Therapy Friday – bad dream

Today is such a hard day. One of those really bad the day after therapy days. Not the worst, but bad enough.

I feel a kind of horrified feeling. I don’t cry, I’m just frozen.

We talked about a bad dream I’d had. One of the parts brought it up. Unfortunately. I’d decided letting parts speak was the way to go. But Ron is on vacation next week so it’s not a good time to open something bad up. But it’s hard to tell what’s going to be bad.

The whole session felt a bit odd. Ron was pale and tired looking, his last day before vacation. I didn’t feel that connection to him that really helps if I feel it. He seemed cool and remote. He never smiled, even when I did. Then at the end of the session, he asked if I wanted to come back in two weeks. That’s my regular appointment, so not sure why he was asking if I was coming back. I got home and it really bothered me. Was he saying he didn’t think therapy was working, I should not come back?

I know we’ve been ‘fighting’, but I felt a lot better about things this past week, which I told him, and we had no disagreements during this session. Sigh. I am likely being way too sensitive.

So that bothers me. But the main thing is these parts and the dream I think.

First, we talked a while about my son, who is back in town and has quit university, failing to finish his degree. He’s living with his dad and seems depressed. So I worry. He wants to be an artist, but has no good way of earning a living. I tell Ron there’s nothing he can really do – I’ve discussed my son with other therapists, and there was nothing they could do either. The main thing for me is to keep showing up, even if he’s not too friendly and doesn’t want to talk. He’s in his twenties – he has to figure out his own life. I didn’t want to waste my session talking about my son, when there’s nothing I can do anyway.

We talked about how I make plans to get out and do various things, but then end up changing my mind when it comes time to carry them out.

Then parts. Parts seem so disorganized. One part that I don’t really know spoke up. She is very negative and critical.

E. Work is really stupid. They don’t give me stuff to do. And there’s this big meeting, and I did all this work for it, and they didn’t invite me. It’s stupid. And we got these plants, and there is a plant, and it’s purple with really dark leaves and it’s so ugly, I hate it. It’s stupid. I don’t know why we have it.

I feel all the negativity and resentment of this part. And fear.

E. And I had this really bad dream. It woke me up last night.

R. What was the dream?

E. It’s not a very nice dream.

R. It’s OK, we can talk about things that aren’t nice here.

E. OK. It’s in two parts. They’re kind of separated. The first part, my son and his friends are sitting on the balcony. I realize they’ve found my pills and taken some. I see I’ve left the bottle out and they found it. I am angry, and look for a place to hide the pills.

E. Second part. I’m downtown in a big square in the city. I’m with a group and we’re doing yoga. Someone tells me that my son is in a tent at the edge of the group, with a pedophile. They say it’s OK, I don’t have to worry. My sister puts a calming hand on my hip – I’m in a yoga pose, and she’s assisting. I get more and more upset. Finally I get up and march over to the tent to get my son.

E. Next thing I know, I’m walking alone through the square. Everyone has gone. It’s snowing, and a bitter wind blows through. I realize my sister has my bag and wallet. Then I realize I have my phone and debit card in my pocket, so I’m relieved.

So that’s the dream. I woke up scared from it, and felt a lot of fear again when I was talking about it. The part cried a bit and was upset. Then I switched out and talked about what I thought about it. Parts are not good at any kind of insight, but I’m interested.

The first part just reminds me of how my son was taking drugs, with this particular friend, when he was in high-school.

R. What kind of drugs?

E. Pot, as far as I know. Alcohol. Apparently he went to grade eleven stoned every day, which I never knew about. Anyway, they’d do this, I’d get mad. Kind of like in the dream.

E. The second part has things in it I’ve been worrying about. For instance, the yoga class – I’ve been trying to go, but haven’t, because I’m afraid stuff will come up for me, and I’ll be dissociated. The tent – well, that could be the abuse I went through. My son in the tent could stand for me. Or….I’m concerned about him living at his dad’s. I wish he wasn’t living there. His dad still deals with anger by exploding, and I don’t want that for him.

R. So no one wants you to do anything about your son (in the dream)?

E. No, they’re all telling me it’s fine, calm down. As if nothing is happening.

R. But you get mad and go and rescue him.

E. Yes.

R. What’s the worst part of the dream for you?

E. It’s actually at the end, when everyone disappears, and it’s so cold. I feel so alone.

R. What about the phone and debit?

E. Well, that part’s kind of hopeful. The debit card is for money – I’ve only had enough in the last few years. It means I can take care of myself. The phone – for me stands for being able to contact people….I wonder what the first part of the dream has to do with all this.

R. I think maybe the drugs part comes first, and the second part is what’s underneath the drugs.

Which makes sense. The drug in the dream is a tranquillizer, the only medication I currently take. It makes sense that it can cover up thoughts / feelings of having been abused.

That’s about it for this dream. I feel quite a bit of fear, in the office, and start to feel a little unreal. Which I should have realized was dissociation, but I didn’t.

I try and feel better by switching into the kid. The kid has the best connection to Ron, usually. This time it doesn’t help that much. The kid tells Ron that she likes vacations. Then that she wishes he wasn’t going away. She chats a bit about the flowers we got for the balcony. I still feel quite afraid.

That’s it for the session. I wish Ron all the best on his break, and head out the door. I think about asking to borrow a book, which I always do when he goes away, but this time I don’t do that. I don’t feel it’s OK, for some reason.

I write Ron two emails to try and feel better. One the afternoon of the session. I don’t ask for a response, because I feel bad I’m bugging him as he’s going away. The second in the early morning, when I can’t sleep. Writing out my worries and mailing them off helps me sleep, and after I do this I do sleep again. It’s hard to not get a response though. If I don’t ask, Ron rarely responds. But, I’m not freaking out that he hasn’t, I know it’s because I didn’t ask. Or he’s already left, and is not getting emails.

This feels like a week where I’d ask for an extra session. It feels unmanageable. I find when I can’t cry or express emotion, it’s worse. I’m left with a horrified frozen type feeling that’s hard to dissipate.

Writing it out has helped a bit. Maybe the trick will be to keep writing.

  1. laura said:

    I hope so!!

  2. I hope writing helps too. I also think that keeping busy during the day will help. Is there any chance of work picking up and being more of a challenge? I find my mood improves when things are going well at work and my days are full. I’m out of town for the weekend but if you want to talk later this week give me a call.

    I’m sorry you didn’t ask to borrow a book. Thinking of you

    • Ellen said:

      Work might pick up once my boss retires at end of month. Depends who replaces her I guess. It helps me also if work is more challenging, though it doesn’t help if I’m too distraught to work, obviously. I’m hoping this passes by Monday.

      It would be nice to chat. Your turn to tell me your problems though. Yeah, wish I’d asked. It just didn’t seem right to though. Thanks Di

  3. weareonebyruth said:

    May I suggest for your consideration that your growing strength makes it possible for your mind to remember the dream? Perhaps writing about it will help but also allowing it to stay at the edge of your thinking while doing other things might also help. When I was processing large amount of memories I sometimes worked on projects of my own choosing like photographs or sewing…something that used my hands and my mind to work. Again I am willing to answer emails if you are interested. Your progress is amazing.
    Take care,

    • Ellen said:

      Doing something where it stays on the edge of my thinking – that seems a great idea. I’m trying to neither push it away entirely nor let it overwhelm me, and it’s tricky. I found doing a bit of gardening let me do that today. Thank you Ruth. I may try sending you an email sometime.

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