Monday, September 23, 2013


Every time I dissolve into tears and those tears, instead of cleansing, dissolve into more tears and a spiral down into depression and anxiety, I realize I'm worrying about the same things. I'm stuck. It's the SSDD syndrome: Same Shit, Different Day.

I KNOW worrying about the future is pointless. I KNOW accepting myself is crucial. I KNOW I'll eventually find meaningful work again. I KNOW that I won't be alone forever. I KNOW there is hope for me. But none of that knowledge stops me from turning back to my old comfortable fears and self-doubts. I'm a burden on others, I don't belong with anyone. I don't have my own family. The holidays are approaching. I'll always be alone. I'll never find my family. What if I never get to be a mom? Should I go back to school? Should I go back to teaching? What if I die alone in my house and my cats eat my corpse?

I want to shake myself. How can I know with such deep understanding that these doubts and worries are unfounded and STILL feel them and think them? Still let them keep me awake at night? Let them bind my muscles up into knots, paralyze me, keep me from flourishing? This is the wall I keep running into whenever I work on myself in therapy. After reading up on trauma, and especially complex trauma, I've discovered that traditional talk therapy can usually get us to the point at which we can see these patterns in our thinking (which is essential) but those of us who've suffered trauma might not get past this and into a place of healing and change without a different approach. It looks like working with mindfulness, body awareness, and the way memories and beliefs are stored in the brain might be the way to break past this barrier. The newest breakthroughs in therapy are in these areas. Hakomi training is this new stuff. It's only in the last 20-30 years that it has surfaced, so many therapists haven't been trained yet. I'm guessing this is where the field of therapy is headed, though.

Here's what the website says about Hakomi:

Hakomi helps people change “core material.”  Core material is composed of memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns and deeply held emotional dispositions. It shapes the styles, habits, behaviors, perceptions and attitudes that define us as individuals. Typically, it exerts its influence unconsciously, by organizing our responses to the major themes of life: safety, belonging, support, power, freedom, control, responsibility, love, appreciation, sexuality, spirituality, etc. Some of this material supports our being who we wish to be, while some of it, learned in response to acute and chronic stress, continues to limit us. Hakomi allows the client to distinguish between the two, and to willingly change material that restricts his or her wholeness.
Hakomi is an experiential psychotherapy: Present, felt experience is used as an access route to core material; this unconscious material is elicited and surfaces experientially; and changes are integrated into the client’s immediate experience.
Hakomi is a body-centered, somatic psychotherapy: the body serves as a resource that reflects and stores formative memories and the core beliefs they have generated, and also provides significant access routes to core material.

After spending an hour with a Hakomi therapist the other day, without telling her how I've been feeling about traditional talk therapy, she verified exactly what I've experienced. Talking about my core issues that limit me always ends up at the same impasse: I KNOW the thoughts aren't helpful but I still FEEL them and keep thinking them.

She seemed to fully understand the frustration and gave me hope that she had the goods that (with my hard work, too) would help unravel some of this stuff.

So, we'll see where this goes.


  1. Cassie, I'm right there with you in the panic and anxiety department. My husband died in the middle of the night of a heart attack. This past Saturday night, I was lucky to get two hours sleep. Panic and anxiety often keep me up at night. The first year after my husband died, I was often up cleaning house in the middle of the night because I couldn't sleep. I felt so loved and protected by my husband for 16 years that I now feel alone in an insane world. What if this happens; what if that happens? What if I'm sick and there's no one to help me? What if I die in my sleep and no one comes for days? What if this breaks or that breaks? What if the car stops in the middle of traffic? Who do I call; what do I do? How do I manage to age alone? Panic and anxiety in the middle of the night, in the dark, is terrifying. My husband died around 3;00 a.m. and I wake most nights at 3:00 a.m. I can close my eyes and relive the absolute panic when I realized something was wrong and my husband wasn't breathing, wasn't moving. Oh my God, the love of my life was dying and I had to attempt CPR and wait for the paramedics. Along with my "new normal" that I despise, I now live with panic and anxiety too. Please keep us informed on what you learn and how we can lessen this terror that we live with along with the grief.

  2. Like your explanation of "SSDD syndrome: Same Shit, Different Day". I'm stuck too, part of that is I'm still getting rid of "his stuff" so I can move, 3 years into it. Pissing and moaning as I go thru it all, day after day, SSDD is so appropriate.

    Hakomi sounds interesting, take whatever approach you need to move on from where you're stuck. A combination of them all might work too.
    I have finally told myself to lighten up, don't have the expectations that others think you should...I am where I'm at, and it's taking much longer than I ever realized to get this far. I try not to beat myself up, and just accept what is each day; some days there are few tears, others I feel like I'm back at day one again, and the questions start all over (How am I gonna do this? where will I live? what will I do? will I ever be happy again? will I ever find someone to be my partner? on and on).

    Good luck with your new therapist. Nice that you are able to find someone and try alternative therapies.

  3. I too am suffering severe anxiety. Mine has just hit be like gang busters the last few weeks. I had it before, but nothing like I do now. I'm trying to call a therapist, but that gives me even more anxiety. Can't sleep, feel like crap, I'm tired, I'm alone. I too wonder, what if I'm sick? REally sick, who is going to take care of me. I don't want to be a burden to my kids. I just want my husband back. It's been a 14 months, how much longer before I love life again

  4. OMG, by all means keep us posted! I could totally use this too (as I know you know).