Trauma Therapy 2 A Narrative of Shame and Loney

Dad and I fishing
Loney fishing with Dad.

“A Shame Narrative,” my therapist called it. I call it “Ermergerd this is impossible I can’t think about it without getting agita and crying. I should probably wash all the baseboards or nap.” Then I stumbled on the picture above, and I realized I had found a safe way to approach my Shame.

Trauma therapy is beyond what I’ve ever experienced in therapy over about twenty years. It’s good I have that basis in self-knowledge, Mindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. But trauma therapy is the big leagues. It’s definitely scary. And it can be draining.

The two most important parts are an empathetic, well-trained therapist, and my desperate desire to manage the constant nightmares and other paralyzing affects of CPTSD on my life.

I won the Irish Sweepstakes in therapists. She pegged me fast. She asked about where I feel my pain in my body. And used my interest in meditation to develop a regular practice of body scans before, and sometimes later in a session. She took the bare pieces of my story, my responses to the scans and stimulus –such as the Pixar short “Float” πŸ₯°πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜ — and came up with Shame.

And she’s right. I’m not sure when it started, but I was very young. Possibly under 4. It’s this drop in the heart, and a burning, twisting sense of being powerless, unlovable, and utterly alone in a pitiless, dark, lonely void where no one cares, and I don’t matter at all in this world.

She said, we can use my story of those feelings to help provide a “Portal” to slowly reach through to my trauma. And then I get to write a Trauma Narrative. Huzzah? But the approach makes so much sense because the feelings around those memories are too raw for me to even go near. Even while they break into my daily life as nightmares, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or my (over or under) reactions to triggers.

But how to approach my Shame? I’ve always felt that, as long as a person experiences real, unconditional love at some early point — through a grandparent, teacher, mentor, etc — then that person will always hold that feeling. And they will have a chance. I’ve had a lot of mentors and teachers in my life, but the first and best was my Dad.

Dad loved mentoring young people. And he had many “adopted” kids. Mainly my cousins and his former students, ending up the Best Man at many marriages (six times in the case of one unlucky-in-love student who called him Dad). He was both professionally succesful, and never lost that bit of 1st Sargeant he learned in the frozen hell of the Korean war. Dad served in Truman’s Desegrated Army. It equipped him with the ability to work with and inspire others of any type. So long as you didn’t play “grab ass.” He questioned his young acolytes and listened, and questioned some more. He was genuinely interested in the thoughts of people, especially young people.

And he had that same interest in me as a growing human being. Usually we’d be doing an activity. Sky watching, driving around following the local grocery stores’ free samples schedule (Dad could usually old-lady-flirt his way to extra samples), and during art lessons. But the best times were fishing, like in the picture above.

I’ve found my way to get to the Shame by viewing my gnawing doubts, fears, anxieties, and self-loathing from the point of view of the girl my Dad saw. Dad dubbed me “Loney.” (Lone-ee) When I look back at myself as Loney, I have more sympathy and compassion for myself. I see the curious, dark eyed girl he saw and loved. And I can cast that into my future that he never saw nor will.

If I view myself as Loney, it’s a step removed from recording Jessica’s feelings of Shame. It’s my way in through that “Portal” described by my therapist. Slowly, the idea is to increase my understanding of and exposure to the most delicate pieces of myself, my experiences, my Shame. But I feel I can do that if I remember Loney and carry my father’s love for Loney in my heart.

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌ

While you’re here: check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

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About JLakis

Jessica Lakis - Writer/screenwriter. Geek & mental health blogger. Conqueror of the Useless. NERD INVICTA! View all posts by JLakis

2 responses to “Trauma Therapy 2 A Narrative of Shame and Loney

  • Caroline O

    Jess, I sobbed like a baby when I just read this. Your experience is mirroring so much of mine. I feel like I had some of life figured out but this form of therapy is some sort of boot camp through hell and it’s knocking me down before it’s building me back up. My emotions are all over the place even when I’m not doing the actual exposure work. And the shame. The shame! I didn’t know that would be part of this. Reading how you are able to love yourself through the eyes of your dad – I want to be able to figure out how to do this. I’m going to try. I understand why it’s so important and the way you’ve brought me into the experience with the recollections of your father – I see how it could be possible. And your relationship with your dad is beyond beautiful. Thanks so much for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JLakis

      Oh my dearest. I am horrified to know that you have experienced this type of trauma. And even more so that YOU, of all the jerks in the world, feel shame about yourself — and the jerks don’t. You’re such a beautiful soul. It pains me more than words to know you’ve suffered this way. But, basically I was looking for a way of doing this ever so gently. If it means anything to you, Dad loved you. You were his favorite of any my friends ever. As for me, well, we’re bosom friends. And bosom friends share. I love yoy sweetie. And only wish you the very best, as you deserve. Pay no mind to the depths of despair. The Force is with you, always.

      Like

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