Going out

I have been continuing with more activity and more social contacts. Good and bad. Bad first. I think it’s making me more depressed. The stress of getting it together to go to things, then keeping it together…..it’s tough. It seems to mean I don’t get to collapse and process therapy stuff, and it seems to mean I never have the few good days I did have in my previous ‘collapse on the weekend and feel and just f’ing survive’ mode. Now I feel depressed all week long as well. But.

The good is I am having some kind of a life. I am a lot less lonely. Not because I’ve found soulmates, actually, but the light social contact seems enough for me to feel more connected to life. It’s more interesting. I feel less pathetic, less like my life is only about survival. I can experiment with how different situations feel to me, how the dissociation is working, if I’m able to relax enough not to dissociate.

The two activities I’ve added so far are dance classes and church. Both of which have other spin-off type of activities.

Last night for instance I went off to an education session at the church I’ve been attending, on forgiveness. It was a small group of about ten people. It’s kind of in between a class discussion, support group and therapy group. I’m not at all sure which of these it is, so  find that difficult, not knowing how to respond often.

Interestingly, a lot of the issues I had with group therapy came up for me here also. Smack.

I had a lot of anxiety sitting in the group, and at one point had the strong urge to get up and leave. One of my parts, the teenage part, started screaming at me that ‘she wants to die’. That is a disturbing thing that happens, but it helped that I know this part pretty well now, and I realize there is nothing much I can do for her at the moment. Or maybe there is – I could have tried some kind of reassuring inner dialogue? It’s difficult, because things are going on obviously, in the outside world, so I’m paying attention to that. But this happened very very regularly in group also.

Then I also had a lot of urge to speak. I mostly tried to not say much. For one thing, I wasn’t sure what everyone believed and what the project here was, really. I’m mainly there for a spiritual life, after all, and to make some social connections, hopefully. I don’t want to scare people off.

At one point, I felt I had to interrupt someone. I have struggled with the tendency to interrupt people, in group also. I don’t know why I do that. I just feel a tremendous anxiety about what they’re saying, and end up feeling I won’t get a chance to address it, and I interrupt. Very bad.

Then there is also one woman, as in my group, whom I feel that I trigger. This woman is very articulate and is a divinity student with a long history with this congregation. And I’m basically an outsider. But for some reason, I seem to threaten her. Shades of E in my group. On very very little information, she seems to have a  problem with me. She is the type of person who has a lot of seething emotion, which she wants to express. Which is OK. Just somehow, we are clashing.

I’m hopeful though that unlike with E in the group, because I’m going to be cautious and friendly, it will not turn into an actual clash and make us all feel bad.

I have to admit I learned little about forgiveness. The topic turned more to inclusiveness, how the church is inclusive and how it is also failing. Which is OK.

I came home and had a complete anxiety attack. I suppose that groups are so stressful for me, I just flip into anxiety. This is so so similar to my reaction to group. And it’s all without and fancy therapy happening. It’s just the same thing entirely. The one thing I suppose group gave me was the ability to recognize my issues. Though I was not able to work through them, and I actually think if anything, the therapy made them worse and more entrenched. Sad to say. Maybe not more entrenched. But the way I was trying to work on them in group didn’t help.

This all seems kind of crazy. One solid thing I can think of is that I am very uneasy with the topic of forgiveness. I do not forgive what happened to me. I really don’t. I suspect a lot of people are papering over difficult feelings when they say they forgive – I don’t trust that.

No one talked much about this official topic. However, I’d have liked to express some of my feelings about it and see if there was any feedback.

Another thing I noticed – I tend to criticize. Not meanly, but I tend to feel that people aren’t making sense, and I want to clarify, and it comes across as criticism. I know my academic family tended to interact like that – criticizing each others points. Which I definitely don’t want to do, but I think I fall back on when I’m anxious. Instead, I’d like to just say what’s on my mind, express my own self. I don’t always have to fit it into what other people are saying. That just annoys them anyway. I can say what I want and need to, and give people space to comment or not. Hello, self, are you listening?

Today I am grateful for a long walk in the spring sun, where I actually felt better and more relaxed after it than before it. That doesn’t happen often. The sun, and the feeling better.

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8 comments
  1. You have so much self-knowledge and self-awareness 🙂 It’s an absolute pleasure to read your posts. xx

    • Ellen said:

      Um…why thanks! Maybe group therapy was more useful than I thought. 🙂

      • Even if all it did was cause you to write this post, and me to help you see the HUGE level of self-awareness you have, then yes, it was a worthwhile (though uncomfortable) experience 🙂

  2. candycanandco said:

    Forgiving often comes with the idea of forgetting. When an individual has grown up having to suppress knowledge and not acknowledge hurt and then they begin to be able to acknowledge and feel it, the suggestion of forgiving and forgetting can seem like denial of the pain that it is right to feel and a suggestion that they should go back to suppression of knowledge and feeling, which isn’t how things are worked through.

    • Ellen said:

      That’s how I feel. Thank you for expressing that Candy.

  3. Bourbon said:

    It is mighty difficult trying to do internal dialogue when there is so much going on outside your head too. My mind is pretty much NEVER fully locked onto external dialogue.. I always seem to be listening and talking inside too. I guess it would be hard to really know what to say to your teenage part who is saying she wants to die … perhaps some work needs to be done on what she really means when she says that. Does she mean physical death or emotional death? Is she wanting to just get away from what is in front of her or is she commenting on how she feels really deep down? Often when a part of me says something like “I want X” often me just commenting “I know” is enough. It’s tricky though.

    • Ellen said:

      I’ve tried to dialogue with the teenage part in therapy a few times. It’s very tough going, and then I find the aftermath difficult because it plunges me into despair. Ron says that people want to die when they’re being tortured, so maybe she feels that. I also am trying to acknowledge parts, not trying to shut them up, but then leaving it at that. Thanks for understanding Bourbon.

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