Pandora’s Box

On Monday I had an appointment with a counselor at school, with the vague plan of helping me work through some of the Bad Stuff that I deliberately don’t think about most of the time.  The plan was to use Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), which is similar to EMDR.  Apparently ART is very successful in helping treat those with PTSD, such as returning veterans.

We ran into a problem when I couldn’t pick just one topic to work on.  The counselor who was describing the process remarked that, because we essentially had only the one appointment together, it might be better to not start the process; she didn’t want to crack the lid on a Pandora’s box of an unknown amount of bad things.

And I agree.  With just one session, it’s likely that far more would be uncovered than actually resolved.

So I was thinking on my way home about what she said, how some people deal with their problems by compartmentalizing them.  This is really what I’ve done, but I know that it’s not healthy and I know that I can’t really heal and proceed with my life until I actually deal with the stuff.

My emotional spectrum has always been a little… off.  When Fellowship of the Ring first came out (gods, before my parents divorced), my mom called me heartless because I didn’t cry when Boromir dies.  My response to that is that there wasn’t a lot of emotion in that scene; it was his redemption.  That was a good & honorable death.  By contrast, the scene in Two Towers where the knights of Gondor (led by Faramir) are riding out to face the orcs, and everyone knows that they’re going to their deaths, and the women give them flowers… I’m crying just thinking about that.

I also cry when I’m angry, though it’s probably a combination of anger & frustration.  I think this stems from not being taught acceptable ways to show anger while growing up.

Getting back to my Pandora’s box metaphor, I think I somehow realized that I was most vulnerable through my emotions.  I hated being weak.  It was important to present a strong front, because maybe then people wouldn’t hurt me.  So I started repressing my emotions, and distancing myself from that well of pain.

Oh gods.  Maybe that’s where the psychotic voice came from.  Wishing to turn my inner pain out on the world that hurt me.  That would explain some things!

… So every time something hurtful has happened, I lock it away.  I don’t actually have a lot of active memories of growing up; I have to hunt for them.  There are things I deliberately do not think about, because there’s too much emotional pain behind them.  (These are the things I need to air out, so, you’re forewarned.)

Pandora’s box, indeed.  I guess I really do need to find an EMDR/ART therapist…


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