Therapy Friday – not good

“Thinking about my session tomorrow. I’m afraid of going. So often, therapy makes me feel worse. I don’t have the sense anymore that it helps, beyond having a friendly face and someone who cares. Which is nice, but the pain of it is so severe. I don’t know. I kind of don’t want to go.”

I started to write this post yesterday, then got stuck. I did go to my session, and now I feel unbelievably awful. Of course this would happen on a long weekend with Ron going away. He was there in his jeans today, ready to leave right after work. Maybe I should have paid attention to my forebodings.

I don’t think therapy is helping me. We had another discussion about how to treat PTSD, which is f’ing useless. There is no point having that discussion. Ron believes what he believes. He did say he thinks it’s ‘problematic’ that I’m ambivalent about therapy, by which he means not ready to plunge into intense feelings.

I started out with Ron not knowing that much about what I was dealing with. The fact that he had good therapist skills seemed so great to me – I hadn’t experienced a therapist who had those before. I didn’t screen him for how he treats trauma or dissociation. I just figured whatever it was he did was likely right.

Now I’ve lost confidence.

What makes it more confusing is my anger at Ron is getting mixed up with my personal issues. I have a lot of anger with men, and it’s getting triggered. And Ron is pretty good with it – he doesn’t retaliate or get visibly angry himself. He encourages me to talk about it. Like I said, he has good therapist skills.

I went to the dentist Tuesday and have been feeling awful ever since. Depressed. I know the dentist triggers me, which is helpful to know, because I know that those feelings will pass again. I didn’t really work on this in my session today, but I cried quite a bit. But I think that dentist depression was kind of sitting there, making everything more difficult.

Now I am having kind of half flashbacks. I can’t seem to feel anything, except a kind of blackness, and the choking and a huge amount of pressure.

It’s confusing. I don’t know if my anger is part of the flashbacks, or because I am angry with Ron and need to quit therapy. Right now I want to send that email  that announces I’m quitting, goodbye forever. I know from experience this urge will dissipate as the days go on.

B didn’t really get time. Another part of me was drawing – I don’t know who, perhaps it was me. So since B didn’t get time, I don’t feel that lovely sense of being cared about that happens when she gets time and Ron pays attention to her. I just feel misunderstood, pissed off, and flashbacky.

I must start interviewing other therapists. I think I need to get out of this situation. Even if I don’t quit with Ron until I’ve found someone else, in order to keep parts more calm.

  1. Rachel said:

    Well, shoot. I was hoping things would turn around, though truthfully, my intuition tells me you have received all the therapeutic benefit you can from Ron, and now are aware of needs that he cannot meet. I am so sorry Ellen. I know how painful it is to feel bonded to a therapist, and think about leaving them. You’re doing a good job of sticking with this tough process of figuring out what you need, while knowing what you are doing now is not working. Hang in there. Thinking of you and sending a lot of strength and support. Take good care of yourself this weekend. And those little plants!

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Rachel. Do you mean my balcony plants? They are looking good at the moment. One positive in a meaningless universe. :-/

      • Rachel said:

        Yes, your balcony plants! Glad they are looking good. I am going to tell you about a book that might irritate you, but I find it to be quite brilliant. My therapis told me about it on Monday. It is called “Hardwiring Happiness”, and it talks about using the act of noticing good moments (such as your plants) as a way to bolster a sense of internal positivity in the brain, because our brains evolutionarily trend towards a negativity bias. So we much actively choose to focus on positive moments, or create them, in order to feel better.
        I say it might irritate you, because I know when I am feeling down, the last thing I want is someone to tell me to “think positive”. But this book isn’t that at all. It is grounded in science and mindfulness, and I am really enjoying it and finding benefit. It came to mind when I was thinking about you, so I thought I would share.

        • Ellen said:

          No worries, I love reading. I can’t read in my current state, but maybe I’ll look up that book later. That mindfulness type of stuff can be really helpful but I have to climb out of this hole before I can do it. Thanks for sharing that.

          • Rachel said:

            You are welcome, and I figured now isn’t the time, but perhaps another time. Take care.

  2. It’s really awful that you’re in this place that’s very, very painful, but there’s no one to help you. Ron doesn’t seem to think there is anything that does help. You just have to go through the feelings. But, of course, there are things that help. You just need to discover what they are, and it is easier to do that if someone else is working with you at that discovery process. it seems when you have parents like yours who aren’t nurturing, there are no role models for managing feelings. They get boxed up or they get discharged on others–it’s what everyone else does. There aren’t a lot of other strategies. Your therapist can be your role model for how to keep feelings at a tolerable level by nurturing you, but Ron isn’t really focused on this.

    Can you do some things that B likes to get some more positive emotions going?

    • Ellen said:

      I do need to discover that. You have. You’re right – I had no role models for feelings, as feelings were just pushed aside.

      B loves a TV show – Say Yes to the Dress, so we just watched four episodes of that. I’m sure you’d hate this show. I never in my life considered wedding dresses and never wanted one. Just – this very young part finds the show soothing.

      I need to find more things. I’m thinking about it. Thanks Ashana, that is so helpful.

      • I think nearly every little girl loves wedding dresses. 🙂 Take care.

        • Ellen said:

          Yeah, this one sure does. 🙂 Craziness. Thanks for understanding.

  3. Andi said:

    Sometimes we do just reach a point where we have gone as far as we can with a clinician. But I know that is still difficult and no fun at all. Supporting you xx

  4. Cat said:

    It’s so difficult to know if it’s the therapy or ourselves who are getting in the way. It helped me recently when I googled “stuck in therapy” and spent a couple of days reading about resistance. However, it might have thrown more doubt into the mix… am I stuck because of therapy/Therapists or due to my own resistance….mmmm.

    When you first started with Ron, I get the impression that you didn’t have any need to screen for how he deals with trauma and dissociation. As therapy has progressed and changed, so too have your needs.

    Do you think your ‘ambivalence’ is problematic? I am not sure it is. Yes, it would be if it continued over a prolonged period of time with no sign of resolve. “problematic” feels a bit like saying we shouldn’t be feeling or working through our doubts. You might not be making too much headway with trauma and dissociation at the moment, but this ‘ambivalent’ phase is equally important and deserves just as much attention. Who knows what else you might be working through in your subconscious while this plays out. I’m not sure if that makes sense.

    I imagine it would be difficult to find the time and energy to interview new T’s, not to mention the stress or how upset it will make you feel to contemplate finishing with Ron. Then again, you may come across someone that clicks in all the right places. Whatever you decide, take your time to ponder before deciding. Hope your weekend goes okay.

    • Ellen said:

      Therapy is like a maze – I never know if it’s the actual thing Ron does I’m upset about, or if it’s all about my own issues. Your googling inspired me to google also – I googled ‘anger with therapist’ and got some interesting reading.

      Thanks for your take on ambivalence. Maybe it does deserve attention as you say. My impression was that Ron was saying this is a ‘bad’ thing I’m doing, but maybe it’s not.

      It’s hard to decide what to do. I remember the pain of looking for a therapist – I tend to not want to do that. I need to be really really motivated to face it. And right now, in August, likely most are on vacation anyway.

      Thanks for the comment Cat.

      • Cat said:

        I’m glad you tried the googling and found it helpful.

        If the “ambivalence” continued for months and therapy was completely stuck, then yes, it obviously would be problematic, but this only really came to light fairly recently, to this extent. Maybe at the end of all this, you might decide to stay put, but the doubting is really searching and that can only be a good thing, either way.

        Cheers Ellen, hope the weekend is going okay for you

  5. Good luck in finding a new therapist. Thats always hard. I think your right though, I think its time. XX

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