I just got back from my EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing), but I’m still experiencing a lot of pretty intense generalized anxiety. Because I’ve spent so much of my life trying to suppress it, distract myself from it or numb it out, I never realized the it’s depth or intensity. This is the reason I took off yesterday. Today, it’s still pretty bad, but I didn’t have any nightmares last night.
In todays therapy I learned that not only is there an Amygdala / Limbic system response to toxic stress and PTSD, but there’s an even deeper brain stem response as well and that this lower level of functioning goes way back to the most primitive structure of our minds. I’ve lived with experiences which have accentuated and nurtured both of these lower levels of functioning while my higher cortical functions have been left starving, deformed and largely ignored. Of course the “higher functions” still work, but they have grown to take direction from the more primitive parts of my mind. This is actually the reverse of what is supposed to happen. The most advanced part of my brain is supposed to be the final arbiter after receiving information from the others.
It’s difficult to set this situation right and promote a more healthy, human, way of thinking, feeling, acting and being. My fear response has been constantly activated for such a long time that I now experience it even when there is no danger. Everything I experience or think about seems to automatically trigger that response. Even at night, as I lay in bed with no stimulation at all, the invocation of fear is still at work. It takes a great deal of effort to be aware of it and attempt to pro-actively dissipate it. Some days are easier than others. Some days I’m not able to do it at all. But this is the work which must be done. I have to be careful I don’t push myself too far, too fast, but if I’m ever going to find any sense of relief and peace, I need to travel through the emotional pain as best as I can.
I have no idea why I’ve been abused or why there has been so little empathy or assistance. The world is what people make it out to be and I have a sincere desire to contribute in a meaningful way. For me, there is no good answer. All I know is that I’m doing the best that I can and this hurts like hell. Why do bad things happen to good people? Where is a Deity in the face of all this? I find Quakerism, Taoism and Buddhism to be much more helpful than the Judeo-Christian God. I’m not here to preach and have no interest in being preached to. I just don’t see the point in all this pain.
I will go on with my day. I will strive to heal as best as I can and contribute what I’m able to. I don’t allow myself to dwell on how long the healing process will take, as I will still be wounded and in pain at the end of my life. Sometimes the journey is wearying and I feel alone in the maze, hearing the roar of the Minotaur in the distant corridors as it hunts for me. There are many days when I just want to find some darkened corridor and rest, but this inaction is my “freeze” part of my reactive fear. I must lift that heavy sword and seek for that beast as it’s searching for me. I know we will have many more confrontations, but, for whatever reason, this is my appointed task.
I raise my weapon in solute to you, my friends…now I go off into the darkness to once again find and fight the beast.