Tag Archives: Blogging 101

A Daunting Prospect

guiltyI was only just writing in my last post about the significant improvement in mood and then I woke two days later, with a severe dose of the blues.

While I’m struggling to understand the therapeutic process – or fully believe in the healing – positive changes are undoubtedly underway. The sudden turnaround in mood wasn’t immediately obvious until I reread my therapy journal from the night before. The words were bold and clear, adorned with question marks, “My attempted murder.”

When Wednesday came along, I really didn’t want to go to my session with Paul. I wasn’t consciously avoiding any connection with the memories of my attack, but I did feel suffocating apathy. I know from experience that something very powerful takes place whenever we choose to a sit with the feelings in therapy, even if they are only resentments for being there.

Paul sensed my unease, “It looks as though you’re finding it difficult to be here today.”

This took me by surprise. He’s one of the most passive Therapists I’ve ever met and not usually forthright with his own observations. We talked for a while about trivialities and then I eventually told him about my journal entry and the change of mood.

“It’s the only issue I haven’t yet focussed on in therapy, but I don’t know how to even begin talking about such a traumatic event. I can easily run through the details, but they always feel more like describing a movie, completely absent of any personal connection. I’ve never even thought about the impact it had on my life, never mind the feelings.”

“This reminds me of the issue you had during the initial months of therapy when you were experiencing dissociation from feeling anything in the moment.”

“I know this is a form of dissociation but awareness does not seem to help, it only adds to the frustration. Whenever I go in search of the feelings, there is only an empty space… nothing. If there are no emotions, what is there to talk about?”

“Do you feel anything right now?”

With great relief, I noticed the clock was approaching the end of our time, “The only thing I feel right now is intense fear, as though a black hole is opening at my feet… and I am slowly backtracking.”

Two days later, it was time for the weekly group therapy and once again, I desperately didn’t want to go. I can see how this was purely avoidance, but my mind was playing tricks at the time. I scrambled to find every possible reason not to go, even sabotaging the journey to keep me late.

I shared with the group how confusing it felt not to be able to talk about the feelings. One of the other members said something so simple that I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it myself.

“Sometimes it’s easier to identify the feelings, but quite another to feel them.”

That statement’s so true. I can identify the terror and helplessness, the fear and anger, the violation and intense hurt, or I can tell you about how it was the final straw to a lifetime of violence and injustice. The missing ingredient, crucial to healing, is the ability to feel any one of those emotions.

At the start of therapy, I had this general plan of the things I needed to talk about and, morebottling importantly, the emotions I should feel. I couldn’t bear to think about certain childhood memories and the thought of willingly analysing them in therapy was a daunting prospect, but I knew exactly what to expect.

The experience of almost losing my life to a psychotic murderer feels entirely different. Even though I lived with the aftermath all these years, the depth of emotion is completely new territory and any thought of digging up the trauma is terrifying. But, I will be disappointed if I reach the end of this therapy programme in January without a reasonable attempt to connect with the feelings.

How did you decide on your blog title?

Today’s assignment for the blogging 101 course is to “take control of your title andcropped-seal_v2-04 tagline.” A tagline is a few words that appear underneath the title of your blog.

When I set up this blog almost two years ago, I didn’t go trawling through blog-land first. Like most other things in life, I jumped in with two feet and the entire process, including the title, was born after a surprisingly easy two-hour labour.

My About page at that time was titled, “A Tale too Tragic to Tell” and this became my tagline. My initial concern was that my life story might sound too tragic. When I found other mental health blogs, I quickly realised there are many who have been through a lot worse than I ever experienced. Of course, we cannot grade people’s experiences, definitely not. What may be a relatively frightening experience to one person could transpire as life changing for someone else.

Writing and interacting with other bloggers prepared the way for my own therapy. It was only through reading other people’s journey and sensing their courage, that I was able to find my own.

Now, almost two-years on, I am in therapy and sharing my journey. Not only does writing help to process what can be very difficult sessions, but I hope it reaches out to others and imparts some of the knowledge and maybe even a little of the courage that I found on other blogs.

I love my title; in just four simple words, it says everything about my blog, but I have added a tagline, “A journey through Therapy.” It’s nothing fancy and probably doesn’t grab attention with sparkling lights, but I do hope it encapsulates the consistent theme that runs through my posts.

How did you choose your blog title?

Blogging 101 course

cropped-seal_v2-04I decided to enrol for the WordPress blogging 101 course. There are daily assignments for 4 weeks and I must admit to feeling anxious about keeping up with my classmates. I’m happy if I write 2-3 times per week, so a daily post will be a challenge. The first assignment is to write an introduction and include tags, which is the first thing I wanted to learn… huh, simple, it only took 2mins to learn.

I usually write about my personal experience of depression and other mental health problems. In recent months, the focus has been on my journey through Psychotherapy. Blogging publicly can be an incredibly fulfilling experience, we are not a lone voice within the confines of a private journal, but a part of a wonderful online community.

There is something hugely satisfying when someone relates to a post I’ve written and the support I have from fellow bloggers is far beyond anything I ever imagined. Of course, blogging is not all about my own blog and the people who come here to visit, I spend an equal amount of time interacting on other blogs, and this is an important part of my overall blogging experience.

The topics I intend writing about in the near future will focus on different aspects of mental illness and my experiences with the therapy programme. I also do a weekly ‘Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers’ challenge.

I write about how I experience mental illness rather than researched based material, although this is not a rigid rule. I blog anonymously because I tend to post very descriptive experiences about mental illness and sexual abuse. The anonymity is mainly to protect other people’s identity, rather than my own.

If I continue to blog successfully throughout the next year, I would like to be posting more regularly, have a better understanding of all the technical advantages on WordPress, and maybe even increase the readership.