Therapy – work

I said last post my life has become more difficult, but didn’t say why. I’d been feeling more and more stressed as the week progressed, and Thursday night had a massive anxiety reaction, so I wrote to Ron to tell him about it. Here’s what’s bothering me.

1. I went off for my post-cancer colonoscopy at the beginning of the week. Preparing for this procedure is unpleasant, let’s just leave it at that, though the actual test is no big problem. You get good drugs, lol. I wasn’t too worried, as my scan had come back clear. However, the recovery nurse told me they had taken a biopsy, and that there’d been scar tissue which they’d done something or other with. I wasn’t expecting any of this. I don’t know what he saw to make him take a biopsy – I’ll find out next week. So the fear of cancer is back.

2. My son ended up in the emerg again on the weekend. I think he may be having anxiety attacks, but he thinks they’re heart attacks, so off he goes to get an ECG. I’m worried he’s getting worse, and don’t know how to help him.

3. It’s become pretty clear this week that my contract won’t be renewed again. I’ll be out of work end of July. I feel rejected by this, though rationally, I shouldn’t. I have to process that this work world is ending for me. It’s been my longest time at one job ever.

4. My relationship with my client / boss is strained, and it seemed especially awful this week. I felt that no one respected me at work, and he was especially troublesome.

5. The hospital test has stirred up parts and body memories, making me feel super tense. Plus I suddenly had to be in at work every day, so had no time to decompress and let these things recede again.

So, those are the things. They all hit last week, and by Thursday I was overwhelmed. The part of me that feels suicide is a solution became very loud, which I find disturbing. I don’t switch into that part entirely, luckily.

I explain to Ron that I decided I need to pull myself together. So I have to wait for the results of a medical test – so do many other people – it’s not unique to me. I can reassure myself that as my scan was clear, it’s unlikely the cancer is back. I don’t know what’s going on, but why assume the worst.

With my son – what can I do. I can try and support him, and be there. I haven’t seen him much recently, so I need to make more efforts to see him. But I don’t know the future. Things change. Why picture the worst case scenario?

As to work – I am actually fairly confident I’ll find more work, given my experience, skill set and the current market. Just, I’m worried about having to be on site eight hours a day. If I have to do that, I’ll end up entirely shut down with the sheer effort of trying to cope. I’ve done it before, and it’s very very tough. I’ll need to try and get a good enough rate so I can buy services – meals, cleaning….because I end up exhausted. Luckily, I can do that though.

So, I tell Ron, I need to just live in the moment. In this moment, I’m alive, I’m not sick, and that is something. The future will hold what it will hold.

Ron is a bit skeptical here, but doesn’t push. I’d said something about tough, I just have to be strong like everyone else. But he always wants to go with the feelings, not paper them over with techniques.

I tell him it’s better than going crazy. He asks how I am going crazy, and I tell him about the part, and how panicked I got. I don’t see much point or value in panic – it’s just useless suffering IMO. Staying in the present is helping me feel better.

We go back and forth quite a bit about work. Now we’ve had that conversation, I’m no longer so sure I’m being condescended to as I was thinking. I try to explain how people treating me like an secretary is manifesting, as per Ron’s request. How do I know they look down on me, don’t want me to speak, just want me to take notes and set up meetings? It seems so clear to me that this is happening, but when I get down to it, I struggle to explain. OK, this one manager looked at his watch impatiently when I said something. They do seem to think they are better than me because we have different skill sets. My boss did get into my meeting and immediately got into his email. Then some fragment of the discussion would catch his ear, and he’d start talking about the first thing that popped into his head. What a nuisance, when we’re trying to get through material fairly quickly. I find it disrespectful to go to a meeting and bury yourself in your email. Just stay at your desk, if you have no time to go and pay attention.

I felt about two inches tall after my days at work, sure that everyone condescended to me all the time and that I was being treated like crap.

Ron comments that he’s struck by how sudden it is that I’m sure my contract won’t be renewed. In the past weeks I’d thought it might or might not, now all of a sudden I’m sure it won’t.

Um. That’s true. Why am I suddenly so sure? Well, because it’s two months, and I’d mentioned if they’re renewing, they would need to tell me two months before expiry. Plus my boss and I aren’t getting along. Plus something another manager said pointed to the fact that my time there is limited, though it wasn’t black and white.

Ron also wants to pin down how I’m being disrespected. I tell him it seems like he doesn’t believe me about this. He says he’s wondering if it’s stark, or more subtle.

People tend to want reasons to feel they’re better than someone else, I say. They can feel they know more about the products than I do, which they do. That doesn’t make them smarter though. We have different skill sets.

At home after the session, I feel a lot less certain about the whole thing. Are people at  work looking down on me? Is it all so black and white? Since I felt that way in my family, it’s unclear to me whether these are old triggered feelings, or reflect current reality.

It’s awful to be so paranoid and uncertain about other people. I really want to be more trusting. If people warrant it. It can go the other way also – I can block out bad treatment very easily, because I was so used to doing that in my FOO – everyone, including myself, pretended it was not happening.

Well, do I ever sound neurotic and insecure. Lucky this is a therapy blog then.

  1. kp said:

    When I read this blog, I can totally relate…not to the particulars but to the feelings…the insecurities, the awful feelings when you feel that others don’t see your skills and expertise, the anxieties about the future…It sounds like a difficult situation. Hang in there…Kim

    • Ellen said:

      Sorry you can relate but it’s good to hear we have things in common! thanks Kim

  2. I think if I had all that going on, I’d be a basket case.

    Also, it occurred to me that what you’re describing is sort of the nature of being in parts. All the parts have different preferences and opinions about things. They don’t agree. You can hear them, but you can’t get them on the same page. So even something like buying a shirt ends up feeling very complicated and difficult, and it seems like there’s a while in the process when this is really at its worst. I remember when I first started working with parts, it became difficult to get dressed in the morning. Just picking out clothes was complex. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted coffee or tea with breakfast. Things like that.

    On another note, I think your client/boss is maybe just a bit of a difficult person. I can’t remember what you’ve written that gave me that impression. But things like not paying attention and then piping up with nonsense is somewhat indicative. It’s like he doesn’t think he needs to pay attention. He’s so brilliant thought is unnecessary for him, so I guess arrogance is what comes through. Of course, there are other possible readings. It’s hard being in parts with this kind of thing also, because it’s the pattern of behaviour that tells you and not just some isolated incidents. However, not being whole for me at least means I don’t see everything. One part sees certain kinds of behaviours. A different part sees another set of behaviours. It’s hard to get the full picture. It really makes it hard to know what to make of anything or to make very sound decisions. I just keep hoping it will get better as I work through the trauma.

    • Ellen said:

      I pretty much was, thanks.

      I have that problem, with buying clothes and getting dressed both. The kid really liked the expensive shirt, but when I wore it to work, I hated it – it seemed loud to me. C’est la vie. Though letting the kid have her way sometimes is fun, as little things can make her happy, so it’s not all bad.

      Yes, this boss is difficult, especially for me. He kind of flirts with all the women, and with me, it doesn’t work…so we have that problem right off the bat. It’s interesting what you say about parts. I hadn’t thought of it in this way, and am not sure if that’s true for me. What I know about, is that different parts can be triggered out, especially since we have a difficult relationship, and that makes things worse. That’s not his fault – it’s my problem. It could be also different parts see different things. Food for thought.

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