Posted by: Marie | July 29, 2011

(573) Finding comfort in his voice – Part 4 of 4

Post #573
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]

Again, Edward asked what was happening . . . I opened my eyes for just long enough to quickly glance up at him, but I couldn’t respond, my voice wouldn’t work . . . he asked if I was feeling overwhelmed . . . I nodded my head yes . . . he asked that I use my voice and my words to answer his question, rather than just nodding my head . . . I struggled to find my voice, then I said . . .


Me: I’m having a hard time pulling myself together . . . this is what I am most afraid of when doing this kind of work . . I’m afraid I’ll go “there” and not be able to come back. I feel like I can’t come back now . . . I’m too far into the pain. I want to just curl up and not have to come to deal with the present. I don’t think I can come back. I think I’m stuck back there . . . I think I’m really stuck. (Crying in a panicked, hyperventilating way)

Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: Would you like me to help you come back? It’s okay to ask for and accept help.

Me: Yeah . . .

(I then realized I had never thought to ask for help from Edward . . . it’s a concept I’m not used to considering. I don’t ever think to ask for help – not from him, not from family, not from anyone.)

Edward: Okay . . . take some deep breaths, remember to breath . . . you are forgetting to breath . . . take a deep breath . . . now another one . . .

(I took some breaths, then I’d hold my breath involuntarily as a wave of emotion would hit, then I’d breath through that wave, take another wave of emotion and hold my breath, then start breathing again – when my breath became a bit more regular, he spoke again . . . )

Edward: When you feel you are ready, take your hand away from your eyes.

(A moment later, I took my hand away from my eyes and tucked both hands under my thighs.)

Edward: Good . . . now, when you feel you are ready, open your eyes and look at me.

(I was able to look at him for a second, then I felt my body react and I felt my awareness jerk back in time. I shut my eyes, put my hand back over my eyes and locked up my breath again.)

Edward: Take a deep breath . . . take your hand away from your eyes . . . now look at me . . . good, you’re doing fine . . .

(That time it was a bit easier to stay with him and I was able to keep my hand down, and was able to keep my eyes open and my breath moving a majority of the time.)


He carried on a light conversation with me as I continued my return to the present . . . he welcomed me back to adulthood . . . joked that it is a good thing to have an adult driving my car down Highway 34 as I make my way back home following our session, rather than a child . . . I joked back that is especially true because, if I’m driving down Highway 34, I’m in trouble . . . because that’s not where I live! (We both laughed)

I got myself pulled back together enough to get out the door and into my car. But, I cried much of the way home and I really struggled to hold it together during my afternoon lessons. I’d feel the emotions come over me and I’d crack a joke to cover up the beginning of tears . . . I felt overwhelmingly raw. My students looked at me suspiciously when I’d make a lame excuse (like allergies) in response to my eyes briefly filling with tears.

In the evening, I had a lesson with my autistic student. They now live 20 minutes away from me . . . and during that 20-minute drive, I finally had a quiet opportunity to really reflect on the session. By the time I pulled into their driveway, I was crying hysterically – sobbing. I pulled myself together enough to get to the door, but as soon as I walked in and saw his mom, I lost it again.

I said, “I had therapy today and it was a really rough session. I’m still upset about it.” She wrapped me in a bear hug and I cried – sobbed – very loudly, like I’ve never done before. I was very surprised at how hard and fast the emotions came as she was holding me. But, I felt safe with her. (We’ve cried on each others’ shoulders a few times before.)

Instead of me teaching her son, she and I sat on the couch and talked. We talked about how our families used religion to guilt us into “behaving” as children. I learned she is now attending a church that is part of the same denomination that the church in which I grew up was part – the one that justified my parents’ behavior, the one that housed my molester . . .

When I told her that, she asked if I felt resentment (or some other bad feeling) when I now hear someone talk about that denomination. I told her no, that my family was one of the founding families and that I grew up in that church when it was just beginning . . . when it was still in it’s infancy. So, my personal history is intertwined in that church – and a lot of that history was good.

I think that church has changed dramatically – and I think for the better – in those 40 years. I don’t blame the church . . . I blame the individuals who made the choices they made at that time.

So . . . that was the ending to one very long day.


  1. I guess you kept dealing with the emotions for a while after the session. Knowing that you can come back to the present after being overwhelmed seems like a huge thing.

    My guess is that this made quite a difference to your therapy and life, so I’m looking forward to hearing what happened.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I think the biggest “lesson learned” here was the idea I could ask for help . . . I am very clear that I could return to the present with Edward’s help, but I hadn’t considered the idea that asking for help was okay.

      Thank you for the encouraging words!

      – Marie

  2. Great and difficult work. Boggles my mind how far you’ve come since I first began reading this journal. It’s an absolutely staggering work of in-depth, raw, honest accounting of your healing journey and I predict it’s going to help countless numbers of individuals in the future.

    • Thank you, Aaron –

      I’m glad to know my progress can be seen by other people . . . sometimes it feels like my progress is painfully slow. I think that is because I measure my progress by the extent to which my depression lifts (because that is the pain that originally pushed me into therapy).

      Thank you for the validation!

      – Marie

  3. What a deep session for you Marie. I can relate especially to your struggle to come back to the present before you leave. I personally can’t really work after a therapy session as I am too spaced out. Great that you can. And what a lovely woman that mother is who allowed you to cry in her arms. take care

    • Hey, Ellen –

      Thank you for the supportive words . . . it can be a struggle to go back into my “work” life after a session . . . I, too, make sure I have a number of hours following the session where I have nothing on my schedule (I always have my sessions in the morning). Usually, I can get pulled together by then, but there have been days where I’ve gone to bed and not come back out for a couple of days. But, thankfully, those days are few and far between.

      – Marie

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