Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sad and validating at the same time

I spoke to a former college roommate online tonight. She currently lives in a third world country doing missionary work. She was a huge support for me in college b/c she was one of the few people who not only knew about my abuse history and that I was in therapy, but also know about the DID and was really okay with it.

About 18 months ago when she was in the States on furlough we had lunch. She confided in me that over the past year, memories of being abused by a softball coach growing up had begun to surface. During her 3 month furlough, she saw a therapist regularly that was a big believer in EMDR. I don't have anything against EMDR, but for me personally, it has only had disasterous results, so I stay away from it. I know it works great for some people, and that makes me so happy!!! My friend said it had worked for her and she was "healed." She was sharing her story with me b/c she wanted me to find an EMDR therapist or see the therapist she had been seeing b/c she knew I'd been struggling and been in therapy for a long time. I was already seeing current therapist as this time and told her I was not interested, but I appreciated her thinking of me. In her mind, she cared enough about me that she wanted to share something amazing that had really helped her.

I am glad I knew her well enough to know this was her intention, b/c our internal reaction was hurt and anger and frustration. I was angry b/c part of me felt like she was saying the work I'd been doing in therapy for so many years wasn't working or maybe I wasn't trying hard enough. I was skeptical b/c I'm always skeptical when someone thinks they can heal in 3 months with no residual effects. I was also frustrated thinking that what if she was right? What if she got to heal in 3 months of therapy and I was in my 9th year therapy and been hospitalized 5 times? I didn't voice any of this to her b/c in my mind, she just didn't understand what I was really going through or what it was really like. I think I tried to rationalize that her abuse must not have been "real" abuse. Obviously, this rationalization was not true. It was just my way of making things fit.

Well, her feeling "healed" didn't last more than a few months after she returned home and ended therapy. After talking her tonight, it is very clear that she is on the verge of a meltdown/shutdown, easily triggered, and not "healed" by any stretch of the imagination. This makes me sad b/c I love her and I want the best for her. It also makes me sad for her husband and her kids b/c I know it affects them too. They're looking for a way to move back to the States, but I have no idea how far off that actually is.

Is it bad at the same time I feel justified and validated by the fact she was not "healed" in 3 months? That this road is much harder and longer than any of us ever want... that there's not a quick fix? That some part of me is glad she's not better and happily moving on with her life? I am making great progress in therapy, and I am healing, but it's slow change and hard change. I feel so awful that part of me is glad she didn't heal easily and quickly. Still, I do care about her and I hate seeing her in pain at the same time!!!!

Healing is so long and stupid and so unfair!! None of us asked for the initial events that led for us to need therapy and healing in the first place.... Grrr.


  1. I hear that you care a great deal for your friend and what she is going through - but at the same time your long journey through therapy and healing needs to be validated and shown to be worthwhile. Maybe it is possible for some people to be 'healed' quickly (and yes - everyone's experiences of abuse or other trauma are valid, but also different, and therefore may require different approaches, different time scales) - but that does not mean your hard work is not valuable.

    Yes - unfair. That is true. :(

  2. Braveheart, I am so glad that you posted this. Even though my t. is not as long as yours, I still wonder "how much longer" and why and what do I need to feel to make ground to move on to the next step. Am I suppopsed to cry, am I supposed to grieve and I supposed to....... While reading your post, I thought it was going to have a good outcome for your friend, but am sorry that it did not. Dear one, I appreciate the time that you took to share this. Blessings