So I finally went back to therapy only to end up in a fight. No one screamed or raised their voice, but it was a fight I’d say. I’m not sure if I’m going back.
It all started with my irritability. Which quality the T pointed out. I wasn’t feeling great (um, hence the need for some therapy) and haven’t been sleeping properly (a common symptom of PTSD, hence the need for…). I was describing some interactions with my family over Christmas, and talking about them made me irritable, and I was trying to explain the kind of strange family dynamics we have. She made some comments that, she later said, were supposed to be supportive.
But if I don’t find a comment supportive, just irritating, what do I do? Take care of the T, and pretend it’s fine? Or make a snappish comment in response?
Well, of course I took the second option. Several times.
Then I started complaining of my symptoms (OK, what else is therapy for, if not license to complain?). Which irritated her (which I didn’t point out), and she said, well you don’t wish to deal with the flashbacks. No, not at the moment, I said, as I’m still weak from the flu, and can’t handle any more stress. For the sleep problems, she said, well, you don’t want to take sleeping pills, so what can I do? I didn’t remember refusing to take sleeping pills. But there are disadvantages to those, and as she isn’t a doctor, I was hoping for some other kind of suggestion from her.
We just didn’t have a nice client / T afternoon at all.
Oh yes, and the lead in to the session was strange too. We’d both seen parts of the PBS special on the emotions that played last week, and I was disparaging the segment on depression (though I thought the segment on PTSD was not bad). The special was hosted by Daniel Gilbert, who is a prof of I think sociology, and has written a book on happiness, which is fine. But the depression part was a pure hymn to biological psychiatry – depression is caused by wacky brain chemistry which needs all the ingenuity of medical science to fix. I hate that theory. Especially when it’s presented as proven, with no other theories on the causes of depression in play. That’s the story for all depressed folks. Not.
As the T is not a doctor, I’d think she’d have some sympathy with my view that this is a very slanted presentation of depression. Granted I was irritated and didn’t present it calmly, and I haven’t done so here either. But still. If she believes that biological psychiatry is the be-all and end-all of therapy for depression, of what use is her job? That’s not the branch of healing she can practice.
So we disagreed on that. She has this odd veneration for medication. Probably because she’s never tried any?
Now the T did point out something that I believe is true. She said I’ve got mother issues (um, yeah, that’s true) and that I’m transferring some of those feelings onto her. She says my mother was not able or unwilling to help me as a child, and now I’m projecting those feelings onto her, as another woman who is unable to help me.
Which could be true. And I respect her for saying that, as that is her job.
She got very defensive when I said I found some of her comments condescending, and that I didn’t think she really understood my situation. I’m concerned at the defensiveness actually – should a professional be down in the dirt like that and fighting as if with friend or family? She said she hadn’t said some things that I know she did, and denied something or other. I didn’t really care at that point….I actually wasn’t as defensive as she was. My impression is she has self-esteem issues.
So here I am. I know I was right not to dive into memories in that session, as I’m not feeling strong enough and am afraid of a relapse. Why should she guilt me about that?
On the other hand, irritability is a huge problem for me. I start to feel someone is being stupid, then I make some sarcastic comment, then dismiss them and shut down. Bad pattern. And if she is triggering this pattern, it’s a chance to work at changing it.
I’ve lost some jobs also due to these people problems. They just seem to erupt out of the blue, and I make enemies.
We left it that I would not come back until I feel physically healthy again. And I’d call her, not her call me. So it’s up to me.
Are we a bad fit? I do keep wondering if she really grasps what the heck is going on. Maybe she just is not able to be as articulate as I’d like, but in general, does know what she’s doing? If she’s competent, then it’s my irritability and issues that are being projected that are at fault here, and we can work through them. If it’s a bad fit, or she is not competent, then I am wasting time, money and hope here that would be better spent elsewhere.
I do know, that in the three and a half months we’ve worked together, things have not improved for me. But then, my problems are longstanding and PTSD is no walk in the park.
One thing is, I didn’t feel desperately upset after the session. Just kind of not knowing what is best. I do respect that she speaks up, and does not gloss over things or pretend something is what it’s not.
Well, to leave or to return. My decision to ponder over the next while.
Picture: Stained glass in a cathedral in Trier