For the longest time I found myself saying "Home is where my dog is."
And for 17.5 years - this was a reliable compass.
In some ways, I’m still grappling with the loss of my favorite little buddy. In other ways, I starting my grieving process almost 3 years ago - when I started actively seeking a therapist.
I fully recognize that 2020+ was rough af for the majority of the world, and that my personal experience isn’t unique.
In some ways, 2020+ can still go eff itself. In other ways, I’m grateful for the lessons, catalysts, and transformations that occurred and unraveled.
I took part of that time to go live in Florida with my brother, and did something I said I would NEVER do - I packed up my car and drove the 12+ hours from Charlotte to Fort Lauderdale. This was actually our first time being around each other for more than a week-ish - yep, complicated family stories there. What we lacked in proximity, we shared in trauma. Throw in A LOT of free time + reading books on trauma and I found myself in quite the storm. On my darkest night, I bargained with my demons - that as long as Fizzgig was kicking it, I wouldn’t make any decisions that couldn’t be reversed. Tbh - my reasons here were both heroic and also a bit odd so let’s not give me too much credit, but also maybe I was super smart in my bargaining powers.
When I woke up the next day, my search for a therapist trained in EMDR* technique began and wouldn’t be successful until 8 months later. I knew I would need reserves, and I couldn’t delay.
While stressful, my effort to find the right therapist was totally worth it! Through EMDR and other techniques, we’ve been working on creating a sense of home in myself, and by myself. Working through years of chaos, unhealthy attachment, and patterning - and I’m not doing it totally alone. In the past few years, we’ve worked to build a steady and stable client-therapist relationship.
I’m quite positive that my heart will always have a Fizzgig-sized hole in it - AND I’m learning that our connection didn’t end, it just looks different now. This reckoning also came with help and support.
For me now, home looks like:
And I’m still learning how to feel at home in and with myself - as I continue to evolve and transform.
And I’m still learning.
*EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy (Shapiro, 2001) was initially developed in 1987 for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unlike other treatments that focus on directly altering the emotions, thoughts and responses resulting from traumatic experiences, EMDR therapy focuses directly on the memory, and is intended to change the way that the memory is stored in the brain, thus reducing and eliminating the problematic symptoms. During EMDR therapy, you will experience standardized procedures, which incorporate the use of eye movements and other forms of rhythmic left-right (bilateral) stimulation (e.g., tones or taps). While clients briefly focus on the memory and simultaneously experience bilateral stimulation (BLS), the vividness and emotion of the memory are reduced.
Sourced from the American Psychology Association
Useful books for me:
Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
For folks in need without the luxury of health insurance:
Open Path Collective - a nonprofit nationwide network of mental health professionals dedicated to providing in-office and online mental health care—at a steeply reduced rate—to clients in need.