Therapy

I feel incredibly awful. I have to go into work and I don’t know how I’m going to cope with it. And I left my phone there, and don’t have a landline, so I can’t phone in sick, I need my phone. Maybe I’ll say I have a headache and need to leave at lunch.

Yesterday I went in to work two hours late, saying I had a headache and needed to lie down. It was an OK day. A part of me was so relieved I stayed home a few hours to feel better.

I went to therapy on Tuesday this week. The appointment was for 9:30, the only time Ron had available. Not ideal for me, as I’m depressed in the mornings. Ron was very pale and serious. I wondered if he was reacting to me or if something major was going on in his personal life.

I had been feeling really down because of the dentist flashbacks, and had had a very tough Monday at work because of how I was feeling. So I kind of wanted help with that, but didn’t know how to start.

Ron asked me about my week. I told him a bit about my weekend. Then about the dentist and the flashbacks.  It was odd, because I didn’t really feel like talking, so we just sat a fair amount. At one point I said well, I’m paying for your time, I should talk.

Ron said in response to some of what I said, that I was able to tell the bare bones of my week, and that it was important, but didn’t seem to want to go further than that. That was true, because it seemed unimportant. 

Ron was much more detached than usual. I stayed adult also – I didn’t want a repeat of turning into a four year old. We just had this adult type conversation. Which was fine.

I did tell Ron I pictured him there when the dentist flashbacks were happening. He said what was I doing. I said he was just sitting there, a soothing presence.

I also read him an ‘inner child’ type dialogue I’d written out at work, when I was trying to feel better. I read really fast and quietly. I didn’t want to start reliving the emotions of it all. Ron said it was powerful, with the two voices, one upset and one trying to listen and understand, and that I was doing a good job of talking to that inner part. And that I seemed detached from it, kind of dismissing it. I said yeah, I didn’t want to get into it really.

Oh yeah, and then we talked about how most of my friends are kind of low functioning – they can’t work, they never read anything…but I feel comfortable with them. That people who are smarter scare me. I had a friend who had a PhD from Princeton in philosophy, and she tended to make me feel bad, for various reasons, so I ended the friendship. And I used to be scared of Ron, and he’s smart.

I did end up talking in fits and starts, and towards the end of the session started feeling that tingling that means a flashback. I ended up in a memory, as usual not remembering the main thing that happened. This time I seemed a little older than in the memories I had before. Six maybe. My father had taken my sister and me to some fishponds he had at the time. I remember the feel of the rough wild grass, that the earth was clumpy and hard. I remembered my father holding me down, and myself struggling to get up. He seemed angry.

Then in Ron’s office, I started crying and kind of howling. And saying I was sorry over and over.

I didn’t remember any more than that. It was the end of the session, so I just kind of stumbled out of the office, Ron pressing my coat into my hands, because I didn’t remember to take it. He said I could call or email him as I went out the door. Nice of him.

Ron’s office is in a medical building, and as I went into the corridor, there was a paramedic standing in the hall who just stared at me. The offices are old and not soundproof  – probably everyone around heard me.

I went down the stairs just to the right of his office. I stopped in the landing, looking out the window and trying to pull myself together. Then I heard footsteps running down the stairs above me. I was pretty sure it was Ron – he seems to have a habit of tearing down the stairs between sessions. So I kind of ran down the rest of the stairs, because I didn’t want to bump into him.

A mystery – where does Ron go between his sessions? None of my business, but it is intriguing. The men’s washroom is on his floor I believe, so it’s not that. Does he have a friend who works there whom he wants to talk to? Maybe his wife works in the building? Hmm…I want to know.

I don’t know what the memory was about. Maybe I was spanked severely? Part of it was me apologizing over and over, the way a petrified kid might. If only I could say I was sorry enough, it would stop, I guess I thought.

Now I feel incredibly bad. I don’t know what happened to me, just that it was bad. How to cope with this? Was it a traumatic type memory like the others? I suppose if it comes back like that, so that I relive it, it must be. I don’t know.

The other thing that was interesting was how Ron was. He was different. Not getting swept along the way he sometimes does. He paid attention the whole time, but very very serious. I feel like it’s more of a normal relationship again.  Not sure why, but I feel less attached somehow. I think this is good actually.

Well, I’m going to be late for work. But I feel a little better having described this. I may be too tired after work to write, so it’s good I wrote this. It’s a little jumbled, but who cares. I can write better, but this is OK for now.

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10 comments
  1. gniz said:

    So very, very difficult. It's gripping to read these pieces, and I'm rooting so much for you to feel better…as I know you will.These things are incredibly painful but they're not new, they are with you always. It can only help to get this stuff out of your system.We're here and we're listening too…

  2. Ellen,This was so traumatic for you. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to try and navigate your way through all of that session but, somehow, there seems to be a peace about it. Ron sounds like he is acting like a therapist now. Hoorah for him. As draining as a time like that session can be, do you find that it is a release of sorts and that things don't go subterranean and try to resurface in somatic pains? PS Who cares if you make noise….let them hang it in their ear. Flannery

  3. Safe hugs to you dear Ellen. I know it is very hard.

  4. Ellen said:

    @gniz – Thanks Aaron. You are right – those memories are stored in me the whole time. But if I don't know about them….I don't know. It sometimes seems worse to know, but I know it's not. I'm doing better today. Thanks for being here.@Flannery – You are exactly spot on Flannery – I do have the sense that Ron is pulling himself together in a certain kind of way, and that's helpful to me. Interesting that you see that. And it is what I'm paying him for after all. Some things are a release, and I think this memory was. I feel better now and calmer. I don't get physical pain so much as anxiety/ depression, and I have less of that. He he – I'll let them 'hang it in their ear' – so feisty Flannery!@JBR – thanks you for the safe hugs 🙂

  5. gniz said:

    Hi Ellen, I know it seems worse to feel and know about them. In some senses it is worse…In another, you're being tormented with stress and anxiety and at least in part, it appears that it is a result of you actively fighting the remembrance and recollection–the experiencing or re-experiencing of these events.As you've seen, there is a release that occurs when you've been able to allow yourself to move through these experiences and let go.It's not easy, it's not clean, it's not pretty–and there is no roadmap. But slowly you are making your way through the territory just the same.

  6. Ellen said:

    It's definitely not pretty. Ron has also said this at one time – that I'm fighting the memories. I don't feel that I am, or not on purpose, but maybe it's true. It's true I was ignoring a lot of things that I was feeling because they didn't make sense. I'm paying more attention now. I like the idea that I'm 'slowly making my way through the territory'…explorer like. Thanks Aaron, take care

  7. Em said:

    your doing a good job ellen, can you see that? really reaching down in the depths of your past. i wish i could get to this point, i seem to skim what seems to be a little below the surface with my t. still wanting to look good, argh, perhaps i should have the courage to tell her this. xxxx

  8. Ellen said:

    Thanks Em. Luckily though, you don't suffer from PTSD, so for you therapy will be different. With PTSD, bits of my past surface unexpectedly – it's part of the condition. So I can't take a ton of credit for that. If you do tell your T about how you want to look good for her, or how you want her to like you, you would be less controlled by that feeling, so it might be worth a shot. Good luck with the therapy EM, I'm sure you're doing great. take care

  9. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,The more I read the more I begin to understand just how difficult therapy is. God I did feel for you reading that. Its really not a nice process at all. I wish there was some other way that would be more easy. And the more I read the more I can see your need to get to the bottom of those recollections. To me it seems a bit like something in the corner of vision that remains there and is frustrating close without being about to grasp it.It does sound like Ron has taken created a bit of space. Can't help thinking though he should be taking the lead more though but that is just the thinking of an observer not in that room. You know when you indicated that you instigated the talking after silence I just felt that is something he should be doing and if not then at least explaining why. Well I hope all went OK at work for you. You don't give in easy and keep going so I do hope you get out of this what you deserve because you do deserve payback for your effort.Take care and all the bestNechtan

  10. Ellen said:

    Hi Nechtan,It is difficult, thanks for the sympathy. It's not a fun process at all, for me or the T. Though I don't think my experience would go for everyone – it depends what's wrong I think. It is exactly like glimpsing something out of the corner of my eye, and not being able to grasp what it is. But I do get the associated emotions. I really didn't want to talk, and Ron did bring up a few topics actually, which I don't describe. Eventually I did start talking to him, but it took a while to wish to talk. I hate forcing myself to talk, so I just didn't at that point.Work was actually better than I thought it would be. Not good, but bearable. Writing this out really helped me that day. Take care, thanks for commenting.

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