Saturday

Alone at home this Saturday night. If I’m at home I am mostly by myself of course. Today it’s been raining all day, with a cold buffeting wind as well. I went out earlier and met my friend D who helped me buy pillows and hyperallergenic pillow covers. One of my eyes is inflamed, and I think it’s my old pillows that are causing the trouble.

D helps me carry one of the huge bags with pillow and pillow cover through the blowing rain in a most heroic manner really, my coat blowing open, his umbrella turning inside out. He goes out in all weather, every day anyway. He says as he’s from the west coast where it rains all the time, if he didn’t go out in rain there, he’d never go out at all.

We stop for tea and I buy us both a custard slice, of which the custard part is pleasant, smooth and yellow, but the puff pastry on bottom and top has not been cooked long enough and so is doughy.

We chat about nothing much. I’d actually phoned him last night to complain about how I was feeling. For someone who has never been in therapy himself, he really does try and understand. I’m trying to explain to him why I go and why it makes me feel bad. He wonders why remember things that are so painful. Good point I say. I kind of lose track of why  I would want to do this.

Really I’m not looking for the memories. They’re coming up for me, but I’m not talking about my childhood when they do. Anyway, he listens patiently. I want to tell him enough so he’ll understand something, but no scary details. For this last memory of my father, in any case, I can’t remember what actually happened, so there are no details. I just say I remembered something that upset me from when I was pretty young.

D says well, don’t you have to finish with therapy and then go out and do things that make you happy? I guess, I say, and change the subject.

The other friend I’ve discussed therapy with is J. She has been through therapy herself in the past for PTSD-related problems also. She understands more, but doesn’t really think I should be going. I’ve been in the past, as she has. She’s been trying to put her past behind her and focus on her present. And she went to some psychologist for three sessions who was covered by her insurance, who told her it’s best to only briefly re-visit a trauma, and then let go of it. So she seems to believe that now, that it’s all about letting go of it. Me re-visiting this stuff again seems wrong to her. She doesn’t come out and say this, but that’s the general sense I get.

This is discouraging to me. I feel enough doubt already that I’m doing myself much good. Sometimes I think I am, but other times it seems kind of hopeless. And the expense is considerable, though I can afford it as long as I have work.

Well, to be truthful, I do think it’s worth it. I think I’m going to feel better at the end of this. And my relationships with people have all improved for some reason. I’m more relaxed, at least between these periods of depression.

I am struggling with Ron, getting caught between anxiety about what he thinks, liking him, and feeling misunderstood at times. I don’t know. It’s a little difficult. On the one hand, I picture him there when I’m panicking, as a figure of safety really. On the other, I stress a lot about him, whether he likes me, if I stress him out, if I’m doing the wrong things or saying the wrong things. He’s pretty changeable. He’s not like a stable wise older figure who has it all figured out and always knows what to say.

I wish I had someone to go out with tonight. I used to have a friend that liked to go to movies, but we’re no longer friends. And I didn’t make plans in advance, so here I am by myself. I’ve been reading this afternoon, and tonight I may watch the end of the Star Trek movie I started yesterday.

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10 comments
  1. diver said:

    D and J sure raised some confronting issues. J's proposition is most controversial, ie about using therapy to briefly revisit trauma and then letting go of it. It's got me thinking about the two trauma approaches now … analytic vs psychologic … yes but no but yes but no. It's all very thought provoking."He [Ron] is not like a stable wise older figure who has it all figured out and always knows what to say." Well, I daresay this is what everyone hopes for with therapists … the perfect father figure, the perfect mother figure. I'm guessing it's a good thing to move beyond those projections and illusions though, and start looking at them more as 'real' people with flaws and vulnerabilities and biases … because in truth, that's what they (all therapists) surely are. So maybe it's a good thing Ellen, maybe it shows you're moving to a new level with Ron? I hope so anyway, as the level you've been on with him for awhile now has been a bit tenuous, eh. Live long and prosper ma'am πŸ˜‰

  2. Diver, that's good reflection and funny at the end.Ellen,Man, I am sorry it's a Saturday night and you're at home by yourself. If I were there, I'd go out to the movies with you and we could go eat Chinese food after. It's good you've got a friendin D. He sounds like a good friend. He's always helping you out, it seems and he listens. He seems kind of grounded and practical. The other one, J, probably still has PSTD problems but has just buried them deeper and they will resurface later or she will act them out in real life. No, you are doing the right thing and you are dealing with them and so they are bubbling up into your daily life more and more. Then you can heal. You know, if you had an older, father figure T, you'd probably associate him with"your" father and that would freak you out even more. Maybe Ron being humman and flawed permits you to be human and flawed. You're too hard on yourself. And, BTW, you are worth the expense right now. It's your life, it's your soul, it's your peace….you deserve it.I'm thinking of you and hoping the new pillow gives you good dreams….Flannery

  3. ELlen,For me it was necessary to work through the past. Sometimes that was somatic experiencing which was not fun. Sometimes it was like reliving it in my body. For me this felt necessary. The trauma effectively was over several years and so ended up being just below the surface so often that it was either 'drain the swamp' or be like this forever.Last week a strange woman approached me in a public place to ask about the sports shoes I was wearing. She went off on some trip trying to argue that my experiences were invalid, that I was lying to her, that I couldn't possibly be doing the things I was doing. She basically seemed to think I was mad. She wasn't winning the argument she started and wasn't willing to conceive that she knew nothing about hiking or the human body. I was polite but I found the whole experience retraumatising since for me a big part of it was that a lot of people tried to sell me a lie, to make me belive something that I knew to be a lie.I did get over it within an hour or so and I did manage to reframe it. To tell myself that there is a whole world that this woman cannot conceive of. That's she's so trapped in her own views that she wants to fight with strangers to defend them.It was kinda sad. If you go and talk to a stranger about sports shoes he has no reason to lie to you about other things related to their use. (ultralight hiking and backpacking – no heavy boots)So even if the past is past it still comes and grabs me from time to time. Thus for me it's better to work through it so that it doesn't hurt any more.it's not like i have a choice really. I've left the past behind but sometimes it hadn't left me behind.

  4. The shoes were Vibram Five fingers which look strange and she'd read about in a magazine. She seemed to want to really believe things about feet that are proven to be false. That was the crux. My guess is that I was agreeing with the magazine article (I'd never read it or knew it existed). She sometimes said "that's what the article said"She wasn't willing to listen to any of the answers I gave to her questions. They were not what she wanted to hear… I wasn't willing to argue or force my point since she wasn't listening. In the end I felt myself shutting own and my brain stop working.I was limping around in pain using a stick to walk and had had enough. Life is too short to give a shit about what strangers think of trivia.

  5. Paula said:

    Not all approaches work for everyone.Going through therapy is facing reality. A reality we so often tried to deny. pushing aside, numbing us, critizing us for not being normal, perfect by our standards etc. Not a content life at all. Yet one we are used to. When I started this intense trauma therapy my therapist asked me whether I think the therapy would be easier then going on as usual. I truly believed improving life style and quality cant be that heavy. Ha, he made clear that I am in for very rough going. It gets much worse before it starts getting better. Depressive and hopeless moments are part of the road. Hard to deal with but even necessary. Keep you in my thoughts. BTW, no therapist represents any figure we would like them to be. First and foremost therapists are human too ;-)))) with all their strengths and not so strong points….

  6. gniz said:

    Hey Ellen, I think it's possibly a mistake for anybody to tell you which path you should be on. For instance, I rarely use therapy or therapists for my self-work. I use meditation and so forth, which I've talked a lot about and you are aware of. I did a lot of therapy as a kid and teenager though, and a tiny bit as an adult…Point being, I am by no means a huge advocate of therapy as the only way to cure one's ills. Nor am I an advocate of only meditation to cure ones ills, though that has been what's helped me most I would say.Everyone finds a path that works for them. Each person has unique needs, styles and interests and one size does not fit all.Unfortunately, friends or family or observers may have their own agenda they are pushing in advising you to do therapy, or not do therapy, or to do therapy in a different way.But look–you are searching and finding what works for you, Ellen. If at some point you decide this doesn't work, you'll move on or change. But part of this process seems to be learning and developing those insights for yourself.You ARE doing the right thing–even when you're doing the "wrong" thing, you're learning from that experience. Be good to yourself, Ellen. This isn't some contest where you get a prize for being right about what therapeutic technique you've chosen…And by the way, I remember from my old psych classes, that they have done studies which show that the kind or style of therapy is FAR less important than the relationship between the therapist and the "client." I've always felt that WHAT technique you use, in therapy, meditation, whatever–is far less important than being willing to WORK at it, to try and put in effort at understanding yourself and your life. You are doing that Ellen, so I think–as Charlie Sheen would say–you're WINNING!Take care of yourself.Aaron

  7. Ellen said:

    Thanks dear commenters. I'll reply when I'm feeling better. Such great comments.

  8. Ellen said:

    @diver – I'm actually not sure what the two approaches are diver, but glad it's thought provoking. Yes, Ron is definitely human, and it's a good thing, you could be right about that. Oh and I recommend that Star Trek movie if you haven't seen it – the backstory of Kirk and Spock before the TV series starts – lots of humour and interesting. thanks for the input@Flannery – thank you Flannery, you would be a fine movie and dinner companion. πŸ™‚ D is a good friend, and J actually also but in a different way. I just figure it's my life and my decision what I do, and others don't need to approve. Thanks for the encouragement.@

  9. Ellen said:

    @ Mike – Thanks for sharing that story. What interesting shoes you do buy Mike! And what an odd woman. I'm sorry you felt re-traumatized, but I do know how easily that can happen. And I know the feeling of the brain shutting down when there's too much emotion going on. Very disconcerting for sure. Moral is – we know best what we should be doing. Happy hiking to you and thanks for the comment.

  10. Ellen said:

    @ Paula – it sure is a rough road Paula, and good to hear your story, and you made it through. I certainly know the feeling of ignoring what's going on inside of me and pretending things are OK. That's no way to live really. In the meantime, like you, I feel a whole lot worse. Take care now in 'the big bad US of A". πŸ™‚ Hope you're doing well. @ gniz – thanks for the words of wisdom Aaron. Yeah, I actually don't pay a lot of attention to what friends say, except that it bothers me sometimes. Especially if I want to talk about what's going on with me, and they think it's stupid. I'm interested in your healing path, it seems like a really good one. Take care.

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