Therapy this afternoon and now I can’t sleep. Insomnia has been a worse issue than usual for the last few weeks. A few days ago I decided waking every two hours was a bit much even for me, and that it was likely hormonal, so I went off to buy some expensive supplements. They seemed to help a bit but then crap comes up I suppose and nothing helps much. Though my chronic problem isn’t getting to sleep but staying asleep. Tonight it’s getting to sleep.

I wonder if my therapy has run it’s course. It’s now been seven years. I don’t know if this is my usual unhappiness with therapy or more of a conclusion feeling.

I remember when it was all very intense, in the first few years. So very very painful and overwhelming. I realize I’ve withdrawn from it in the last year or two. For one thing, I stopped bringing in parts. It was just too painful to deal with the aftermath of being in a part and feeling all that raw unprocessed childhood despair and fear and whatever else. I’d have a session, and then be left to deal with being in these childhood feelings on my own, except for any emails I might send, which may or may not receive a reply.

With the parts work came a huge attachment to Ron. It was almost inconceivable to think of going on without him while this was going on.

So now I’ve stopped bringing in parts. Ron likely assumes they’re mostly integrated and doesn’t want to encourage dissociation by asking about them. But they’re not. All is pretty much as it was in that department. I suppose I’m more aware though. And I also know now that I need to keep the adult part of me online as much as possible – that having a child part take over isn’t helpful. But it still might be helpful to hear from child parts when they’re not taking over.

This was the first day for me at Ron’s new office, as he had to move due to lease issues. It was OK. I’d actually dreamed that morning about running from house to house, getting lost. I hadn’t connected the dream to his moving until he pointed it out. I’m really quite blind to meaning for my dreams.

I talked about the 12 step meeting. About my life when my son was young, with my ex. Not fun topics. As usual, I don’t go very far into any one topic. I run out of things to say very fast. At the end, I end up ranting a bit about my parents’ ineptitude and hypocrisy. This anger was the first emotion i felt all session, right at the end of it.

I told Ron my situation with the trauma memories is still exactly the same as it was when I started therapy. If I go to the gym, I still shut down the rest of the day and feel dissociated. Even though I do an extremely light workout trying to get around this problem. At my age, if I don’t exercise, I won’t keep my health.

I am considering trying to find a more body based therapist who could help me with the early trauma that causes me to keep shutting down. I don’t have the funds to see two therapists, so I’d have to drop Ron.

I just wonder if this very old-fashioned, talking and compassion type therapy is just not going to help me much more. Even though I do value it. I have always found the lack of theory and of vocabulary to discuss anything with difficult. I said today that I’d really have no idea how to convey to anyone what i was struggling with. Ron had seemed to say last session that if I’m going to groups, it would be helpful to be able to share what I’m going through in an honest way. But with his therapy, there’s no way to talk about anything. Everybody has everything just to different degrees, according to this way of thinking. So everyone has parts, more or less. He never discussed attachment, or boundaries, or narcissism, or anything psychological really. And I understand and sympathize somewhat. Labelling can be problematic. And yet…there seems to be so much lacking somehow.

But, leaving breaks my heart. And in addition, I’m terribly lonely, and he’s the absolute only person who knows me. I have one friend that I see quite a lot, but she is not psychologically minded to say the least, and I never confide much about my feelings. Losing Ron is losing 80% or my human connections.

I can see this therapy continuing forever. There is no goal in sight. Today Ron said we are trying to be more of ourselves. I commented that this is good for anyone then, and he agreed. But I want the thing that’s going to help me, because I have more issues than just anyone. I have specific problems. Whatever. Being more of myself is the cure.

So I’m ambivalent. I’m tempted to quit right now by email. I now feel so dissociated and tense as a result of therapy. I did go in to session very adult, and staying that way makes the rest of me kind of frantic I think. Which I don’t discover until long after the session is over. Because this is my chance to let other parts out, and I don’t take it, and there is no more chance to do that until next week, assuming I don’t quit, and next week I might again have the adult uppermost running the show and wasting the therapy hour.

 

 

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I’ve been awake since 3 am and it’s now 5:30. Sigh. I’ve been waking every two hours for a few weeks now, but I have been able to go back to sleep until tonight. During the day I’m tired and tearful. That black frustration with myself for being unable to sleep sets in.

I’m lonely. I’m worried about never working again. I met a former colleague for coffee last week, which was nice, but i did learn that a number of people were hired back to a project I was on over the summer, and I wasn’t called. Whatever. I didn’t enjoy the project. At the same time, I feel I’m not valued and I could have used the work.

Last night I attended my 12 step group. It did not go well and added to my sense of disconnection from everyone. I am not very able to tell a story. I do share, but what I share is these fragments, instead of a connected thing. I don’t know how to share in a way that will mean something to anyone else. I do feel I’m a failure at 12 steps. I don’t get how they work and how they would apply to me. The first one is I accept that I am powerless. OK, but for me, how does that help?

A lot of the people there keep saying how grateful they are to the program. I tend to feel that they think if I was serious about the steps, getting a sponsor, finding my higher power, then I would get better. The fact that I’m massively depressed shows that I suck at the program.

This is really negative. I haven’t plunged into step work etc partly because when I’m working I get too exhausted to go to things. In addition, I think a lot of it is not that applicable to my situation. I don’t really identify a lot with co-dependence – the idea that I don’t value myself but instead try to feel better by controlling/helping others. I don’t think that’s my main issue at all. And, to be honest, I’m afraid of being triggered into more issues that I won’t be able to handle.

Part of it is that I can’t figure out what my issue is. I don’t have a diagnosis. Is it the social anxiety? The dissociation? The depression? The anxiety? The work difficulties? The feelings of disconnection? The isolation?

Being unable to form any connections in this kind of a group seems especially telling. People here are kind. They are there to listen to each other. Truth telling is encouraged and feelings are accepted. I just have trouble expressing my feelings in a way that others can relate to.

I am actually quite competent compared to some who go to this group. I am able to work at fairly complex jobs. But others like me seem able to then also discuss themselves in a complex way that makes sense. You can see they are intelligent and have a grip on what’s going on. I lack that entirely. I probably sound kind of remote and disconnected in what I do say.

The thing I like about it is that I can go and feel really bad and not have to disconnect from how I feel necessarily. In any other social situation, you do need to have a social manner and can’t sit caught up in your own depression or whatever. So I did sit and feel bad, which was at least staying connected to my own truth in that moment. But then, not being able to communicate and connect with anyone ended up feeling really bad also.

Maybe the feelings I have towards this group echo the feelings I had in my family? My family feels very disconnected. When my father stopped speaking to me when I was a young teenager, I must have felt invisible, as if I was nothing and worthless. My mother entirely discouraged any expression of feeling whatsoever. The myth was that feelings were maybe unclean, unacceptable, and that intelligent worthwhile people didn’t have them. Of course, now I know that feelings made my mother uncomfortable, and that it was just nicer for her to pretend that feelings don’t exist.

And yes, that would feel disconnecting. Like I feel so painfully in this group – that feeling of being different, not being liked, being entirely alone.

That would be enough to keep me from sleeping. That frightening feeling of absolute aloneness. If I cry, nobody comes.

I remember one way of trying to feel part of the group is to go up to people after and say how I relate to what they shared. This time I didn’t greatly relate to anyone’s share though. Maybe next time I will try again.

Such a difficult day. Nothing’s happened, but my mood plummeted. Finally at five I decided to go for a walk and that helped a bit. The sky was purply with some interesting clouds. I just feel so freekin lonely I guess. I suppose that’s it, but i don’t really know. The wind is making this eerie whistling sound. I feel hollow and sometimes on the verge of tears but I don’t cry. If there was someone, I likely couldn’t explain what’s wrong. I mean, lots of things are missing in my life, but I’m not usually this down. Maybe it was bad dreams that I can’t really remember.

I went to Unitarian church this morning. I’ve started taking notes of the sermons. Seems maybe odd, but I can’t remember very well what was said if I don’t. Though today’s maybe I would have remembered as it was not that complex. The congregation is trying to find a new home so this was the topic – about being true to the past and yet moving into the future and changing as needed.

I stay after for coffee time. I have been feeling like crap already all morning, but I’m there to try to connect so I go. I do chat for quite a while to a nice woman. It’s small talk I guess. I’m trying to communicate like a grown up and so don’t mention any heavy topics. I do want to have meaningful conversations, but isn’t it best to keep things very light when you just meet someone? On the other hand, then the conversation is not very exciting. We talked about skiing, snowshoeing, the congregation’s move, that the minister is a cool guy, that she’s thinking of buying a canoe, how long we’ve been coming to the service, where we live, and right at the end that she has a grown-up son as do I. Then I excused myself and left. I was feeling more and more stressed and just wanting to leave.

I had that feeling of being fake in the conversation that I sometimes have in therapy also. But really, I wasn’t fake. I just wasn’t speaking about my deeper concerns. I was trying to keep the conversation going and hoping she liked me. I have this fear that I will be rejected by everyone so it always seems I have to work hard to prevent that from happening.

So I didn’t find out that much about her. Neither of us asked what the other did for work.  She had been going to the church a lot longer than I had. I wondered after if she actually wanted to talk to me or was just being nice to a stranger. Who knows.

Spent some time on an online dating site. Not something to cheer anyone up. Men who contact me are ten or more years older than I am….Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again. I want someone my own age. Then there was the catholic gentleman – we messaged back and forth for two weeks, then it emerged he wants someone ‘god-fearing’ for marriage. I message that I’m not religious and I never hear from him again. He was my age and I like how he looked…Better to find out right up front that we’re not compatible, but this did not lift my mood.

BTW unitarians are spiritual but non-creedal. There is not much mention of God and there is no sacred text. I’m sure a practicing Catholic would not be impressed.

Anyhow.

Ron was sick last week so no therapy. I still want to write about my sessions but I’m too depressed at the moment.

Time for a post. I am finally mostly recovered, though when I stopped taking my immune boosting herbs a few days ago, the cough came right back, so I went back to taking them. But I am much better overall. I have some energy back at last.

I’m wanting to re-engineer my life a bit. I’ve started to go for a walk first thing in the morning, instead of waiting until I’ve applied for a job. Light disappears so fast in November, the best way to enjoy some daylight is to go out by about 10 or so. I went for a long walk this morning and it was nice. I walked to a near-by shopping street so I would at least see some people and I accomplished a few errands (like buying a tart lemon square at a new bakery, nja ha ha).

I’m also attempting to get up at a decent hour so I could be at my desk by nine if needed. It’s challenging because I so often wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep for a while, but overall it’s a good thing to keep on top of.

I’ve gone back to my 12 step group, twice in a row now. It’s a lot easier for me to do something regularly than once in a while, so this is good. I find the group challenging. There are 15 – 20 people each time, so it is popular, but it’s challenging to share in such a large group. But I manage. It’s got a real self-help focus, which is different from my therapy, but I think it’s a good thing for me to add to therapy.

Then I was trying to do short meditation each morning and evening. That seemed to bring things up a bit for me, one of which we discussed in therapy which was upsetting, so now I’m leery of it. Maybe if I stick to guided meditation it would be more appealing.

To tell the honest truth, the long walk this morning triggered something in me. I don’t know what it is, but I feel kind of teary and exhausted and shut down. I hate that exercise can have that effect. I’d like to feel whatever it is but I just can’t seem to. It just manifests as avoidance, tiredness, lethargy.

So while I’m doing some things that seem like they should be helpful, and they sometimes are, the same things are sometimes mysteriously triggering.

I want to write a bit about my therapy in my next post, once I’ve gotten through whatever this is that’s come up.

Here is what the walk was like:

Walking along is nice. Sometimes an intense sadness hits. I cross the street, see the grey sky and trees with only a few leaves, and sadness like a separate person overtakes me. This sadness doesn’t make me exhausted. It’s like a different way of being. It’s fragile and easily slips away. If I go into a store to buy something, sadness leaves. Is this a good thing? Not really, because I don’t know this sadness. I know depression. I don’t know what the sadness is. Who are you?

Home alone on a Saturday night. Ugh.

I worry that I have offended my main friend that I spend time with. She has not called me, and when I call her, she’s very fast to get off the phone. We used to spend some time together weekends, but not for the last three weeks. Maybe my life has gotten too depressing for her to deal with. No job, no date, sick…She does disappear when things get difficult. I worry I’ve been too pathetic and clingy. I’ve decided to give her space and wait for her to call me at some point.

This is making me more lonely than usual. I’m also still recovering from this flu. Still coughing a bit, congested, and I have that post flu fatigue that is dragging me down. So I’ve not been going out to things I was going to, like the movie group or the 12 step group. I feel too tired when it’s time to leave for these, but then I feel lonely later.

I’m still going to therapy. I feel like I’m paying for a friend sometimes. Quite an expensive friend. I just have to have someone to listen and provide some caring, if only for fifty minutes a week.

I went for a job interview for a full time role Friday that didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I guess I appeared sick, for one thing. My voice was very hoarse, and I did cough a few times. They remarked on it several times.

I was interviewed by three directors for a bank. It was technically the second interview, because I’d missed the first with the hiring manager because I was sick. They were bending over backwards to have me come in though, so I appreciate that. Just, it was very formal, and I got asked questions I wasn’t sure how to answer, though I did say things.

It would be great to move to full time from this contracting. I can’t keep interviewing every three months, looking and looking. So I’m disappointed the interview didn’t go better.

Therapy was Thursday, and I told Ron I didn’t want to be triggered as I sometimes am, because I needed to be able to pull myself together for the interview the next day. Ron was agreeable, though it’s hard to tell sometimes what is really going to hit me after a session.

The main topics Thursday were – mother, who called me, and how we ‘don’t get along’. She doesn’t speak really, and doesn’t listen or respond to things I say, so I’m reluctant to tell her anything much. My worries about my friend. How I must be pushing people away, to be alone like this, but I don’t know what I’m doing. And what it was that caused the last boss to fire me so fast, what I did to contribute. How I wished Ron could be present for some of these situations, because I can’t tell him what I don’t know. I don’t know what goes wrong.

On the boss question, Ron said that from his knowledge of human nature, sometimes people will be disturbed by and push away someone who is vulnerable. And in my case, she went beyond pushing me away, and also wanted to ensure she hurt me.

Could be. I really don’t know what it was. It’s kind of painful to think I appear in public as so very vulnerable.

We also talked about fear. Sometimes lately I’ve found myself full of fear. I started to feel this towards the end of this session, and remarked that it would be preferable not to have to leave feeling like that.

Ron asked what the fear was about. I didn’t know, but felt maybe it’s about being rejected by everyone in the world. He said he didn’t think he was rejecting me. Which was true enough, he wasn’t. He suggested maybe it’s an inner part that is afraid and that I’m punishing. I could let it be OK to be afraid. That actually seemed to be kind of true, true in the way that some things just resonate. A part of me that wasn’t being heard was afraid.

So I left. I felt upset about some of things discussed, but was better Friday. I can’t blame the unsuccessful interview on being too close to a therapy session.

 

I have been suffering from some plague like ailment this past week. Started with a sore throat, then developed into a major cough. Strange – no real cold involved. I haven’t left my apartment since Sunday, it’s been that severe.

I’ve had these long coughing fits, where you hack away and can’t stop, until you feel you’re coughing up your very insides. I’ve felt so very ill. And yet, this type of thing, the doctor is no help for. It feels as if I’m at death’s door, or felt rather, as I’m a bit improved at this point. It just feels like, emotionally, the doctor should be involved and have something for me. Though actually, I’d prefer a wise herbalist to prescribe potions and teas….

Apparently raw garlic is effective for viral infections. Who knew it should be raw? Plus you let it sit for 10 minutes after chopping so the substance involved gets ‘released’….So I’ve chopped a clove, let it sit with lemon juice for ten minutes to mellow a bit, and put it on tomatoes on toast. I didn’t want to just chomp on raw garlic, but this way is quite good.

Also been making ginger tea – sliced ginger boiled a few minutes in water. Tastes strong but not too bad.

Yesterday my ex came over with home made chicken soup. He’s good like that – he likes to make soup and has such faith that it will be the cure!

My cough seemed to get worse when he left. Eventually, after many coughing fits, I realized there seems to be an emotional component to the cough. Either the coughing makes me anxious, or anxiety is causing the coughing to be worse than it needs to be. Not that I don’t have a virus, but emotion is in there also.

Coughing seems like a protest. Help, I’m drowning, I’m being hurt!

I realized a part of me seems to still be back there, locked into an abusive relationship with the ex, feeling powerless to get out. I told myself firmly that that is over, that I am now safe and it’s a different time where I have an apartment and a job (usually). Then also that the last job is over, this manager can no longer hurt me, she has no more power over me, I am safe. And these type of messages really helped. The coughing fits stopped, basically, and if I had to cough, it was just a normal cough. Later, I feel asleep.

It seems as if all of me doesn’t quite recognize that time moves on, and that I make progress, and that circumstances do change. So I have to keep reminding those parts of myself that things have changed and that I’m safe.

Work is finished now thank God. I feel quite traumatized by this experience. Not quite. Very. Today I’ve spent a lot of time in bed, just trying to get bits of me back. This has been pretty much the worst work experience of my life, and i’ve had some bad ones. The disheartening aspect is that i’d thought I’d become so much more socially skilled, with all this therapy and reading, that I wouldn’t get into these situations anymore. But not so.

These last two weeks, the manager continued her silent treatment of me unabated. She sat right beside me, so I never seemed to get much of a break from it. I was excluded from all meetings, and had almost no work to do, so had to fill in eight hours, day after day, with my own stuff. Which may sound quite pleasant, but isn’t. You know you’re sitting there as a punishment, no one speaks to you, and it’s all pointless, just for this individual to show their power over you.

My social skills do disintegrate after a certain amount of this treatment. I feel in so much pain, I don’t really know how to respond to people or how to approach anyone. Things spiral downward.

Plus my sense of reality is attacked. I rack my brains for what has gone wrong, what I could have done. It must have been really bad, for them to act this way, as if I don’t exist.

A small bright spot was my fellow contractor who was also let go, a young man from an African country in one of his first contracts. I persisted in trying to get both of these contractors to go out for coffee with me, as a way to at least connect to someone. The one who wasn’t fired refused – he dropped me entirely during my two weeks, presumably not wanting to be tainted. But the other one came sometimes.

He was a bit better off than I was, because he did not sit right with the manager. As well, he had some work to do, and, he worked with the other contractor, doing the same things, so they naturally chatted throughout the day. To my eyes, he had the better deal here. But it was still rough on him. The manager treated him similarly, not speaking to him, speaking only to his co-worker.

So we walked around on breaks, laughing (a bit hysterically on my part), and talking about our work situation, but also I found out a bit about him and where he came from. On our last day, I left before him, and he actually accompanied me the few blocks to the subway to keep me company. I remember his big smile and warm goodbye as we parted. That was so nice.

I said goodbye to only one other co-worker, a nice BA who was also contract but for a different manager. She bought me a quick tea at Tim’s as a goodbye. Trying to make me feel better, she actually made me feel worse. She said not to worry, you’ll get back on your feet and put this behind you. Just a failure to connect.

Was it a failure to connect? For sure, the manager disliked me, but was it because I didn’t connect with her? This BA is self-confident and socially skilled, definitely more than I am. But is social self-confidence the thing that they pay me for at work?

I told her I actually didn’t see what I could have done differently. Which I don’t. It’s true that everyone who approaches this manager seems to do so in a very – oh how are you darling? is everything OK with you? kind of a way. Which I didn’t realize for the first week or two, and wouldn’t have been good at anyway.

Today I’m feeling like I have a complete lack of social skills. I do have trouble making friends. I think I am a good friend in terms of loyalty and honesty, but I don’t seem to appeal to people much so that we can become friends. Maybe the world is missing out.

I just need to recover slowly. Right now everything feels kind of strange – I haven’t assimilated this bad experience yet.