I just don’t want to fall into another depression like after my last two sessions. I went yesterday evening for therapy this week. I slept very badly after, and had a godawful day at work today. Could be the awfulness is mostly in my mind – I’m not sure. I had literally nothing to do until the afternoon, when I had a meeting, so I was trying to fill a lot of time, while my whole being was screaming to go home and lie down. I felt like a complete alien in the big city. I work in a highrise right in the middle of the city, and underneath is a mall with very shiny tiles and mirrors and lots of lights. I go down there for breaks, to get a coffee and sit somewhere else for a while. That’s where the alien feeling kicked in big time – like I had maybe an  extra limb coming out of my forehead. I started feeling unreal and inhuman. Sometimes that can happen, with too little sleep, no tasks to do, but the need to keep my chair warm at work to pull in my hourly rate.

Plus yes, I feel bad after the session. It’s still unclear to me why that happens. We didn’t explicitly work on trauma stuff.

And, I had a first meeting with my new boss in the afternoon. I like him, and I like his approach better than my old boss’. But I feel like I was just oozing depression. At one point he gave me such a sharp look, I wondered if I was acting strangely. But, I’m trying to take hold of my thoughts. The big picture is, OK, my mood was very depressed and I try not to let that be visible, but I don’t think I succeed. However. Nothing bad happened at the meeting. I like his approach, it’s more in line with how I like to work. He is soft spoken and basically nice. So, that’s what I need to focus on. I really want to stop my mind from running wild with fears and sad thoughts. I do wish I could have had this meeting on a day other than the day after therapy. However.

I’m chilling with a glass of red wine, and it’s helping me calm down. Lucky I don’t find alcohol addictive – I can see how it could be. At least that’s one problem I do not have. So far. Cue spooky music! Maybe that problem is just around the corner…

I wonder if part of my trouble after therapy is the relationship itself. Ron has been saying it’s maybe the parts, or my feelings about being in parts, or that parts in themselves are traumatic somehow.

Today, I’m feeling it’s something about him and me that causes me to feel depressed. I don’t feel I trust him that much. I do trust him with parts, so it’s odd I don’t trust him otherwise. I do talk to him, but I don’t feel that comfortable talking to him. I can’t believe he’s really interested, so I don’t talk at length. Then there are often parts pushing up, wanting time, so that’s uncomfortable. At the same time, I value my fifty minutes, and don’t want to waste any. I hate that I only have fifty minutes – it seems so very short. Then I start missing him half way through the session, because I’ll have to leave shortly, which seems so sad and hopeless. So I both don’t trust, plus am desperate to connect, but then connection seems to elude me anyway. Maybe it would continue to, no matter how long I stayed? Is connection magic that happens for some and not others?

If connection is a matter of sharing emotion, then I can see the trouble. For me, most of my emotions are held in parts. So when I discuss problems as myself, I don’t feel the emotions attached to that problem unless I switch it seems. So maybe I’m not feeling connected as myself for that reason? I have often felt very connected to Ron after switching into a part, and that part crying and telling her story.

Well – I am so very glad to be at home again. I need to rest, and not have to face the world until I can knit myself back together, with a proper skin boundary in place to keep bad stuff out and good stuff in.

  1. I had a therapy relationship once that did this to me. I finally stopped going because I realized I felt less hopeless when I didn’t go. I think it was that I didn’t feel heard. I didn’t feel heard and so it seemed impossible that anyone could help me, and since I didn’t know what to do either, nothing was ever going to get better and it was just awful. It was triggering all of these other memories of times when I wasn’t helped.

    It makes sense that you can’t really access the feelings unless you switch. “You” is coming from a fairly constant state of dissociating emotions, so accessing the feelings is going to make you feel “not-you.” Switching is a good way to at least know what the feelings are and where they are coming from.

    I hope the situation improves for you.

    • Ellen said:

      Glad you stopped going.

      I’m not sure. I just slept three hours after writing this – I was just exhausted. I might have been writing out of exhaustion. The idea of quitting therapy fills me with panic. I’ve run into this with therapists over and over, and Ron has been the best. He helped me discover the parts, and he’s good with them. I just wonder if it’s something with me, that I can’t trust, no matter how trustworthy the person. And I just couldn’t do what you are doing – self therapy with just writing. Even though my trauma is less, I know I need a person to help me.

      Some of his ideas don’t help me. He has this idea about being authentic, which is a good idea really, but for me – what is authentic? Which of the parts? It just doesn’t apply very well.

      He has been unfailingly kind. He’s replied to hundreds of emails by this point.

      I have felt predictably horrible after every session the past few weeks, and it’s concerning. I don’t know where that is coming from. It’s not clearly from the past, though he says it is. It might be.

      Thanks for understanding about switching. I’ve only just been realizing this myself. I feel pretty much unmoved when I discuss things as an adult in therapy. If it’s a difficult topic, I’ll feel a kind of depressed foreboding feeling. But to have more regular feelings, I need to switch to find them.

      Thanks for commenting Ashana.

      • I’m not really suggesting you quit. I went back to the same therapist when I was in a place where my problems seemed to be ones she could understand. It’s just that I understand how terrible it is when therapy itself seems to make you feel depressed. It’s an imperfect relationship you have with Ron, and there are just things he is not able to help you with. Like this depression. He’s not able to help you figure out what to do, and clearly something needs to be done, because the depression is really debilitating. But then there are other things he does help you with. It’s not a total wash. it’s just hard to know how to fill the gap left. Take care.

        • Ellen said:

          It’s so interesting to hear your story Ashana. We do have similarities.

          Ron did have some thoughts on the depression, which I haven’t talked about yet. He says it’s a lid kept on feelings – that for me, in therapy, I let some of the parts out, but then when I get home, the mechanism for dissociation is so strong, and such a reflex, that I shut it back down, and that leads to me feeling depressed.

          So there’s an explanation. Maybe that’s it – it makes sense.

          I just wonder if in my case, the problems I have with Ron are my own problems I have with everyone? Or is he in some ways off about what I need, because being in parts is not that common a problem? Trying to be analytical here, instead of just suffering. I know from blog reading, some clients feel purely positive about their Ts most of the time, and I definitely don’t have that. I don’t have that sense of someone purely good being insanely understanding and wise at all times. That would be awesome though.

          Thanks for talking with me.

          • I value our exchanges, so you are welcome.

            It is an explanation, and if it fits, that’s good. It wasn’t the case with me. Depression was a part of various traumatic memories that were surfacing that were times that were just really hopeless and I couldn’t do anything to change overwhelming problems. But I didn’t know that until I felt absolute despair every morning from the time I got up until I left about 4 hours later for about 3 months. So connecting all that up was not a simple or easy process. And knowing what was causing i’m not sure would have helped that much anyway. I needed to know what to do about it so that I didn’t just collapse while I felt the despair so the memories that involved that emotion could be made sense of. The dissociation let me get through the rest of the day and be happy part of the time too. It didn’t lead to more depression for me. But that is my story. It might not be yours.

            • Ellen said:

              That sounds really difficult. For me, at this point, I don’t know what it is, or why it’s worse with therapy. I just keep guessing. Thanks for sharing.

  2. S.G said:

    That sounds all so difficult. To want to connect on some level but being unable to on another. And the dissocation is just a horrible feeling too. I hope you feel better soon x

    • Ellen said:

      For me dissociation is normal though, so that part is not so awful. The rest is very painful. Thank you S.G.

  3. Rachel said:

    Hi Ellen, I can really relate to so much of what you wrote. About feeling uncertain how you are being perceived at work, wanting more therapy time and starting to miss your therapist half way through, feeling unsure of trusting your therapist and the connection. And not even knowing how to make that connection or if it exists. I think it does, and I think that it is possible. Maybe not for every two people, but it can and does happen when we work towards it.
    You sound grounded in all the uncertainty you are dealing with, if that makes sense. Its tough, but you’re coping. And know where you don’t want to go (i.e. depression), so that counts for something.

  4. Hugs, connecting with others when you feel disconnected from yourself is a challenge….at least that was my experience. It is still difficult for me to do but I am making progress. I feel less of the feeling of here but not. Glad the new boss seems like OK.

    • Ellen said:

      I agree, I think the disconnection in myself – the dissociation – makes connection difficult. Thanks Ruth.

  5. Cat said:

    Hi Ellen… I often feel bad after session without really knowing why. I’m glad the new boss sounds decent.

    I wonder if you feel depressed with the sessions because you are feeling the distance – a lack of trust and connection. When you said, “I can’t believe he’s interested” I did wonder how this relates to the childhood family dynamics. If you talk this through in session, would it help the connection?

    I have a problem with connection, if we didn’t experience this as children, it’s difficult to know how to connect as adults. I have a huge issue with dissociation and I often wonder if it makes the connection even more problematic.

    • Ellen said:

      Sorry you have similar issues Cat. Yeah – I wonder if the distance stems from childhood issues also. We’re supposedly re-creating our family dynamics in therapy, so it would make sense. But then – maybe it’s just lack of connection in the present? For me it’s complicated by parts, some of whom feel very connected to Ron, others who don’t trust at all.

      I wonder too if I can connect with other the way people with less problematic upbringings can….

      Thanks! Hope all is well with you.

      • Cat said:

        It’s probably a little bit of both, Ellen, and then some more

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