Client Journal: Tasting the Wound

Tonight I shared my story. I spoke about what happened with my grandmother, and my cousin as well. I also spoke about what was going on in my family, how emotionally abusive my father is, how I felt and feel abandoned and rejected by my mother. I spoke about how hard it is for me to trust and connect with people and myself, to stay in my body, to be open and vulnerable, and my fear of letting people know the real me. I spoke about my cutting and eating disorders and how that it (in my opinion) led to me getting epilepsy. While I was talking, my body felt triggered. I was feeling anxious and scared. I was crying, I felt dizzy, my fingers went a little numb. My tongue felt numb and I got a metallic taste in my mouth. After I shared my story, the facilitator asked everyone what they connected with.

One woman identified with the counting. To cope with her abuse, she started counting how many steps she took and how many words she wrote down. Another woman said that what was strong for her was when I spoke about one of my seizure episodes. (I was about 16 or 17 and I was trying to ask for help. I was thinking, “I need help!”, but what came out instead was, “I’m going fishing with my sister!”) She said she connected because she understood the feeling of thinking and feeling one thing, but saying something completely opposite.

What surprised me where the physical sensations. It was the first time I felt dizzy and got that taste in mouth. When I finished speaking, I asked for a hug. I needed some comforting and something to bring me into myself. Everyone gave me a hug and I felt warm and safe. I told them that and thanked them. Right now I feel physically tired, like I ran 4 miles. Emotionally, I feel very full. And that fullness has me feeling warm and safe.

Yesterday at group we spoke about how we received the first woman’s story and what it brought up for us. I spoke about how since she was talking about her father, I started thinking about my own father and how scared I am of him. I’m scared of his rage. How I feel extremely sad and hurt because we do not have a relationship. I spoke about how I project that onto men, how it is hard for me to relax and be myself because I am scared that I will end up with a man who is like him.

One of the other women then started to talk about how she minimizes what happened to her; her mom is a victim of sexual abuse and constantly reminds her that her abuse was “nothing” compared to what she went through. As this particular woman spoke about her relationship with her mom, I resonated with what she was saying in the sense that this woman bases her identity and emotion on what her mom thinks, feels, and acts. Everything in my body tightened. I felt anxious sad and scared. I had to get this feeling out of my body! I took a deep breath, and told this woman in the way I could relate to what she was saying. How I spent a large portion of my life trying to be my mom, part 2, and how I am in the process of untangling myself from her so I can find my own identity. My own self.

When I started talking about it, my body released and I didn’t feel as anxious. The facilitator noticed this, and asked the other women what happens to them and their bodies when they are triggered. She spoke about how it’s is a normal reaction to trauma, but stressed the importance of expressing and releasing.

I never thought I would say this, but it is getting easier to express, and a little easier to identify the gripping that happens in my body when I am triggered.

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