I want to get this week’s therapy down while I still remember the details. Last week was a lot of parts, and so I forgot the session pretty quickly. I know V talked a lot, and so I subsequently had a lot of dark feelings from her.
This week, we first talked about my problem with exercise. I feel quite hopeless about this – I get triggered over and over, but can’t seem to work anything through, so next time, I get triggered into the same scenarios/feelings once again. Ideally, I’d make progress processing this stuff, and it would resolve, but somehow, that doesn’t happen for me. Ron wonders if it’s because I have to deal with it on my own, so then I must shut it away again in order to function. I agree it would be nice to have someone sympathetic there. However, I did have a session one day right after too much exercise, and I was triggered, and nothing resolved then either.
When I think about it later, I remember about hot warm cold trauma. This is something I could explain to Ron, though I wish he already understood it. Sometimes I wish he understood more about trauma. His idea is that you open it up, don’t be afraid of it, and let it process. The problem is, if it’s too intense, too hot, you can’t manage that, because it’s too threatening to your sanity, and so you must shut it down. You need to get that trauma to warm – where you can feel it, but it is not completely overwhelming, and in that state, it can be processed.
My impression, at least from meeting Ron’s clients in group, is that for most of his clients, the number one problem is actually unawareness of feeling – they are in ‘cold’ so to speak. They don’t have the problem of trauma appearing which overwhelms the system. Instead they have frozen feelings which they spend a lot of energy denying are there. That is not my problem, but I realize that’s a problem for a lot of slightly troubled people. So in that case, it makes sense to always try to open things up as much as possible. For me, not so much.
Maybe that’s the issue. I don’t seem to be thinking well in the therapy hour – I wish I’d thought to mention this. If I could somehow trigger the exercise trauma in small amounts, maybe I could process it.
Most of the session was taken up with a discussion of work. I’m a horrible anxious mess at work. I’m actually feeling afraid a good portion of the time there, and at home, I obsess about the people and what might be going on. I think this was triggered off by the strange behaviour of my boss, who stopped talking to me and only dealt with my project through a co-worker of mine, whom I don’t get along with, but who is his long time employee. Along with some disapproving looks, and a few strange things that he said, that was enough to send me into a tailspin.
One day, because I heard my boss’ voice in the small room where he interviewed me for this job, I half believed he was interviewing my replacement. I knew at the time, this was unlikely, but my mind was unable to overrule my sense of fear and danger, one that stuck with me for the rest of the day.
The other problem is because I’m having so much anxiety, it’s impacting how I interact with people. I’ve had meetings where my voice is very tight and shaking a bit, and I know that’s not pleasant for people. Plus, they can easily draw the conclusion that you are not competent. They see the anxiety, and base their opinion on this.
And here Ron and I clash. He feels I am making up explanations for things which are unclear, and the explanations frighten me. He’s said this before, and to me, it always sounds like he is not believing what I tell him. Organizations are strange places, I say. Weird interpersonal and group dynamics happen all the time, which you probably wouldn’t know much about, since therapists don’t tend to be working in large organizations.
I get really uncomfortable, and it feels like I’m wasting my hour discussing this, so I want to move on. Ron feels it’s an important discussion, because we’re also talking about how the two of us are relating. I feel he is saying I’m making things up, that I’m paranoid. I agree that I’m over-reacting. I bring up group, how I felt the same thing from him, that he was denying my reality.
Now somehow, we come onto the same page here, and I can’t quite remember how it happened. Ron says something like it makes more sense to not try to explain my feelings in terms of what’s happening in the present, but instead, to think of them as coming from my past. This kind of makes sense to me, and all of a sudden, I feel calmer. Sure, my father was super critical. These feelings of being unacceptable, unwanted, are familiar from the past. Ron says the trick is going to be trying to heal the wounds of the past, rather than making up explanations for the present.
For some reason, writing it out here feels bad.
The session was pretty much over at that point. Ron and I parted on friendly terms – I genuinely felt he’d put his finger on something that made sense.
Then I woke up at 1 am last night, completely immersed in the anxiety of work again. I again felt Ron wasn’t believing me, and that work was genuinely threatening and full of bad things. It’s going to be a long slog to try and work this stuff out. Maybe it’s hopeful that for a short time at least, I felt Ron understood some of what I was trying to tell him. I am going to try and look at it all as if it’s feelings from the past.