Therapy Thursday

I am just so tired. However, I lie down and don’t fall asleep. I’m tired and I just want to cry mostly. But I don’t – it’s not easy to cry.

This morning I got up and went off to the local farmer’s market. So pleased with myself for making it out before it closes at 1 pm. Everything there is quite pricey, but it’s organic, and fresh, and covered in earth. So I buy fairly happily. One wine producer stands alone, his bottles arranged in front of him, and nobody stops. The reason is likely the prices – oh la la. I ask for a sample, and after some discussion he gives me a small glass of pinot noir. Wow. It is so good. So complex, subtle, very dry but not at all sour. It tasted like good woodsy earth might taste, if it was distilled to its essence. I was tempted, but come on. I really have no occasion where I would drink an expensive bottle. To spend $35 dollars on a wine to be drunk alone seems ridiculous. So I go on my way.

I’m still kind of longing to taste it again. I did go back, after the grocery store, as I’d realized I can bring a bottle to Thanksgiving next month. However my father can only tolerate white, so I bought a Riesling, which was ten bucks cheaper. It was tasty, but not like the Pinot. The Pinot was like fine art in a glass.

I bought crisp green beans, apples that taste sweet and earthy and perfumy at once, and some expensive free range pork butt pork chops, whatever those are. I shall see. I could have done without the pricey chops and bought the wine instead, come to think of it. But wine seems like an indulgence while chops are supper after all.

You’d think, having managed that, I’d get home and energetically start cooking, but no. I am just tired, so I lie down, but can’t sleep.

Therapy this week sucked frankly, and I wrote Ron the middle of the night email to tell him so. He wrote back really promptly to say it would be good if I could mention this in session when we could deal with it. Who can argue with that.

What on earth did we talk about. I did mention the family visit of two weeks ago. I talk about how nothing real is ever discussed – it’s all chat about the food, the garden, and yes, wine.

Ron has some theories. His idea is that I can. Phew, I don’t want to write this part. Speaking about my family is just that painful. Anyway, he has this idea that I should go and insist on talking about real things. I ask if that is going to help me feel better. Not right away, he says. Not that day, or that month. But eventually, it’s going to help me feel like I can be my real authentic self, and the world won’t end.

That may be true. But I hate the thought, it just makes me feel kind of sick. They will just reject me, because that’s what they do. Ron has said in the past that the less we have to lose, the more tightly we cling to it. Could be. I feel kind of sick just writing about it. And he’s not saying disclose the SA or parts, or anything. Just talk about how I feel about what’s happening, or talk about anything real.

Deep breaths. I probably changed the subject here.

The whole time I was sitting there, and we were having this adult type conversation about my family, different parts were pushing and wanting time. And at one point I did switch to B, and let her draw a bit. But somehow, this time it didn’t feel nurturing, and it didn’t feel as if Ron noticed her much at all. Ron was in this good mood, and I find he becomes a worse therapist when that happens. He starts talking about various theories he has at length, while I’m sitting there, parts dying to express themselves, but I’m required (it seems to me) to sit and have this adult discussion. And I’m used to doing that, I do it all day at work. But it kills me.

We also talk about my trying to do more. I tell Ron it doesn’t help, when I force myself to do more. That I know for some kinds of depression, getting more active helps. You start to feel little feelings of accomplishment, or enjoyment, and then you do more, and get more good feelings – an upward spiral. But for me, I don’t have that kind of depression. And Ron says no, he wasn’t thinking of it like that.

His thought is that doing more will bring up more feelings in me, which I can then work through, and it might move me forward out of the stuck place I’m in. I hated hearing I’m in a stuck place. I tell him I’m too tired to do stuff. And that feeling things, like I’m trying to do, takes a lot of time. And he nods.

Whatever. I do want to do more, like today for instance, I had totally planned to go to my group. I just can’t. I am so f’ing tired. I think it’s hard for someone to understand how tired one person can be, if they haven’t experienced it themselves.

Anyway, my excursion this morning did bring up feelings – a severe longing for a particular bottle of wine. lol.

I tell him about acupuncture, how it brought up memories. He said it’s impossible to avoid body stuff, like exercise, or the dentist. But what should I do then? He thinks I can bring it up with the practitioner in some way, so it feels more real. But what can I say? He didn’t know.

Right at the end of the session, suddenly we have a small talk that feels more meaningful. Something about dissociation. How I’m feeling things, but the feelings aren’t connected to the events or thoughts that are causing them. Everything is somehow separated and so doesn’t make sense. This feels deeply true for me. I don’t get why, for instance, I want to cry all the time today. Or B will talk, and tell a small story, and start crying, when the story is not at all sad.

So I go home. Then I find I am super wound up, from keeping all the parts in check and continuing to be an adult, it feels like. I find my sleep is worse than ever. I feel furious that therapy seems to have made things worse, and I write Ron an angry email in the middle of the night.

Now, a few days later, I can see the session had some value. We did talk about some important things. It’s just that Ron talked a lot, and parts felt unheard completely. It’s just a complicated salad.

  1. ” I am just so tired. However, I lie down and don’t fall asleep. I’m tired and I just want to cry mostly. But I don’t – it’s not easy to cry.” <~~~~ All of that is just how I feel! Glad you made it to the market. We live on a farm and beofre my hubby got sick he sold our produce at the local farmer's market. Physically he just couldn't do it but more so we are both depressed. Yup, no sleep but nothing productive to show for the lack of it. Everything is an effort and my body feels heavy and hard to move at times and I just sort of sit and stare…know that feeling? And I can't cry either.

    • Ellen said:

      Sorry you feel similar AG. Though now, a week later, I’m feeling a lot more lively. Interesting you live on a working farm. I think that must be such a demanding way to earn a living these days. I’m sorry it’s hard. I so often also feel as you describe…just now I’ve cheered up, but I know the feeling. Thanks AG.

  2. Rachel said:

    It definitely is a complicated salad. And when there are so many different needs at any given time, it really is hard to feel that sense of being held and supported in session. Sorry you are so tired all the time, that must make it so hard to then allow yourself to get work done in therapy, because emotional work is hard for anyone, even people who don’t have to deal with that extra fatigue.

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, I think the competing needs part is really hard. Thanks Rachel.

  3. “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Hugs… you are not the only one that feels that way. My sister and I tried being with our parents. Total wash out. Fortunately, we can be very real with each other. The parental units chose to create their own world based on lies and cliches meaning nothing. What it did do for me? I realized, I wasn’t the one with the problem and they are totally missing out on knowing two terrific people, my sister and I. Their loss. Parts do want to be heard after being ignored and shoved aside for years and years. Assure them they will get their turn….I don’t blame them for not wanting to be silenced any more. good luck at work.

    • Ellen said:

      I always think it’s so great you have your sister and you support each other. I think when you try being more real, and you are not met with acceptance, at least you know you did your best. My parents also have created their own world, and it harmed me quite a bit. Parts are really important for me to try and deal with in therapy. I did more of that this week and felt better about therapy. Thanks Ruth.

  4. Ashana M said:

    I think sometimes it can be enough just to feel the tiredness, that that’s really enough to work through.

    I find sometimes the connection between feelings and events is really, really tenuous. It’s like you’re just scraping a very outer layer or the long end of a hanging thread. You can’t dive in–that would be overwhelming. But if you can sit there with the long end of the thread for a while, it does eventually get clear. I mean, after weeks of coming back to thread, or coming back to several threads.

    I was cleaning my house today. C may or may not come for tutoring in the afternoon and it’s Sunday (cleaning day) and there are mushrooms growing in the bathroom. Also, I snagged a new kind of cleaning fluid that doesn’t smell that “bathroom” in a really unpleasant way. So these things were going on, and I felt incredibly sad, cleaning my house, and really unreasonably homesick for something I can’t name–like this terrible longing. Also, I was listening to a couple of songs in French, because I was wondering about something.

    And I got this memory eventually–I mean, after seven hours of this. There was someone whose house I went to. She was in the same neighbourhood as Yuri’s hotel, but had no connection except I think that the hotel cleaning lady cleaned her house as well, and that’s how I landed there. She was French and her house smelled good. It was orderly and calm and clean, and i was just this haven of peace in my otherwise frightening and chaotic life. I started thinking that’s what I’m trying to do at this particular moment: trying to create a sense of a safe haven for C, in the event she comes. Because what’s sort of loudest about the memory is this sense that someone gives a shit. The light switches were clean in that house not because the woman was fanatical about cleanliness, but because it’s nice to have clean light switches and because she gave a shit. She cared about her house, she cared about me. Maybe not passionately, but it was this foray into normal middle-class life where human life matters. It is worth looking after.

    But I could do this because I’ve scraped away about 1000 layers of pain. I mean, I really liked this woman. I liked this house. It was really, really nice to be there but it wasn’t a traumatic memory. I think Ron doesn’t get that your forays do bring up things, but it starts very quickly to become more than is manageable and you can’t process anything at all. Doing things does bring things up, but it’s so much about how to pace it.

    It also seems like with your family there are real consequences to being authentic, and those consequences are going to bring up trauma memories. It’s going to replay being alone and rejected as a young person and meanwhile you’ll also have to continue to act adult and discuss the garden or whatever. It isn’t like it will come up, you’ll be able to process it and move on. Not saying anything authentic does that too. It’s pretty much a lose-lose.

    Just some thoughts. Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      Really interesting about the cleaning and the house. It’s interesting what children notice and respond to. I too remember a relative’s house I thought was lovely…you wouldn’t think children would care, but they do. You forget the good along with the bad…Mushrooms in the bathroom – does sound like some cleaning needs to happen. 🙂

      Yeah, it is about pacing – because what happens is I shut down so fast, I never even seem to feel whatever it was that preceded that. I need to do little bits at a time.

      As to the authenticity with family – I really can’t bear to think about it. A lot of my trauma involves their pretty intense rejection of me anyway. I just can’t go there right now. The thing with my family is, they’re getting quite old, so if I ever want to reach out in any way, I have to do it fairly soon. They were not all bad all the time. It’s just a mess.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts and telling me more about your story Ash.

  5. Cat said:

    Hi Ellen, I love farmers markets, although I’ve never heard of pork butt chops, WTF are they?

    Oh…so… Ron is back to the authentic self with family….mmmm…. I must say, it makes a little more sense today and his experience must tell him something important might take place. Maybe talking about something “real” but not to do with the family, might have a therapeutic result. Starting with family stuff would be too much and may never be appropriate, but it could be empowering to try something smaller and see what happens. I doubt it would make you feel different immediately, but it might contribute something unseen, if you know what I mean.

    Paul often talks too much while I’m desperate to speak about something else. I suppose we’re supposed to discuss the relationship, but it just feels so hard to cut them off mid flow.

    As for doing more, yes, it’s so exhausting and people don’t seem to understand unless you’ve been there. For me, it’s just so exhausting to hold it together outside while pretending there’s some kind of “normality” behind my emotionless eyes. I actually admire how much you are doing and considering everything you’ve had to cope with at a full time job, I imagine adding much more would just have an exhausting effect rather than help. I see Ron’s reasoning, but still…

    I would say discussing concerns with the acupuncturist is a must. You don’t need to go into details, just that you suffer depression relating to CH stuff and the acupuncture triggers certain emotions/sensations. They might be able to do something helpful.

    Sorry, I’ve rattled on too long… When we’re stuck, it’s so frustrating and frightening to think we’ll never move forward. You’re working hard, Ellen, and I’m sure something will shift eventually.

    • Ellen said:

      He he. I looked them up on google when I got your comment. Pork butt chops are shoulder chops. They need longer cooking than regular chops, and are considered a cheaper cut, though the ones I bought were really expensive. I try to get meat that isn’t factory farmed, which costs more, but this was super pricey.

      It’s a good idea to start with something small with family that’s still real. However, they don’t respond well to difficulties, such as when I had trouble with a job, they just look away and change the subject. I guess I need something real but not difficult?

      It’s hard when therapists go on too much. This week though, I did interrupt Ron with my feelings about his theories, and he was great with it, and wanted to hear how I felt. I feel a lot better about him this week, consequently. Maybe just coming back to your feelings is key.

      I think there’s a kind heart behind those ’emotionless eyes’. But I understand about the exhaustion – yep, it can be so difficult. Thanks for the kind words about working – it’s like my one accomplishment, but it’s important to me.

      I told the acupuncturist that I couldn’t sleep after the treatment, I need a slower approach. So he put in a needle that’s good for sleep, and used less needles overall, and I could sleep after that. I really didn’t want to get into my issues, but this worked OK.

      Thanks for the comment and encouragement – I love it when people ‘rattle on’. 🙂

      • Cat said:

        Yes, I’ve been thinking of telling Paul he irritates me by talking too much. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could remember anything he says, but it never seems that important.

        I’m glad you told the acupuncturist, that’s probably all you needed to say. Sorry, my memory is shot to pieces… remind me why you’re seeing one 🙂

        • Ellen said:

          I’d encourage you to try expressing more of your feelings to Paul. I’ve found it surprising how much closer I feel to Ron after I express negative feelings. Mostly anyway. Unless what Ron says strikes a chord with me, I can never remember what he was on about either. 🙂

          I’ve got a frozen shoulder – that’s the reason for the acupuncture.


  6. Andi said:

    Leaving therapy feeling like one or more of us were not properly heard in session is always difficult. It leaves a feeling of emptiness. Glad you reached out to him.

    • Ellen said:

      It does leave a feeling of emptiness…Thank you Andi

  7. Should have bought the wine and treated yourself! Why not? To find such a lovely bottle is great. You deserve to enjoy it

    • Ellen said:

      Mmmm…your comment made me smile Penny. I’m not sure I would enjoy that by myself really – it just seems wrong to me to drink an expensive wine alone. But I am scheming to buy it for some event like Christmas…Thanks

      • Warm bath, some nice chocolate and a delicious wine…just because you’re worth it x

  8. being real is so important, but first you have to trust in the relationship, completely. that part isn’t easy. farmers markets are awesome. I’m glad you got to at least sample the wine even if you didn’t buy it. XX

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, being real is important, but I don’t trust my family one little bit. The farmers market was really nice. Thanks

      • I wish I lived closer to a farmers market, I live about 20 miles away from the nearest one though, it’s nice that you are able to do fun things for yourself sometimes

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