Definitely depressed today, Sunday. I am exhausted by work, and then I end up resting and doing the basic chores, and don’t make the further effort of doing anything special. But when you always want to lie down, it’s tough to push for things.

I’m not sure what’s going on with me. Yesterday I cooked dinner for a friend. It was quite satisfying to be the one giving, instead of having someone cook for me. It was hard being social though, even just with her. She seems to be going through a rough time herself, and hinted at being down, but she doesn’t like to discuss her problems. At least, not the big ones. I know she is pining for a boyfriend and feels sad about her life as a single woman.

I am relieved I am not pining for a boyfriend. Yes, I would like one, but mostly, I don’t think about this. There’s no one specific anyway. And, I had more than my fill of a partner who was destructive and whom I wished gone for a long long time before I finally was able to leave.

She asked me about my therapy, just casually, and asked if it would ever be over? I said who knows…..It is one of my anxieties, that this therapy process is so open ended. On the other hand, if I don’t go, I’ll still have the same issues, just without a therapist. I’ll still be me. This friend doesn’t ‘believe’ in therapy, though she doesn’t go so far as to tell me not to go. She just doesn’t understand it.

Anyway. I did get my back balcony planted. It’s kind of artistic, if I do say so myself.

I should have gone to visit my son and didn’t. I don’t think I’m much good to him depressed like this.

My session last week was good. It didn’t seem a chore to go – I was eager to see Ron. We had a low-key, companionable type session. We talked about how I might get more people in my life. I’d been trying with an ACA group and with church, but have given those up for now. They took a lot of my limited energy and I didn’t end up with much social contact out of it. Ron wondered if those situations, because they focus on the person, make me even more self-conscious, and if an activity based group would be better.

I liked how Ron was trying to help me think of what concretely I could do. I’m kind of assuming that once in social situations more, I would make pals. I seem to be doing OK at work – I enjoy the cameraderie there that comes from just sitting together at a table. I feel like I’m having companionship even if we’re not best friends.

Activities might work, assuming there’s nothing terribly wrong with how I speak to people or how I’m being perceived. I kind of think there isn’t, really. That if I had people around, I would make friends.

This was all OK. Towards the end of the session, I brought up a visit to my family the previous weekend that had not gone well as usual. I tried to explain to Ron what had been bad. It’s hard to explain about my family. I don’t want to get into it here – this is likely the cause of my depression. I get the strong feeling they blame me for my son’s condition and for him living with my parents, which I know is very hard on them.

My family is such a unit. They all stick together, dancing the family dance, and I don’t fit, don’t want to fit, and get judged.

Anyway, if they’re so great, how did I end up in parts? That happens only in severely dysfunctional situations. They are not that great. They were a terrible family for me.

I’m still going to therapy every other week. This week was a no session week. I’m trying to remember a week back to our last session. What did we discuss?

I remember Ron did bring up this time that I’m cancelling a lot and wondered why. I just said I wanted some time where I wasn’t triggered, and that sometimes, therapy seems to trigger all kinds of emotions but doesn’t really resolve anything, so that I’m not sure how helpful it is.

Ron didn’t say much. I got the impression he doesn’t agree that we should have fewer sessions, but he didn’t say so.

I didn’t say this, but I also think I can commit to approaching difficult topics every second week, but not every week. I’m willing to sacrifice some days to therapy recovery if it’s not every single week.

I’ve been thinking about how alone I’ve been in my life, and how that’s especially evident now. I suspect one reason I can’t seem to recover from therapy is I have no one in my regular life to help me ‘regulate’. It sometimes is very helpful to have people around, not even to discuss issues with, but just people doing ordinary living. It helps me calm down.

I’ve noticed this at work. I now have the option of working with some other writers at a big table, instead of in my cubicle. I actually prefer the big table. I thought I would hate it and feel horribly exposed, but having little interactions with other writers makes my day feel so much better. Just being able to speak sometimes, or listen to someone else go on about something.

I spent one day in my cubicle at work, and was pretty much suicidal by the end of the day. No one spoke to me. It’s a bit of a bad atmosphere there at the moment as the contract is ending, although we haven’t been told that in any kind of an upfront way. As well, there’s renewed pressure to produce lots of work very quickly. And the PM is no longer friendly to me, maybe because I’m not that fast. I like to think about what I’m doing, and produce quality, and all he cares about is quantity, because that makes his project look good.

When I moved to the table the next day, I had a much much better day. Other people are in ordinary moods, and they are catching. If I want to grumble about something, I can, in a low voice. My mood was so much improved.

So generally I’ve concluded, although I do need some time to myself, in general I do better with people around.

Somehow I’ve ended up pretty much alone. My one friend and I seem to have had a bit of a falling out, unless I’m imagining it, so she hasn’t called in a few weeks. I know I could call her. I have my ex I suppose. He’s very misanthropic and unsociable however.

I feel that I am fairly well liked at work. Chance threw myself and my star co-worker, whom I disliked, together, and it turns out we do OK together. He’s pretty outgoing, and it’s helping me to practice being more outgoing also.

Having people around at work is cushioning some of the blows of work – the contract is not being extended as promised, the PM is asking for impossible quantities of work, and other things. I just think in the same way, if I had people in my life outside of work who were more reliably present, it would help me come out of the bad places therapy puts me into.

I’m not sure Ron can really conceive of my difficulties in sociability. His view is that we need to be authentic with people and have real relationships. But I think we first need to have any kind of relationships. If I have no ability to attract anyone, I need to work on that. I don’t mean attract as in sexually attract, but attract in terms of someone wants me around. And I will not be attractive to people if I’m completely depressed and unable to be social.

I just came back from a birthday tea for my sister at my parents’ house. I can see how my social anxiety developed by watching them. My mother basically doesn’t speak. My father has very set topics that he wants to talk about – his garden, his work when he worked. So everyone dances about him speaking in horrible detail about his garden, as if we were all fascinated by this, to appease him.

Some other guests came, and so the conversation veered to different topics. At that point both my parents stopped speaking at all.

I think the dynamic is that speaking puts you at risk. In my family it’s not safe to have your own life, your own experience and opinions. So no one risks speaking about anything. I do, and I get rejected quite a bit. For example, this afternoon my brother wasn’t veering far afield, but started to talk about how he wanted to plant a miniature rose for his front walk. I suggested a tea rose. Well. My father is obsessed with old fashioned once flowering varieties. My suggestion was completely unacceptable to my sister and my father. Because intelligent people only love the old style roses. It doesn’t seem to be OK to have your own opinion on what you like.

Anyway, I can see where I developed a fear of saying anything that dogged me for my first forty years. I experienced this as not being able to think of what to say, but it’s more that all topics were potentially humiliating, so I kept quiet. Even when keeping quiet was peculiar in the situation.

So now, I can speak, thank goodness. Just I haven’t peopled my life with people who want to hear me and speak back. Wanting people in my life doesn’t have much of anything to do with ‘authenticity’ though, as recommended in therapy. I don’t really want to pour my heart out at this point. I just want some people around who like me.

 

 

As to a therapy update – I seem to be moving to going every second week. I’m saying ‘seem’ because I’m letting the session stand and then cancelling. I am giving a fair amount of notice though. It’s a prime evening slot so I don’t want to reserve it if I’m not going to go.

So I didn’t go in last week, but will most likely go in this week. The increased distance seems mostly good to me. I did have some hours of missing Ron on Thursday evening, but other than that, I’m good with it. Every session takes me some days to recover from, pretty much no matter what we discuss. I feel like I have more of a weekend when I don’t need it to recover. I’m also glad not to be mentally criticizing Ron all the time. That was just exhausting and useless. Maybe the continual negativity about therapy was me trying to tell myself I needed a break. It’s been interesting to just go with that part of me and take more distance.

I am mentally taken up by work. I still don’t have much energy for doing much besides working and then taking care of myself by doing chores and resting. It’s kind of the worst thing about whatever it is that’s wrong with me – I just don’t have the energy other people have to put into their lives. All of my energy still goes to survival.

It looks like my contract with work will expire at the end of the month after all. The company I work for had said that the remaining writers would be kept on through the summer but it doesn’t seem to be happening. And a client who is running the project emailed something to that effect, forgetting that she was copying two writers including me. So I’ve started looking. At least, I’ve posted my resume to various sites.

I am so low energy this morning. Going for a nap.

People were cut at work last Wednesday, and I wasn’t one of them, however my cubicle mate was. The people cut have to work out their two weeks. Then the next day, I was briefly informed that our group is losing our cubicles, so I’d be moved to another location. That started Friday. I’m now in one of two very small meeting rooms, along with three other writers in the same room. I’m finding it difficult. We chat a lot (I wanted to say ‘they’ but I do it also) and I didn’t get a whole lot done. In addition, I’d gone for therapy the previous day, and was still very sad from that. I felt as if I was emanating sadness and depression. People around you do pick up on your emotional state. The only other woman there, who is sitting in the adjacent meeting room, actually asked me if I was OK when we met in the hall. We’ve never even spoken much, so I must have looked awful.

What can I do? I want to be in decent shape for work, but I just can’t always be.

I went back to therapy on Thursday evening. We didn’t talk about my taking a break the previous week. Ron didn’t mention it, so I didn’t either. I now have a session set up for next week. I told him I was thinking of moving to every other week, and he said just to let him know as soon as I could if I wanted to cancel.

I’m unsure what I think. Therapy allows parts of me that are kind of split off to come forward. I went into the session feeling basically OK, though tired. I came out very sad, and had trouble functioning the next day.

We spoke a bit about dating. I’ve been dipping my big toe into online dating. It’s very hard for me – I feel rejected a lot. So speaking in therapy brought up my issues with me. How betrayed I felt by my marriage. Ron wondered in what sense I was betrayed. That my ex does still seem to care about me, just that he’s very limited. I admitted it’s true he does care. But as a young person, I wanted love, sex, someone who wanted to spend time with me. Who could tolerate disagreement. I got none of that. I got drudgery, constant responsibility for an infant, someone with huge temper tantrums. It was really really bad. I think any hopes I did have for myself where just crushed by that situation.

Of course now, I’m no longer as vulnerable. I support myself. I am able to discuss my feelings and thoughts in a way I wasn’t able to when younger. I can better sort out my issues from what is going on in the present.

Anyway. I have huge fears of relationships and how they go.

One thing that strikes me is how my mind gets blocked in sessions. It’s as if I become really stupid and slow. Once I leave, I start remembering things I’d blocked out when discussing situations in therapy. It’s really odd.

I did ask Ron if he thought I should continue with the online dating. He said why not? I said, um, because it’s anxiety provoking and I dislike it. Ron said he thinks online dating is 99% rejection, trying to sift through people and find a connection. I was wondering whether it made sense to try and filter people through email, so avoiding the rejection of meeting in person, or that was just arbitrary really.

Ron said maybe some other way of meeting people would be easier. And I asked how – I’m not good at talking to new people in bars or restaurants. And he said who is.

One other thing about the session – I felt afraid through all of it. I mentioned that to Ron several times. He though it’s a fear of getting into territory that might be very painful. I thought it was more of a child part who is afraid.

Anyway. That was enough to plunge me into depression, which I’m trying to climb out of days later.

What I want to know is, is this helping me? I feel worse. Am I working through something, and so doing something helpful? Or am I just stirring up a bunch of pain to no purpose?

Life is going on OK. Work has been low stress the last couple of weeks. I feel as if I’ve established myself there as someone who gets the work done pretty well. However we did learn last week that the client will likely be cutting back on the amount of writers on this project, so I may be off looking for more work shortly. However, if not cut, the remaining writers would have several month’s more work.

This is not making me anxious as the thought of being cut for performance did. This is the nature of projects and contracts in general – the client can change their mind, and must only provide two weeks’ notice. I’d get a decent reference out of this though, so I’m better off than before I started the contract. I also learned quite a bit about how processes work.

I am enjoying not having job-related conflicts. No bad boss. I also enjoy my fellow writers for the most part. Now a very outgoing woman is sharing my cubicle (there’s room for two), so I’m no longer lonely at work. Sometimes I do feel overwhelmed by the amount of sharing she does, but in general, I like having someone talk to me, and that we can complain softly to each other about the twists and turns of the project.

I cancelled my therapy session last week. I felt somewhat melancholy at the time I would have had my session, but overall, I am very happy not to be triggered into anything. This means I have some energy to devote to my life. I am not feeling much pull to go back to therapy. I feel as if I am mentally consolidating some gains I have made. I can see more clearly now how my thought processes don’t serve me. I see how damaging my family was. It’s odd, because none of this is stuff Ron told me about. It’s just that having been supported through my emotions, I now have more internal space to see my situation.

I know from other blogs that therapists do teach, and demonstrate things like self-care, or mindfulness, or they teach about PTSD and how that affects the sufferer. My therapist didn’t do any of that. And yet he did help. I just never had anyone care about me in that consistent way before, ever. It made such a difference.

But now, I feel like it’s maybe enough. I don’t want to argue with him anymore about what is good for me in therapy. I am so reluctant to go to sessions. But I’m not angry, I’m grateful.

Perhaps a break of a few months would be helpful. Then I could go back, if it seems like it’s right. I want to try living as best I can, even though, yes, I still have parts, I still have low moods, I am still very fatigued a lot of the time. But without the stress of being triggered every week by therapy, maybe I could use that energy to get some things done with my life?

I’m thinking about this. I do have a session scheduled for next week at the moment. We’ll see.

Back to writing. I’m in a funk. I think I’ve been triggered by acupuncture, so likely better tomorrow?

After the session I described in my last post, although I did value it, I stopped being able to sleep for more than one hour at a time. I’d wake up every hour, then drift back to sleep, only to be awake again the next hour. I kept checking my watch just for the information. I became unbelievably fatigued during the day.

So that was difficult. I took a day off work, Friday, to recuperate.

I had another session Thursday. I explained that although I’d valued the session, I lost my ability to sleep for more than an hour at a time. Ron was a bit defensive, telling me, yet again, that i would not be able to heal without ‘discomfort’. No kidding. I got snippy, raised my voice, saying does he think I don’t know that, after this many years of therapy? But that not being able to sleep for more than an hour at a time was a serious problem for me.

I don’t exactly blame him. I’d wanted to deal with parts that session after all. Now for this session, I wanted to do something useful, but not deal with trauma, because I felt maxed out. Whenever I express something like this, Ron feels compelled to say things like I won’t heal without pain. Um, yeah. I know.

I went to acupuncture for the insomnia. I’ve gone twice now. So now I sleep three hours at a time before waking up. Which I suppose is progress. Acupuncture brings up trauma for me. I assume that’s healing, but I wish it didn’t. My friend goes, and feels great calm after treatments. Not me.

I am disappointed with this weekend. Long weekend with the unpaid day off. I really did pretty much nothing. I’ve barely left my place.

I read most of a memoir of a woman with DID today. I skipped the first third of the book though where she details her childhood torture and severe abuse. I wanted the part where she is an adult, how she coped. I believe it’s extremely hard to describe how to heal parts. And also just to describe how life is in parts. She actually spends just a few pages describing any therapy she does. And you wouldn’t really know what life appears like to her, from how she writes. She writes like one person, and later describes how parts took care of aspects of her life. From what she writes, the problem with her parts was that although they were talented, like her Writer part, they were rigid and stuck so couldn’t actually do a good job with life.

I think I don’t have a whole lot in common with people with DID. I wonder what it is that I have. I have persistent depression, and sometimes very quickly changing mood states. I speak in odd voices, but not as a regular event. This is more in therapy, or if suddenly under severe stress. I do not have amnesia for what I do. I don’t have parts seizing control to do damaging or bizarre things. I also do not have a history of the kind of unbelievable abuse this woman suffered through.

For me, I have sudden unpleasant feelings that don’t make sense impinging on my life. I have a tendency to avoid situations that could trigger me, and this has crept up to avoiding an awful lot of life. I feel exhausted a lot of the time. Ron says it’s because so much of me is occupied with the past. Not my conscious self, but other parts of me.

I emailed two trauma therapists last week, and both mailed back that their practices are full. They both have really nice informative websites that come up fast on google. Maybe that’s why they’re so busy?

One of the features of parts is I have different opinions at different times. That’s one thing I do have in common with the DID woman memoirist. At the moment, I again strongly feel that Ron does not have the knowledge of trauma or dissociation I need my therapist to have. Although he is kind, caring, faithful and reliable, he just doesn’t have the knowledge. His theories make me worse a good part of the time. He doesn’t see the need to titrate trauma – in his view, I get better by accessing the trauma feelings. It’s not as black and white as this of course, but still, that’s the territory.

It’s just an uphill slog to keep going on with a therapist where I don’t trust his theory. I’m not feeling angry with him – I don’t think it’s interpersonal. Although I do have those ‘rejection’ feelings that I’d have at the end of a romantic relationship – the need to get out.

Ron has meant so much to me. He taught me how to look for real connection. And just having had the experience of being consistently cared about for years was so healing in itself.

Well, that is this mood. It could be I’ll feel differently tomorrow – the joys of being in parts.

Most sessions, we have this discussion of disagreeing about theories. I’m pretty sure I hurt his feelings. Maybe I’ll look for someone with more credentials. Although his training is thorough, maybe someone with higher academic qualifications would be better.

Maybe I’ll save money for a while and not go to therapy. It’s hard to say in the middle of this depression, of being triggered into who knows what. This part of it – the physical feelings of hopelessness that seem to be anchored in something happening to my body, this has not been changed by therapy. It’s the same as ever.

Last session was different. In a good way I think.

I don’t want to describe the whole thing. Just a few things. After the previous session, I’d written Ron an email somewhat like my last post. A little softer, but I made my points. He didn’t reply except to offer a day and time change that would mean I’d have a few hours after work to decompress before going in to see him.

Therapy day, I actually worked part of the day from home, which also helped me be less buttoned up.

In the session, it seemed like Ron had heard me. Or, um, read me. He asked me questions instead of just gazing at me, so I felt as if he was more present. For my part, I didn’t launch into chat about my week or about work. The whole session was more about my psyche and about parts. Although sometimes I need to deal with the everyday, the everyday stuff takes up time. And it basically is my adult voice, leaving other parts shut away in the dark as it were.

We talked about a dream I’d had, of being chased by a panther while driving through the desert in a jeep with my ex. I find relating dreams in therapy quite powerful – they evoke a lot for me.

Both V and B had a say. These were the really sad, traumatized sides of these child parts. It’s so hard to deal with this. Because while letting them speak is a relief, they don’t just subside again after the session. They come up trailing a lot of really bad feelings. So I’ve been feeling less fragmented and less fake, but also in more pain.

I was so surprised that Ron changed his approach just because I wrote him an email. He didn’t directly address what I said, but he’d obviously taken it to heart.

I’m not sure what to say about our relationship. In a way, it was less personal. He acted like a therapist. And I acted like I was in therapy. This wasn’t a friend to whom I was relating the events of my week. I was there to address the damage of the past however I could. He wasn’t there to offer suggestions. He was more there to witness and to draw me out. So I feel cared about, but in a kind of impersonal way, if that makes any sense.

Dissociation is hard to describe to people who don’t have it as a major coping tool. And, it’s hard to figure out how to heal it. For one thing, the usual therapy type interventions basically target the adult me, leaving parts untouched. I could be therapized forever and would never feel better, because the feelings aren’t coming from the adult.

These parts are full of emotion, and not a whole lot of reason, though V has a lot more than B does. It’s like taking a leap, letting them speak and letting them express how they feel. It’s kind of hard to do, in a way, and I imagine it’s also hard to listen to and deal with. Traumatized children take a lot out of you.

I had the feeling afterwards that this was really worthwhile work that felt meaningful and deep to me.