This is a whining post. I am very depressed.

I am no longer making any effort to see anyone, so have been alone all weekend. It is too much trouble to even go to the cafe.

I don’t understand why I fall into such despair after my therapy sessions. If it was flashbacks, I can understand. But it’s not, just talking. I lose hope altogether.

I’ve now backed off and let Ron know I will attend the last group session. I don’t believe in group, but I feel I would be a selfish b*** not to go, because it will upset the other group members if I disappear, especially for the last session. There are only seven of us after all. I feel I owe them that, to show up. I will take a large dose of xanax and just hunker down and get through it.

For some reason my problems with how Ron runs the group have just become overwhelming to me. I don’t agree with what he’s doing basically.

I never did get to explore my negative reaction to E. I’ve had this experience where there was not room to discuss it for several sessions. Then last session, there was a huge silence to start with, so I started in on this topic. It then morphed to E’s problems, and stayed with her the rest of the session. It does feel to me as if I keep trying to raise a topic but cannot get heard. Which feels very familiar to me. That was actually a first in the group, that Ron steered the conversation away from the person who first brought it up, and never returned. It’s pretty hurtful. He’s never done that with anyone else.

Then therapy – I didn’t bring this up. I wasn’t actually feeling it consciously yet – it was too soon afterwards. Because in another way I found the group good, and that is what I said in my individual session. E had explored her hostility and hadn’t turned it on me. I’d made supportive comments, basically criticisms of her hubby, who is being an AH in my opinion, and also sympathy because I’ve been through a marriage breakdown and it’s the worst, so I could sympathize. At the end of the group E actually thanked me. So in that way it was positive. Why can’t I hang on to that positive feeling? Because who would have thought E would thank me for anything? At the start of the group, she didn’t even want to bother talking to me, she said. So really, it is positive.

In depression, I see only the blackness.

In my individual session, we discussed my anger with R. He basically said some thoughtless things on the ride home that upset me. And after making a big deal of taking my business card, he never contacted me, or mentioned it again. So I felt bereft really. I didn’t know what had gone wrong, and he was suddenly making hurtful comments. Ron said I was making assumptions. And also that it’s complicated to start making friends with group members – he doesn’t encourage it.

I also mentioned to him that when I was in a non-functional state a few weeks ago, after a session where one of the voices had spoken with him, I’d had this flash of memory of a party my parents had in Suburbville. All I remembered was the look of the little coffee tables we had, full of half empty glasses, and seeing things as if I was short (seeing mostly people’s legs and feet). It was odd because I wasn’t thinking of anything, just lying there in this state I get into, and this flash of memory happened.

Then I remembered more about our house in Suburbville, all the furnishings, the walls, what everything looked like.

That was it. No memory of an event or even strong emotion about this. I don’t understand why I am thinking of it.

Ron suggested I had been abandoned at that party. Which struck me as ridiculous. I was not more abandoned then then at any other time. So then he floated the possibility of further abuse, since that was what I seemed to be talking about. I really do not know, I tell him. All I know is I had this memory when in this bizarre non-functional state. Of surroundings, not an event. So I don’t know what that means.

I got home and fell into complete despair. It was like falling into a black hole of pain. I felt these stabbing pains, that weren’t literally painful but psychically painful. And I just wanted to do anything to stop feeling like that. So I quit therapy. Which seemed to help in the short term.

I’m not understanding what causes my despair after therapy. And I have to wonder if it is therapeutic. I believe emotion + understanding is therapeutic. Blind despair – how can that be helping me?

Ron hadn’t replied to my emails, but today I asked him whether he’d said that my family had treated me with hatred because he saw me treating group members like that? And he replied almost at once, that no, he didn’t think I’d treated anyone with hatred, and that I’d worked hard in the group.

Which I guess was nice of him to say, because in the same email I’d criticized how he ran the group.

I know to feel better I have to find some people to be with. I just don’t have the energy though. Or the hope really.

Sorry to be so gloomy, if anyone got through this. 

  1. What you are going through sounds so hard. I have gone many weeks in that frame of mind sometimes. It's difficult to get out of it once you're in. The pain is just so overwhelming. I think you were very brave to ask R about the hatred comment…and glad that he answered the way he did because you have obviously been working at it extremely hard and I do not sense hatred at all from your blog…not at all. You are very conscientious and trying to be honest. When I have been in therapy it seems the time comes when you know it's time to quit (or not)

  2. gniz said:

    Ellen, This is a very hard time. That is clear. A lot of pain too. This pain is stuff that's inside of you–nobody can inject this sort of pain into your life through talk therapy or group therapy.You're feeling things that are there, and it's very upsetting to you. Now, it could be that Ron or group is not the best place or way for you to work through this pain, and so exacerbates it.It's also possible that in feeling the pain, and feeling it as something too awful to bear, you wish to project it onto something outside of yourself to make it easier to comprehend.But the bottom line is that if you put somebody else in therapy with Ron, or in group–they will not start having such pain and depression.So your pain and depression is inside of you and the question is, how best to work with it? How to process it and get to better places? I think it's important to try and evaluate if there has been positive change in your life since beginning therapy with Ron. Are you getting out more, making friends, getting along better at work, feeling less anxious, able to assert yourself more? It might be good to try and parse this with Ron in an actual session. I don't see the point in therapy that doesn't practically and meaningfully improve your quality of life after some time. It might take months, but at some point the benefits need to be clear.I believe you can very much heal, and that it is a question of dedicating yourself to healing at all costs, no matter what you need to go through to do it. When you make that dedicated step to do it no matter what, you will find the best path and move forward.I don't think it matters, to be honest, whether you continue with Ron or not. What matters is your own dedication to finding your way through this stuff. Guides, mentors and friends are all necessary. But teachers come when the student is ready and looking actively.

  3. this article on emotional flashbacks might help (sorry if i gave you the link before)… seems to describe the feelings you find yourself in after therapy.sorry about the rough weekend. i also spent most of it in bed, resting and hiding out. not looking forward to group tomorrow after last week's freak out.

  4. Amanda said:

    I've read through the last several posts, to catch up … and first I'd like to say that I'm sorry that you're going through such a difficult time.I too, often feel the urge to quit therapy after some sessions. I occasionally go as far as calling up her answering machine and telling her so. Now, before I make that call, I ask myself how I'd feel if it were to actually become reality. And I'm sure to tell her in my next session.You are struggling so much with the dynamic you two have and I wonder why this is so. I am not you, or him, and don't know the answer though. I wonder if you two will connect better once group is over. Whether or not you actually quit, is up to you of course – and I hope that whatever you end up choosing turns out to be okay. My only suggestion (if that's okay) is to line up someone before you leave (if that's what you choose), and to work through the transition together.Thinking of you …

  5. Ruth said:

    Read to the end. You sound like things are really tough for you right now. I talk about falling into the Void and I suspect what you call black despair sounds a lot like it. I remember lying down at the closest place to put my head at home after a session, curling up in a ball, and slipping into darkness. It is hard. It feels useless. I hope today is better. I noticed a cycle for me that went session, despair, a day of calm, anxiety and back in session. When I started remembering I remembered in bits and pieces like hundreds of little puzzle pieces that didn't make sense. I hope my description of what I experienced lets you know that you are not alone.

  6. Laura said:

    "It does feel to me as if I keep trying to raise a topic but cannot get heard. Feels familiar." I wonder if your post-therapy despair (which is of pretty recent origin) has to do with not addressing what's really bothering you, and not letting the parts speak.Like when you don't get a chance to talk in group, you start thinking of killing yourself, and about leaving.I'm also feeling this way – that you don't like what I said, so you're ignoring me and pretending I didn't say it. You have my email and phone if you want to talk, offline.

  7. how are you doing today? too hot for me!!! thinking of you, c.

  8. Ellen said:

    @ Maren – Good to hear from you Maren. I'm very sorry that you also have gone through times like this, especially if they lasted a long time. thanks for the encouragement.@ gniz – Wow. I agree with all you say Aaron. I realize the pain is from inside of me (um…especially after a few days have passed). I do wish to project it outwards and blame people. That is the very confusing part of therapy – in a way, I am encouraged to get into my emotions in whatever way I need to do that, even if it means getting angry at the therapist. He should be able to take it in stride and help me work with it. On the other hand, sometimes anger is for a real reason…the therapy may be genuinely unhelpful. So it's very tough to untangle this mess – what is projection, what is current circumstance. As to practical life improvements – that also makes sense. Though Ron never does offer advice (such as, go out and meet people, etc…). His idea is that deep internal changes lead to changes in life. I am actually doing less and seeing less people than before therapy…because so much of my energy is going to dealing with the after effects of it. Several things changed though – one, I kept a contract for many times longer than I ever have before. Two, I have dropped people from my life that I didn't actually respect, because I respect myself more now. Leading, however, to more loneliness. And three, I am using less medication than I used to to cope. Maybe I should do a post on gains actually. I am going to be on the lookout for 'guides'.Thanks for grappling with this with me and for the encouragement! take care

  9. Ellen said:

    @ obd – Thanks for the link – that does seem to describe what happens to me. Very difficult to tell past and present misery apart.Sorry you also had a rough weekend. I totally understand about group – something about group seems to magnify feelings. I wonder why that is? Fingers crossed for you that it will be OK this time. @ Amanda – Thanks Amanda. Interesting that you go through similar. I have felt the almost overwhelming urge to quit therapy before, several times, but never actually sent the email or phoned to actually quit. I don't know what pushed me over that edge this time.Ron and I do struggle. I wonder if I am the type of person that would struggle with anyone – I don't know. I do know I am genuinely attached to him. I often think we would get along better without the stress of group. I seem to remember I felt better about him before I joined his therapy group. Thanks for the suggestion. take care

  10. Ellen said:

    @ Ruth – It does sound like falling into the void for me also. I am sorry that you had to go through that, and I'm pretty sure what you went through was worse than my own process. It is a cycle for me also – despair the day of therapy, despair the next day, lightening the next…then a day or two of relative calm, then bang, it starts over. The puzzle pieces – that is what this is like. Very clear little fragments that don't make sense.Thanks for telling me your experience. It does make me feel less freakish. take care

  11. Ellen said:

    @ Laura – I am reading your comments Laura, and not pretending. However, you have started to hurt my feelings, as I expressed. There is a way you are going over my boundaries…as if you know better than I do what is going on with me and with my therapy. These posts are about things that are very sensitive and very painful for me – they are not problems to be tackled with pure logic. I can really be hurt here.You keep your own therapy blog private. That is your decision and it does protect you, and is of course your perfect right. I just have little idea where you might be coming from yourself. I think also perhaps you have not yourself had this experience of people with all different views commenting on what you say about very personal subjects. I could be wrong.I do not currently feel safe about responding to your comments in any detail. However, I do read them and consider them. That is the best I can do to explain. @ obd – I was glad to be at work with the AC cranked up! I'm doing OK and hope you are too Catherine.

  12. Laura said:

    Hi Ellen, I didn't see this response, I'm sorry. I don't know what to say. I feel as if we're at an impasse, and it might be better (ie safer for you) to button my lip. Thanks for explaining.It's a mystery to me why you share very personal subjects with a)virtual b)strangers and not with your therapist, but I learn a lot from your posts, and from your therapist! I'd like to return the favor, and as we've said, no one sees their own [stuff] very clearly. Having clarity (for a change) is very compelling. I expect I'll have the experience in group, where people from all different (and unknown) perspectives will comment on my stuff.I'll talk to Howard about this too, and we'll take a closer look under the hood. I hope things get better, soon.

  13. Ellen said:

    @ Laura – thanks. Talking to your T is probably a good idea. @ Bourbon – Thanks Bourbon,I'm honoured! I'm considering who to pass it on to – won't be difficult.

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