Date Tags help

After reading those words, Michael closed his eyes and tensed his body, preparing for the dizziness he had felt before. This time he was ready. At first, nothing happened, but just as he was about to relax, he opened his eyes to see his fingers literally sliding through the ivory throne as if it were air. Which means that any form of self-care can fall by the wayside. In retrospect I was depressed long before I was diagnosed but I didn't know what depression was when I was a teen. Depression was something my music heroes had, it wasn't for people who worked in petrol stations: you felt bad, you got on with it. Well that's what I thought, but what I didn't know was that if you hide something inside yourself for long enough, you break. I was twenty-two when I first convinced myself to see a therapist. It was the fourth time I had been referred by my doctor and every other time I had ignored it, or made excuses about how therapy wasn't for me. A master in the art of procrastination, I treated my mental illness like a sprained ankle. Ignorance was indeed bliss in this case. In fact it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to start to understand your own brain. Imagine how much easier things would be if your brain had a manual. Candy had no awareness of space and time, and had reached a place of such distrust and disconnection that it took nearly six months before she was even able to orient herself in the room. For our work to be effective, I needed Candy to feel as safe as possible, so I had to allow her to dissociate during our interactions, then slowly and gently bring her in for short amounts of time. Drawing Candy in involved the simplest of things, like having her notice a color in the room. It took months to move beyond this. Of course, Candy didn't get to this point of dissociation by accident. She had a severe history of trauma that involved sexual abuse from a very young age when her mother remarried. Candy's mother was manipulative and ignored what was going on right in front of her.

The sexual abuse and rape continued from various people through the time Candy was in her early twenties. She had fallen into disordered eating patterns from as young as eight--not coincidentally, the same age she was when the abuse started. Despite all of this, Candy went to college and had a good job working from home, which felt safe for her. The next moment, Michael heard the loudest noise he had ever heard in his life. Before he could answer himself, a hand slammed into his chest, grabbed his shirt, and yanked him to the ground. Get down, man! I don't know if you can get shot, but let's not find out, okay? Michael turned his head in panic and stared at the man who had pulled him down. He was older than Michael-- maybe mid-thirties, with dark brown hair and a long, bushy mustache. He wore dark blue trousers with a faded yellow stripe down the side and a shirt that was beyond dirty. The clothes, like their owner, looked as if they had not been washed in a month. He was rather thin and probably tall. It was hard to tell because he was laid out on the ground firing an old rifle over a pile of rocks. You could just flick to the index, go to M, find mental illness' and there would probably be a way you could turn it all off and back on again and hope for the best. <a href=''>Wait,</a> I think turning your brain on and off again is technically dying and being reincarnated so ignore that metaphor. <a href=''>Or</a> is it a coma? <a href=''>Let's</a> skip this bit, I'm stuck in a loop. <a href=''>Not</a> to sound like Mr Obvious here, but the hardest part of any mental illness is coming to terms with it. <a href=''>Admitting</a> that you need help, that you can't do this by yourself, that you are struggling with being you. <a href=''>You</a> can try the pills, the mindfulness, the therapy, the yoga, the clean eating, changing your lifestyle - different things work for different people. <br /><br /><a href=''>So</a> far I have found a mixture of medication and various Nic Cage movies from the 90s are the closest I get to mindfulness. <a href=''>The</a> one thing I remember about sitting in the therapist's waiting room that day was thatDon't Worry, Be Happy' by Bobby McFerrin started playing on the radio. All the other patients in the waiting room looked at each other with an expression of This is a fecking joke, right? <a href=''>As</a> a thirty-something-year-old woman, Candy was caring for and housing the five foster children her mother had adopted over the years, as well as her mother, who was no longer able to care for herself or the kids she had taken on, due to illness. <a href=''>I</a> know this story because it dribbled out over time as Candy grew to trust me more and more. <a href=''>I</a> never pushed it, just as I never push the story with any of my clients because, as a Somatic Experiencing practitioner, knowing the details about someone's history is only important in the sense of serving as an empathic witness. <a href=''>I</a> don't need the full story for the healing to occur. <a href=''>Plus,</a> the process of obtaining these details can be incredibly triggering for a patient and push them right back down into the trauma vortex. <a href=''>But</a> when they do want to share because it feels good to be heard by a trusted person, I am happy to hold that space for them. <a href=''>Everyone</a> needs an empathic witness to heal. <a href=''>Through</a> all of this, Candy's struggle with bulimia continued. <a href=''>For</a> her, it was a way of feeling a sense of comfort and regulating her nervous system. <a href=''>She</a> would stuff herself, then purge for the sensation of feeling empty and light--to her, this was freedom. <a href=''>The</a> sound Michael thought was thunder was actually the sound of cannon fire. <a href=''>Bullets</a> whined off the rocks like swarms of angry bees. <a href=''>All</a> around him, Michael heard howls of anger and pain. <a href=''>Cannons,</a> rifles, and soldiers combined to create a sound so loud that Michael had to scream to be heard. <a href=''>That</a> wasn't a problem. <a href=''>In</a> fact, at the moment, it was the most natural thing in the world to do. <a href=''>He</a> was terrified. <br /><br /><a href=''>He</a> grabbed at the man's shoulder and cried, Who are you? <a href=''>Chamberlain!</a> <a href=''>Chamberlain</a> of the Twentieth Maine! <a href=''>I</a> started laughing - my go-to response, my safety blanket. <a href=''>My</a> first trip to the therapist was already like a poorly written sitcom. <a href=''>I</a> wasn't ready for that question. <a href=''>I</a> wanted to talk about the present me, the me that was fecking up my life right now. <a href=''>Like</a> many sufferers I had come to the conclusion that I somehow deserved this. <a href=''>Maybe</a> it was penance for leading a worthless life, maybe it was punishment for being a bad person in a previous life, maybe it was karma for that time I ate an apple while walking around the supermarket before paying for it. <a href=''>I</a> don't believe in previous lives, but as I sat in the therapist's office, his questions going straight over my head, I seriously considered the idea that if this was karma kicking me in the unmentionables, then I must have been a complete bastard in my previous existence. <a href=''>Like</a> Hitler's life coach, or Donald Trump's wig adviser or something. <a href=''>I</a> sat and continued to contemplate this nonsense as the therapist stared at me in silence. <a href=''>I</a> was wasting quite valuable time but I did have a major breakthrough, I think I figured out who previous me must have been - I am 99% sure previous me must have perished after inspiring the headlineLocal man thinks wooden horse is a completely innocent gift for city'. It allowed Candy an avenue through which to dissociate from her real-life situation and was also a way of punishing her body, which had caused her so much pain. By the time I met her, bulimia had been Candy's constant for more than two decades. The Treatment It was obvious that Candy needed and would benefit from touch and somatic work, but I also quickly realized that she was not yet at a place where she could tolerate it. Touch would only make her feel less safe. For a person with Candy's history, you can probably imagine how threatening it must feel to have your body touched or to be pushed into it in an unwanted way. This meant Candy and I had to take another tactic to get her into her body.

For us, this involved developing awareness to counteract the dissociation. We were able to bring awareness to the fact that Candy was dissociated from her body in the first place. What does it feel like to lose track of time and space? And he turned to fire again. Where are we? What's going on? Michael had never been so scared in his life. Chamberlain shouted. No time now. We'll talk later--I hope. Chamberlain continued to fire downhill, reload, and shout encouragement to the men around him. Michael saw that they were almost at the top of a steep, wooded hill that sloped down and away from them. Beyond Chamberlain, Michael witnessed scenes of war and death that were far worse than the gruesome movies he had seen on the subject. Back when I started learning that my brain was against me, and that its favourite hobby was coming up with new fun mental health disorders for me to deal with, I handled it the way any early-twenties beta male would: I drank and ignored it. As a Brit, this is how I deal with many bad situations. Glass of wine! Big bill comes through the post that we can't really afford at the moment? A couple of gin and tonics! A mental health disorder that you're not ready to battle right now? An entire bathtub filled with cheap rum, please!