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/

Mind Games


Mind Games

“The bravest thing I’ve ever done is continuing to live when I wanted to die”

~ JULIETTE LEWIS

I sat on the couch watching television with my best friend, her boyfriend and his best friend. Everyone was laughing and discussing the show’s shenanigans and how reality tv was so unrealistic. All of a sudden out of nowhere I started hearing loud sirens and my heart started beating so loud and so fast I thought it was going to jump out of my chest. I thought I was having a heart attack. Panicking because I thought I was dying I looked around the room at everyone else who appeared to be unfazed but the loud sirens.

“Do y’all hear that? “I asked clearly frightened. 

“Hear what?” my friend asked clearly concerned. 

That’s when it hit me I was the only person that could hear the sirens because the sirens weren’t real. The sirens were in my head. 

Then I couldn’t breathe. My shortness of breath was so bad I could barely grasp for air. I’m definitely having a heart attack I thought to myself. I started holding my chest trying to catch my breath. 

“Are you ok?” My friend asked.

“Yea I just can’t breathe” I said trying to stand up. 

My friend called 911 out of concern. Now the sirens were real. When the ambulance arrived to her apartment 20 minutes later I was fine the moment passed. My heart rate went back to normal and I was able to breath. I went to the emergency room and got a X-ray and the doctor told me I was fine.  He said my lungs were clear and I was free to go after about two hours. 

I didn’t know it then, but I just experienced my first panic attack. It was so weird to me because I wasn’t stressed or upset. It just happened out of the blue with no warning and for no rhyme or reason. 

Then three months later I woke up out of my sleep shaking because I was so scared. That’s when I heard footsteps in my living room, and then I heard the door handle jiggle. I was so scared I just started  screaming and called 911. Once I screamed I heard the footsteps run towards the window and then I heard what I thought was someone climbing out the window down the building walls.

The 911 operator was so nice and agreed to stay on the phone with me until the police arrived. I would say 15 minutes passed before the police arrive, but the 911 operator kept me calm the whole time. Once the police knocked on the door I was too scared to leave my room to open the door. I didn’t know what or who waited for me on the other side of the door, but after a minute or so I gained enough courage to open the door.

Once I stood in the living room I realized everything was all in my head. No one had ever been in my apartment and not even Spider-Man himself could have climbed up and down the walls of my third floor apartment. 

The officer was very compassionate and understanding even though I clearly wasted his time and tax payer dollars. He walked through my apartment and made sure no one was there. He opened all the cabinets, closet doors even the oven.

“You’re just scared no one is here” he said.

“I’m sorry” I said clearly embarrassed.

The officer left and I went back to my bed were my son was laying sleep. He never woke up through any of the nights events. Not from me screaming bloody murder when I thought I under attack or from the police pounding on the door. He never woke up he just slept peacefully and unbothered. 

I just sat straight up in my bed and cried. I cried because I felt like I was loosing my mind. I felt crazy and I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Not having control over my own mind or my feelings was extremely scary and disheartening. “Janay you really are crazy” I repeated to myself as I sobbed. I pride myself on being a strong woman, but at that moment I felt weak.

The next day I contacted a therapist. I decided I could no longer suffer in silence. I could no longer be a hostage to my own mind. I’ve been going to therapy faithfully for the last year and a half trying to work through my issues. My therapist explained to me that I shouldn’t feel weak. She explained how strong I am for taking the steps to get help. She said I’m strong for not allowing myself to suffer in silence. I still have panics attacks, but I now know how to breathe through them. I’ve been diagnosed with chronic depression and PTSD. I refuse to let those titles define me and I’m working on being the best version of myself I can be. It sounds corny but I may currently have depression, but depression doesn’t have me. Depression does not define me or who I am as a person. I will not be a slave to depression. 

If your reading this and suffering from depression, anxiety, paranoia or any other mental illness do not allow yourself to suffer in silence. Reach out to a therapist, a friend, or a counselor. Get help and understand that you are not in this fight alone. 

Helpful resources: 

Baltimore Crisis Response Inc. (BCRI)410-433-5175

https://bcresponse.org/index.html

Sheppard Pratt Urgent Assessment Line410-938-HELP (4357)

https://www.sheppardpratt.org/patient-care-and-services/crisis-services/

National Suicide Prevention Line:

1-800-273-8255