Therapy is strange. And therapy for dissociative disorders is stranger still IMO. Because it is hard to know what to do for the best.
My sessions have been following a pattern. I go in, and I’m ‘normal’. I try to talk about my life concerns – this time it was a new class I’m taking, and possibly communicating more with my family. Really valid therapy concerns – we never chit chat. Then, with about twenty minutes left, parts become more and more frantic that they won’t be heard. So some part speaks to Ron. Often, this leads straight to trauma, or at least, trauma feelings. So then I am completely swamped by that child part’s emotions. I stagger home, and cannot function for a day, and need to recover for several days.
When I think back, or feel back, the meaningful part of the session is always when parts emerge. That part of it seems to have depth, while the first part, the adult part, seems thin, like a cover up almost. Like a surface painting. The second part is more like sculpture, or maybe a diorama. Even though I appreciate hearing Ron’s views on life and I do get things out of the adult part of it all.
If I stick with the adult part, I can end up feeling lonely and disconnected. Whereas with the child parts, I feel nurtured and held.
But, with the parts comes a swamp of such bad feelings, suicide seems like a very valid option. Which otherwise, it isn’t, for me. I’m not that depressed. Life is hard, but not meaningless.
So I’m thinking – do I really need to jump off a cliff each and every Friday, which takes me half a week to recover from? How do I know that this is helping?
I expressed some of this to Ron last session. He replied that in his experience, expressing deep feelings changes them. Which I agree with. The part I’m not sure about is if this is still the case for trauma. Trauma hasn’t been processed by the brain in the usual way, so it tends to keep getting ‘triggered’, but this doesn’t necessarily change it. It then subsides, and emerges again in just the same way the next time it is triggered out. That’s what I’m worried may be happening with my therapy. I didn’t say this at the time, but I think I will next week.
It’s great that Ron isn’t afraid of big emotions. A lot of therapists are, most especially, in my experience, the medical ones. The whole idea for them is to get rid of these feelings as quickly and efficiently as possible. A nice side benefit for therapists with this view is that they don’t have to deal with these emotions for the most part.
Ron is completely the opposite. He encourages emotions to emerge, and I agree with that approach. Just, sometimes it is too much.
This time, we did something a little differently. When parts became louder, I said what was happening, but I didn’t switch into the part. Ron actually suggested this. Could they relay what they wanted to say through me? So I listened, and relayed what V had to say. After a bit, I did get very emotional, and parts kind of came rushing forwards, and things got confusing. But. I never completely switched into a particular part – I stayed as the main person.
Ron offered me a quick check-in call the next day, so I could feel more supported.
So I feel better than last week, and I think it’s both of those things. First, that I didn’t completely become any part. Because if I become a young child, who is left to take care of that child? I have to do that, and I can’t if I’m actually the child. Second, the call helped. Probably more the thought of the call than what was said. I felt a lot less alone.
I still felt sad, and spent a lot of the rest of the day in bed. And Saturday was mostly spent gloomily. But today I seem OK again.
I do feel less connected to Ron. But, I like feeling adult. Adults can cook, can go places, can figure out things that parts might like. There are a lot of advantages to being adult.
Ron said something about trying another venue, where he does more body based therapy with mats and props and things. I was crying so I couldn’t discuss it, but maybe we’ll try it. Now would be the time to try things, while I’m off work.