Therapy – dream switches

rustAnother sunny day. Still no work. I get paid. But I feel rejected, lol. Stupid really. It seems to me though that it’s one more situation where I’m ignored. I am just going to make the best of it. I went for a longish walk today in the park, then a quick cafe stop for a tea and a gluten-free cookie. If they don’t want me to work there is no sense hanging around at home all day long. If there’s an email I’ll just get to it after an hour or two.

I went for an extra session again this week. It seemed quiet and innocuous, but must have touched on something upsetting because later I ended up first engulfed in black sorrow, then somewhat dissociated. I’m still recovering from whatever it was. It’s very confusing to be knocked down like this without knowing what it was.

Let’s see what I can remember.

Ron is wearing his blue suit with light blue shirt.

E. I’m feeling OK about you again – you seem helpful. Just I’m worried, what if in this session, I go back to distrusting you again?

R. On the other hand, we’re here to try and figure out what happens when you distrust me.

We talk a bit about how Ron thinks I feel criticized whenever he offers insights. I think that’s part of it, but I don’t think that’s the whole story, just what his words.

R. Maybe having the extra session will allow the other parts of you to have time to speak.

E. Maybe.

R. Maybe when I’m talking, sometimes another part of you wants time to speak, and is feeling ‘hey, stop talking, I have things I need to say’.

E. Yeah, that does happen. I worry about that in sessions – I try to listen for other parts. Because I can be having a conversation with you, and it seems fine to me, but then in the background some other part thinks something different, then I get slammed with it when I’m home again.

R. Is there another part that wants time now?

E. Not that I know of.

This peters out.

E. I thought in the group, what A said was kind of mean. That he doesn’t see why I’m even in the group, since I can’t decide if therapy is helping me.

R. Like he thinks you shouldn’t be there?

E. Exactly. Then I thought….A is not usually mean like that. Maybe I said something like that to him first.

R. When?

E. Three weeks ago. I can’t remember exactly, but I might have said something like that to him. Like why is he in the group if he’s just going to act like a therapist. So he’s just getting back at me. Probably in the group they don’t like me too much since that week. It seems like there is a part of me that wants to attack people.

R. What kind of attack?

E. Not a literal attack. I don’t want to destroy anyone physically.

R. Do you want to destroy them emotionally?

E. No. It’s not logical. It’s just a feeling I have of wanting to attack.

R. Maybe you want to attack defenses.

E. That would be very useful in a therapy group. Especially a psycho-dynamic therapy group.

R. Maybe you wanted to destroy your father’s defenses, when he wasn’t speaking with you.

E. I don’t know. Could be. See, I don’t have a problem with your saying that. It could be true.

Can’t remember if we said anything further on this.

E. I had a dream this morning about switches.

R. What was it?

E. I’m in a large classroom, and it’s my job to manage the various screens. There’s a presenter out front, I think a woman, older. I can’t get the switches for the screens to work properly. They’re very old, and I can’t make out the writing that’s around them….the main screen just stays down, stuck. Then after the lecture, a little boy runs into the room. I come out and play with him as I’m a kid also.

R. Who is the presenter?

E. I don’t know….the dream isn’t about her much. I just know she’s a woman. It was mainly focused on my trying to get the switches for the screens to work properly.

R. How old was the boy?

E. Not sure – five maybe.

R. Did you use to enjoy playing with your son when he was that age?

E. Well, I did play with him. Not sure I enjoyed it though.

R. The dream does seem to be about figuring out how your switches happen, which is something we’ve been working on here.

E. Yeah, I guess.

R. What age would you say the kid is? It seems to me she is getting younger.

E. Five maybe.

R. What were you doing when you were five?

E. Well, I lived in Germany in an apartment with my sister and my parents. My brother wouldn’t have been born yet. We had a balcony….

Then we talk about what part of Germany I lived in, as Ron’s background is central European also.

R. And what about your uncle, whom you’ve discussed here before. Where did he live?

E. He lived in another city with my aunt. You know…I loved him a lot. I guess I was starved for affection. He showed lots of affection and paid lots of attention….

I grimace.

R. You were starved for affection?

E. Well, I suppose my father was affectionate. My mother….she’s such a reserved person. It’s hard to explain.

It’s about two minutes to the end of the session. I’m feeling uncomfortable, so I fuss with the blanket and pick up my purse.

R. You look like you’re all set to leave. Are you eager to leave?

E. No. Just the session is almost over. But I still have two minutes, which I’ll use to the full.

Ron smiles.

R. OK.

E. I’ll let the kid talk.

R. Sure.

I sit and let the kid surface.

E. So I like being here.

R. Do you get mad at me?

E. No….my mom gets mad at you but I don’t get mad and I don’t think she should get mad because you’re nice and you’re my friend.

E. So we are reading this story and it’s about a girl and she helps the queen and she has a magic horse….it’s a good story. And….we can do flower pots.

R. How do you do flower pots?

E. Because we have a balcony and we have pots and you buy dirt from the store and you can plant pansies in the pots if you want to do that.

The kid is full of good cheer and wants to chat. That’s about it. We say good bye very cheerily. See you Thursday.

So I’m not really seeing any huge topics that would lead to my black depression later in the day. I didn’t feel upset during the session. Quite subdued actually, because I was struggling with my morning depression / fogginess. For a morning session, sometimes I have put so much energy into getting it together to get there in time, it’s difficult to do anything but continue coping. Which means I don’t know how I actually feel about anything. So I need to try harder to get afternoon sessions happening.

Next week though I will only go once, as I will need to go into work more.

I write Ron an email in the middle of the night explaining a nightmare and my general depressed reaction to the session. He writes back to say that growth and change in therapy can feel as if it is destructive. So maybe feeling bad is good. Not good. Productive. I hope so. I hope I’m not simply getting triggered with no progress.

  1. Sometimes in the middle of progress it doesn’t feel like you are going anywhere. I nicked name that dark depression that suddenly attacks, ‘shadow warrior.’ Seemed to come from nowhere and knock me flat. Got worse before it got better. Now it rarely comes. I also recognize what situations seem to bring it on. To me you are making great progress. I have the advantage of looking in from the outside which looks different than it is for you.

    • Ellen said:

      Shadow warrior – I like it. Might name mine shadow beast. I wish I knew what provokes it to appear. Better again now though. Thanks for the encouragement Ruth.

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