Therapy Friday and cooking

Better once again. I read over my last post and can’t really remember what it felt like to feel that way. Things are better this week. And yet, my circumstances are not greatly changed. Go figure.

I’ve been having adventures in cooking. Last week, I finally made bone broth. It turned out well. It turns to a dense jelly in the fridge, so that’s a good sign that it has the healthy nutrients in it. Soup made with long simmered stock bones is said to be healing for digestion, immune system as well as mood issues. Something to do with the gelatin – there are specific amino acids in it that are helpful. I was given the advice to try this back in August, when it was way too hot, but now finally I’ve buckled down to cook more.

Today I made a pork shoulder in the slow cooker. It was OK – unexciting. Next time I’ll try it in the oven to get it more crispy. I’m not very practiced in cooking hunks of meat, but now that I eat a lot of it, I’m starting to learn. Of course I’m not perfect the first time I cook things. Got to let myself off the hook. Even though it was pricey naturally raised pork. It’s tender enough at least and will feed me for quite a few meals.

Therapy was good. It does seem that when we devote time to parts, I feel more connected and less lonely – in fact, not at all lonely. Ron can be great with parts. He stops analyzing and does a lot of empathizing, since these parts are often traumatized and crying. It’s tempting to keep talking about problems in my life, which is what the core part of me thinks we should do, but the child parts desperately want attention and want to be heard.

As usual with parts, I can’t remember the session in much detail. Hmmm….First of all, Ron looked very put together and relaxed this session, wearing his navy suit. Why is he so calm and I’m such a mess? Anyhow.

I was apologetic about an email I’d sent him after last session, where I complained of feeling disconnected and lonely. But still, it was the truth. Ron said I seem to wish to connect with people, but when I’m with them, anxiety or other bad feelings get in the way and I don’t feel connected.

We talked about my negative experience with the EA group – how I knew one of the people there from when I used to go, but he didn’t acknowledge me at all. He does have a social anxiety. But still, I felt a hello, how’ve you been would have been nice.

Ron asked if I said hello how’ve you been to him. No. I realize I could have used better social skills. But if our positions had been reversed, I’d have reached out to the person coming back whom no one else knew.

Ron thinks this is my problem. Could be. It’s no huge big deal, but I’m quick to feel hurt at the moment.

I tell Ron about yoga class and how I got dissociated after it. He asks how I understand this. I say I suppose it’s some feeling that is coming up because of the stretches, and I’m automatically shutting down in response. If I could feel it at the time, that would be good, because then I could process it, but I’m not catching it.

Ron asks which pose I think it is, but I’m not sure it’s a specific pose. Though I suspect it may be the hip and groin openers that I’m finding disturbing. I don’t want to say that, and anyway, I don’t know. We talk about how I kind of make myself stay in some poses even though I’m not enjoying them. Everyone does that, I think. You have to push your edge to get a benefit. I’m not doing anything that hurts.

Ron thinks not everyone ‘makes themselves’ stay in poses. He thinks I might try coming out of anything where I feel a sense of making myself do it. I suppose I could do that. I’d spend quite a lot of the class not participating though. Still, it makes no sense to end up dissociated and useless for the rest of the day. So that’s my plan for next class, so pay attention to when I feel pressured to do things and to sit those parts out.

After about half an hour, I feel very stressed out, with a feeling that I’m not talking about anything important. It is a sense of pressure getting on for panic. So I ask, tentatively, if the parts could speak a bit, and Ron says of course.

First up is the kid. The kid talks about how she didn’t get time last week, but she likes to talk. She tells Ron about new boots and making soup. This time the kid is very sad, and starts crying, which is unusual. Maybe the kid is changing says Ron. I don’t think so, but it is so different. Even at home, we watch a cartoon sometimes, and it just feels sad. It used to make the kid so happy.

Then a ten year old part.

E. Therapy is stupid. It’s really stupid.

Ron nods encouragingly.

E. Therapy is a waste of time. If you want to be happy, you get a job with enough money, you get a house, you get some friends, and then you’re happy. More or less.

R. And yet, you’re not happy.

E. Therapy isn’t helping. I wouldn’t go.

I can’t remember how this went. Ron never argued with this part, just kept encouraging her to speak. This part is like my family’s opinions. I seem to have swallowed them whole. She’s very negative. The good part about her though is that she also has a lot of clear cool energy for doing practical things.

Then I tell Ron about how I can hear the parts a lot more clearly than I used to, especially the kid. And how we’ve been negotiating a bit. For instance, I keep taking walks. Some of the parts were feeling that I was ignoring how awful they felt, by forcing us to go for a walk, but I started explaining how walking is nice for all of us. Then while walking, I let the kid take over sometimes, so she can enjoy walking around, looking at the world. When we do that, I remember every dog and cat we encounter along the way. The kid loves dogs. All animals really. Also any Christmas lights and decorations are just wonderful for the kid. It makes walks a lot more enjoyable actually. The kid knows how to enjoy. The trick is switching around to let her be out during outings.

I’ve been finding it somewhat easier to get things done, and I think it’s the inner negotiation that helps. If the kid is happier, she doesn’t block my taking care of business as much.

This probably all sounds crazy and metaphorical at best, but it really is how I’m experiencing life at the moment.

  1. It makes sense to me… I don’t know if helps to think of it as the kid being a personification of some needs/desires/ emotions/ memories/ what have you that the rest of you can’t own (has dissociated) for some reason. The more you communicate with these different parts and “listen” to what they “need”, the more that you are able to take care of all of you, and, as a result, the better that you function over all.

    Internal communication and negotiation is considered to be a very positive step!

    • Ellen said:

      The kid seems to me more like a person than a ‘personification’, but it could be, I really don’t know. The communication does seem to really help a lot and I think too it’s the right road. Thank you Cat.

  2. weareonebyruth said:

    Sounds familiar to me. I think you are doing awesome….I guess my perspective is a little different. Glad to hear the Kid enjoys the walks so much. My life became much easier when I started meeting all the parts needs as much as possible. The soup making sounds delicious.

    • Ellen said:

      I enjoyed the soup all week. 🙂 Thank you Ruth

  3. Juliet said:

    This makes total sense to me as well.

    This sounds probably very weird but I feel like saying it: I love that you let the kid enjoy the outings. It is so lovely of you to do that and it really touches me. You’re taking care of the kid and give her/him what she/he likes. I think that’s just great.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Juliet. The Kid thanks you also.

  4. Ashana M said:

    I think people probably do make themselves stay in poses, but not for the same reason. What comes up for you during yoga might be too intense to process in a room full of other people–maybe that’s why you’re shutting down. Can you try doing some yoga at home so that you can start to get a handle on the emotions in a place where you feel a bit safer?

    • Ellen said:

      I can get a bit of emotion when I practice on my own. The goal would be to be able to feel that in a class, instead of shutting down, and you’re right, it’s hard to feel safe enough. I have cried before in yoga class and felt embarrassed. I think with the class it’s way too much yoga at once – I’d do better with a half hour class. Thanks Ashana

      • Ashana M said:

        When you’ve chipped away at the emotion, and it’s less intense, you will be able to stay with it in class. But class isn’t a safe place to process so much intensity. So you don’t. Which makes sense.

  5. Gel said:

    Your depressions seem to come and go in waves. Does it seem that way to you? I used to be depressed constantly with dips into even worse depression. Now it seems to have improved such that I have periods of time….days at least where I wouldn’t say I’m depressed and then other times where I have varying degrees of down times. I’ve wondered what makes that coming and going pattern. Do you have a pattern like that?

    I’ve also noticed incidents that seem to trigger a downward spiral and other times when there is no obvious present situation triggering the depression, but it just seems to come over me out of the blue.

    Cooking…..I love it and I do get tired of it at times. I still feel uneducated on how to cook a lot of the red meat cuts. I often opt for ground meats because they are so versatile and fast/easy to cook. But I think veggies are what take the most time to prepare because of all the chopping. I’ve got a few time savers. I often cook a lot of several different vegetables and store them separately in containers. Then I combine them and use different seasonings and meats to create many different stews and casseroles. Those can each be a complete meal in themselves. The same group of vegetables can taste completely different with different seasoning and meats.

    One thing I read about pork is to marinate it first in something acidic before cooking it. Do you do that? I think it tenderizes the meat. Smart of you to let yourself off the hook about cooking….I think that is good to do repeatedly. Do you add any spices to the slow cooking of hunks of meats?

    It seems like the more you can work with your parts and the kid in therapy the better. I can’t see why we don’t give a lot more nurturing loving energy to our kids (inner and outer)….I think the old idea that loving energy and praise would spoil a kid is wrong…I think its the lack of healthy boundaries that hurts kids. Do you think you inner parts need to be treated like you would your own child? Or does an inner child need a different kind of care? This is the first time I’ve thought of that.


  6. Ellen said:

    Yes, I’d say I have a similar pattern. Thanks for sharing about your cooking.

    I roast sweet potatoes and store in the fridge, so at least there’s that to eat. Then I keep nuts and dates handy. I actually rescued the pork – I’d tried putting onions and turnips in with it, and they didn’t turn out well, so I threw them out, then popped the pork in the oven with a cut up apple. Yum. I love pork and apple. I think I have to keep things simple. Cook and learn.

    I didn’t marinate the pork, maybe will try. I rubbed it with salmon rub – a sugary spicy mix. It was OK. This was my first real ‘hunk’ of meat. I aim to improve. 🙂

    I don’t know the answer to your question – it’s a good one.

    Thank you Gel.

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