking or crying in their presence. And while processing the emotions by myself was unpleasant, it won't kill me and I've done it before. In fact, I used to be very good at that alone thing. I've become soft.

This is one area where Therapist and I vehemently disagree. He says it's not good for me to be alone when I work through emotions linked to being raped. He tells me it increases my belief that there is no one who will be present in my life and help me when I need it. I believe relying on others when the pain belongs only to me, is weak and wrong. And I know I'll get through whatever presents itself, however messy it might become. Therapist will tell me I should have called him. I'll remind him it was Sunday and he would not have answered anyway. He'll say that I've been working on not being alone when I'm vulnerable, that I'm working on trusting the people in my life, that this was a small step backward. I'll remind him it was Sunday. People rest on Sunday. And besides, I did try. No one was home. And I was okay.

So today the spontaneous crying has eased. It's still hanging around, but it's not as frequent. I'm still a little nauseated because of the intense panic I felt yesterday, and I always feel nauseated after panic attacks, but the panic has yielded to anxiety which means I'll feel at odds with life today, but not immobile. And I don't feel lonely or in pain, emotionally. A numbness has taken their place which will allow me to rest and catch my breath and think logically until this whole "thing" is over.

I'm hung up on the flashbacks. Part of me is insisting they never happened because I want desperately to reach my 3-year mark, free of flashbacks. I don't know why that seems so incredibly important. I've always known that, given the proper circumstances, I might have flashbacks again. I think I felt really powerful when they left--like I did something to make them go away because I'm that amazing. I don't like admitting it was probably a random fluke and my luck just ran out.

The flashbacks were tiny.

There. I just admitted they exist.

But they were tiny and they happened while I was driving and I didn't wreck, so that's a good thing. And I had some control, which hasn't happened before. I remember slipping into the past event and my brain saying, "No. I'm not going to do this." Again and again this scenario repeated itself--I don't know how many times. But I was on a mile-long stretch of road, and the flashbacks stopped trying before I reached the end of it, so the process took place fairly rapidly.

I feel incredibly disappointed, which is probably silly. I had a lapse. That's all. And it was tiny. And I recovered. Still, the disappointment and sadness persist. I feel I've failed somehow.

I think will take an inventory of the small improvements that have come with today:
1. I feel I can leave my house. That was not true yesterday--and I stayed inside the entire day, which is very odd for me.
2. I have energy to work and do the projects I had planned for today.
3. While I don't feel up to talking with anyone, I think that will happen by mid-July. Although I have to be at a social function this weekend, so I'll put on my happy face and be pleasant while I'm there.
4. While I still feel a huge need to protect myself, I don't plan to cancel my physical this week. It's important.
5. I don't feel like smiling, but I think I will today. And maybe I'll laugh. Those things are important, too.
6. I'm reminding myself that this isn't forever. In a week or two I'll feel less sad, and while I might still feel lonely, it will be something with which I can cope.
7. In these times, it's difficult to feel love or to believe I am lovable. Therapist says I must always remember I am loved. Today I can't do that, but I think tomorrow I'll work on that.

And I have to keep reminding myself that this small setback came with a tiny triumph. I'm taking care of my health--I'm taking care of me. I'm doing the things I need to so I can stay well, physically. And I  wasn't able to do that for many years. So in the end, no matter how bad I feel, I think I win.


  1. You are awesome for going and getting a mammogram. I hope your physical isn't too stressful. And you are always welcome to call me. I am frequently terrible at knowing where my phone is, but voice messages go to my email, and I always call back.

  2. Sounds like you dealt with the (tiny) flashback very well and surely that's an improvement. AND it was tiny. That too is an improvement. I agree with your therapist, though. It's good to have someone to be with at least in some form when you're working through such intense emotions. Hugs!

  3. Thanks, you two. I appreciate you!