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Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Session 1

today was my first session of Prolonged Exposure Therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

I hope it is the first step to getting my life back.

today's session covered the protocol for imaginal exposure and in vivo exposure as well as a relaxation breathing exercise. the therapy is designed to expose the boogy-man to the light of day, so to speak.

the worst thing about PTSD is not that I keep reliving the incident itself (because there were so many) but I'm reliving the response to any stimuli that remind me of the trauma, so I'm jumpy all the time and I avoid situations where I might feel like I did during one of the many traumatic experiences I endured. over time it's become worse.

the goal of Prolonged Exposure Therapy is to change the way I think about traumatic events, to relive them, break them down, examine them over and over and fit them together like puzzle pieces until they don't push me into a fight-or-flight response. instead of sweeping them under emotional rugs or stuffing them into the closets of my mind, I'll go through a process of properly filing them away as memories... unpleasant ones, to be sure, but memories like any other. the mind has no trashcan. I can't throw the memories away, as much as I've wished to.

the program is two 1.5 hour sessions per week for five weeks. I'll be recording every session, then listening to the latest one between sessions. I expect it to be grueling.

I'll try to post updates as I progress.