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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Counseling 2--Second Session

I have a unique memory. Sometimes things are etched deeply and replay repeatedly in sight and sound. Other times I can consciously choose to forget things, especially if they are stressful to remember. I don't remember a time when my memory was not consciously selective. If I choose to, I can remember things indefinitely, especially if the memory is verbal/visual (i.e., I read it) or musical/aural (i.e., connected to music in some way, and I heard it). This could stem from training. I memorized lots of scripts when I was involved with theater--and anyone who's done that knows you don't just memorize your own lines, you memorize everyone else's, as well--at least that was my experience. And all my recitals had to be memorized, which usually entailed about seventy-five pages of music for each hour of performance. Because these had to be memorized detail by detail, it's difficult to forget them, especially when they've been reinforced with the physical act of performance. Regardless, I have difficulty forgetting things unless I consciously choose to disregard facts, experiences, sights, sounds, tastes...Sometimes the space in my head feels a little crowded.

When I discussed things with my counselor this time, he mentioned that my thought processing of any experience is non-emotional. Basically, the mind tries to make sense of any experience that occurs in life. There are times when people will link an experience to the emotions it triggers (a death, for instance, is a typical emotional experiential link). Sometimes people link an experience to the senses it pertains to (trying a new food, smelling an odor, having sex). Other times people link new experiences to prior experiences and try to process them in a logical sequence or argument line. Most people use all those resources at different times when categorizing and processing life experiences.

However, it seems that I'm retarded, because when my brain says, "Hey!! Feel those feelings--aren't they grand/sad/beautiful/happy/angry...", my response is, "NO WAY!! I have to understand the situation first, then I'll allow myself to feel something about it." Basically, if I have a spontaneous response to any situation, it would be to laugh, which allows me an outlet of feeling, without having to acknowledge exactly what that feeling is. Many people have moments when this happens in their lives, because feelings are scary and can be stressful. Unfortunately, for me, I don't have moments--this is normal for me.

Moving forward, when my brain says, "Stay in the moment--savor the taste--connect with that scent--feel the sensations...", my response is, "No WAY!! That would be a vulnerable act. I would be unprotected. Someone might take advantage of me." The more twisted response is, "NO WAY!! I felt some of those sensations in my past, and it was scary and horrifying and left me feeling terribly sad. I don't want to feel that again."

So my way to work through every experience is to let my mind make logical connections and create scenarios that make sense to me. Then, if there is an emotion to be felt or a sensation to connect with the situation, I'll add that in. Basically, no spontenaeity. Which is not to say I'm not spontaneous. Anyone who's chatted with me would probably concur--I think...

The point of all this is that my previous counselor had me do some exercises that were deeply explorative of my emotions--something I had never done before. Because it is my nature to flinch from such things, my current counselor feels that those exercises were probably highly upsetting--but since I don't acknowledge such feelings, I didn't express that to my former counselor, and we continued with exercises which, although helpful in many ways, were also a bit detrimental in breaking down my ability to deal with emotions and sensations in a rational way. Hence, my weird relationship with friend David, my problems with weeping after having sex with my husband, my strange attachment to my need to rid myself of my body.

The process he has recommended is highly rational. I can analyze to my heart's content. If I feel an irrational (my assessment, not his) feeling (i.e., hatred toward my body, sadness after sex), I am allowed to approach those feelings from an entirely analytical standpoint, and, if I choose to do so, I'm allowed to forget any negative memories attached to them. I don't have to confront my cousin, or even report him to DFS, as my former counselor suggested. I don't even have to acknowledge his existence. I haven't seen him for fifteen years. I don't have to see him again, and if I happen to run into him, I don't have to talk to him.

Amazingly, this new approach also gives me the freedom to choose to explore any feelings I would like to. New counselor says he has several suggestible options for exploration. His sole focus seems to be to get me back to a place where I can eat, enjoy eating, and stop connecting that physical sensation with horrifying past experiences. I listened to his proposals with interest. He asked if I'd like to try any of them right away. I said no. He wasn't surprised. He said, "You think about this. I'll see you in a couple of days. Then we'll discuss which of the options you'd like to try first."

So he's allowing me space to think. He's allowing me to decide on my own without pressuring me. He's not threatening me with medication or institutionalization. He says this method is unconventional--then he said I'm a little unconventional. He said most women love the emotional exploration, the sensation connections. Just one more piece of evidence that I'm not "most women". But my life experiences don't mirror a typical former abuse victim's experiences, nor do my SSA experiences mirror a typical woman's pattern (although I disagree that there is such a thing as "typical". Just me on my soapbox, saying each individual is unique, as are their defining experiences). So perhaps this approach will help me.

I'm hopeful--and a little desperate at this point.


  • At Thursday, August 31, 2006 10:23:00 AM, Blogger AttemptingthePath said…

    "my first response would be to laugh"

    "his face was just a little off center..."

    I was thinking about that story on my way home from work a few days ago and I just started laughing, then afterwards I felt a twinge of guilt about laughing at such a thing

  • At Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:55:00 AM, Blogger Samantha said…

    I know, ATP, I never should have told you. Forgive me for warping your natural empthetic sensibility.

    But I have to add--Some things are just FUNNY!!

  • At Monday, September 04, 2006 2:00:00 PM, Blogger einy said…

    Just wanted to say I've read through a lot of your blog. In a strange way, it helps, as I'm dealing with ssa or anxiety about it, myself. I may or may not comment on your posts, but I'll keep reading. Thanks for sharing...

    Einy (another male, I'm afraid)


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