Make it stop, does it ever take a break, that little voice that never shut-up in my head. Replaying and becoming stuck on every real, and futuristic situation you have ever faced. RRT which is a form of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. This therapy is so awesome for that you do not have to relive, or even recall details of the traumatic event. It is called a bottom-up process and just focuses on relocating and detaching the physical pain from the mental pain.
I was introduced to Rapid Resolution Therapy during my stay in a local rehab felicity. During this time all of the horrible events came rushing back, with having nothing to quiet them down. The counselors were not interested in my past, or what even lead up to alcohol abuse, they just wanted to make my life drug free. Being drug-free was just a holding place for me, I knew that if these trauma’s and anxieties were not treated, my life would be full of alcohol abuse, destruction and no real relationships or future.
The room was silent, filled with patients and concerned loved ones. A tall, nicely dressed gentleman walked into the room and introduced himself. “ Hi, I’m Dr. Q, A trauma therapist, and I am here today to talk about trauma’s and anxieties related to drug addiction.” I was hooked and latched onto every word he said. After the lecture was over, I promptly went up to him and introduced myself as his newest patient. I am sure he gets this all the time, but there was a look of seriousness and desperation in my eyes. He talked with me briefly and handed me his card, which I put in a safe place, so I could call my mom later, and tell her all about this treatment I really wanted to look into.
That evening when everything has settled down from that day, I made a call to my mom, and she called and made me an appointment. Patients in rehab get top priority, so I was able to get in that following week. The week leading up to that day was torturous, with many restless nights, sleepy days with panic and fear just pouring out of me. My fellow rehabbers helped me through each situation the best they could, mainly just listening.
Appointment day arrived, filled with joy, anxieties, and curiosity my mom pulled up to the treatment center, and signed me out for the day. In the first session with Dr. Q all I knew was that it was video taped, and it lasted up to 5 hours, but no shorter than 2.5.
The tape started, Dr. Q started asking me questions.
“ So Bree, what pleasure do I have of treating with you?
“ I can not get my mind to shut-up, I am having, and have had these vivid flashbacks.I am unable to fully put my head underwater, whether it is in a pool, or shower, in fear it brings back such hard emotions, and physical pain.”
“ My sleep is anything but restless, although I do not know what is going on, I thrash, kick, yell, and scream, most of the time it is for help, and or fear, of what is going on within my subconscious mind.”
“ I always feel somebody is trying to harm me, I have kept a huge secret my whole life, “ That I was a victim of a sexual assault at the age of 13 and again at 23.”
“ I also want to understand why I choose alcohol as my go to, and that when I do drink, 9 out of 10 times it would trigger horrible, vivid and real flash backs, to the point where I am unable to move from fear.”
“ I shower at least 4 times a day, but never felt clean, and or even relaxed.” This started in early childhood, I would say around age 4.”
“ I worry and stress about literally everything, in my control and not in my control, but should be. Control gives me the power that was taken away from me at such a young age.” There becomes a point in which I want control so bad, that I start to gain control in other ways, such a not eating, working out, art, and the worst but most often drinking.”
“ I have no cried actual tears since childhood, crying was embedded in me that it was a sign of weakness, and not allowed.” NOTE My parents have never told me crying was bad, or a sign of weakness, we think one of my babysitters might of.”
After expressing all of this he said to me “ What would a life without all this pain look like to me”.
This was something so unimaginable to me, I just teared up, bit my lip hard and said wonderful! He then asked me to pick an object that represents something meaningful and strong to me. My choice The Lotus Flower, so from this point on I am to imagine the Lotus Flower, as my end result. To be unharmed by all that is around me, and to flourish beautifully even though I have been to the depths of darkness and back.
As the season contained I grew more and more skeptical about RRT, It did not feel like anything was going on expect a series of the same questions asked different ways. Then once my guard was completely down he asked me to close my eyes and imagine myself in a body of water. “ I imminently opened my eyes, and said no way!” He told me he would be here the whole time, and he just needed that panic, and fear to happen so he could get my brain back on track.
So I closed my eyes once again, gripping the pillow tight I imagined myself in a body of water.” I felt my heart starting to beat uncontrollably, my hands became shaky and sweating, and my breathing became labored. He had me right where he needed me. Just as I was about to freak out he had me think of the lotus flower, take a deep breath and open my eyes.
I looked around the room with blurred vision, I did not know what just happened. It took all of few moments to get a panic, terrified and real emotion out of me. The worst part is over. Having and showing these raw emotions was a golden opportunity for both myself and Dr.Q. He now broke down the event, making me close my eyes again at each stressful moment and to focus on my Lotus Flower, and his voice. As the hours passed by I became more and more tired.
We took a nice lunch break and went out to get food. As conversation started, doing our best to not talk about the session but more about my family, how they took to me being a lesbian, my girlfriend who I see as my wife one day. It felt so great to talk with a professional, as an adult and for them not to just jump to labeling me this or that. He wanted to make sure that coming out wasn’t a traumatizing or troubling situation, which he discovered that it had been. Setting that aside for our next visit, we already had so much to cover, and we both knew it couldn’t be completed by today. As lunch finished up we headed back to his office, and into the room, turning on the camera as we walked in.
It took Dr. Q a little bit to get me back into the mind frame where he needed me. In this part of the session, he wanted to focus on detaching my physical response to the troubling event, so that when I think of the event, those physiological responses won’t happen. Than as he was talking to me, the response happened tears started to fill my eyes, and my body started to shake a little, the moment he saw this he asked me what was going through my mind, and for me to shut my eyes and think of that Lotus flower, I dug my nails deep into my thighs, He imminently asked me to open my eyes, and to stop. Something deeper was going on, he wanted to know what. He kept asking me “ What just happened.”, “ What made you grip so tightly to,” I told him I was too scared to move forward, and that I really wanted to be done for the day. As we closed the session, he told me that he was looking forward to helping me more, and to call him if I am having any problems.
Back to rehab
As I make my way back to the rehab felicity I notice that my body is so weak, and my mind can’t even form a sentence. I see a group of my friends waiting to greet me by a door, all asking questions about my sessions. Seeing Dr.Q was a luxury, one that many rehabbers didn’t have, my heart breaks for them, but this is my time to just focus on me, and because I am privileged I am able to seek the best care possible. The advice I gave everybody, who would be attending a Dr. Q session, is to be open, and expect to be talked raw by the end of it, and have really no idea of what or how you all of a sudden feel lighter but mentally drained. Dr. Q is still in my treatment plan today, we meet every 2-3 weeks after I graduated rehab. Today I only see him every other month, unless a crisis strikes me. He says my progress is outstanding, but he wants me in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy two to three times a week.
Out of rehab and to this day
I have been out of rehab for over two years now, and see great improvement even with setbacks. Today I am able to put my whole face underwater, and shower without any triggers for flashbacks, or self-harm. My alcohol abuse is limited to a few days to a week at a time. I know that sounds like a lot, but when this happens we know it is time for me to go for RRT again. It is so important for me always stay in check with my mind, body, and to listen to that noise in my head, whether it is conscious or sub conscious. My sleep’s are still restless, and many nights are spent awake and or waking up in a complete panic, and can not go back to sleep for hours, but I am happy to say that my last session got my drinking under control, and we had a break through with me opening up and talking about what was really hurting me even if it was so painful to face, I would come out stronger overall. Getting help in any form of therapy is a great idea, there is help within every budget, and or insurance plan. Wellness does not happen over night, but with one foot forward and just the hint of willingness you can be on the path to peace and recovery.
Dr. Quintal’s Website