A simple life lesson is, the stove is on and it can burn my hand if I touch it. I don’t have to test it because I can feel the heat.
Today in therapy my anxiety was not as bad as the last two times. Even sitting in the waiting room sipping my Dunkin Donuts ice coffee, I was fairly calm. I always stress a little bit before therapy. I never know what we will discuss until it happens. Stressing ahead of time does not serve me well. I am learning to actually use a lot of the skills that I have been taught over the years to cope with emotions and traumatic memories. I know that at anytime we could hit a trigger. It scares me every time it happens. But I won’t run away from it. I have been doing that all my life and it never helps. It only sets me back more. My therapist said I was brave today.
I talked about a current situation that scared me and through the EMDR session I made a connection to the past. My son-in-law, “I love him to death” but he scares me sometimes with is strong and powerful voice. While on vacation with them, my son-in-law yelled at my daughter to make his point. It set up in me the fight or flight reaction. We talked in therapy about some of what happened to me when my son-in-law and daughter were fighting. Its not what they were saying that scared me. They both had valid points to what they were saying to each other. But it was not words but anger that caused that fight or flight fear from the past. Perhaps I react that way to loud voices and angry voices because when I was still very little I was afraid of my father and his fits. When his voice would get loud and he started throwing things us kids ran to hide. That’s my past connection to how I react today when I hear anger or shouting or even just loud noises. I get startled easy. Now I know more about why I do that.
I learned two important things from my session today. One, I made that connection from the present to the past. I am starting to understand EMDR better than I ever have and have even more confidence that this kind of therapy will work for me. Number two, I learned that I could tolerate feeling difficult emotions and anxiety and still sit there and work on it. I guess I was kinda proud of myself today.