A bit bogged

A bit bogged down. I want to keep a record of my therapy, but it’s feeling so heavy and difficult, I’m avoiding writing it. Plus I feel as if I am so odd, writing about parts, so different from everyone else. Perhaps I am making the whole thing up….I don’t really think that, but I struggle with the feeling. It’s not something I share with people, that’s for sure.

Last week is hard to remember. I did tell Ron he looked more tired Fridays than Thursdays, and was he doing anything Thursday evenings that kept him up? Ron said no. Then that he didn’t shave Fridays. Apparently he doesn’t like shaving, and doesn’t shave every day. It’s true, I realized. He has a light stubble Fridays, which maybe I’m reading as fatigue. I have so little to go on, when I try and figure him out apart from myself.

Anyhow, that was vital, obviously. He he. What else.

We talked again about work – it’s one of my main struggles in life. My boss handed down an unexpected very tight deadline, given by his boss, for my project. I wasn’t consulted,  and was frustrated, because I don’t think it is doable. It depends on several other people, which is where the hold ups occur, not just my own work.

I’ve also been struggling with feeling blank. For some reason, last week, I flipped into feeling blank, or numb, or dissociated, and couldn’t emerge. I hate that feeling. I think there is some part behind it, maybe trying to come out, or hiding. You’d think, when I struggle with a lot of dark feelings, I’d be OK with numbness, but I’m not. That state feels threatening to me, uncomfortable, like a constant itch.

Ron asks if I’ve been trying to feel what’s underneath the blankness, and I say I have, but it’s not working.

Then some of the parts talked a bit with Ron. I ended up with one very young part. She talked about being at work. The building where I work has an very tall atrium, which can seem kind of dark and shadowy. This part talked about how afraid she was of being there.

There’s a small cafe there, where we went to take a break from work and have a tea and a treat. In my session, this part keeps feeling like she’s there in the cafe, and scared. All the people scare her – they’re wearing suits, they have blackberries, briefcases….I don’t know. Are they really people or are they not human?

Ron: What if they’re not human? What do unhuman people do?

This child says she doesn’t know. Ron asks a few more questions. The child is very shy and very young and doesn’t say much more.

Ron thinks she seems younger than the kid. She’s certainly more shy.

Then I’m back. I talk about how I had trouble staying adult in a meeting. No big deal, but I hate it. I guess I got anxious, and said some things in a childish voice. One of the managers there copied my voice, so then I realized I was doing that. It wasn’t a complete switch, but partial, with mostly just the voice. I must have become anxious, that happens to me then.

I tell Ron I started to remember that my father used to make jokes about me. I remembered a friend from school coming over and commenting on it – why was he saying mean things about me? I always pretended I didn’t notice.

I can’t remember what he used to say, just that he did.

Ron says I’m fighting for myself – remembering what happened, so if I treat myself like that, I notice it. Something like that.

That’s about it. I was OK going home, but tired the rest of the day. The next day, I was so down I couldn’t leave the house, and mostly stayed in bed. I think it was something about the young part that spoke about being scared at work. I don’t think she’s spoken much before. I’m unclear as to who she is.  She does remind me of Beth – maybe it’s her.

There’s something about these very young parts emerging that unleashes really bad feelings – hopeless feelings.

Sunday was better. Plus I was no longer numb.

The whole thing is difficult.



  1. weareonebyruth said:

    You are not alone and I am cheering for you here.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Ruth I appreciate that. Have you stopped blogging?

  2. kp said:

    I am hesitant to offer feedback because I have so little experience with the therapeutic process BUT I can relate to the horrible feeling of crashing emotionally because of some seemingly small thing that happens in my day. It feels like progress to me that the younger voice is coming forward even though it is scarey and hard to experience. I am thinking about you….Kim

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, that’s a common experience for me at work too. The good things don’t get much airtime in my mind, it’s the troubling aspects that dominate unfortunately. I also believe it’s progress. 🙂 Thank you Kim

  3. Grainne said:

    I had such a swell of anxiety for you when I read about you speaking out in a child’s voice at your meeting. Sounds like where I work…one of the managers made fun of you for it? Mimicking you? If so, no wonder the child feels threatened.

    Just popping in to say hi. I don’t comment enough on your blog, I’ve decided. xx

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Grainne – I didn’t know you read my blog actually.

      Well, I kind of like this manager actually. I went back and forth with Ron about this also. I don’t think she was consciously mocking me really, though it did hurt my feelings for a couple of hours. I wasn’t aware I had switched a bit into the kid, so it was good to have her response, in a way. It may not sound like it, but my current work is the most benign environment I’ve ever worked in. I’m working on not switching while at work though, because that is not at all good for my image.

      Thanks for your support.

  4. candycanandco said:

    I can relate to so much of what you say. I get that blankness when there’s a lot to cope with. It’s usually a sign that there is stuff going on under the surface that I’m protecting myself from. My T says its not a bad thing if the alternative is very bad feelings but it can be hard too. I see it as a risky state as if I’m like that its a sign that I’m not managing

    • Ellen said:

      Glad you can relate candy. That sounds like me also. I hate that blankness, though yes, I guess it can be preferable to really awful feelings. Just I can’t sleep when I have it. Hope you are well.

  5. Cat said:

    There is so much of what you write about in this post that I can relate to. Whenever anyone was mean or said hurtful things to me, I used to pretend I didn’t notice….um…I’d probably do the same today. I can also understand that numbness, Ellen. Sometimes it feels so complicated to write about and so we end up saying nothing. What you said about feeling blank and being unable to emerge is sooo familiar. Ron’s question, “what is beneath the blankness” really blew me away and has me thinking about my own suffocating numbness. Great post, Ellen…sraight from the heart!

    • Ellen said:

      Glad you can relate Cat. I was actually thinking no one could relate…interesting. I still pretend I don’t notice. For anyone but someone close, and even then, I’d probably respond later. And I’m very glad to loan you my therapist if it helps. 🙂 Thanks Cat.

  6. Gel said:

    I’m listening….
    Seems like good work.

  7. If it’s any consolation, I look forward to your posts every week. Dealing with parts isn’t so common, so it helps to read what it’s like for other people going through the same thing.

    One of my struggles as a teacher is consistency, because different parts respond differently to the same behaviours, and some of them are much more forceful and stern than others. Plus, I can’t always remember without a lot of difficulty what I did previously. You can write things down, but there isn’t time to always do that. Also, I don’t remember I wrote it, or if I remember that much, I don’t remember where. It’s much better now as the parts are less separate, but I can really understand how parts make work really difficult at times. For you, it’s the voice, but that bit of switching that happens comes out in some way–for me, it’s more in what I do, and it’s also in my posture and expression, which is less of a big deal to people than a switch in voice. But it can still really make a difference at work. Usually switching seems like it is a response to some kind of stress–something triggers an anxious or a fearful or an angry state–and while you’re trying to keep it together and behave professionally, you’re also trying to cope with the way the switch is manifesting itself. It’s really tough.

    Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      Good to know you find it helpful or at least interesting, thanks.

      I haven’t read much about how people with parts handle work – it’s so interesting to hear your experience. For me, the switching is definitely a result of anxiety. Also I don’t realize it’s happening at the time, so I don’t do anything about it. If I realized, I could likely switch back, or at least stop talking. I don’t think I could manage being a teacher, with this problem. First, I’d be triggered by kid situations all the time. And just interacting with people for most of my work day would be too much, I’d end up switched all the time I fear. I admire you for being able to do it.

      It is tough, and unfair, and not possible to explain to regular people also.

      All the best to you.

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