Wednesday 15 January 2020

Trauma Focused CBT: Session Six

(Trigger Warning: Mentions of Abortion, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth)

I went into session six feeling quite positive, after seeing a friend the day before. I'm finding making plans with friends gives me something to look forward to, and distracts me from things. I'm trying to talk about abortion more with close friends too (and actually use the term "abortion" rather than "termination", in order to face my fear of using that term).

My last piece of homework for CBT was to list my 10 most to least feared situations related to my trauma. For me, these include saying the word "abortion" out loud, looking at a pregnancy scan, conversations/television storylines about other people's abortions, miscarriages, or stillbirths, conversations about my traumatic abortion (especially details), and hearing an anti-choice person's opinion of abortion. The latter one is my most feared as it challenges a very personal decision and puts the blame of my trauma on me.

I have recently managed to say "abortion" out loud and pregnancy scans don't make me feel as down now. I can't totally explain why certain things trigger me, but some make more sense than others I suppose.

I decided to focus more on the positive side of things in this latest session, as I wanted to remind myself what I'd actually achieved and I wanted to see for myself if I had progressed. I'm definitely taking baby steps, but there is a definite improvement in how I react to certain things. My therapist was so pleased to hear this, which made me worry that she would make this the last session (I'm so used to mental health professionals cutting off support at the slightest hint of progress) but thankfully she does want to see me again and hasn't even mentioned bringing these sessions to an end.

My homework for the next session is to go through 2 or 3 of the "feared situations" and try to face them. We discussed which ones I could manage, and which I would struggle too much with. We decided that I would watch a storyline about baby loss or abortion, look at a pregnancy scan, and try to talk more about my abortion. So far I've managed to do these without too much panic. I'm finding it so helpful to have learnt skills to help cope with the feelings I have when exposed to these situations. If I'm properly triggered by something, it's very hard to use the skills (Safe Place, Breathing Exercises, Grounding etc) but if I can "nip it in the bud" so to say, then I can avoid or minimise the triggered feelings.

So overall I'm finding I am very slowly progressing, but I do still need at least a few more sessions of therapy. I'm being realistic too. My therapist and I agree that I'll never be totally desensitised to talk of/memories of my abortion, but I will be able to get to a point where I can still function with these things on my mind. Maybe I can even lessen/stop the flashbacks I get.

My next session is on Monday, and I will try not to leave it so long before I blog about it.


What Does It Mean to be Triggered?

Amy's Mystery Illness- Trauma Focused CBT: Sessions 3-5

Symptoms of PTSD