Work improved. My moody friend left, and the woman who was hired to take his place is calmer and nicer to work with. We actually discuss our work now and then, and it feels more like we’re on the same team.

I’ve been struggling with intense loneliness these past few days. It’s been a long weekend, and I didn’t have anyone to spend time with. Though I did take my son to dinner on Saturday, and it was good to see him.

I even tried a dating site again, and got no responses that seemed at all promising.

I am struggling with my part in this isolation. One friend has been away, so it will be nicer for me when she is back. Another friend, we’ve been struggling with having little in common anymore, and i haven’t made the effort to see her as neither of us gets that much out of the friendship anymore. However, if I had seen her, I wouldn’t feel this intense loneliness. I think I’m at the point where seeing anyone is a relief from being alone all the time.

One of the problems is I’m not lonely at times when I could be social. At that point, I just know i feel tired, or have a ton of chores still to do. By the time I’m so lonely and scared I know I need some more human interactions, it’s late in the day, and it’s just not possible to arrange anymore.

I’m tired after work, and so don’t manage to get out to activities or groups. When I do go out, I often find I do not seem to connect with anyone where I would take the connection further.

Anyway. My allergies are better this year than last. I need to stay indoors quite a bit for a week or so, while ragweed pollen is at its height, but if I mostly do, I don’t have a lot of symptoms. I do take particular supplements for this, but no drugs. The drugs make me completely sleepless. They’re definitely succeeding at being non-drowsy! So I don’t take them, and it’s fine.

I suspect the smoothies I’ve added to my diet are helping. I take turmeric, ginger, maca, and a few other things, as well as spinach and blueberries. Been eating organic a lot too these last weeks. I suspect it all helps.

I will talk about difficulties connecting with people in therapy. It might help, who knows. Lately we were discussing my family and my father’s severe narcissism. The whole family revolved around his needs, and still does. It’s not good for a child to grow up like that. Obviously.

Last session we talked about my inner critic. I sometimes have a critic so severe, it seems separate from myself, and it harangues me, like shouting at me that I’m stupid, useless, ugly, dumb…etc. When I don’t believe in treating anyone like that, myself included. It operates on it’s own, it seems like.

I’m supposed to try and pay attention to what part seems most attacked by this. This critic seems to be attacking young parts who are then devastated. As well as maybe writing down what it says. Which I haven’t done so far.

Ron said that when we split off into a young part, this other part comes along with it, that attacks the part.

Food for thought.

It’s good I’m working, and work is going OK. No bad people problems are happening, touch wood. I feel fairly effective there.

Hope you are well, any readers of my post.

 

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I am having a very anxious Saturday. I’d forgotten how difficult anxiety is to deal with. I’m not really sure what has set it off this time, but some things have been going wrong, or at least in disturbing directions, so I’ll list this out.

First, my darned AC has broken entirely. My place is hot, the summer is a hot one, and being too hot does set off an automatic anxiety response. Today I tried phoning for repair people but no one seems to repair small portables. I am going to try again Monday with some places listed on the manufacturer site.

I had a therapy session Thursday evening that I didn’t get a chance to digest, as I had to go to bed pretty much instantly on getting home, then worked the next day. So maybe it’s a hangover.

Then I’ve had issues with a co-worker. This has really disturbed me. We’ve been working together for four weeks, the only two on the project. I’ve been with this employer for five weeks now.

He’s an odd duck. He is quite extroverted and chatty, in a way. So I was drawn in at first. The work gets boring, and it’s fun to chat at times. I did notice he was extremely critical of many many people. In fact, pretty much the first thing he said to me was critical of what I was doing – I was struggling with a new timesheet and had asked my boss for help. The co-worker, C, said that we should not be asking for a lot of help, we were there to provide solutions. To which I replied that I did not have a solution to a timesheet that had locked me out – I needed someone to fix it. However, we were good buddies for a few weeks, having lunch together and such.

I did notice that he never discussed the project, despite some attempts by me to do so. As no one is really managing this project, that meant we were going off in different directions. He seemed to feel that he was going to save the project, making his own decisions on everything, and not letting anyone in on what he was doing. He didn’t want to submit any work for three weeks, when he was going to deliver a large number of documents all at once. One time, I did discuss an issue with him, and had thought we’d agreed on a way forward. A week later, I mentioned it to him again, and he said he’d never agreed to anything. So, he lies. I felt foolish and somehow at fault, but went off and made my own plan without him. He really wanted to work on his own.

Well, it didn’t go as he’d hoped. He wasn’t able to deliver the great number of documents, and he got some feedback that he didn’t like on one he did submit.

So he quit. He stopped talking to me entirely the day before and the day he quit, and I had little idea what was going on. I was just confused.

We’re also both having issues with the agency that placed us, as they still haven’t paid either of us, after many weeks on the job. So C was completely outraged at this situation. And yes, it’s a difficult situation.

C actually wrote a paper he called a ‘project evaluation’ and sent it to the boss and the agency. In it he listed all his complaints – no team lead (I’m assuming he meant he should have been team lead), no project management, no access to systems being documented, no working from home or overtime so he could meet his (self-imposed) timelines. Then the complaints about the agency, the time sheets and the lack of prompt payment.

The odd thing for me was that he didn’t send this before he quit. He quit first, then sent his ‘evaluation’ after that.

Meantime, we’d been ‘best buddies’ except for the working together part. So I did feel the loss when he stopped talking to me. However, I was also a bit relieved to have a rest from the criticisms of the project and the agency.

He started thawing the following week, and by Thursday, we had lunch together again, and he told me he’d actually quit, and written this ‘evaluation’. I’d had no idea.

Oddly, my boss at work didn’t hint or say anything whatsoever about C quitting. So I was in the dark.

So then last week, mid-week, we were pals again. And Friday it seemed to fall apart again. C was so very angry at the agency, as they had not paid us as they had promised. Then he was angry at the project, and at lunchtime angry with the gardening person who was driving a mower right where we were trying to eat, and angry at the construction that is happening on the street outside.

Earlier, I’d been trying to work with a title page which is an image, and C was trying to explain how to do a particular thing with it. He loves to instruct. Then he got impatient and told me to look a thing up in the Help. Fine. I couldn’t actually find it in the help, and in any case, was only doing this because he’d suggested it. He was quite short and sharp with me, clearly pissed off, and withdrew.

By lunchtime he’d recovered, and we had lunch together. Where he was angry at everyone else, possibly excluding myself, or possibly not. Then sometime after lunch, he asked me in this angry way if I’d emailed the agency finally to ask for an explanation of why I hadn’t been paid. I didn’t feel like doing that just then, and didn’t see why it was his business. I said no, I didn’t want to deal with it at the moment. At which point he stomped off for a ‘walk’, and never said a word to me the rest of the day. Including leaving without saying goodbye.

This kind of behaviour has probably triggered the anxiety. First of all this male rage, which to me is out of proportion to what’s spoken of as the cause. Then the impatience with me by someone who I thought was my buddy. The scorn about this project, where I am doing better than he is, yet he seems to believe he has the superior approach. The sudden withdrawals which seem to be designed to punish.

I’d thought that now that he’d quit, and he was talking to me again, we would be OK until his two weeks were up. Apparently not.

What business is it of his whether I email the agency about my pay or not? Surely that is my own responsibility, and has little to do with him?

Then his scorn at lunch about ‘people who are always asking for help’. I pointed out that I’d just asked him about something that morning, and he was silent in response. I get the feeling that he is angry with everyone – no one is living up to his high standards.

The fact is that he hasn’t ever tried to work anything out. He simply barrelled ahead with his own plan. When that didn’t have the desired effect of everyone falling down in amazed awe at his skill, he quit. No discussion about the project whatsoever.

I was a bit worried they would cancel the project with this set-back, as there are only the two of us on it, and it’s going more slowly than they had thought anyway. However, when I think about it, the project is a result of an audit finding, so they actually can’t just shut it down. But 50% of the project staff quitting is a set-back for sure. The environment is not very open, so nothing is openly discussed unfortunately. I actually wouldn’t speak to my manager from one week to the next unless I knock on his door. I make sure to knock on his door once a week at least, so he remembers what I look like.

Presumably when I go back Monday I’ll again be ‘treated’ to the silent treatment. I don’t think I’ll be work buddies with this guy anymore, even just for another week. I don’t need this kind of drama in my life. Fine, if he wants to quit, maybe that’s what he needs to do. I don’t want to be involved. I don’t appreciate the periodic silent treatment. I’m going to be polite next week, but I won’t chat with him anymore. I haven’t done anything wrong, I haven’t played politics in any way, and it’s not OK.

 

 

 

 

 

Life has been going pretty well. Today is a holiday Monday here. It is jungle type weather – hot and humid. My AC is on the fritz – it stops working every few minutes, until I unplug it for a few minutes, then it will go on again. A bit frustrating. We are set to cool off overnight.

Today didn’t work out that well. I had decided to go swimming, as I’m getting no exercise since starting work – it’s just too hot to walk, my main exercise. However it started threatening rain just as I arrived at the pool and they closed it for the afternoon.

Work is pretty good. I’m feeling quite positive overall. The commute however is very long. It’s located in a suburb that is an hour’s subway and bus ride away, on a good day. On a bad day, quite a bit longer.

I have an odd situation with a co-worker, a fellow contractor. As he is an extrovert, he was super friendly at first, and we had lunch together every day, as well as chatting at times during the day. All of a sudden, he stopped speaking to me – Friday. I was not too upset about it, because he was overwhelming me a bit with the chat, so it was OK to have a rest from it. However, I want to be on good terms. I don’t know what’s happened. I have some guesses, but don’t actually know anything. I know we didn’t have a fight.

So there’s that. I’ve been for therapy once since I started this contract. I’ve been super fatigued, so skipped the first week. Then this past week, Ron was off on vacation. So I’ll go in again next week.

I don’t really remember the session. However we did talk about anxiety, I remember that. My job involves interviewing employees about their tasks, and then writing procedures based on these. I’d felt I was more anxious than calm at these meetings. I’m easily triggered into anxiety, and sometimes I don’t necessarily know I’m acting in an anxious way. Then this makes a bad impression, and I don’t look great at my job.

I have been working on being aware of my feelings, and if I seem anxious, to try and slow things down and realize there’s really no danger in the moment. Doing interviews in an anxious haze is very stressful. After I would feel a blankness and have difficulty coming back to work.

One of the difficulties is I don’t know this type of work I’m trying to write procedures about, so I’m afraid I won’t get it enough to write them. However, I’ve realized this is not actually that hard. It’s accounting/book-keeping type work, which I’ve never been good at myself. However, if I calm down, I can get down the basics. I can always fill in gaps later.

This job is good in that there’s no overt pressure to produce faster, as there has been in past contracts. The boss is soft-spoken and mostly stays out of my way.

The other day, I actually did an interview where I was calm, just focused on understanding. It was a much better experience for me and probably for the employee as well.

In social interactions as well, I can come across as anxious and a bit ditzy at times, when really, I’m not like that. I get a young anxious part that takes over a bit, and then I act in a younger way that I want to. So the topic was a good one for therapy.

Ron suggested I try and speak more calmly to him right then. At the time it felt a bit rejecting of how I was, but I can also see his point. If I’m trying to work on my habit of interacting anxiously with people, I could start with noticing how I interact with him. Though it’s more complicated in therapy – I also want him to be accepting younger parts of me after all.

Overall I felt positive about the session and about Ron. We had a friendly rapport. I was actually upset that he was going away unexpectedly yet again for a week, as I was feeling like he was a friendly supportive ear. However, I haven’t really missed him much. I went in on Thursday, and then Friday at work was hard. I felt sad all day, so much so that my co-worker chided me for looking like I’m going to cry. I don’t know what the sadness was about, but therapy does trigger out emotions.

I’m mostly just coping with a long day and a long commute. There’s no working from home at all. I tend to feel exhausted by things, even though I’m coping pretty well during the day. So all my energy is going to coping – work, commute, food, cleaning up, a bit of a social life, though not much.

My life is going better, and so I do not write a lot. Therapy also is going in what I think is a productive direction. At least it’s not triggering me so I lose days of my life every week. My T is on vacation this week. I’m fine with it. I remember the pain his absence used to cause me and am glad I’m better now.

One of the really great things that’s happened is I met a new friend in a writing group. She was very supportive of my writing the few times I’ve had a piece read. We edit/critique three pieces each evening. Maybe because we’re similar ages and have some things in common, she saw what I was trying to get at with my writing when others didn’t. I was so very grateful for that. However, I never thought of reaching out to her between group meetings.

She invited me out for tea though, and since then we’ve seen quite a bit of each other (not romantically – she is gay, but I’m not – this is a friendship). I love having a friend who understands about personal struggles, therapy, dealing with life in a way that isn’t just task based as it seems to be for another friend I have.

She’s also a life-long Buddhist practitioner. She practices Nichiren Buddhism, which I’d heard of but didn’t know anything about. It involves daily chanting as a practice. I’ve been trying it out and I think the chanting is helping me. As well, there are small neighbourhood Buddhist gatherings where we chant together and then have coffees and chat. I really like having a small community of people that I can be friendly with.

So that happened.

As well, this friend has a cottage and on impulse, she invited me up for the long weekend. I went up with her and another friend of hers. It was really a lovely time. The cottage is beautiful, and the surroundings were beautiful, and we spent a lot of time outside appreciating nature. She has a lot of connections, so there were neighbours stopping by a few times. I liked the socializing and felt accepted by everyone.

The happiness from that little vacations is really still with me. I hadn’t been out of the city for over a year, and I love to be out in the country. Plus I wasn’t lonely for several days in a row.

I am starting a new contract tomorrow. I am nervous but happy to be earning once again. It will be quite a long commute unfortunately but I’m hoping it will otherwise be good. I have been chanting for good things to come out of this contract, particularly, I’d like to make a friend at work. If I have a friend, work starts to seem more friendly all together. You can chant for things you want, apparently, so I picked that, as well as a few other items of course.

I haven’t made a true friend for years. I am so happy to have met R.

Therapy also is better. I couldn’t really describe easily what happens. I always start adult, and then am also allowing various other parts to surface, not worrying too much that it doesn’t make sense. I have this theory that if I can let Ron carry some of the darkness, or let him see some of it, that helps me. I think if I keep doing that, I maybe won’t get triggered again to that dark non-functional place I went to a month ago. So far it’s working. I feel Ron is once again on my side, is a good therapist, and that we’re doing good work.

I’m home from writing group and really wired. I’m both enjoying the activities I’ve set in motion since December, and being stressed out by them in equal measure. In the writing group, it’s hard to know how to critique someone’s piece, and I have trouble remaining as calm as I’d like while doing so. Argh….There is just a lot going on. It’s a social type occasion, at least, we’re interacting with each other, then there are all my feelings and opinions about writing, then there is the fact that something I wrote was read and discussed, which taps into feelings I have about both performing well and also about the subject of my piece, which is always a bit personal. Then I disagree with some of the critiques (not so much about my own piece, but about others), but need to of course give them space and not intrude with my own views until it’s my turn…..The whole situation is complex and difficult. But also stimulating and interesting, and I seem to have made one new and excellent friend there, so that’s exciting.

I want to practice being calm in social situations, so I need to try to develop that in less fraught situations I think. I’ll see.

My choir has two concerts, one past and one upcoming tomorrow, both for charity. Stressful. I haven’t managed to learn the pieces perfectly unfortunately. It’s not totally easy, as I sing a harmony part, and we have to memorize everything. However, it’s maybe a lesson that imperfection is still worthwhile. I sing most of it, act calm, if I don’t remember something I just mouth some words until I remember. I’m proud of myself for persevering.

I don’t know how I’d be doing all this if I were working, but as I’m not, this is very good for me.

I did go back to therapy a week and a half ago. We discussed my problems with Ron’s approach. Then we spoke a bit about a birthday party my brother had and my feelings about that.

I don’t know what to say. By about half way through the session, I no longer felt like I wanted to quit. It’s just difficult to know how to act with feelings so very changeable.

Ron did ask me for my feelings about him….and I did start the session very angry, feeling he wasn’t understanding me or my issues. Maybe because he’s so accepting….I don’t know, before I knew it, I wanted to tell him about my life and the anger had dissipated. I think I did switch to a more vulnerable childish part for the second part of the session.

I think this is the wonderful world of dissociation. Huge feelings appear, and then they recede again, leaving me on the shore wondering where that storm went that seemed so life threatening just minutes ago.

We agreed to meet again in two weeks, because I didn’t want a therapy aftermath to deal with when I had to perform in a concert the next day. So I go back this Thursday again.

I had a massive therapy hangover. I was so depressed I couldn’t function at all for a couple of days after the session. Then I was still depressed for a week, until this weekend basically. It’s very hard to figure out what happens to me to cause this. I know it’s not Ron who causes it. We didn’t talk about trauma. We talked about my brother’s party, which upset me because it involved my family, and I felt my brother felt ashamed of me.  But I knew all that. There were no revelations.

The depression must be some kind of emotional flashback. I suppose with dissociation, I didn’t feel things as a child, instead I tucked them away, to emerge later, unprocessed. Somehow, therapy, or my relationship with Ron, is dislodging this pain and it’s just incapacitating me. It’s just a lot of pain.

I emailed Ron about this and he wrote that he wondered if the fact that I was alone with the feelings made them incapacitating. Which maybe is the case. I do wonder sometimes if I had someone to tell and who could be in some way helpful – i.e., accepting and not freaked out, someone who didn’t run and who believed I was a good person throughout. That would likely help me to move through the feelings. But I don’t have that, the same as lots of other people. I do have to get myself into some kind of better space before interacting with people.

He also said the trigger must be complex, because we haven’t been able to figure out what it is. What can I say. I wish he had an answer but I guess he doesn’t.

I do avoid a fair amount in order to manage my emotional responses. So maybe I’d have this reaction more if I did more in my life? I’d have other triggers?

One thing, with the depression came a new ability to sleep. I slept relatively well the whole time I was depressed. And I had no anxiety whatsoever, as opposed to my regular state, where I have a lot of anxiety. But, I couldn’t really function. I missed the choir dress rehearsal, which was almost a week after the session, because I was too depressed to be able to organize myself to get dressed and get there, plus I was concerned I’d start crying instead of singing. However, every day was a bit better than the last, so the next day, I got myself to the concert and it was OK.

Now I feel back to normal, which is a mix of feeling OK, anxiety, sadness…..But I can now do what I set out to do. What a relief. It is a bit frightening to be unable to do what I usually can do. It’s like suddenly being unable to walk, or to see. Suddenly disabled and not able to account for this.

I feel a mix of trepidation and interest about going back to therapy. I don’t want to get triggered like this again. But since I don’t know what it was that triggered me, it’s hard to manage that. If I am going to feel that awful, I want to feel some of it with Ron there so he can help me with it. I don’t feel like quitting. I’d like to discuss what happened to see if we can figure it out.

I believe there is some value in this depression. The fact that I was suddenly able to sleep (which is now worse again), that I had no anxiety – these were positives. I believe the depression is telling me something, but I do not know what this is. Painful childhood – I know, I know. I’d like something more specific.

I wish I wasn’t in such a bad space.

The heat is oppressive here. We’ve got a ‘feels like’ of 30 c and it’s already 10 pm, so it won’t be cooling down much, despite some rain. I live in a steam bucket. I keep pointing the AC unit at wherever I am, and it does help, but the sound oppresses me somehow.

Last day of my contract today. I’ve barely met anyone in the organization I contracted for. Still, it was a pretty good experience, the project successful. I went in to see my manager and drop off the laptop this afternoon. She seemed to have little time for me. But perfectly nice I guess. I think paranoid thoughts. What does it mean that she doesn’t want to chat? Did someone say something against me? But really, it is likely just her personality. And maybe she felt anxious about my last day – people in full time jobs can’t picture not having a job. In that case, she would want to have as little to do with me as possible, as I’d be causing her anxiety.

I quit therapy on Tuesday by email. I’d had a bad session last Thursday, but had pulled myself together and brushed it off. Then I became very anxious over a number of days. A bunch of things triggered the feeling off – a birthday party my brother had that I attended, then the heat, job ending. Then I went to my writer’s group, which I’d been enjoying, and found when I tried to give feedback that I was super anxious and speaking in a fast, loud way, and unable to get my thoughts in order.

I went home from that feeling ashamed. Like my mind had been hijacked and so I was judged by people there. I’d gotten so confused, and at the same time, I hadn’t had the awareness that this was happening. I just felt a sense of pressure and a need to express my point of view.

In an effort to calm down and figure things out, I wrote to Ron, explaining about the anxiety and the last few days. I used to write to him all the time, and it often helped clarify my thoughts. Even if he didn’t reply, I’d feel less alone. I’d stopped doing that this past year or so, as I’ve felt more distant from him.

So I wrote, and he replied right away. The reply was so very off. It seemed he hadn’t understood anything I’d said in the email. He went right back to authenticity, and said it can be hard to be authentic when you are ashamed of how you feel.

I hadn’t said I was ashamed of how I feel. I hadn’t said I wasn’t authentic. He just seems to be on this stupid track of authenticity as the cure for social anxiety. It isn’t.

I replied angrily that I didn’t need more authenticity and that I was frustrated with his response. Of course he didn’t reply further as I knew he wouldn’t.

Next day I emailed to cancel my next session, and then next week I won’t be able to go because my choir has a concert and I don’t want to be triggered by therapy. So I left it at that, and thanked him for helping me in the past. I didn’t outright quit, but I didn’t book another session.

He responded that it sounded like I was quitting therapy, and he thought it would be beneficial to come in and discuss things and wrap up.

So then I ended up agreeing to come in to discuss.

I think I am attached to someone who helps by being a listening ear. But who doesn’t know how to help me otherwise.

I hate that I need help. I hate that I can’t find what I need. I feel like a fly caught in a sticky trap. I do feel hopeless and that I will never be able to leave. I can’t afford this anyway.

Therapy went back to difficult as usual this week. We mostly seemed to argue about Ron’s theory of therapy. This time I mentioned my social anxiety as being a huge problem for me. He sees it as a problem with being authentic out in the world, so that causes anxiety. I don’t think that’s the problem.

I thought about it after the session. The thing is, people who have been toxic to me were quite authentic. My ex is very authentic to who he is. He rejects social expectations, dresses in very old clothes, lives in a kind of a strange way…He expresses his anger freely. In fact, he has so much emotion, there isn’t room for anyone else’s authentic emotion at all. All this authenticity, which impressed me as a very young woman, doesn’t seem so desirable to me anymore.

I guess theoretically I can see how if you have to repress a lot of yourself, it leads to anxiety. I don’t know. I know lots of people who repress a lot of themselves who are not socially anxious.

If anything, I think I used to be too authentic. I didn’t modulate my emotions, I’d say my opinion even if the person wasn’t likely wishing to receive it, I couldn’t read other people well or even see why I should. Sensitivity to other people should help with social interactions rather than all kinds of authenticity.

It just seems like such a useless romantic concept to me.

At the end of the session, when we were discussing this issue of social anxiety, I started to shut down. I feel it as an immense fatigue, like a wall coming down. As I was in therapy, I told Ron about it. So then he went on about how it would be better for me to feel the emotions instead of shutting down.

Well, that’s the whole problem. I don’t know how to do that. So then I angrily explained about how this was automatic, and he said some more things about feeling everything. And I angrily stomped out the door.

It’s one of the times I’ve felt truly angry with him in particular. We’d spent the previous session discussing how I think trauma works, and he’d seemed to be a bit interested in reading about it, and now here he was, back to this idea that it’s best to let myself be overwhelmed, that this is how I’d heal.

It made me so furious. He really doesn’t understand. Not just what to do, but what it’s like to be traumatized. Everything is one problem for him, just an avoidance of emotions.

So I’ve been thinking whether to quit. I know a reader will be saying Why the heck would you stay? Because….he does offer support, and I have no other. I like him as a person. I am not continuously depressed anymore the way I was before I went to see him. What if I leave and fall into a worse depression, now with no one?

How can I tell if a lot of my feelings are transference? It is very true that my father abandoned me when I stood up to him and argued with him as a teen. And I had and have a lot of rage at my father and mother also for that matter. If that’s what’s fuelling my fights with Ron, would it be helpful to work this through with someone who is not defensive and will not retaliate?

I cannot afford a psychologist. I can afford Ron’s rate, which is at the low end for a licensed therapist. It is difficult to find a specialist in what I have with room in their practice in any case, apart from the rate question.

Also, younger parts are attached to Ron. I am afraid I would lose functioning if I leave and they melt down.

And Ron is loyal, kind, will listen quietly, never condescends. He’s intelligent. He wants to be helpful.

So here I am again. I wish we could have gone somewhere with talking about our relationship. I think that’s important but I don’t know how to do it and Ron doesn’t lead that kind of discussion.