Group therapy is difficult

Well, I’m depressed. Therapy Friday – what else is new.

Last night I went to Ron’s group. This time I got up and left the room twice, wandering around the building for maybe ten minutes at a time before going back in. The group was tough. It focused on one group member basically the whole evening, who had made a suicide attempt two weeks ago. She talked about her pain, cutting, her abusive family, part of which she still lives with….Group members asked her questions.

It was really tough to hear about this for me. I think about death a fair amount, and the way she described her family dynamics, they are similar to mine. She got a lot of sympathy, and rightly so. I didn’t ask her questions. I was determined not to end up dissociated, so I stuck with how I was feeling the whole time. Which was bad, but I just stuck with it. I felt fear mostly, both from hearing about this girl’s problems and just from being in the group.

I’d talked with Ron on the phone during the week about how dissociated I’d been after the last group. He actually said it sounded like derealization or depersonalization. At first he thought from an email I sent him that I’d dissociated by going into one of the parts by accident and staying there. I’d explained clearly in the email what was happening to me, but he evidently hadn’t read it at all closely.

Anyway, he’d said I didn’t have to try and fit into the group, and I could walk around or leave the room if I needed to. So I didn’t bother talking to anyone, but did walk around and leave a couple of times. I guess it probably seemed I wasn’t participating, but you know what? I was staying with my feelings, even if I couldn’t articulate them. Or I felt there wasn’t space there to articulate them.

At one point Ron asked me how I was doing, and if I was having trouble staying present. So I said a bit about how I’d fallen into this derealization state that lasted a few days, and was trying not to do that again. He’d asked us to comment on how hearing A’s story made us feel, so then I said something about how I was sorry and that it sounded like a crisis situation and must be rough. People were saying complicated things, but that was all I could come up with. I thought later that what I’d like to have asked her is whether she feels she can love any part of herself, however small.

Anyway, this is not happy stuff. For the last fifteen minutes of the group, I sat in one of the seats outside the group circle, kind of behind the group. Then I left as soon as it ended. I’m pretty sure I’m not making a good impression and that the group doesn’t much like me.

I’d say I was avoiding by leaving the room. But the thing is, there wasn’t really space for me to talk about how I felt, because compared to the suicidal girl, what did my problems matter?

  1. Harriet said:

    That sounds difficult. I know that the group is for support for each other, but I would find it very triggering. I can get suicidal easily unfortunately, and hearing someone else talk about it and all of the details would cause a negative reaction in me I'm sure. It's great that you are able to leave and walk around and that Ron encourages you to do that. He seems to be trying to make things as easy as possible for you in the group, like he really wants this to work out.

  2. Ellen said:

    Hi Harriet,I'm sorry to hear you have been suicidal – that is very very difficult. I found it difficult to listen to this girl's story for sure. At the time it really scared me. Now this weekend I am feeling how deeply sad her suicide attempt is. She is a beautiful young girl…it is so sad to try and kill off something beautiful. And she really did try…I've only considered. Yes, Ron is being really good as usual. Thanks for the comment – it's a downer post, and you are the only person who commented on it, and I appreciate that! take care now

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