Monday, February 3, 2014

If I let you in...

I recently got an email from one of my sisters checking in with me.  She noticed that I haven't blogged in a while .  In addition to not blogging, I just haven't had the motivation/gumption/intrinsic push to run.  This means my blog is empty, empty, empty.  My sister's email came right as I was waking up from the fog that has consumed me for the last 3 weeks which was perfect timing to jump start this blog.

The phrase, "If I let you in", is pretty fucking significant in my world and I will let you know why.  Currently in my therapy, I am using a type of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) technique to tackle traumatic images/events in my life.  Instead of following my therapist's fingers back and forth across my eyes, I hold a small egg in each hand which vibrate in sequence (left, right, left, right).  This bilateral stimulation works the same way as the fingers but they just haven't renamed it yet (maybe they have but I don't know about it).  I am not going to go into the details of how EMDR works here but it is a quite fascinating and effective technique to deal with trauma.

EMDR equipment
My trauma is not like the extreme trauma that someone experiences in abuse.  It is not the kind of trauma that comes from violent event or extremely disturbing situation either.  Those types of events are not in my life and I am VERY thankful of that.  We are using EMDR to tackle the repeating loop of my negative self thoughts and help me turn towards positive thoughts instead.  In my therapy, I choose a negative memory that I can visualize (some of my memories are so embedded in my brain that I can see them with my eyes open) and then begin to focus on that image as the bilateral stimulation begins in my hands.  I let my mind go wherever it takes me always focusing on the image as it changes from one thing to another.  I have just begun this therapy but I have had some interesting results.  Today's blog is a play-by-play of my last EMDR session.

I started with an image from when I was in ninth grade.  This image is very negative to me but I am going to keep it to myself.  You would probably find it trivial but that is not the point.  It was negative to me and has shaped my negative self-loathing mindset.  You just don't need to know what the image was for this blog anyway - just that there is something from when I was in the ninth grade that I can still see/hear like it happened this morning.

As soon as I had the image in my mind, I got instantly nauseous.  My entire abdomen felt sick.  It felt like the moment you realize you drank too much and there is NOTHING you can do to stop regurgitating your night's worth of food and drink in the next five minutes.  I focused on this feeling and in particular I focused on NOT throwing up.  This just shows how powerful and negative the image I was using for this session is to me.

As I was focusing on not vomiting in my therapist's office, a new image appeared that I followed.  It was the image of the Great Wall of China.  This was my barrier to keep my vomit in - my Great Wall of Cameron  Even in my image, a giant sea of my shit/sewage/mental crap began to appear on the inside of the wall.  This was a sea of black sludge being held in by the Great Wall of Cameron.  Yep!  This image describes my everyday life.  What happened next even surprised my therapist - I defended my wall.

As I was watching the wall and sea of black shit/sludge, someone approached my wall from the outside.  I could not see who this person was but I did see a small man appear on the wall.  This man immediately began shooting arrows at the approaching person even with them being way out-of-range.  The person kept approaching my wall until they started noticing the constant stream of arrows coming towards them.  This made them stop and wait.  Eventually this person got bored of waiting for the arrows to stop and just left.  This is when I noticed that the small man on the wall shooting arrows at the person approaching was me.  I was defending my wall.

Please understand that the events/images I am describing weren't a story line that developed in my head.  They are images that appeared as I focused on the previous image.  I did not control them nor could I have controlled them even if I wanted to.  The next image is a clear example of this.

After the person got bored and left me alone on my wall, I wanted to explore.  My mind wanted to walk up or down the Great Wall of Cameron containing the black sludge of my life.  No matter how hard I tried to move, I was FROZEN in one spot.  I could look forward or backward but I could not move along the wall.  I was there protecting the wall and I could not leave my post.

I then began to grow.  Weird I know but I watched myself grow.  I grew to the point where I began to slowly topple the wall outward.  This allowed the black sludge to climb up the wall.  This black sludge quickly turned into a Venom-like creature.  For those of you who know anything about Spiderman, Venom is a villain that came from outer space but has to develop a symbiotic relationship with a human to thrive.  It first bonded with Peter Parker (Spiderman) but after Peter rejected the creature, it bonded with another man who was extremely jealous of Peter.  This dislike of Peter created a violent and powerful foe for Spiderman.  In my EMDR session, I now had Venom made out of shit creeping up my wall as my giant self toppled it forward.

Venom and Spiderman
As soon as I noticed the black sludge-Venom working its way up to me and my wall was falling, I shrank back down to the proportionate size I was before.  It was too late - the black sludge had wrapped itself around my legs and pulled me into it and the black sludge filled sea.  As if it had never toppled, the wall holding the sludge in was upright and strong again.

The sludge ocean then receded like the tide, taking me away from my wall deeper into myself.  It stopped pulling me after we passed a line of GIANT sand dunes.  There were now two more barriers to the outside just in case someone breached my Great Wall - a giant barren ocean bottom and a wall of giant sand dunes.   Across the barren plain, I could hardly see the Great Wall of Cameron but I knew it was there.  The sand dunes were tall and steep.  I can only guess that this final barrier was made of sand because of how hard and slow it is to cross a giant pile of sand.  For every step up and forward, you slip back a half step and fill your shoes with sand.  If you want to keep people out or discourage someone from finding you, hiding behind a barren expanse and giant sand dunes is a great choice.

The great barren expanse
After this last image of the sand dune barrier, the new images went away from barriers and towards dealing with my shit (black sludge) and where it was.  This part of my EMDR session isn't relevant to this blog so I am going to stop here.

Okay - here is a summary of the session:

  1. First image
  2. Vomit
  3. Great Wall of China
  4. Black sludge ocean
  5. Defending my wall
  6. Growing and wall collapsing forward
  7. Sludge almost escaping
  8. Shrink back down and sludge grabbing me
  9. Sludge ocean receding with me
  10. Expansive barren plain
  11. Giant sand dune barrier
This brings me to the title of my blog - "If I let you in".

After seeing how much I go through to hide the shit that floats around inside of me, I am surprised I ever let anyone near me.  Actually I am not surprised.  I doubt anyone really knows who I am even those closest to me.  Even if you can convince me to stop shooting at you, you will have to find a way over the Great Wall of Cameron.  Even if you can get to the top of my wall, you have to travel across a barren ocean bottom without any clues on which way I went after the ocean of shit recedes with me in it.  If you choose to wander across the barren of my insides, you will come to a row of giant sand dunes.  I doubt many people would attempt to climb them just to find me.  Most people will get the hint by then and leave.  Other people will just get angry and take it out on me.  It takes work to find me even if I let you in.

Dune barrier
So if I ever "let you in", just know that I have given you access to the inner me.  You have had to wait out my defense of arrows, climb the Great Wall of Cameron, cross the barren plains of my insides, and then climb the tall barrier of dunes.  I have given you access to something that I try very hard to hide.

So what happens if I let you in?  I don't really know.  That shit just doesn't happen - I have too many barriers and I just don't let people in willy-nilly.  I have huge "what if" fears if I left you in.  For example:

  • I let you in - you will shut me out.
  • I give you access - you will close your door.
  • I share my life - you will use it against me.
  • I give you gifts - you throw them out.
  • I ask for something - you give me nothing.
  • I want more - you will hold back.
  • I succeed - you will expect more.
  • I show you the true me - you won't like me anymore.
  • I let you in - you will abandon me.
It is the last two bullets that scare the shit out of me.  I don't like myself so how could anyone else like me?  If I do let someone inside, they will see me for who I really am - a failure.  If I let you in - you will abandon me.

EMDR has shown me my barriers.  It is up to me to break them down.  It is up to me to clear away the sludge.  It is up to me to "let you in".  I have a LOT of shit to deal with.  Patience is what I need from you.  Not anger from reading this.  Not anger from learning about how I keep you out.  Not anger from from my silence.  I have always been scared of anyone discovering my true feelings for myself so I hide them deep.  I hide them under the excuses I bulleted above and the Great Wall, barren flats, and giant sand dunes.  I hide my feelings from everyone.  

However, there are ways I have been letting you in already.  I have let you in with my photos (unfortunately none of the photos in this blog are mine).  I have let you in with my words.  I have let you in with my blog.  I have let you in farther than anyone else.  You are reading about things I have only ever discussed with my therapist.  You are getting a glimpse of the black sludge/shit inside me.

Be happy as I am happy.  I am looking forward (not backwards) for the first time ever.  Be happy because I am finding happiness.

If I let you in - feel blessed.  If I ask you to come in - well, only you will know what that feels like.

1 comment:

  1. Really? Because I let you into my fragile world and you emotionally junk punched me. I'm suppose to be happy about that? Lines, boxes, shadows, and now black sludge. I'm suppose to feel blessed by being treated that way? Just wow. Where's the truth? I'm just not the type of person that builds my happiness on hurting someone else.