EMDR Therapy

Be brave enough to heal yourself even when it hurts

-Bianca Sparacino

I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression by my therapist. I told myself that those were just medical titles that really didn’t describe me. However, after much thought I decided to work with my therapist to help myself heal from my past traumas. I decided that I didn’t want to be anxious or depressed anymore. I want to be the best version of myself possible.

My therapist and I decided to start an intensive form therapy called EMDR to start the healing process. EMDR therapy “is a phased, focused approach to treating traumatic and other symptoms by reconnecting the client in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution.” My therapist advised me that we would be creating a timeline of my life starting from my earliest memories to find out how my past traumas have affected me, and to start the healing process.

My therapist also introduced the concept of “parts” to me. She advised me that we all have three parts the exiles, managers, and the distractors. The three parts main goal is to protect your true self. The exiles hold the pain, and shame of the past. The exiles are the vulnerable part that often holds negative beliefs based on painful past experiences.

The managers run daily life, are proactive, and work to contain the exiles by staying in control of events and relationships. The managers protect our inner world. Mangers control every relationship and situation in order to protect us from feeling hurt and rejected. 

The distractors (also known as firefighters) are reactive and will work to put the fire (pain) out when an triggered exile erupts past a manager. The distractors also protect our system, but often to soothe or distract vulnerable parts of our being.

The true self is the center or core of our being. Our divine essence. In other words, our true self is the best version of ourself. It is scary to me to think that at almost 30 I have not become my true self.

Often the exiles hold shame, grief, loss, rage dependency, and loneliness. My exile part holds my depression. I realize that I often feel like I am not good enough, or like I am an outsider. I feel unprotected in the world and in my life. I realized that all those feelings that I hold inside are because of my exiles. On the inside I am a hurt little girl that just wants to love and be loved unconditionally.

The manger part is also known as the warrior or the planner. The mangers are the inner critic and the inner judge. The managers is also the caretaker, controller, striver, and passive pessimist. My manger side is very controlling, extremely critical, and paranoid. My manger part is also a go getter, and goal driven. I am never satisfied with anything in life, and I always feel like I can do better. I noticed this more in college when I would be angry with myself for earning A’s or B’s. I always want to earn a perfect 100 or a A+. While I work, I noticed that I always must be the best. During my last work evaluation my manger ranked me as “exceeds” after my first year of work. Still I left that evaluation wondering how I could improve or be better. Good is not good enough for me I must be perfect. I strive for perfection and sometimes that is a draining way to live.

The distractor part is also known as the firefighter and is reactive. The distractor part is often the part that displays addictive behaviors or dangerous behaviors. For example, obsessive shopping, binge eating, extreme drug or alcohol use, or dangerous sex practices. My distractor side is combative, defensive, vindictive, devious, and non-compromising. I also have a pretty bad shopping habit I’m addicted to buying new shoes. I am also addicted to buying different health products like various vitamins supplements. I am very defensive or quick to react. My distractor part is always in overdrive trying to protect me. I realize that I am noncompromising combative because I don’t want to feel weak. I always want to be in control of my life. I realized that underneath my tuff exterior I am just a girl who is afraid to get hurt.

Although this whole process is a bit scary, I am excited to find my true self. I am excited to drop all my emotional baggage and become the best Janay I can be. I would encourage everyone to go to therapy. I hope that everyone reading this will start their journey to finding their true self.

Below I attached my parts chart. Create one at home to see how your parts play a role in your everyday life.

Reference : https://www.psycom.net/emdr-therapy-anxiety-panic-ptsd-trauma/

Single Parent Confessions…

During the summer time my son’s father sent me a text message seeking to end the back and forth turmoil that has been our life since the birth of our child. He apologized for the dirt and acknowledged the domestic violence part of our relationship was a serious mistake on his part. He advised his court ordered anger management was working and he was seeing the error in his ways . Being the person I am I accepted his apology and left it at that. After the apology his family invited me to a family vacation weekend in Virginia and he started texting me all the time. However because I’m a stand offish person I never reciprocated or accepted the advances. All request to come over late at night were kindly declined. He asked if he could come over and have family dinners once a week so that our son could see us happy and getting along. I would again jokingly but sternly decline. He didn’t know where I lived and until this day he doesn’t. It was like yes I accepted his apologies but I couldn’t allow myself to trust him or go down that path again ever in life. With me once the love is lost it’s gone and there is no return of course I can be cordial but nothing more. I’m not the girl who is going to keep sleeping with a no good man just because he promises to change and comes with mediocre sex I just can’t do it.

My son’s father trying to be a player even asked me to have a second child with him. He said the second time could be the charm and we could get it right this time no courts, no child support no drama. I was just thinking to myself yes I love my son to death but I didn’t even wanna have him. I definitely didn’t wanna have my first child with my son’s father but he took advantage of me when I went on a Patron binge but that’s neither her nor there. I accept the fact that I was irresponsible and I wouldn’t change a thing because nothing makes me happier than being a mother. However once again I kindly refused his offer again advising him that I did not want another child. During this time he’s texting me almost all day, FaceTiming me, and calling at night and I was extremely perplexed . I accepted his apology but we were not friends. I could forgive but I couldn’t forget and not being able to forget the emotional pain wouldn’t allow me feel anything towards him ever again in life. I felt bad because I felt like he was genuinely trying to be a better person, but that wasn’t enough for me. I hate holding grudges. I felt like I should forgive and forget and put that past aside for my son, but my mind wouldn’t allow that.

After about a month and a half of my son’s father putting his best foot forward his girlfriend whose 40 years old must’ve thought we where getting to close because next thing I know she’s calling and texting my phone as well. She didn’t know why he was spending so much time reaching out to me, and she didn’t like it. She told me that my son’s father told her he hated me and thought I was a bad mother.

She’s advised me via text and I quote “Ok so I told Jhavier the best way to try to get off child support is to sleep with u . He said he was but u asked him is that what he really wanted to do and atp he changed his mind because he didn’t want to sleep with u Fr because he don’t like u like that ???”

I simply responded “Y’all dumb why would you all think that would work 😂😂😂 “.

Now all the apologies, family vacation offers and talks of future babies made complete sense he wanted off of child support by any means necessary. I have never been so offended in life there was no way I was going to let that extra mediocre sex keep him from finically supporting his child. I just thought to myself what in the name of childish high school plots is going on here! There was no way two grown adults one who is 40 (his girlfriend) came up with that plot. I thank God that I wasn’t dumb enough to fall for the okie doke like some females.

I didn’t even feel like telling her he told her a damn lie. I didn’t ask him is that what he wanted I flat out said no and ignored all his late night texts. I was so thankful that I knew not to trust him or even try to dig up the past. It’s no way on earth I would ever sleep with anyone who punched me in my face. There is no apology, there is no excuse there is no “I was a boy then but I’m a man now” line that could make me truly forgive him either! That was scheme number one I guess they tried to butter me up and go in for the kill I don’t know but I do know it didn’t work. I’m smarter than that, but that was just scheme number one it only got worst.

My sons father called me early November crying on the phone saying he was having suicidal thoughts and was living in his car. Please be mindful that is November in Maryland so it’s pretty cold. He stated that he lost his job and because he is currently on probation (for punching me in the face and trying to hit me with a car last spring) he was having a hard time securing another job. He was sobbing on the phone crying and explaining that he lost his place. “It’s hard out here janay I’m really out here having suicidal thoughts. Your son’s going to grow up without a father and you don’t care” he said while crying into the phone. I’m rolling my eyes at this point like ok Denzel. He goes on and on crying saying that he doesn’t have a job and when he does get a job his check will be garnished because he owes a bail bondsmen $4,000 dollars and he owes child support. He crying about how even when he’s not working the child support is just accumulating and he won’t ever get out the rears.

He was crying saying that he moved to Maryland for me and he can’t believe I really turned my back on him. I’m trying not to show any emotions because I honestly felt like he dug the hole he was buried in and now he wanted to be a coward and cry about suicide.

I said “Jhavier stop lying your not living in your car your living with that girl”.

He sobbed even louder at this time saying his on again off again girlfriend was money hungry and he can’t even live there because she wants money too and he doesn’t have money.

“That’s all y’all Baltimore women care about is money. It’s hard out here janay” is what he said before I hung the phone up.

He called me back 22 times. Sometimes I answered and he would say “please Janay I just need your help”.

I didn’t know what he thought I could do for him he couldn’t stay with me, and I wasn’t taking him off child support period. However after awhile my conscious started getting the best of me and I started thinking about the seriousness of his suicidal thoughts. So many people kill themselves when they get overwhelmed finically in life. I kept hearing him cry and call out for help and I knew I couldn’t just leave him out to kill himself in his car. Even though he was not my favorite person he was still my son’s father and my conscious wouldn’t allow me to be completely heartless.

I called the suicide prevention line, I called 311 and texted him the Baltimore crisis line information. I sent him these text “Idk if you were playing but suicide is serious I called the suicide prevention line for you and also reported it to the authorities someone should be reaching out to you. This is very serious. Much love I hope you feel better soon my friend and I provided your address”.

The second text “Baltimore crisis response 410-433-5175 Sheppard Pratt 410-938-help here are some numbers for you Incase you feel suicide thoughts”.

He never responded to either text and the next day I reached out to a lawyer from the Women’s clinic. It was his weekend to have our son and I started to get even more concerned about my son’s fathers claims of being suicidal and living in his car I couldn’t let my son be around that. He’s was not in the right head space and my son’s safety was worth more than a weekend out with my friends. I sent him a third text after the lawyer helped me find the right words to send “Out of concern for Josh’s safety, the two of you can resume visits when your health and living situation are much more stable. Good luck”.

He responded one hour later “I never made any statements our conversation was about joint custody”. I thought to myself is he serious this was another ploy to get off child support? He really cried and faked being suicidal to avoid finically supporting his child? This can’t be real this has to be a bad dream. Men can not be stooping so low these days a false suicide attempt is too far. All the tears and all the calls just because he didn’t want to pay $404 per month? I could not deal!

My mother said his girlfriend stopped her at the gas station and advised her that he was living with her and lost his car months ago. Oh the games and the lies. After that incident my son’s father didn’t bother to call his son and to say Happy thanksgiving. Our son’s birthday was December 19th he didn’t bother to call or text and say happy birthday. I heard he made a lovely post on Facebook saying happy birthday as if he thought our son would see. I love the clout chase of it all posting pictures like Facebook dad of the year all the while not speaking to our child once. Christmas passed and then New Years still nothing but I’m sure there were post. Too bad he didn’t call 22 times on those days instead of wasting those calls on fake suicide attempts. This story unfortunately is still in progress with no end in sight but I’ll keep you updated. If you see my son’s father before I do please advise him that all the while he is solely trying to hurt or hoodwink me its our son who suffers the most. Not only from the disconnect and distant he experiences from his father, but from witnessing his mother struggle emotionally and finically to support him. It’s not healthy and more importantly it’s not fair!

Check Ups

“As a general rule all woman should have a pelvic exam, and a women’s wellness exam once per year”

Unknown

“I don’t know if I’m hitting something, or what but you bleed sometimes” is all I heard him say, before I started panicking. With those words my life flashed before my eyes. I know it’s shocking and I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t had a Pap smear in over four years. Well not since I had my son in December of 2014. Pap Smears aren’t fun for anyone, but I absolutely hate them. There’s nothing more uncomfortable for me than a person I don’t want between my legs between my legs sticking foreign object inside of me. Every time I get a Pap smear or have an exam I feel violated and they always hurt me no matter who does them. The doctor is always like “relax” or “if you relax this will be over sooner”. I’m like how can I relax when my vagina is in a stranger’s face? There is nothing relaxing about that situation.

Last week after having sexual intercourse with my friend he abruptly stopped advising me that I was bleeding. He told me that this wasn’t the first time he noticed blood. I looked down at his under shirt and saw what I deemed to be a pool of blood on his shirt. 
“I don’t know if I’m hitting something, or what but you bleed sometimes” he said.
“What on earth could you possibly think your hitting” I said to myself rolling my eyes. The nerve of him.

At that moment I just wanted him to leave so that I could be alone. I was scared, nervous and wanted to know why I was bleeding. I just thought to myself “Janay you haven’t been checked in years who knows what is wrong with you, and if it can be fixed” I thought to myself. 

My friend sat around with me for about 45 more minutes and then left. While he was still there I thought to myself we have been together for a while now, and talked about different things, but sex was not one of those things. We never established if we were friends with benefits, or something more. We never talked a discussed not using condoms, but one day we just stopped using them one day. We never discussed if this was an exclusive situation, or if we were sleeping with other people as well. I haven’t slept with anyone else in years, but I can’t say the same for him. It’s like I wanted to know, but at the same time I didn’t want to know.  
As soon as he left I started googling what blood during sex could mean. “CERVICAL CANCER” is what I read and instantly started crying. Cancer?
“Really after everything I’ve been through now I have cancer? What about my son” I thought to myself as I cried harder.
Instantly I started having cramps. The cramps were so bad I could barely stand up. I’m a hypochondriac and I had to remind myself I wasn’t cramping two minutes prior to me reading and that I may have cervical cancer. 

Monday morning at work I started googling gynecologist in my area. I called several offices who weren’t accepting new patients or who didn’t have openings until fall.
Finally I called the Capitol Women’s Health Care Clinic in Towson Maryland and was able to make an appointment for Thursday. The only problem was in order to see a female doctor I would have to wait until May so I had to accept a man. The last thing I wanted to do was see a male gynecologist, but I had no other choice. I booked an appointment to see Dr. Sapra.
Thursday I couldn’t even sit still because I was so nervous. My heart was beating so fast, and so loudly I couldn’t hear anything else. When I walked into the doctor’s office it was very clean and very clam. Everyone seem happy, but I didn’t want to be there. I checked in and was escorted to the back. The medical assistant was extremely friendly, but I was too nervous and had very few words. I explained to her I was previously diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

She told me step by step what was going to happen during my visit. She explained that before I got undressed the doctor would come and speak with me so that I wouldn’t be naked the first time I met him. That was a real relief, but I needed this visit to be over soon rather than later.
The doctor came in and introduced himself to me. We went over my medical issues, and then he explained to me again what the visit would consist of. He advised me that he would check my cervix, check my breast and give me a Pap smear. He would also run a test for any STIs and give me my options for birth control. I have never taken birth control before so that made me extremely nervous. 
“Ok let’s get this over with” I thought to myself. The doctor left and I undressed nervously. I sat on the bed and the doctor and the medical assistant rejoined me in the room.
As soon as the doctor started the exam I tensed up and tears started falling from my eyes. I don’t know why, but I felt sad and vulnerable. I felt scared and I didn’t want to be there, but I knew I needed to be there. 
“Are you okay do you want me to stop Janay?” Asked the doctor concerned. 
“No” I barely said above a whisper. 

“Do you want to hold my hand” asked the super cute medical assistant.
“No” I replied again.
This was something I needed to get through on my own. The medical assistant handed me a tissue to wipe my tears.
The doctor walked me through the exam step by step. Explaining everything that he was looking into, and everything he was going to do. To my surprise there was no pain associated with this exam. Yes I was extremely uncomfortable, but I was able to cope.
After the exam the doctor to me my cervix and uterus looked normal.
“Maybe he did just hit something” I joked to myself. Finally after the week of hell I was able to breathe. The doctor advised me that he collected samples to test for chlamydia, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections. 

The doctor also explained my birth control options. After speaking with him I decided that starting birth control couldn’t hurt. I was given a sample of Lo Loestrine FE birth control pills and I decided I’d try them out. 

I left the doctor’s office feeling like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I would be able to get regular Pap smears and checkups. I felt better knowing that my cervix didn’t appear abnormal.
I also felt ashamed of myself. Everything could have been so much worst because I wasn’t getting regular checkups. I made a promise to myself to see a gynecologist regularly. I made a promise to myself to never left my fear make me compromise my health. I also decided to have that uncomfortable talk with my friend. Yes it is an uncomfortable talk, but it is a necessary talk if we are going to continue being sexually active. I will get a pap smear once a year. 

Even if you’re not getting a pap smear you should see you gynecologist once a year at least.

 Helpful Links:

http://www.aoafamily.com/blog/tag/american-college-of-obstetricians-and-gynecologists/

https://cwccharmcityobgyn.com/