Downhill

I’ve been researching local trauma therapists with experience with dissociation. There are a few. All women. I think I do better with men, but men don’t seem to specialize in trauma here.

I’ve had a bad weekend. I did make a point of going out of the house every day though, as per my therapy session. Friday I sat outside at Starbucks. Saturday morning I went to the library and looked at magazines. Today I ventured a little west with the car, walked and sat in a cafe reading. It was all OK. But I’ve ended up with a monster head-ache.

I am surprised Ron has gone down this tack of trying to get me to go out on weekends. Why didn’t he do that when we started therapy? When we started, if I was sad on weekends, he’d say I was ‘falling together’, and it seemed OK with him if I was too sad to function.

I feel as if therapy is making me worse. I felt incredibly internally chaotic Friday, as if parts were swirling around, yelling or moaning or something. I seem to dwell on all the ways Ron doesn’t get me, and doesn’t get trauma. Yes, he took the book I lent him. Who knows if he’ll end up reading it. I think if he wanted to inform himself about trauma and dissociation, he would already have done so.

On the other hand. When I think of going to see one of these trauma therapist women – I quail. I know in my bones that there is so much more to being a good therapist than knowing this trauma theory. But – they might both know it and be good therapists, who knows? I need someone who can tolerate my being ‘not nice’, the way Ron is able to.

I’ve stopped eating supper most days, the last two weeks. And skipped lunch also on weekends. I make do with a good breakfast, then chocolate and almonds. I don’t think it’s a good thing. Usually I never skip a meal – I’m all about good nutrition. I feel I’m just going downhill in every respect.

I know I need other sources of human contact, besides therapy and my job. That’s a big problem right there. And I have shed friends since going to Ron for therapy, and I’ve not replaced them. Though a couple of people did reach out to me at work, which never happened once in my four years at the previous place. So I wonder if maybe something has changed after all?

Rain this weekend, and cool. I don’t mind. I like cool rain, if it’s only for a few days.

I’ve taken three days off. I deeply felt I needed to take a break, my first since starting this contract in February. There’s a statutory holiday here on Wednesday, so I’m taking the Monday and Tuesday as well.

I’m trying not to think about therapy. It’s just a part of my life – I need to think about other things. Hard to do when you feel like crap though. Easy to focus on how therapy is not helping.

I’ve also been dealing with anger this weekend. I felt it at the end of last session. I did  a meditaton this morning on allowing emotions, then switching back to focus on the breath. I thought it was great – feeling the emotion as well as containing it. However then I got hit with this massive headache, so maybe it was too much of a good thing.

I hope you are doing well today and that things are right in your world.

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17 comments
  1. Cat said:

    Hi Ellen… I am pleased to read of you taking a break. It is just what you need right now

    IT does sound a little strange that Ron suddenly thinks it’s time to get out, no matter how you feel. I know you did shed some friendships, but maybe you’re not quite ready to form new ones. If we try to venture into friendships too soon, the problems we might encounter could be too much to deal with and our efforts become counterproductive. Personally, I would only feel comfortable when I stop shutting down in new company.

    As for a new Therapist – wow – that must feel terrifying. I do understand why you’re feeling like this, although I’m not sure if it would be any better. When I think about Paul and how easy it is to talk about almost everything, it really doesn’t matter if he falls short in some things. However, and it’s a big HOWEVER, when it comes to the Therapist not being up to date with processing trauma and parts, I might also feel uncertain.

    What I worry about is how bad you feel each week from trauma, without really feeling it’s improving, although sometimes we are the last to notice our own improvements. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine trauma is a lot more difficult to process when other parts are involved and it probably takes a lot longer.

    Maybe the big question is whether he is doing more harm than good. Is this why you feel like you are going around in circles? Does Ron’s lack of knowledge contribute to the feeling of not finding healing?

    Just one last thing on my mind… is it possible to go for initial interviews with some of these trauma Therapists? Maybe a decision might be easier to make if you had a better idea what exactly is on offer.

    Ooops a long comment. Hope you have a restful holiday

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Cat – I found your comment really comforting. I also got it just at the right time. You are putting a good spin on all this. Maybe it is too soon for friendships. I actually feel a lot less lonely than I did a year ago – go figure. I just seem to have enough to do to take care of myself and not worry about others too much.

      It’s true, it scares me to look for a new T. It is such a process.

      I’m not sure if I’m getting better or not. I think I might be working through some things, though not the trauma so much. There’s a lot of stuff from growing up in my family to work through – I don’t seem to have been able to process much at the time. Dissociation and parts do make everything more difficult. But that might also be a reason I need a specialist.

      Yes that is the big question. I’m not sure. I feel better today, more hopeful, and so I’m thinking, maybe it is doing me good, it just feels really bad? Ron does make strange statements sometimes that really don’t apply, and I find that difficult. I just think his background theory is not the best for what I have.

      Yes, I can do initial interviews for sure. Some also do not charge for that – Ron didn’t.

      Thanks so much. I am so glad to be having a rest – I really needed it.

  2. Kept feeling worse for a long time. Something to think about, I’m reading a book that suggests that the relationship between client and therapist is as important or more important than the methods. Perhaps reviewing Ron from another perspective? Does he talk to the parts? Do you feel heard? Do you trust him to do no harm? I’ve changed counselors, you can do interviews with them for the price of a session. One lady seemed like a good therapist but on the second session her words and actions revealed she didn’t even believe me. I found a different therapist. I’ve had both men and women. I’m more comfortable with the men but I was surprised to feel more connected with my last woman therapist. Hoping the headache eases up. Is there a change in weather where you live. I noticed that a change in air pressure from storms can cause headaches. Cheering for you.

    • Ellen said:

      I am keeping in mind your comment about not feeling better for a long time Ruth. I wonder if when you’re dealing with parts, therapy just feels really bad for a long time.

      Ron will talk with parts, and I do feel heard on most topics. He wouldn’t do harm on purpose, but because he doesn’t seem to know much about dissociation, he may do harm by mistake. He definitely cares and is genuine.

      My headache is much better, thanks. Maybe it was the unsettled weather. I also sometimes don’t drink enough non-caffeinated drinks and get dehydrated, it could be that. Thanks for sharing Ruth.

      • Few therapist know much about parts. Some universities don’t even teach it. Sounds like in many ways you have a decent working relationship. Hugs. Hope you find what you are looking for.

        • Ellen said:

          It’s true, in many ways we do. I’ve only found two therapists here that say they work with DID, and I’m in a large city. So it’s not common knowledge. Thanks

  3. Grainne said:

    Love and hugs from me. I don’t have any good advice for you but I can feel your pain in my own soul. Xox

    Can we try something, you and I? Can we exchange email so we can maybe send a hello back and forth while we are at work? Can you access a personal email on your breaks there? I ask this because I once had a good friend I did this with when I was keeping myself in near complete isolation from people. I didn’t talk to anyone at work aside from my boss (because I had to talk to him) and when I got home I sealed myself inside the back room and avoided everyone until the next work day. It helped me to
    Have her to talk to over email…helped me fell less alone. I would love to do that with you, get to know you better and be there for you when you needed someone to connect with, of even for a moment.

    Here is my email. I won’t be offended if you never use it but I want you to have it. I check this one several times daily. Xx

    Grainne214@gmail.com.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Grainne. I can email through my phone at work. I struggle with the tiny touch keyboard, but I can do it. When I’m back at work, I’ll take you up on the emails.

      • Grainne said:

        Oh yay!! Please do. We can have a virtual coffee break together 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Hugs from this side of the pond. I am sorry you feel so bad. I wish I could tell you what to do to make it better, but as previously stated, that would probably annoy you and not be right. I hope you find a person who can help you through.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

  5. I’m trying to think about how to put my thoughts on this post into words. Soooo, I have had a lot of therapy. Like a lot a lot. And I can tell you that not a single flipping one ever saw thru my ED. Not a single one every asked me about sexual abuse. Maybe it was a question on an intake paper and of course I would have denied it but I wouldn’t have trusted anyone that soon. No one ever asked about my panic or anxiety. I never even knew what dissociation was until last year. I never knew that it was something I did on a daily basis.

    So does a therapist knowing about trauma make a difference? Absolutely. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have a “therapeutic” relationship with Ron but it might mean you won’t get better with Ron and that stinks. You deserve to get better. You’ve read my blog and I can be a mess and how did at least 20 other therapists miss the mark? They weren’t focused on trauma and only saw me as a purging anorexic. Once that was under control they thought they did their job and since I was young I thought it was all good too.
    Then I’d start to isolate again and get messed up again and sad again and scared again and you know the routine of the “downhill” descent.

    All it took was someone reasking the question…more than once. Questioning me as to why I would be doing what I was doing for no reason. Like who does that?! And it took getting me away from talking. She has me move and describe where I feel things in my body. And the yoga, oh my goodness how does all that stuff come up without any words?! And she explained shock and trauma and shutting down and she knows when I’m not there.

    So I babbled too much. And it may not seem as if I’m better but compared to where I was last year at this time is huge. And progress is not linear. And you owe it to yourself to risk leaving the familiarity of Ron. Maybe you could have a trauma therapist and Ron as your supportive therapist. Really that would be fine. But do try to find a trauma specialist or somatic experiencing or trauma informed yoga. 💜💜💜

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks very much for telling me your experience AG. Wow, those were terrible therapists, if they never even asked about an abuse history underlying the addiction.

      I’ve been to a few therapists also. Ron has been the best. But yeah, the way you are describing your therapy is nothing like mine. He’s strictly talking. He’s really old-fashioned, though he’s not super old. I don’t know. I think I have gotten better to a point. I’m full of emotion now, and seeing my past differently. But I don’t trust his knowledge when it comes to accessing trauma.

      Your therapist sounds great. It’s great you’re making all this progress also.

      I’m really torn about leaving Ron. He’s been so great in many ways. And yes, maybe I can see someone adjunct to him. I’ll find my way somehow. Thanks for the recommendations. Take care.

      • Ellen, none of the therapist were “bad”. I just never told. I was never pushed or challenged. I was in some great treatment centers and it’s just that trauma and dissociatiation are complicated and we learn how to hide and it’s scary and I was distrustful. And I would think therapists get attachment but they don’t. I was seen as resistant and the young woman who didn’t want to talk. But I desperately wanted to talk it was just that I couldn’t. So it’s not about being good or bad but more so how someone conceptualizes the issues/person.

  6. Rachel said:

    Hi Ellen, I have been thinking about your post today, and not sure how I wanted to respond. I still don’t know if I have a response I completely love, but wanted to send my support anyways. I am sorry you are in a rough spot right now. I understand that confusion and uncertainty about a therapeutic fit. What keeps coming to me, is that you have been unsure and questioning if Ron is a good fit for quite some time now. Your instincts are telling you something, and I find it quite positive that you are listening, and taking action. I know it is really uncomfortable to be in such a state of uncertainty, especially when therapy is such a support in your life. I can imagine the thought of leaving that comfortable support is terrifying. Yet something is nudging you to do so..
    I hope you get more rest, and find some peaceful moments in the coming days. Take good care.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Rachel. Instincts do need paying attention to.

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