What if You Fell Into a Hole.

Posted By on Feb 13, 2018 | 2 comments


What if You Fell Into a Hole?
By Z Zoccolante

 

What if you fell into a hole and you couldn’t get out?
Would you eat yourself?
What part would you start with first?

 

This weekend I was reminded of the bright, fuzzy poem above that my brother wrote in high school.

 

This weekend I was at an EMDR seminar (eye movement desensitization reprocessing). In short, EMDR is a fantastic therapy tool to help the brain reprocess memories that have been stored improperly in the brain. Usually, those frozen memories are traumatic, both large or small. Those frozen memories are the ones that repeat in our minds on an unhealthy loop or cause us to become triggered from 0 to 10.

 

A trained EMDR clinician uses eye movements to help a client’s brain process the memory in a healthy way. When the memory has been reprocessed the person can function without the high volume of discomfort. I highly recommend it.

 

This weekend, part of being trained was pairing up and receiving two sessions of EMDR. The interesting part is that you never sure where your brain might take you. Since memory networks cluster if you’re working on something that has an emotion of fear or sadness, your brain will throw you other memories that feel the same in order to clear them as well.

 

One of the memories that came up for me was when I left someone’s house around 2 a.m. one night after they’d asked me to come over and then behaved as though they didn’t want me there. I can get and have compassion for people’s own trips, but this just sucked.

 

I’d parked around the block but it was a decently far walk. I remember walking fast, watching my back, feeling pissed, sad, and stupid the whole time thinking that this person probably gave two fucks that I was a female walking to my car late a night. The truth, that I didn’t acknowledge at that time, was that I was a little scared until I got to my car, locked it, and turned the ignition.

 

The eye movements started again and my brain suddenly shot me back to a memory I haven’t thought about since it happened when I was ten years old.

 

My grade school had moved and they were finishing up construction. I was with two boys, Blake and Kaaina, who were my friends and little kid love interests. I was a tomboy so all of us were roaming the grounds exploring.

 

In a secluded corner, there was a hole in the ground. One of the boys asked me to see what was down there. I jumped in and suddenly, above me, I heard one say to the other, hurry cover it up. Above me, they covered the whole with an orange plastic mesh, with quarter size holes in it. They stood on either side of the mesh, joking and laughing, I think about leaving me down there.

 

I remember feeling a swirl of things. First, how stupid am I to jump into a hole, to trust them? I felt betrayed because they were actually my friends who I played with and joked with every day at recess. Why would they be doing this? I felt ganged up on. I felt small. I felt left out. I felt scared. I remember thinking, ok I can breathe no problem and I can get out cause it’s not that high. But I felt scared that they would leave me. That they would trick me, betray me, and leave me. I felt embarrassed and humiliated.

 

I felt all these things in about three seconds. So what did I do?

 

I pretended that I’d found something on the ground. “Hey guys, check this out,” I called with my head looking down to the ground as though the hole was wide open instead of covered with orange mesh they’d put there. They wanted to know what I found and I think I made up something for a few seconds before telling them, “Oh never mind, it’s not what I thought.”

 

At this point, I think they finally removed the mesh and I got out. The memory ends here but most likely we went on our merry way as though they hadn’t been total assholes.

 

In the EMDR, as my eyes followed my partner’s fingers, I started crying, because I realized that I did that so many times in my life. Something happened and I pretended that it didn’t. I would gloss over it and keep all my emotions inside. I was a good kid. I got straight A’s and didn’t get in trouble. I smiled a lot . . . and I kept all my emotions inside.

 

In that memory in the hole, I wondered if I learned to bypass the truth? If I’d gotten angry at them they might leave me in the hole stranded, scared, my ego bruised. But there were two of them and even though I was scrappy they outnumbered and outweighed me.

 

I think they had zero any intention of hurting me, or any of those things I felt. They were just stupid boys doing stupid boy things, thinking it was funny, thinking their actions were fun and didn’t matter.

 

But they were supposed to be my friends. And I was scared. Scared of being angry, of speaking up, of trying to fight my way out of the hole in panic and failing, of having them be even more mean if they tried to keep me in it. Scared of feeling powerless.

 

I realize that this “falling in a hole” event is a little t trauma. But for many like me, our life has been made up of those little t traumas, that led to something huge like an addiction, eating disorder, or some other maladaptive way to self-soothe the stress or pain.

 

For others, life is nothing but a Big T Trauma, and they too have addictions, eating disorders, and negative coping tools to self-soothe.

 

One of the things I took away from this weekend was that no matter what has happened in our lives it get’s stored in our brains and our bodies and impact us every day of our lives.

 

Memories link together in chains. When I felt scared, embarrassed, stupid, etc. walking to my car somehow paired with an old memory pathway of when I jumped in the construction hole when I was ten.

 

And then I think of my brother’s poem.

What if you fell into a hole and you couldn’t get out?
Would you eat yourself?
What part would you start with first?

 

But this time I think about it in a different way. What if we only think that we can’t get out this hole? It reminds me of when I was in my eating disorder and thought I would never ever be better so why even try.

 

I thought I was in a hole I’d never get out. But that wasn’t true. I did get out and I’m now free and live my life with no weird food or body image issues. That thought was impossible to wrap my head around earlier in my life.

 

What if you fell into a hole and you just thought you couldn’t get out because at that time the hole was all you could see?

 

If you’re in a hole, there is help. I highly recommend therapy, EDMR, listening to podcasts on overcoming whatever monster to you face. There are a bazillion AA, NA, and other meetings. Find the support you need. You don’t need to be stuck in hole. You can be free. You can have the hole, just be some event in your life, not the thing that keeps you from living your life.

 

See the resources below or email me at my contact page if you’re looking for something specific (like a podcast for your particular struggle) and I’ll do my best to direct you the right way.

what if you fell into a hole

With Love,

Z :)

Contact me at the bottom of this page.

 

 

 

Resources:

How to Find a Therapist You Love

How EMDR Treatment Can Help Eating Disorder Recovery

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in Eating Disorder Treatment

Find a local AA Meeting

Find a local NA Meeting

ThrowingUpRainbows.com (my podcast about eating disorders, addiction, and destructive behavior)

Throwing Up Rainbows on iTunes

2 Comments

  1. THANK YOU…for re-framing ‘the hole’ that can feel inescapable. Thank you for your writing brilliance that comes from experience and heart. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for sharing all of this with your appreciative readers.

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