Therapy Monday

I guess it’s time to describe my therapy session. I went on Monday, as always arriving ten minutes early. That’s unusual for me, as I tend to get places five minutes late. But I’m anxious to make good use of the time…It’s a little awkward, being early. It means I bump into whoever is there before me, as the sessions go for 50 minutes. There was a young girl ahead of me….she just looked kind of serious and left right away. I of course wondered what her issue was…I’ll never know. I silently wished her well.

This time I was determined not to describe things without feeling them.

Ron looked more spruce and rested than last time. I think on Mondays he feels quite a bit more optimistic than on Fridays! As usual, he gazed at me without speaking, that long intense look, waiting for me to speak. Always makes me self-conscious. But I also find that kind of interesting….It kind of sets up a non-every day kind of conversation.

As usual, we started with how I’d felt after last week’s session. I launched into my tale of woe, about how bad I’d felt, and how it lasted almost an entire week. I also talked about my thoughts of suicide.  It was a dicey thing to mention, for me, as I didn’t want him freaking out in any way. And he actually was good about it – he looked concerned, and asked me to talk about it. The way he did freak out about it was odd to me – he asked me several times why I thought he might freak out. I didn’t have a good answer. He asked if someone had ‘freaked out’ about this subject in the past…I said no, and just tried to switch the subject.

I was surprised he was so concerned about that aspect – that I thought he might be, I hate to keep saying ‘freaked out’, let’s say very anxious about this subject. He was very intense about that part of it. To tell the truth, I’d never told anyone really about suicidal thoughts. Maybe he wanted to be sure I would mention that kind of thing to him?

Anyway, talking about how I’d felt after the last session did bring those difficult feelings up for me, so I was feeling a lot while in Ron’s office. That makes it difficult to have an in-depth conversation, so we moved along in fits and starts. Ron was decent, he didn’t poke and prod, he left a lot of space for me to sit with feelings.

We did talk about how when trauma gets stirred up, for me, I tend to hear internal voices, one of which is so distressed it’s suicidal. They are all me – no one is beaming voices into my brain. Ron said that these kind of separate voices are common for people who have been through trauma. So I was glad he kind of ‘got’ that, and didn’t think I was a really psychotic person or anything like that. The reason for the voices is that somehow emotion and other memory get separated when the traumatic event happens. Or something. I’m not clear on it.

The only other topic was what my mother was like. My mother is an extremely uncommunicative person who doesn’t talk much. She really wasn’t able to deal with any kind of emotional situation. My mother remains a mystery to me. I’ve never been an unemotional person and don’t understand people that are. My mother does try very hard with the external things – cooking, arranging things, reading great books. She is a perfectionist. She never raises her voice, doesn’t gossip, isn’t mean in any outward way. It’s just that she doesn’t respond much to anyone. That was difficult for me as a child.

I started to wonder while discussing this if I seemed unemotional in the session. Ron said on the contrary, I seemed to be in turmoil, with so many emotions swirling around. I said I liked the word ‘turmoil’. I do, it appeals to me, and it did seem to sum up how I was feeling.

That was about it. Ron did ask near the start, when I mentioned how badly I’d been feeling after seeing him last week, whether a ten minute phone call to him would help in the evening after a difficult session. I said I wasn’t sure, and I’m not. First of all, I’d be scared to call him up, and I’d have to get over that whole phone anxiety just to make the damn call. Then would talking to him make me feel better? I really don’t know. He said we could arrange a time for me to call. Then that we could think about it. Then he dropped it.

This time wasn’t as bad after the session. I wonder if it’s because I actually felt some things while I was there in the office…plus we didn’t break any new ground as far as abuse was concerned.

Tuesday I went in to work, and after a very very rough morning, gradually cheered up throughout the day. I had a working meeting with my supervisor and co-worker, and my people skills were actually better than usual. I’d been having issues in this area, so that’s good. By the time I was walking home, I was in a cheerful mood. I’d been able to work the whole day, I was getting on well with people, and there seems to be, suddenly, an extra hour of daylight left after work. I suspect it’s good for me to be around ordinary people doing daily types of tasks in the days after a therapy session.

Art: SemiAntics under a Creative Commons license

  1. This all sounds like progress.I find that when my inner reality is quiet I relate to people much better, when its messy I struggle. I think of it as attention or energy, if it's looking inside there's not much left for dealing with outside and I dont always do well there.As I work through stuff I find myself being much more of a people person. It takes time though….

  2. gniz said:

    Ellen, Seems like you're making such huge strides, I really really wish you could say that and see it for yourself. Do you understand how amazing you're doing, the level of courage this is all taking?I'm proud of you Ellen. I don't mean it in a cheesy or overly sentimental way, but merely as truth. I feel proud of you–like seeing a friend on stage nailing a performance–just so happy that you're doing this.I think you are an inspiring person. Thanks for writing this and being an example for us.Aaron

  3. Ellen said:

    You Zen fellows are so nice.@ Mike – Thanks. The relating better has lasted all week for me. It is amazing to me that the trauma feelings are related to how I get along with others. Things do seem interconnected in that way. In my case, I'm not exactly feeling peaceful, but perhaps as if I'm dealing with internal feelings better…It's really the one good thing that is happening. @ gniz – Wow Aaron thank you. I'm so happy my story is touching you somehow, in a good way, for whatever reason. It's true I don't see the strides, but I am feeling different. I'll take the compliments and just smile my thanks to you. Sometimes it does seem I'm putting a lot of pain out there into the world, which I worry about, but if it's the truth as I know it at the time, I figure it's OK. Thank you for being my blogging friend.

  4. Hello Ellen, I've just found your blog and read through most of it. I admire your courage and tenacity. I understand how frustrated you must be feeling. Sometimes you are funny and lots of times, I'm sad for you. Hope you are doing better.

  5. Ellen said:

    Nice to meet you Flannery. Glad you found some funny bits. 🙂 I'm guessing you read about my search for therapy, that is what is frustrating? Yeah, it was. At the moment though therapy seems to be helping me, but it can be difficult. Cheers

  6. diver said:

    Hi Ellen. Such a progressive post, and an interesting read!I can't remember you mentioning suicidal thoughts on your blog before. I think it's good you broached the subject with Ron. My guess is that sort of admission could 'lift' a good therapist, really get them working for you, more sensitively than ever before.Your mother sounds a lot like mine – refined, keeps up appearances, keeps the lid on. Her life motto has always been, "You've gotta be practical!" They're an interesting generation, what with experiencing that big war when young, and of course the cold war. You'd wonder whether growing up in an atmosphere of social turmoil and fear has had ramifications?

  7. Ellen said:

    Diver, glad you find it progressive and interesting! On ToS – scary to have and scary to mention. thxOn mothers – I always think it's the British background, where buttoned-up is good. But maybe that's my imagination. My mother's father was a WW1 vet, and he never talked about it, so probably the way they dealt with that trauma was to ignore it, so she would have learned that early? I wonder how much that kind of buttoned up attitude contributes to anxiety…I suspect a lot. take care

  8. JBR said:

    Ellen I see progress. Blessings.

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