On thin ice

I now live near one of the nicest parks in the city, and as the temperature hovered a few degrees above freezing, today I went for a walk there. There are paved paths, but I like the woodland trails, so I went to the edge of the park where a trail starts and plunged in. There were no green signs of spring yet – no buds, no new life. I did see a red-winged black-bird though, as well as many toddlers with parents in tow.

It was lovely to be in nature, enjoying the different shades of brown, tan and the blue grey of the pond there. I walked for about an hour, listening to music on my iPod, quite happy to be by myself, not envious of the young parents who needed to mind their children. I was responsible for no one and that suited my fine.

Today the nausea I’ve had for the past month has returned. It’s mild, so I can still do things. It goes away altogether if I lie down and commence staring out the window, my favorite activity. Or while I was walking, I didn’t have it. My cold is pretty well better though.

I’d say I’ve returned to more of a normal state for me altogether. For two weeks I was absorbing what happened to me in therapy last time, and now I’m back. Also for two weeks, I didn’t have the somatic memory type flashbacks which plague me. Perhaps I was feeling all these strong emotions instead, I don’t know.

They come on with physical activity, so after the walk, yep, there they are again. My old friends. I had to lie down when I got home till I felt better. I feel discouraged that they are back. How quickly I forget what my normal experience is like. If I’d only walked for half an hour, I wouldn’t have them. But an hour is over my limit, so here they are.

I have been alone all weekend, though it didn’t greatly bother me. I just chatted to a friend, E., on the phone. She is a ‘normal’, that is, we never discuss strange feelings and I haven’t told her about the memories I struggle with. I want to keep some friendships just casual, as friends to do activities with and talk about everyday things. But, I also long sometimes to tell someone what life is really like for me. It would be a relief.

I don’t trust that this friend would understand me. Though two weeks ago, we went out for tea and cake, and I did mention that I’d started therapy. She wasn’t judgmental at all. She did want to know how a therapist helps you, not ever having tried therapy. I explained that there were all these different varieties to choose from, so it depends what variety you are trying out.

She had the idea that a therapist analyzes and comes up with a solution for you. She is a chemist, so for her, that is what would make sense. Analysis in a straightforward type of way. Then she said, OK, say I have this problem with a boyfriend. Oh yeah, I grinned. E. is very attached to a former BF, who broke up with her, but has remained a close friend. As long as she sees him every week, she has no interest in anyone else. She doesn’t want to lose him, she loves him, but it is not enough for her.

So, she says, I already know I should stop seeing him. Would the therapist say, Oh, because your father did such and such, now you feel this way, and you should leave? But I already know that, and I don’t wish to leave.

So I talk in general about how a therapist might explore feelings, and that it’s not really a matter of rational understanding, but more of working through various feelings.

Another friend I mentioned therapy to also had this idea that therapy gives you a rational understanding, and he talked about a friend who has been in therapy a long time, and is now an expert on talking about herself, but is still stuck in the same issues as always.

I guess these two friends don’t greatly understand therapy, but they’re not judgmental that I decided to go for some either. I was afraid I would be judged, so hadn’t mentioned it. At least being able to mention that important part of my life is rather freeing.

Photo: Canada geese on the thin ice in the park near my house

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4 comments
  1. Ellen,This is good. I'm used to this pattern, I work on stuff and then have to allow time for the emotions to surface and work through.Recently I've been doing some walks around mt town and others, picking random interesting streets to walk down and seeing things differently. I've been working on bing comortable with 'strange streets' and working on being relaxed whilst doing gentle exercise and not getting hit by anxiety or adrenaline excess.Today I went for a bike ride, just following a trail, not really sure where it would end up, It was nice to exercise a bit harder and not get anxious or have darkness surface. I keep practicing and things get better.We've had to sunny days and I've been out walking and cycling and enjoying the beauty of nature and being alive.Being able to do these things is a good sign. The more that you can enjoy life the easier it is to deal with everything that needs to be dealt with.You ar in the process of building a new healthy liife and dealing with th past using ron to help. It's really nice to see. It takes work but it's getting done. I'm pleased by all that I see.Mike

  2. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,That is a real shame you have to go through that after such a lovely walk. I really miss those types of walks- woodland paths, nature, water and care free. That must be really calming. Just a pity there is such a trade off. As far as therapy goes I think its always good to get opinion but ultimately you will know yourself what is the right and wrong thing to do. Its such a personal thing that no one can really put themselves in your position. They can give an opinion from their own situation which may help in some instances but never quite understand. Its good though that you have good friends to talk too.I hope your cold lifts soon and you are looking after yourself.All the bestNechtan

  3. Well done. I look at a t. "as a friend" who sits there and listens and does not judge. Yeah, gets paid for it. But, still. Ellen, I see the freeing in the two friends you did tell. But, you are wise to only go so far. Especially if they have never been through t. before. Glad you enjoyed some of your walk. Hoping you will be able to walk longer without the pain. Blessings.

  4. Ellen said:

    @Mike – Nice to hear from you and get a bit of an update Mike! So you are still cycling and wandering around England. Wish it was spring here. I admire your ability to stick with this process with the somatic memories and not be resentful. For myself, I find these somatic symptoms hard to accept. Letting them come up and then taking time to feel the emotions sounds very good. Thanks for the kind words.@Nechtan – thanks Nechtan. Yes, I would really really miss walks if I couldn't go out at all, and I keep going despite the somatic symptoms that come up, because I love being outside and looking about. I wish that you also will regain that.AS to the friends – I wasn't really looking for an opinion on whether I should be going to therapy, it was more trying to share a small part of my real world with them, without scaring them away, if that makes any sense.take care@JBR – I wish I too looked at t in this way, it sounds lovely. For me it is a struggle. But it is a good way of explaining it. And yeah, I'm not going to tell them a lot and scare them off. Blessings to you to JBR.

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