Solitaire

lonelyI’ve been too down to write but will write anyhow. I’ve been spending lots of time sleeping or lying down with tears running down my eyes, though not really crying. I see everything in a black way, so not sure how useful it would be to write it all out.

My last session I stayed in one piece and talked about being depressed. With me it’s to do with having no one in my life who cares about me. Which is depressing for anyone. But I know I can feel more cheerful, and all my circumstances are still just the same.

The last few sessions, I’ve been focusing more on my present life than on parts and the past. Ron doesn’t push things in one direction or the other. When I’m dealing with the past, I then no longer have the energy to try and work on my life, so it seems good to take a break from that.

Ron has never been big on suggesting things, such as going out, trying to talk to people, etc. I talked a bit about the efforts I make when I can. I thought he got a bit condescending about it actually. He said something about how I ‘always want to be out socializing with people’ and that I ‘get energy from being with others’. Neither of those things are remotely true. I’m an introvert. I’m fine spending great swathes of time on my own. Just I can’t do without people altogether.

I don’t know why Ron struck me as condescending, but he did. He seemed like he didn’t know the first thing about me.

To be fair, when dealing with parts, rational discussion goes out the window, so we haven’t talked that much about my life.

Anyway, it’s painful to think he doesn’t know me at all. It’s likely a misunderstanding, but still.

Plus I’ve talked to three of his other clients now, all of whom seem to be introverts, but also removed from the world in a way. None of them saw this as much of a problem. Even the one person who is almost completely isolated and does admit to loneliness hadn’t made any efforts to connect with other people, in many years of therapy with Ron.

So it doesn’t seem he pushes anyone to go out and talk to people. He himself seems surrounded by family activity, besides having a job with obviously high people contact. Maybe he’s never had a loneliness problem.

Anyway. I wasn’t overwhelmed from therapy, so I made determined efforts to go out and do more with others. None of it went well. So now I’ve given up again. I feel too odd to be able to connect with anyone.

Friday I went out to an Emotions Anonymous group I used to attend. Unfortunately we were locked out of our meeting room. Finally we all went for coffee at a nearby fast food joint. Not a social success for me. They all knew each other, and as they chatted, and I failed to join in, it became more and more awkward. Finally I did make one comment, felt like an idiot, and made my excuses to leave. It wasn’t awful, but just discouraging. I actually knew one of the people there from a year ago, but he pretended not to know me.

Saturday I went to yoga class. I ended up dissociated, so it took the rest of the day to recover.

Sunday I went off to a church I can see from my front window. I started feeling all emotional at some of the singing, then felt like a freak at coffee hour, which I made myself go to, since I’m trying to socialize. Really, I felt everyone could see I”m mentally ill and they talked to me because they were sorry for me.

Since then, I’ve stayed home, except for work. I’m too discouraged overall to keep trying. Anyway, I have to sleep all the time it seems, I am exhausted.

Art: I’m so Lonely

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13 comments
  1. I get basically being an introvert, but still needing to connect with people in order to feel most satisfied with life. But reaching out to make those connections sure can be hard, can’t it?

    Sometimes I am comfortable and confident with strangers and others I feel awkward and inept. Earlier this year, I realized that I am being influenced by a part when I am not dealing with strangers well. I expect judgement and rejection, even hold myself, speak, and smile differently at these times in a way that I can now identify as belonging to a younger part. I have seen this sort of thing called “passive influence” in my reading. I can’t stop it from happening, but recognizing it as such helps me to not get drawn as deeply into it.

    I don’t know if anything similar is going on for you.

    • Ellen said:

      I’m really glad you talked about this Cat. That is definitely what goes on for me. I didn’t bother explaining in this post, because I think people won’t understand. With me when I’m stressed, like talking to people I don’t know, I’m very apt to have a child part take over or break in. At which point, I’m broadcasting kind of unrelated emotions at the person I’m talking to. I’m sure they find it confusing. Then I feel ashamed, and don’t want to try again. I hadn’t heard of ‘passive influence’ before. It’s kind of a mixture of passive and active influence for me. It makes my emotions chaotic. Hence I make a bad impression. Sometimes I just want to shout, wait, there’s a grownup person in here also, just give me a chance….

      Well, glad to get that off my chest. Thanks.

  2. Ashana M said:

    This is a really hard place to be in.

    I imagine Ron doesn’t follow the school of thought that actually doing things differently helps, so that’s probably why he doesn’t spend much time on practical steps you can take to help you lift your depression. The insight and self-awareness is supposed to help. You’re coming from a more CBT place–if I get out and do things, I feel better, so I should do that. It’s oriented towards action as a way of improving life. Personally, I think they both help, and if you do both that’s probably better than doing only one.

    I’ve found as I’ve been able to work through trauma and other things, I’ve been able attract people into my life who really do care. The last few years have really been markedly different from the past in that regard for me. Also, I would add that it doesn’t really matter how “odd” you are. You can be odd and be extremely likeable. So, it’s okay if you’re odd. People who value conventionality will be put off by that, and more sincere people will be interested in knowing you for who you are–oddness and all. Being able to connect has to do with other subtle relationship skills rather than how similar you are. I always had this idea that you needed to have something in common to be friends or to have good relationships with other people, but many of my friends are very, very different from me. I think what I’ve begun doing is making an effort to connect with people who have good relationship skills and a strong capacity to care rather than seek out people who are similar to me in more obvious ways. I think that’s what has improved things for me.

    • Ellen said:

      What you say about CBT makes a lot of sense. I think this approach, just on it’s own, would drive me (more) crazy, but then I miss the ‘doing’ approach.

      That is such a hopeful point of view. Thanks very much for sharing your story. I’m not likely to find anyone much like myself, but I don’t think I need to. I suspect I’ve been trying to connect with the wrong kinds of people. I’d love to think that I will be able to attract people who are better able to have relationships. I have made friends with people in the past who have similar difficulties as me, but I don’t think anymore that this is a good basis for friendship.

      Thanks for being so encouraging.

      • Ashana M said:

        I’m glad what I said was helpful. Take care.

  3. leb105 said:

    Hi E,
    it’s good to hear from you! I’m sorry you’ve been so down. I’m dealing with that, too.
    you definitely have more drive to go out and socialize than I do – if I’m depressed and want to be around people for some reason, I might go to the movies, or to a museum. I don’t actually TALK to people (eww!).
    I can hear that you’re filtering input through a depressive lens, now. Is this different than the sadness you were experiencing a few weeks ago?
    With Ron’s mis-characterization – could be one of those therapist techniques, I think Howard does this sometimes. He says something that obviously doesn’t fit, and that forces me to figure out what description DOES fit. it makes me wonder why DO you go out? What are you looking for? what does ‘success’ mean in this context? where DO you derive your energy?
    Seen in a different light, it might fire your curiosity, and put the emphasis on noticing and describing what happens, and maybe steering your mind away from the depressive interpretations.
    Howard’s away for the holiday week, and I’m trying to do this. I’m trying to shepherd my mind, and keep it away from the dangerous, steep, boggy, places.
    write again, soon, okay?

    • Ellen said:

      I’m sorry you are dealing with similar Laura. I hate therapist vacations also.

      I do have to be feeling somewhat OK in order to socialize also. I crashed into depression after these useless attempts, at which point I no longer wish to try. I’m not sure if this is different than a few weeks ago actually.

      Ron definitely does not use techniques like this. Sometimes I think his brain goes offline though.

      I am feeling better again, somewhat. I am looking for some connection, that’s all. I can’t stand being alone all the time. Sometimes though, it’s enough to just go to a cafe, as you say. Success would mean feeling like I connected with someone I suppose. Being more thoughtful about this might help.

      Best of luck staying away from the dangerous, steep and boggy places, until Howard returns. Thanks.

  4. Gel said:

    Hi Ellen,
    Just “listening” (reading) and I don’t have much to write.

    Now that I’ve written that, I’m having a wish I could go for a walk with you. I think I’d be OK if you needed to honor your inner self in a way that doesn’t fit into the usual social ways of being. I have a little experience being with people who have non-ordinary ways of being. I myself would act in ways that don’t fit norms if I allowed myself. Not just making stuff up, but if I honored some of the urges I have felt.

    As long as others are safe then I’m totally OK with any kind of behaviors and I think we’d all be a lot healthier if we could let the animal-body-wisdom come forth some of the time.

    xx

    • Ellen said:

      I think we’d be good walking companions. 🙂

      Um – I’m not sure i have non-ordinary ways of being, though I appreciate your tolerance. Hmmm…..I do have a specific social anxiety that kicks in especially hard sometimes, and makes me think I”m a very strange person, but really, I’m just a bit lonely and kind of hyper sensitive at the moment.

      I do have the parts problem, but you’d never know if I didn’t tell you. We might be healthier if we all just let loose, but I don’t do that at all. I’m much more likely to withdraw and stew.

      Made soup today with bones and thought of you Gel. It turned out pretty good – pure jelly in the fridge and all, so I’m hoping it’ll help with the digestion. Also supposed to be good for mood, apparently.

      Thanks.

  5. Cat said:

    My chronic paranoia comes from people thinking I am an odd person. However, I know absolutely no one would ever think I am strange; it’s just how my brain is wired up at the moment. Sometimes I can be confident in company and then there are other times, when I cannot think of anything to say. Unfortunately, the longer I am quiet, the more intense my silence gets. It feels suffocating and does put us off from trying any more in the future.

    I think you did brilliantly well on pushing yourself forwards to socialise. I hope that, the more you do, the less uncomfortable you will feel. Practice makes perfect, sort of thing….

    As for Ron….well, I have had my issues with therapists over the years that seem to absorb but never give out anything to work on. I suppose it is difficult for Ron. As you said, dealing with parts, you never get the time to have discussions that would help him get to know you better.

    Even when we don’t feel like writing, sometimes it proves good to get things out. I hope it is helping.

    • Ellen said:

      You’re understanding exactly how awkward social silence can get – the longer it goes on, the worse it seems.

      Thanks for the pat on the back. It is an effort for me, though it may seem like nothing much, so I appreciate that.

      I feel completely different about Ron this week, so I just don’t know. Sometimes he’s excellent.

      I find writing helps a lot. Thank you Cat.

      • Cat said:

        I think the client-therapy relationship is a very complex one. It’s wonderful how you can write so openly and honestly.

        • Ellen said:

          It can be complex, depending on the type of therapy. It sure is for me.

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