I bet you are wondering why this is called the girl in the boat.....well shortly after I got Bert he gave me the strength to seek support by way of counselling. Following my retirement from the Police and the psychiatrist report saying that I would never work in a normal capacity again, that I would need lifelong treatment to deal with CPTSD I started EMDR.
It was February 2020 when I entered my third session. It was hardgoing. The first and second one sent me into downward spiral again. Reliving really traumatic incidents that nearly put me into an early grave through suicide! Reliving how the job treated me, and how the nightmares affected me. It was a battleground for my mind. I didn't know if I was coming or going! I managed to get to Service dogs after my second session and talk to fellow service people who had been through it and I nearly gave up. I didn't want to relive the pain, the sadness, the worry and most of all the fear.
The third session came around and I forced myself to go. I was anxious, but he used a different technique after I told him how I felt after session one and two. One where I was on a train and he waved his finger in front of my face! Now I don't know what this guy was doing, but for some reason I was in a bit of a trance and talking freely about what was going on.
He then asked me a question about my school life - one that I have referred too before about being bullied. He said that with all that had happened in the Police that this affected me also. It gave me vulnerability. He asked me to look around the room and tell him what picture stood out.
The girl in the boat....... I had never seen the image before but I was mesmerized by it. He asked me why I liked the picture. I said because she looks strong, she looks resilient, she doesn't care if she falls in the water! Her bold body language shows she has not a care in the world! That is who I want to be! So much can be learnt from that picture! He continued on and asked me to talk about the scared young girl at the window of the school. The one where she felt no-one wanted to know her, to play with her. He asked me to imagine that window and then to talk about the girl in the boat. From that moment, I became that girl in the boat and I had no idea what was about to unfold in the days ahead. Don't misunderstand me here, it didn't stop my PTSD in that moment but it gave me a memory that I could talk about without breaking down in tears. It gave me a moment where I didn't fear, but I felt courageous. A moment when I am in my darkest of places, to remember that picture....the girl in the boat, the fearless girl! I have moments where I don't feel like her, but for the times I feel strong.....I am her.
Be that girl in the boat! Be the person that doesn't matter if you fall. Pick yourself back up and keep trying! That is life's lesson to us all! It doesn't matter if you get soaking wet, just climb aboard and join in the ride! Enjoy the moment!