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Author Topic: Finding the right words?
Dolphins_Cry
Neophyte
Member # 36415

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I've been seeing a psychiatrist for over a year now due to depression and anorexia. This pretty much all stems from a bad experience I had when I was 15. It's been 8 years and it still provokes extreme levels of anxiety just thinking about it.

My psychiatrist knows the basics of this - I responded 'yes' to the question of ever being hurt sexually. He's been very patient with me in terms of broaching this topic. I basically just shut down if he mentions it so we've been working on other issues like my eating disorder.

Thing is, I KNOW I need to talk through this in order to start being ok with it. But I can't seem to find the right words to do so. I feel like my memory or knowledge of the incident is a visual memory and I don't know how to translate that into words. My throat clamps up, my mind goes blank and no words can come out.

I also struggle a lot with guilt and shame. I know the drill - no one ever deserves it, no one asks for it etc. For some reason I think I am the exception to this and that I deserve to be punished by maintaining my silence the rest of my life!

My question - if I can somehow get past that guilt and shame and (finally!) tell my psychiatrist what happened, how can I find the right words? I've been silent so long I'm unsure I am actually physically able to speak about this at all anymore. I think maybe I left it too late.

Posts: 31 | From: Australia | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Well, you've just managed to be very articulate about it. Acknowledging that something happened and that it affects you is a very important first step, and it is often the hardest of them all. Once you are more comfortable with that, you can worry about talking about the event itself.

It is not unusual for abuse sufferers to stay quiet for so long. And the longer you wait, the harder it gets - but it is never too late.

So, have you tried telling your psychiatrist exactly what you told us here? I am sure they will be able to work through the guilt and shame with you so that you will be able to start talking about what happened.

--------------------
Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Dolphins_Cry
Neophyte
Member # 36415

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Thanks for your reply.

He has on a number of occasions asked me why I feel I cannot tell him. My voice fails me at these times so he usually speculates that it is because I don't trust him enough. I wish I could tell him that wasn't the case but I seem to be "mute" when he asks.

One time he asked if the experience was violent. How easy is that to answer? I can still see his fist coming at my face in my dreams. But I couldn't even nod my head. I just fidgeted in my chair.

Is that normal? Not to even be able to answer yes/no questions? I don't know how I'm ever going to be able to tell him the whole story.

Sorry for going on and on.

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ErinK
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Would it help if you printed out this post, or wrote down your experiences, and gave them to him to read?

Sometimes it is very hard to talk about things, but since you're able to "talk" about them in a written form with us here, maybe writing them down will help you open up a line of communication with him, too.

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Dolphins_Cry
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I think I might try showing him this post first. I never thought to do that!

Even writing it out seems too difficult. Still trying to find those words. I don't even know what to call it, I've always just thought of it as "the thing that happened when I was 15"! Trying to figure out what it actually was just leaves me more confused and upset.

Thanks for the help. I'll print this post and give it to him. It's a start at least!

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Gwaihir
Activist
Member # 27276

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Since you see these memories only as visuals and can't seem to find the words to write them down, why not try drawing them? It doesn't matter if you can't draw very well, I'm sure you'll still be able to get the message across.
I remember reading that one method therapists use on young children to get them to open up about having been raped and abused is having them draw pictures of what happened, or just pictures of how they're feeling in general since they often can't seem to find the words either.
This method might help you, but whatever you decide to do, I hope things get better for you. [Frown]

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Dolphins_Cry
Neophyte
Member # 36415

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I had an appointment with my psychiatrist today and I was planning on taking this post and I forgot to print it out! [Roll Eyes]

Turns out I didn't even need it! He'd changed his office and the seating arrangements had him seating close to the door and me on the other side of the office. I was practically vomiting from anxiety and he noticed that and asked me if I was okay. I managed to squeak that "You're closer to the door than me" and it opened up the whole discussion of why that was a situation that provokes fear.

So while I never actually TOLD him what happened, I think we talked enough "around it" for him to understand.

It's funny how things turn out. I was determined that I was going to make progress today on opening up to him and I did. Just in a different way than I'd originally planned [Smile]

Posts: 31 | From: Australia | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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