Therapy Thursday 1

This weekend I feel more sad than depressed. It’s more like a feeling, instead of an overwhelming stress state. So that’s maybe good.

Therapy was Thursday evening this time, as I’d already worked from home Monday, so couldn’t Friday. So I got to therapy pretty tired from my workday.

I want to write out the session, but I can’t remember it well through all this sadness. I wanted to know why I’m feeling all this depression after therapy. Ron said I’d emailed him some good reasons. But those were just everything I remembered discussing last session I say. I don’t know what caused this.

I tell him work is better, with this new boss. Even relating to the manager I don’t like, S, is better. My main difficulty in the past week was the huge depression I fell into. Oh, and I went for a cancer check up – it turned out I’m fine, most likely entirely cured. That was a relief, but I was so depressed, I didn’t feel it emotionally much. I felt bad going to the clinic so depressed. Some people who actually had cancer looked at me with kind of fellow feeling – but it was under false pretences – I was lucky, I didn’t have cancer, it was this other thing. Anyway.

I tell Ron the surgeon congratulated me on my great scan results – as if I’d done something special. I told him it was pure blind luck – nothing to do with me. He’d said something like ‘you did great, good for you’. Ron comments that sometimes doctors condescend to patients like that – treat them like children – because it’s a way of avoiding connection. They have to communicate these life and death types of news, and to avoid the emotion of that, they start condescending.

I tell Ron it was maybe something like that, but that overall, this doctor had been great. He seemed genuinely happy for me. Another person there though, a researcher, was completely condescending….I’d agreed to fill out his survey. Man, he treated me like someone who was child-like. I tell Ron, my colon is a long way from my brain – my brain is fine. My colon is actually fine also, thank you God.

I talk about my ex, about how it was when we lived together. How he is a mess of anxiety, and if everything doesn’t go exactly how he needs it to go, he would explode with rage. Everything was always all about him in the end, him and his rages. How I basically spent my thirties afraid of him, and trying to avoid him. And that I feel I completely wasted my thirties, being with this man whom I was afraid of. And how I thought a lot of my predicament was about money – I’d tried to get jobs, but people didn’t wish to hire me. I had no specific experience or skills. I guess I’d get so nervous at interviews, it made everyone uncomfortable, and I’d never get the job.

If I’d had money, I would have left. I wonder. I guess I didn’t really figure my parents into the equation – that they were well of by this point, and would likely have helped me. I never felt I deserved help. There wasn’t blood or broken bones – just broken furniture, and a lot of anger and fear. I think my PTSD was just set off by living with my ex, over and over, and so I’d shut down, and just concentrate on surviving.

So at least I’m out of there. It’s actually good – I’m earning money, working consistently, have my own place.

I don’t say this, but I think I had an inner abuser – that’s why I couldn’t deal with the external one. I couldn’t see how inappropriate my ex’s behaviour was, really, because he was mirroring some kind of inner situation.

I don’t express much emotion about any of this. Writing it out feels disturbing though. I wonder if I’d feel less awful if I’d expressed some emotion about all this. Ron doesn’t ask about that, he just listens, so I move on to something else. I’d expect Ron to show more interest in this, but he doesn’t seem to, though he does listen. I wonder if I seem like such a passive victim, it’s hard to deal with. At this point I was an adult, not a child who merits sympathy just for that fact. As an adult, I acted like a complete victim. Maybe it’s hard to comment on that.

I’ll write the rest of the session in the next post.

  1. Everyone deserves compassion. There are many reasons why Ron may not have shown much emotion while listening to you, but I most certainly hope that your being an adult victim who was acting from places that were hurt when she was a child did not cause him to think that you were not worthy of compassion. From what you have said about him, he doesn’t sound like he would be that judge mental and uncaring.

    You weren’t just a passive adult victim. You tried to think of ways to get out, but your background left you unable to act effectively on your behalf. Or at least to act quickly on your behalf. You did eventually get yourself out, didn’t you?

    I think that you need to give yourself move credit… That sounds scolding, doesn’t it? It isn’t meant that way, I’ve just had a headache all day and can’t figure out how to say it in a “soft” way at the moment. What I’m saying really is meant to be supportive and help you see some of your positives, since it can be so hard to see them in ourselves. Particularly when we are depressed.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks so much Cat. That is a kind comment – not at all scolding. I can’t imagine you scolding somehow….

      I agree with you about Ron. He is a good egg altogether – if I think rationally, he would never be judgmental.

      It’s true, I felt completely paralyzed a lot of the time. It took a long time to get out, but I managed in the end.

      Your comment helped – I read it in the middle of the night when I was really down, and it helped me see a different kinder perspective. I am somewhat ashamed of my past predicaments, but am working through it all.

      Hope your headache is better today. I get headaches, and they can be awful.

  2. Rachel said:

    Sounds like you are processing through some really important aspects of your past, and how you haven’t processed some emotions you would like to. I think your awareness of how little you have felt is an important step in the process.
    I can relate a lot to ‘it sounds disturbing when I write it out.’ There are parts of my past I can talk about with no emotion, but were really quite traumatic. Like your experience with your ex.
    I think you sound strong, despite the depression.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Rachel, that is how I think about it. I’ve been finding I have been feeling more about my marriage, kind of processing internally, since speaking about it in my session. It hurts worse when you speak about it, but it allows it to process.

      • Rachel said:

        I agree, great insight. It does hurt to speak it, but temporarily as healing happens.

  3. One thing that jumped out at me, maybe a little bit randomly, is how as someone working through the trauma of the past, the emotions of it are this continual surprise. I mean, there is the problem of not knowing how to get them down to a manageable level so that life can go on and also so that life seems a little bit worth living. But there is a part of it that is just a surprise at how life feels when have proper emotions, instead of feelings that are half-shut-out all the time. There is a kind of flattened existence that feels somewhat normal, and there’s this continual wish to get it back to that “normal” place again, especially when the emotions are really unpleasant, but I am still getting used to how it feels to be in the world with emotions that are much more strongly felt in a very physical sense but also in a way that affects my cognition much more. I have no idea if that relates to how your depression feels, but I know for myself integrating and working through trauma has involved even trying to identify emotions again because I’m feeling them now in such a different way than I used to. It’s like the whole world of feelings is a little bit new and not quite natural yet. Not that deep depression is ever going to feel just okay and natural, but I wonder if that’s part of the puzzlement for you.

    • Ellen said:

      I think that’s true for me also. When I remember, I try to label whatever emotion I’m feeling, to help parts, but to help myself also. I wonder if therapy just catapults me into the world of emotions, and it feels so strange, I can’t cope with it very well. Thanks!

  4. Cat said:

    Hi Ellen… I’m so pleased to read you had a good result from the cancer clinic, that’s great news, but I understand how the sadness interferes with the joy. In my experience, these consultants are condescending.

    Life with your ex sounds terrifying. I was once in abusive relationship for a few years, but it took me a long time to recognise the abuse. This must be related to childhood and how we didn’t learn from a good role model, the unacceptable behaviour somehow seems the norm or maybe we feel that we don’t deserve any better.

    You were a victim as a child and I believe you were every bit a victim as an adult. It’s easy to criticise ourselves in hindsight. I had a feeling that Ron would be especially interested in what you were telling him on Thursday. This post reveals a side of you that I seldom read and I reckon Ron will feel the same. When he’s sitting in silence with little feedback, I wonder how much you’re triggered by childhood and interpret Ron’s silence as something it’s not, if that makes sense…

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Cat, I am so pleased about the cancer news also, which I didn’t really express properly. It is a great relief altogether, and I feel very lucky.

      The ex was very scary. So sorry you also had this experience – I didn’t know that. Exactly, to us, it seems hurtful, but somehow acceptable. It’s such a sticky web I fell into.

      Not sure about the side I seldom reveal? I think probably you’re right about Ron’s silence – I’m misinterpreting. Which I’m glad to realize.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

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