Anxiety, Emotions, PTSD, Therapy

Tackling the shower

I’m still working on it. It’s extremely slow going. And that frustrates me. I made good gains the first week and a half or so. I consistently made it up to about two minutes before freaking out. Lately I’ve been doing good if I make it past 30 seconds. And that frustrates me. But I’m not giving up on it.

I did end up going to Bath and Body Works, but not buying anything. The two pairs of dress pants and the blazer (for job interviews) had something to do with it. But I think it was Austin that said to me that perhaps I feel like I don’t deserve it. And that was a part of it.

So I compromised. I found some Suave products that smelled good (and were a lot cheaper). The one I settled on (after a long time thinking about it) was the Toasted Vanilla and Sugar shampoo and matching body wash. No conditioner, I don’t have enough hair to need it.

And actually, my skin feels better using that body wash than it did with the cheap bar soap I was buying at the dollar store. I don’t have as bad dry skin as before.

Anyway. When I saw my therapist on Tuesday we talked a bit about the shower. One of the things I’m afraid of is losing control. I’m a total control freak. Control of my thoughts. Control of the memories. Control of my emotions. She suggested that perhaps I should go ahead and let myself lose control in the shower. Just stand there and freak out and cry and let all that stuff come to the surface. Nothing bad will happen (as if I believe that). In essence, doing the same sort of thing as with the shower in general. Desensitizing myself to those fears.

I don’t think I can do it right now. I need to retain my control. In fact, I’m hanging onto it for dear life. But it’s something I’m willing to try in the future. It worries me that allowing myself to do that now would push me over the edge to cutting or even worse. Maybe when I’m feeling a bit more stable.

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6 thoughts on “Tackling the shower”

  1. Have you only got a shower, or have you got a bath tub as well? If so, maybe you’d enjoy baths instead and wouldn’t have to struggle with the idea of the shower? I know this would just be circumventing the problem, but most of us spend a good part of our lives avoiding problems. Sometimes we have to face up to them, sometimes we don’t need to.

    M

  2. Hi M.

    It’s the typical bathtub/shower combo type thing that are in most houses in my area.

    Problem is the bath tub is SMALL. I’m not that tall (somewhere between 5′ 6” and 5′ 7”) but it’s definitely uncomfortable to take a bath in it.

    And for some reason, I feel like this is one of those things that I need to tackle. I’m tired of this dominating my life.

  3. I like the idea of letting yourself lose control, but it does need to be in a safe place. Have you been able to freak out and cry in therapy? What about anywhere in your house that’s less triggering? Invite a trusted friend over to keep you safe while you freak out fully clothed standing in the dry shower? What about setting a timer, and having a timed freakout — thirty seconds to try your hardest to cry and freak, and then stop when the timer goes off?

  4. Hi Marcy.

    No, I haven’t been able to freak out or cry in front of my therapist. I’ve been seeing her roughly 2 months. But I don’t feel entirely comfortable with her. I think that will come in time though.

    I do sorta like the idea of a timed freak out. The part that scares me about that is whether or not I’d have the ability to end when the timer goes off.

    Just more stuff to think about I guess.

  5. Maybe you could create a safe and soothing place-to-go and thing-to-do for when the timer goes off. Have a cup of tea, a book, a candle, a friend, or whatever you would find comforting, already set up and ready to go, and go sit there with it when the timer ends… Or if thirty seconds is too long, try something even shorter — where you don’t get into the fullness of freaking, just a start, which may be easier to get back out of.

  6. It occurred to me later that there’s a continuum of control… it really does take a lot to get absolutely out of control. Maybe there are ways you can lose a little bit of control in one area or another, and that would feel safer. Also, when I felt I was losing control in the earliest parts of my PPD, I found that I reached a limit — I would be in a huge panic attack, unable to stop crying and feeling scared, but that was it — I was still conscious, still aware of my surroundings, still able to talk (though in a high pitched trembly voice), still able to talk with others to work out a plan for my help. I felt terribly out of control, and yet once I was there, it wasn’t as complete as I thought it would be.

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