Lily Burana (burana) Wed 22 Apr 09 12:29
>>>From (castle): And having said that, I'm wondering if you would talk a little bit about EMDR. I was so shocked and pleased when I read that about you, because it's not yet a universally-accepted treatment, and yet it's one that I have found to be so remarkably effective myself that I was happy that you had found it, too. I keep going back to it as more and more things come up, and I'm wondering if you and Mike did as well. I had to learn that trauma is trauma, and what traumatizes one person may not leave even a psychic scratch on another! So, I, too, went through the "Oh, it wasn't bad enough to be considered TRAUMA" doubt as well. Because, you know, shaking a small child and telling her you will kill her is no big deal, right? Unfortunately, if I were to tally up all the people I know, even casually, who've made it known that they were traumatized as children by neglect, physical or emotional abuse, or violation--even within their own family--it'd be quite a full score sheet. EMDR is controversial--some people consider it a scam and junk science and all that. I acknowledge this. But I had gotten to the point where talk therapy--the accepted practice--wasn't working. What was I going to do? Try nothing and die? My depression was so severe, I was desperate for any alternative. If it didn't involve brain surgery or electroshock therapy, I was willing to try it. I figured that EMDR didn't cost any more than talk therapy, and didn't take any longer, and didn't require me to take strange drugs or move into a yurt in the middle of nowhere or give up my life savings, so what did I have to lose? Granted, I found a great practitioner, so I was fortunate. I wouldn't recommend just going to see any ol' person who tells you to think up your most painful memory and follow a pencil with your eyes, back and forth, ya know? In the wrong hands, bad "trauma therapy" can make things worse. So skills and credentials are of the essence. Author Pam Houston, she of "Cowboys Are My Weakness," wrote the first article I'd ever read about EMDR, years ago in, I think, ELLE. She was very discreet about her abuse--I'm not sure what type it was--but she pursued EMDR to help quiet her mind and her heart. She found it very effective, and one of the things she noticed was that after EMDR, her lifelong fascination with physical danger abated dramatically. She lost the pressing urge to tackle insane river rapids and climb really dangerous mountains and tack herself to people who were no good for her. Her inner daredevil retired, and I never lost that "a ha!" feeling that came upon reading that. That may sound like a loss to some people, like your fire of life is snuffed out, but I assure you, it's no big asset to live in thrall to an inner demon leading you to the brink of physical, social, or psychological peril, and whispering "JUMP! DO IT! PROVE THAT YOU CAN!" That demon can lead you to the bottom of a ravine or leave you a puddle of blood in a hotel room somewhere. That demon has a score to settle, and it won't shut up until you're toast. The demon is the dark shadow of your protective self, trying to keep you "safe" by luring you into the danger zone for a practice drill: "If you can survive *this*," the demon tells you, "you can survive anything. Even the stuff that terrorized you before." Hair of the dog, I guess. I've def. done some more EMDR around this book coming out, since part of my trauma is the fear of being hurt if I don't perform perfectly. EMDR to the rescue!!! And it 100% cured my writer's block, when nothing else would. I'm not saying it's a miracle cure. It isn't. It is simply one aspect of a treatment plan that has worked very well for me. Mileage most certainly varies!!!
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 22 Apr 09 17:41
You write about it so well and somehow so objectively! I really admire the perspective you are able to bring the narrative. You've described how you use EMDR, and Pam Houston's experience of it, and I would just like to say a couple of words about mine, just to demonstrate how mileage varies. I have a lot to work on, and I've been doing the work for a very long time. One of the numerous triggers for me was bathing, so taking a shower would inevitably start a newsreel of abuse playing in my head, reducing me to tears, and what a way to start the day! EMDR stopped the newsreel, but in an interesting way: it was as if there were a stuck record playing for years in my head, and EMDR simply gently pushed the needle past the groove where the record was stuck. I didn't forget the incidents, but I could suddenly see them in perspective, I could see them chronologically, and in relation to each other which gave me new information I simply couldn't see before. Now, as I continue with EMDR, I keep uncovering what I think of as little clotheslines that suddenly unfold with memories attached like notes with clothespins. They don't bring new trauma, they untangle and smooth out what was already there, providing relief like unbunching uncomfortable chafing clothes. And new realizations consequently abound. Your book gave me a name for one of them: "I've got your six." I realized that no one has ever had my six before, and knowing that, and having a name for it showed me why previous relationships failed and what to look for in any future relationship. I had recently heard that term when someone said "cover my six" and I had been puzzling over it. So, Lily, you've done a mitzvah and you didn't even know it!
Lily Burana (burana) Thu 23 Apr 09 12:12
I am glad to have helped! I am also glad, Linda, that you've found help. I totally relate to your clothesline metaphor! Now, it's a bit of an awkward juncture to answer Amy and Paula's "What's Up with Petraues" question, given the latest news. In 2006, I published a New York Times Op-Ed piece about the change in the Army's camouflage from the old woodland battle dress uniform to the modern, digitized "army combat uniform." So, that's BDU to ACU. Everyone keeping up here? It's the Army--acronyms abound... Here's the piece, FYI: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/05/opinion/05burana.html A short while after its publication, I get a letter from an aide to a general, complimenting me on the piece and making a few professional inquiries on behalf of said general. I looked up from my email and asked Mike, "Have you ever heard of some guy named General Petraeus," and I will never forget how his face looked. "SOME guy? SOME guy? Petraeus is THE guy!" (commence spousal jaw-drop) --I should say in my defense, this was pre-surge, so he wasn't yet A Household Name. I can be forgiven, then, yes? For not recognizing the name?-- We had a little email back and forth since. And of course I sent him the book. Turns out that Petraeus' (who is West Point Class of '75) aide was once our neighbor on West Point! Small Army, as they say.
Lily Burana (burana) Thu 23 Apr 09 12:13
So I am sharing this story with you as a precursor to the latest news: West Point has cancelled by book signing at the Cadet Bookstore! Apprently, they will not welcome me there at this time. It was scheduled months ago for this upcoming Tuesday, April 28th, but was cancelled a few days ago. No satisfactory reason given. Just pulled the plug. Suddenly, I feel like a plotline on "Army Wives."
Jef Poskanzer (jef) Thu 23 Apr 09 12:30
Lena M. Diethelm (lendie) Thu 23 Apr 09 12:31
You need "The Unit" to set them straight.
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Thu 23 Apr 09 12:33
Hmm. What if Mike went in there and, um, pulled rank?
Travis Bickle has left the building. (divinea) Thu 23 Apr 09 12:38
Lily, is that an AAFES operation, or a direct division of the Point itself?
Lily Burana (burana) Thu 23 Apr 09 13:22
Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Thu 23 Apr 09 13:51
Have you mentioned this in any of your other press?
Wagner James Au (wjamesau) Thu 23 Apr 09 16:11
GET PETRAEUS' PEOPLE ON THE HORN TO KICK UP A STINK!
Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 23 Apr 09 18:21
Have they done that to any other authors before?
Lily Burana (burana) Fri 24 Apr 09 04:31
<scribbled by burana Fri 24 Apr 09 04:31>
Lily Burana (burana) Fri 24 Apr 09 04:32
As far as I've heard, this hasn'thappened before. I'm sure there are people whom they wouldn't choose to invite, based on the interest of their customers, bu this isn't that situation exactly. Wish I had more information but I don't. Anyway, headin' to DC for the weekend for a conference, so presence here will be slim-to-none. Will be happy to take up the inkwell action again when I return on Monday. I'm going to a military blogger's conference, so that should be very interesting!!!!
Lily Burana (burana) Fri 24 Apr 09 12:23
Sorry for the crappy formatting on that last post. Wow. Nice work. I'm in DC!! Staying right near the Iwo Jima monument, which took my breath away when I saw it. That's one wonderful thing about DC: Monuments and memorials and other historical sites weave into your view all of the time.
Lily Burana (burana) Sun 26 Apr 09 19:18
I'm back from DC--a town I used to dislike but now find wonderfully invigorating! Let's pick up where we left off, shall we...? .y
tub of homogenous filth (tpy) Sun 26 Apr 09 19:23
glad you sre back and hope my homeland treated you well. any news on the reading cancellation?
Lily Burana (burana) Sun 26 Apr 09 19:32
I thought of you as we rolled by Odenton/Route 32. I am always amused to see signs, near the NSA headquarters, for the American Cryptology Museum. I wonder, "WHY advertise it? Wouldn't cryptology buffs prefer to decode a less obvious sign? Perhaps one written in heiroglyphics?" In a wee spasm of sentimentality, I snapped a photo of the Fort Meade exit sign. Meade is rapidly expanding, and I hear from women who live near there all the time, so it is poised to become a more widely known post. It was not easy to live through Mike's deployment alone in the Ft. M. area, however, on balance, we have a fair amount of good memories attached to the place, including his homecoming. At the Military Bloggers conference, I met the legendary "Air Force Wife," a self-described "misery blogger" who famously blogged about her husband's homecoming, when she ran to meet him in the crowded room packed with the returning unit and its families, then she tripped and fell flat on her face in front of everyone. LEGEND!!!!!
Lily Burana (burana) Sun 26 Apr 09 19:34
Margaret, since it was a weekend, there wasn't any movement on the West Point front. This is all I got: http://chronicle.com/news/article/6376/west- point-cancels-book-signing-event-by-army-wife or, tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/c6dc9n I am psyched to get these cupcakes! This baker, who is the wife of a soldier and she sets up shop wherever he is stationed, is the BEST! Cupcake joy must go on, despite any change in venue.
Paula Span (pspan) Mon 27 Apr 09 09:52
I posted on the chronicle site, and maybe some others would like to, as well. It is true, as was said in the byline conf., that this contretemps will likely get you more press than the actual event, so I am happy to try to keep it going. And that was a classy gesture from Petraeus, too. So interesting how the big guys often are secure enough not to sweat every comment a writer might make, or to argue about a conclusion. It's the small fry -- like maybe a bookstore manager at West Point or her supervisor -- who gets all scaredy-cat.
Paulina Borsook (loris) Mon 27 Apr 09 10:08
'the book west point didnt want you to read!'
life hurts. science is fun! (carolen) Mon 27 Apr 09 12:35
Well that's the crazy thing, because isn't the WP bookstore stocking your book, Lily? They just won't let you give a reading?
Lily Burana (burana) Mon 27 Apr 09 14:14
I do not pretend to understand a single thing about the situation! There's lots of whispering here and there, but nothing conclusive/official by way of a reason. Maybe I need to get the Wired for War guy to hook me up with some DOD robotics guys. They can craft a "spouse-bot" for me--bomb-proof, I hope-- that can roll into places I am not welcome and act in my stead. Heck, if the 'bot bakes, cleans, and walks dogs as well, I'll take two! Paula, I was very touched to get the vote of confidence from Petraeus. It wasn't a wife who canceled the reading officially. Wives, by and large, have been giving me nothing but raves, but then again, they do, to the last one, always mention That One Wife you come across who is like the lady next door on "Bewitched." I guess that archetype is a tradition, of sorts, embraced by a meddlesome few.
Lily Burana (burana) Mon 27 Apr 09 14:15
To shift a bit, from today's mailbag, I bring you an anecdote! In I Love a Man in Uniform, I wrote about how military wives are relentlessly polite, with a never-ending cycle of thank-you notes going back and forth. To wit, when I did Operation Bombshell at Fort Hood, the class (all wives) presented me with a beautiful handmade thank-you card afterward, as well as a thoughtful gift. I, in turn, sent R, the wife who coordianted the class (and made the card herself!), a thank-you note for all her help, plus a gift. Guess what I got in the mail today?! A THANK YOU NOTE FROM HER!!!! ARMY WIFE COURTESY-EXCHANGE HAT TRICK! I think I may raise the stakes here and send her a thank-you note for her thank-you note! Let's see how long we can keep this thing goin'. I figure by the 2011, we will warrant our own spot in the Guinness Book.
Paulina Borsook (loris) Mon 27 Apr 09 15:06
could the thank you note morph into some other courtesy, like, i dunno, a gift to project heifer or a gift from localharvest.org --- but i suspect this could turn into a neverending potlatch. just wondering if something useful/gifty could come from this exchange of courtesies...
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