We focused on my trauma timeline.... again.
Wait, wait. I can't underestimate how much this sucks even when you're just giving the summary of a timeline that essentially shaped you as a human being.
Well, the things that were traumatic enough to shape you.
The first question is what truly qualifies? Is a bad memory automatically traumatic? How do I separate the majorly impactful from the events that seem minor in comparison?
That, my friends, I cannot answer. The most significant of my traumas, the ones that are glaringly obvious in my head, happened within the last 10 years... or so I thought. I say this not because I was forced to uncover trauma, but because the more recent events were SO traumatic they overshadowed my years as a little one.
Specifically I am referencing my Dad's suicide. After listing out my traumas, I had to rate them from a scale of 1-10. This experience was the only thing that I could say unequivocally, without a doubt, was a 10. The rest, a whole 31 years of trauma, averaged a 5. The only event that even comes close is Coronavirus and I am STILL trying to process all of this crap.
Towards the tail end of the session my therapist explained that we would we begin with the very first memory clusters that I could recall, even though they may not have been rated "the most traumatic." That is because your earliest experiences could have and probably did shape how you reacted to the subsequent traumas.
For the record, and I am a little late on clarifying this, but I truly believe the only thing that pushed me into a diagnosis of PTSD was my Dad's death and my sexual assault, which I know I have opened up about in the past. Regardless, there are other events that I KNOW I need to process in order to truly begin a path to healing.
Back on track though because I am trying to find a balance between making this applicable to EVERYBODY and being open about my story.
As I had mentioned, next week starts the real EMDR therapy. I know I have said this before but I am going to reiterate- I am intimidated. Insanely intimidated. That is because there has been so many cautions about how I may react as I am processing trauma. It's not so much that I am intimidated about the events that occurred prior to my Dad's death (actually, that's a lie), but what intimidates me the most is having to re-experience (grammatically accurate) his death.
To say that it was and still is a dark moment is drastically underestimating what this has done to me.
As always, I will try to keep you posted even on the worst of sessions. And more importantly, I'll be honest.
With that, I feel it is necessary to leave this note. If you or somebody you know is struggling and considering ending your own life, please reach out. To me, to your community, to your family, to your friends, to a helpline. Please. As a survivor I hope this provides even the slightest glimpse into the aftermath of suicide. Especially to the ones you love or care about or have been part of in your life...
And for those who need this:
National Suicide Prevention Help Line: 800-273-8255
(For Veterans) Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255 (PRESS 1)