I’ve been sick for the last two weeks. I needed five days off of work, plus a weekend, and am sadly still sick. But feeling emotionally well actually. When I was sick, I got really knocked over and needed to stay in bed for a few days. It actually felt like I was working through the work situation – with each coughing fit, I felt I was protesting the situation – the bosses confusing mixed messages, my anger, their anger, the worry, the sadness of being let go. So after all that, at this point, I feel better. I am glad this very confusing and painful situation is coming to a close, and I’ll get to rest for a week. Hopefully not too much more, as I need to find something else. Tomorrow is my last day.
Therapy on Saturday did not trigger me. Not only that, I felt calm and connected for most of the rest of Saturday and for most of today. As if a light got switched on internally, and I can feel some happiness again.
Which is ironic, since I now have no job and am also still sick, but there you go.
I can’t remember that much of the session. We were both a bit sick, with it seemed the same ailment, though I did not infect Ron, as I hadn’t seen him for two weeks. I tell Ron I’d find it hard to be a therapist with a cough, because I’d cough whenever I got anxious. But then, that’s just me, probably.
I stayed fairly adult this time, and felt no real pull to switch. I wonder if being half sick, and so aware of my body, grounds me somewhat. Could be. I tell Ron about work. I remember to keep labeling my feelings. It feels a bit artificial – oh yes, now I’m labelling this feeling – I’m feeling angry….but overall, it’s really really good. It feels a bit childish, and it is, because I was not taught to do this as a child. Feelings were really never ever discussed, even though they ruled our lives. Labeling them seems to give me some handle over them, so they don’t have to overwhelm me.
Ron doesn’t ask me to label feelings – it’s my idea, but he listens carefully.
I’m trying to work out what happened at work, because it’s hard to know. I float the theory that it’s partly my fault – if I had been less reactive, and less anxious, I would have made a better impression, and they wouldn’t have started to wonder if my work was any good. I tell Ron that in the future, I’m going to lie more. Even though that’s not what therapy is going to tell me to do. Ron says it depends what I mean. I mean, I don’t have to engage all the time. If I don’t agree, or if someone is getting something confused, I don’t have to jump in and correct them. It just gets them mad. If something is going wrong, I don’t have to try and save it. Just let it go….if it’s their idea, I won’t be blamed, and they’ll still like me.
We talk about how by ‘engaging’ I mean engaging negatively. I know a lot of people automatically shy away from engaging negatively, especially women, because we value connection and acceptance so much. For some reason, I easily confront and contradict, and it’s not doing my career any good. Ron says if by ‘lying’ I mean not saying something that the other person can’t hear anyway, then there’s no contradiction with therapy. But I could try engaging positively, looking for areas of agreement.
Whatever. Maybe. Each situation is so very different, but I’m going to try and keep this in mind.
I talk about wanting a social life, but how to get one? There’s meetups, but I did used to go occasionally, and never made a friend there. The people were always different. Then I feel shy at work….sometimes I don’t chat enough with people.
Of course, the talk turns to my childhood. I had best friends as a child, but then stuck with that one person or two people at most – I didn’t branch out. And….oh, my mother dressing me in odd clothes, so I didn’t fit in just from that aspect. She dressed my sister and me in my older cousins’ cast-offs. We lived in a wealthy suburb, so this was unusual behaviour. That, combined with my extreme shyness, and also the fact that I did very well in class, made me a bit of an outcast. Though I did have the best friend at least.
I talk a bit about my mother. She was not empathetic or emotionally attuned in any way – no one actually ever expressed interest in my feelings about things. I tell Ron this was the seventies after all – people were like that. Not all people, says Ron. Yeah, I agree. If your parents family’s were warm and connected, they passed that down to their kids. If not, then not. It happened like that for my mother, and it happened like that for me and my son.
I tell Ron that since my mother never was warm and connected, I didn’t really know what I was missing. Well, says Ron. If you’re missing vitamin C you still get scurvy, whether you know you’re missing it or not. Yeah, I agree. You mean connection is like a need. You need it whether you’ve gotten it ever or not.
Um. Writing about this is kind of upsetting me. Well. Writing about work doesn’t upset me, but writing about my childhood does.
Then one last thing happened. At some point, Ron was talking about something – mothers, or families, or some such. It was supportive and I agreed with it, but I also felt angry. So I went with the anger and told Ron about it. I know it’s not about what you’re saying, I tell him, because I agree with that. I just feel – angry. Like I’m being oppressed somehow. Like I have to fight back. Ron considers this. You don’t like being told what to do. No, I don’t. I don’t remember what else we say, but I strongly remember that feeling of anger. Maybe it was from remembering what it was like for me as a child. Or, maybe it is anger that pops up anytime a man starts talking…That’s a scary thought. I do feel angry very fast, though I don’t usually express it, as I know it’s not appropriate to the situation.
So I wish Ron a good recovery, and he wishes me the same, and I leave. The first few hours after, I feel kind of tired and confused. But once I snuggle down with my novel and relax, I start to feel really good – calm and warm, as if everything is OK and I am safe.
Not really sure how I got to this good feeling, but I’d really like to bottle it and keep it on hand for after every therapy session. Second session in a row where I haven’t suffered after therapy, and one of the few where I’ve actually felt better after going than I did before. Maybe it was not going into parts, yet still talking about things that seemed worthwhile. And maybe it was really nice to have Ron listen and accept my version of things. He can be very kind and supportive sometimes. I remember this feeling from when I first started going to him. He’s good at connecting and making you feel accepted. I’m rather licking my wounds at the moment, so it was nice.