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/

Tired Is An Understatement

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”- Bob Marley

During a court ordered visit my son’s father Jhavier tricked our four-year-old son into showing him where I lived. For four years I tried my hardest never to let my son’s father know where I lived. I ended our relationship when I was three months pregnant and never looked back because of domestic violence reasons. I needed to be safe, and I never I could never truly be safe with Jhavier knowing where I lived. Jhavier made is clear that he could not control himself and he did not care if our son was present for his violent outburst last year when he punched me in the face and tried to hit myself and my son with a car in 2017.

The first call I made after I learned my location was compromised was to the House of Ruth Domestic Violence Center. I spoke with the representative who advised me to contact Jhavier’s probation officer and let her know that Jhavier violated his probation. I called LaSondra Michaels Jhavier’s probation officer April 19th 2019. She advised me to email her all the threatening correspondence between Jhavier and I, and she would forward that information to his judge. As soon as I hung up the phone with Jhavier’s probation officer I forwarded her all the correspondence between Jhaiver and I. I also explained to her how in November 2018 Jhavier called me and advised me that he was suicidal homeless and living in his car. I also explained to her that Jhavier advised me that he had a gun and would kill me before he went back to jail. His probation officer advised me she would follow up with me after she heard from the judge.

April 22th 2019 I followed back up with Jhavier’s probation officer because I did not hear anything from her.  She advised me that she submitted all the evidence to the judge and was waiting to hear back from the judge.  April 24th, April 29th, and May 6th I followed up with his probation officer and received the same response. She advised me each time she was just waiting for the judge to respond. This whole time I could barely sleep and was a nervous wreck. 

Finally, May 6th 2019 Lashondra emailed me to advise me that a VOP warrant was issued for Jhavier’s arrest. She told me would let me know when he was taken into custody. May 13th 2019 I received several calls from Jhavier’s phone. I screenshotted the calls and sent them to his probation officer. She advised me that Jhavier was taken into custody and she would follow up with me to let me know when trial was scheduled. 

June 12th 2019 my birthday I received an email from Jhavier’s probation officer advising me that Jhavier was being held no bail and his trail was set for 06/27/19. I cried when I read the email. I did not and still don’t understand how things got so bad between us. It was obvious that as much as I wanted things to change for the better, they would never. Jhavier’s birthday is at the end of May I’m not sure what the exact day is anymore, but I was sad thinking that he spent his 25th birthday behind bars. I was sad thinking about him being locked up around so many dangerous people.

June 26th 2019 4:48pm the state’s attorney Megan Bell emailed me and advised me she would be the prosecutor for my case. She advised me that she just found out about the case minutes before emailing me. She advised me it was important for me to call her back before 5:15pm that day in order to discuss the case. I didn’t check my emails until 6pm and by that time it was too late to speak with her. 

June 27th 2019 I showed up to court without being prepped for trail. I was so sure Jhavier would be released, because I had very little faith in the system. Jhavier was facing 10 years in prison for his probation violation, and had a court appointed public defender John Jameson. John was a middle age black mail who was so soft spoken and lost many of his previous cases. I could barely hear him when he spoke, and I figured my lawyer the state’s attorney would handle him well.

However, when it came time for my case to be heard John came alive. My lawyer asked for have the case postponed for until the end of the month because she needed more time to learn about the case. She asked to have Jhavier remain in jail no bail until the new court case. Jhavier’s lawyer flew into action.

“Your honor this is not a criminal case this is a custody case, and my client should be set free and at the very least granted bail. The plaintiff in this case is anger that my client has visitation and is doing anything in her power to stop my client from seeing his son. This is not a criminal case this is a case of a bitter baby momma” stated John.

I looked over at Jhavier to see him nodding and smiling with pleasure as his public defender spoke. I sat flabbergasted that Jhavier thought it was okay to ruin my character like that and attack me in open court. I would never ever lie to have anyone arrested. Instead of admitting guilt Jhavier smiled while his lawyer dragged my name through the mud. Even in handcuffs Jhavier found away to harass and belittle me.

However, the judge granted the state’s attorney request for a postponement and held Jhavier without bail. The new trail was set for July 29, 2019.

July 26th 2019 I spoke with the states attorney Megan again she advised me she would do everything in her power to help me. She advised me that she could not guarantee Jhavier would remain in jail. She told me that I would have to move as soon as possible. She referred my case to the House of Ruth relocation department. After the conversation with the state’s attorney I knew Jhavier would be released.

July 29, 2019 the state’s attorney advised me that Jhavier had already been in jail for 90 days, and she couldn’t guarantee that the judge would give Jhavier 10 years in prison. The state attorney advised me that she would offer Jhavier one additional year supervised probation. In December 2017 Jhavier was sentenced to 2 years supervised probation that would have ended December 2019, but now his probation won’t end until December 2020. Jhavier took the plea and like that he was free.

July 30th, 2019 my son and I where moved to a safe house in the middle of nowhere. I was alone in a strange town and advised to stay hidden until I was able to find new housing. I stayed in the safe house for 2 weeks, and then I was able to find new housing through the House of Ruth. I am thankful to the House of Ruth for helping me find housing and helping to keep me safe through this whole ordeal.

Tiger Stripes

” Behavior never lies” – Gary Blair

I was admitted to the hospital 12/14/2014 to start the labor process for my son. Jhavier showed up to the hospital 12/17/14. Jhavier and I hadn’t spoken since about July 2014 around the time I was six months pregnant. There was so much turmoil between Jhavier and I during my pregnancy that I decided it was best that we didn’t speak. When I was admitted to the hospital I didn’t call Jhavier to tell him. 

When Jhavier walked into the hospital room I was shocked. However if I’m going to be honest I was also happy. Even after everything we went through I was excited to know Jhavier wanted to see our son be born. When Jhavier walked through the door nothing matter not the domestic violence, not him beating my dog, not the Craigslist sex scandal nothing matter. 

December 19 2014 I had a emergency C section and gave birth to my son Joshua. I named him Joshua because Joshua means savior. Joshua my son my savior. 

Joshua weighed 9.8 pounds when he was born. He was rushed to the NICU because he was barely breathing. I was so scared for my son, and although my mother was by my side I wanted to see Jhavier. Our son was being rushed to the NICU and I didn’t know what to think. I blamed myself, and I blamed Jhavier. I blamed him for putting me through so much negativity while I was pregnant. I blamed myself for putting up with the drama for so long. Once again I was broken my son was hurting and I couldn’t do anything to fix that. The only person who could’ve imagined what I was going through was Jhavier. No one else could feel the pain, or understand my anxiety other than Jhavier. Joshua was our child our flesh and blood. 

However after I gave birth to our son Jhavier was kicked out of the hospital due to his behavior. I watched the hospital security drag him out the hospital. That was the most painful and embarrassing moment of my life. I understood Jhavier probably was nervous about Joshua, but that didn’t excuse his behavior. The nurses and the doctors advised Jhavier’s behavior was unacceptable. 

“Typical Jhavier” I thought to myself. 

“Why couldn’t he hold it together for our son? Why couldn’t he hold it together for me” I thought as I began to cry out loud. 

The next day I would spend all day running back and forth to the NICU bringing breast milk to my son. I decided that I would breast feed, and it was very hard. My son wouldn’t latch onto my breast so I had to pump my milk. Pumping milk was also difficult because I wasn’t producing a lot of breast milk. Not being able to breast feed my son made me feel extremely inadequate and sad. I felt like a horrible mom because of my breast feeding issues. No one told me how normal it is for women to have issues breastfeeding and because of that I felt sad. I felt guilty like maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a mother or I wasn’t fit to be a mother. 

Jhavier finally came back to the hospital around 5:30 pm to finally meet his son. He came with a card with a handwritten note thanking me for choosing life and given birth to his first born son. He apologized for everything he put me through and promised to be the best father ever. He also came with a cloth flower from the gift shop.

“Maybe just maybe being a father will make him grow up” I thought to myself as I accepted the gifts.

Our son was in the NICU for 5 days. I stayed in the hospital everyday with him and so did Jhavier. We both slept in the same small hospital bed together every night. If I needed help with dressing Jhavier helped me. If I was hungry he would get me food and it felt like the old times were back. The old times when we were young and in love with no drama, no violence, just love. Jhavier was sweet, he was my protector. He was so in love with our son he held him whenever he could. My perfect family was coming together I thought to myself. I was happy even if it was just for the moment.

December 24th Christmas Eve 2014 Joshua was released from the NICU. I went home with my mother, and Jhavier went home to wherever he lived. Our time as a family was over. Reality kicked in as soon as we left the hospital. My little family was no more. 

After I left the hospital Jhavier would call every couple of days to check on our son. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t call everyday but I realized our son couldn’t talk. 

February 04 2015 I brought Josh to see Jhavier. Jhavier finally had time to spend with Joshua and I was happy to bring him. Jhavier was renting out a small bedroom in a boarding house for men. He lived on the top floor and had a small twin size bed. His bedroom door didn’t lock and there was one shared bathroom. Being the only woman in a house full of men made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be there, but I wanted to make sure Jhavier could spend time with his son. 

Jhavier asked me if we could have sex. I declined. He seemed like he was okay with the rejection as long he still could be with his son. I was at Jhaviers house for about two hours and I asked him to pop some popcorn. He said no and told me to pop my own popcorn. The microwave was in the kitchen and I didn’t want to go into the kitchen with the men. The strange men in the boarding house who I did not know. I explained that to Jhavier and he became enraged. 

“You think your better than me. Your too good to go to my kitchen.” Jhavier said as he snatched the popcorn from me and threw it out his third floor window. I realized at that moment that Jhavier did not change. He was still the same evil women beater and I felt dumb. 

I started gathering my stuff and my son to leave. I had my son in one arm and his diaper bag in the other arm and I started walking to the door. 

“Bitch you can leave but leave my son” Jhavier said as he pushed me. I feel onto the bed with my son in my arms. Josh was barely three months old. I felt like I failed as a mother again. I knew Jhavier was unstable and still I came to his room with the hopes of being a family. It was my fault that my infant son was subjected to the foolery.

Jhavier apologized and begged me so stay. I left with our son and told Jhavier I would never come back. I told him he could still see our son but I would not bring our son to him. He would need to make the arrangements. I left his room that day, and Jhavier didn’t see Josh again until Josh’s dedication on June 14 2015.

I learned that day that Jhavier would never ever change. No matter how much I wished he would change. My heart was broken. Jhavier showed me who he was and I should’ve believed him.

To Blog or Not to Blog

The brighter the rainbow, the badder the weather

-Lil Wayne

I haven’t made a blog post in almost two months for a slew of different reasons. The main reason is because I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing by blogging. Don’t get me wrong I felt and I still feel like by sharing my stories I can help other women. I know I’m not the only woman who has dealt with domestic violence and I want women to know that they’re not alone in their fight for justice. I want women to know that they don’t deserve abuse and that they can walk away.

However writing about my experience opens the door for unwanted opinions. I knew that their would be backlash with me sharing my story and I thought I was ready to deal with it, but I would be lying if I said ignoring the hate is easy. My blog is not like Facebook it’s public and I can’t block unwanted people from coming to my page leaving rude comments or screenshotting my post. It’s an exhausting fight, but a fight that I’m willing to fight.

Writing about my struggles with anxiety and postpartum depression is also not easy. Sharing my struggle with anxiety and postpartum depression made me nervous because I did not want to be labeled crazy. My blog post Mind Games is about my struggle with panic attacks and anxiety. Recently someone took a screenshot of my post and shared it on social media with a caption that said “I knew this girl was mentally ill. I’ll never argue with a mentally ill patient ever again”. I saw that post and became sick to my stomach. Everything I write is real and honest and I’m not going to let anyone make me feel bad. I’m not the first or the last person to struggle with anxiety, or depression and I’m not ashamed. I’m not going to stop telling my story or sharing my struggle because I know sharing my struggles can help someone. I want all my readers to know your not crazy for having anxiety and I don’t want anyone to feel bad or ashamed. I’m sharing my story so that everyone struggling with depression or anxiety will know that they’re not alone. I share my story to encourage anyone struggling with mental illness to feel comfortable seeking help and therapy. Therapy is so important and I recommend everyone to seek therapy and counseling. I don’t feel ashamed and I don’t want anyone else to feel ashamed.

The last reason I was reluctant to blog is because of the emotions writing brings out of me. Every time I write about my past abuse it’s like I’m there in the moment all over again. I buried so many negative emotions away because I didn’t want to remember them. However once I started writing all those emotions and hidden memories came back and flooded my brain. My therapist told me that my blog was almost like a trauma journal. I’m realizing that this blog is helping me move forward in life and helping me to leave my past in the past.

I recently was asked to be a guest on the Rise Up Women Podcast. I talked about my past and I felt empowered. I feel empowered every time I speak out against abuse. I feel empowered every time I speak out against the stigma of mental health. I was given a gift to write and to speak to the world through my writing and I won’t let a few naysayers stop me! So I’m going to keep writing my blog and sharing my story. To blog is my choice! Stay tuned 😊

Click the link below to listen the Rise Up Women Podcast featuring me!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-3-interview-with-janay-kris/id1462716059?

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

Unplugged

Sometimes, you need to step outside, get some air and remind yourself who you are and who you want to be..

-Unknown

As I sent at my desk of my regular 9-5 I started thinking to myself Janay you should be happy. 

“Why should I be happy” I asked myself.

“Because your not homeless. Your relatively healthy, you have a job, and can pay most of your bills” I answered myself.

“Not homeless is a far stretch from living life in my Beverly Hills home. Relatively healthy is not healthy and let’s not even talk about bills” I answer myself striking down every positive thought I tried to have.

“At least you have a son that loves you” I thought to myself trying to remain positive

“Yes he loves you, but meanwhile your stuck in a never ending custody battle. All your friends are happily getting married or already married and having children. Their children are being birthed into complete happy homes” I replied once again striking down all the positive thoughts I tried to have.

The negative thoughts won that round. I just paused and went back to work.

A few days later I found myself mindlessly scrolling through social media while at work, and all of a sudden my negative thoughts came back

“Why can’t I vacation every month” I asked myself.

“Oh really they’re back on her arguing in the comments” I thought.

That’s when it all clicked I needed to take a break and unplug. Yes I was happy for my friends and family and their accomplishments, but I was forgetting how to be happy for myself. Seeing the constant bickering on social media was also starting to ware on my psyche. I was no longer living my life, instead I was living to see others lives. I was living to scroll and scrolling to live. I was addicted to social media and that was only making my depression and anxiety worst.

I decided to take a three month break from Facebook. I decided to live my life everyday for me and not for likes. I decided that I could no longer compare myself to my high school counterparts that I had not talked to in years. I decided that I could no longer compare myself to anyone, and I would live life at my own pace. No more scrolling and seeing a marriage announcement and feeling like I needed to be married right then and there. I would be married when the time was right. No longer seeing couples post their relationship goals and feeling like if I wasn’t in love at that moment I would never find love. I took the time away to realize what is meant for me will be for me, and I need to be satisfied with myself.

Three months turned into six months and I was no longer waking up in the middle of the night to see if my new pictures received one million likes yet. All of a sudden the positive side of my brain was the prominent side of my mind. I could no longer give into negative degrading thoughts.

I also started going to yoga and Zumba classes. I joined my local gym and started living my life offline. I found that I was much happier.

If you have found yourself in a rut maybe unplugging and temporarily removing yourself from social media can help. If social media isn’t your problem maybe finding out your triggers and removing them just for a small period of time will help.

Loving yourself can be hard at times, but we all have to remember that living yourself is very important! 💚