I’m better again. I’m not sure that all that suffering helped me. How do I tell?

I was  catapulted back into some unremembered trauma. The weekend was rough. Lots of negotiating – do I try and get out of the house, and so possibly get a bit of energy or feelings of normality back? Or will that just deplete what little energy I do have, which I need to keep the basics of life going?

Currently I feel a huge distrust of Ron once again. He seems to plunge me into these things, then leaves me to it. I’m remembering how badly he seemed to be handling one of his clients who was actually about to be admitted to the psych ward, and who stayed there a month in the end. We were in group, and the evening revolved around her, and she was spinning, becoming more and more emotional and more and more distraught, and he seemed to be encouraging her to keep going deeper into her feelings, when in my opinion, he really needed to be helping her to shut them down or contain them, at this crisis point. I’m no professional. But it’s always bothered me, that he plunged ahead and seemed to be pushing her deeper into crisis.

I actually don’t need anyone telling me that Ron is not up to much. I swing back and forth about his skills, and it just doesn’t help me to hear that he sounds like he’s not good at his job. It’s not as if any reader has experienced him – it’s always just me, with my doubts, my fears, my attachment, my gratefulness. You can only see him through my neurosis, and a part of that is my severe ambivalence.

Currently I feel angry with him that this last session and the aftermath was so very rough on me, and didn’t hurt him at all. It may be that this re-experiencing is not healing – it’s PTSD, with scenes bobbing up then subsiding again, basically unchanged, ready to come up again at the next trigger.

I remember a therapist I saw for a few years, who didn’t much like me, and whom I didn’t like. I was very depressed, and she had me beat cushions and hit things with a foam bat. And I really couldn’t. The effort was too much, and I’d feel even more hopeless. And I’d cry in despair. She felt I needed to express anger, and then my depression would resolve. As if expressing by itself was enough to heal.

Anyway, she did me no good at all. Ron is nothing like this. I know he has done me good. The way he listens, and cares, and some of the discussions we have help. I see life and relationships so very differently than I did in the past. It’s kind of like seeing the world in three dimensions now, where previously, I only saw two.

I think trying to heal completely on my own, except for fifty minutes a week of therapy time, is not that effective. There is just no one to share my struggle with. It’s true, I don’t try. The friends I have, I see when I’m feeling more upbeat or at least neutral. They truly would not understand. That’s kind of why I felt comfortable with them – they’re people who do not express feelings. And trauma is extreme – you’d need someone special to be able to tolerate someone else’s pain and not judge, when it’s severe like this.

Anyway. I’m not sure that what I’m doing with trauma is helping me overall.

It was definitely the sit-ups that were triggering me. I’ve stopped doing the exercise, because I just cannot cope with regular life and be triggered like that on a daily basis. Very odd that it took me so long to realize what the cause was.

Trying to end this on some kind of more hopeful note. Um….I don’t feel hopeful. I feel this weird mix of gratefulness and distrust towards my therapist. It’s an uneasy place to be.

  1. Distrust is hard I’m going through a huge bout of it current as well. In my head and in my heart

    • Ellen said:

      It is a feeling mixed with thoughts isn’t it? Sorry you also are going through distrust. Thanks prewitt.

  2. Hugs. The feeling you describe is very similar to the feeling I had towards my counselor. I wonder if part of the resentment that paying that money, you still have to do the work while they talk us through it. Sometimes that loneliness feels crushing. Sorry you are going through a bad patch. I kept reminding myself that sometimes things get worse before they get better. Cheering for you.

    • Ellen said:

      I think for me it’s that I get to suffer, while he remains pretty much unaffected. Or something. Maybe feeling abandoned also – these huge feelings happen, then he goes away for a week and I’m left to deal. I don’t think I resent the money aspect of it so much. Thanks Ruth.

  3. I think that I can understand how you can both appreciate the very real and invaluable ways that he has helped you over the years. Bringing a third dimension into your life is huge! But he also seems to have some limitations as a trauma therapist that are frustrating to you and even hurt when you run smack into them. I also understand that you have a history of not finding therapists that fit well with you. It sounds like in many ways Ron is a good fit for who you are, just not as good of a fit for dealing with the intense traumatic reactions, perhaps?

    I don’t know what I would choose to do if I was in your shoes.

    I’m wondering something…. I’m guessing that you have spent much of your life feeling like you aren’t really being seen or heard by the people around you. If Ron is an exception to that, then it would make your connection to him even more important. It would also make those times when he “misses” and doesn’t see or hear clearly all that much more painful and angering.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, that’s about it. I think there’s some truth to your scenario about being seen and heard. Thanks Cat

  4. Rachel said:

    The trust/mistrust cycle is really tough, Ellen. I completely understand. And I get not needing to hear from anyone else if he is/isn’t helping. It really is an emotional experience that only you can understand entirely. I’m sorry for the fear and overwhelm, that is such a tiring state to be plunged into.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Rachel. I did think you would understand at least a part of where I might be coming from! 🙂

      • Rachel said:

        Haha, yes maybe just a little part 🙂

  5. Just feel what you feel…its no use trying to make yourself more upbeat if you are in deep despair. I felt truly deeply suicidal on the weekend. The pain was so intense. I rang and spoke how I really felt to my therapist and stayed with all the dark thoughts and they did pass. I think in healing we go to a deep place of pain and must bring all the dark distrusting negative thoughts to light so we can see them. We need to parent our pain and love ourselves through it. I understand all those negative thoughts about therapy. I dont know you or your therapist. I do know at times we need someone who sees deeper as sometimes we cant see things but I also know we need someone who truly gets us. Thinking of you.

    • Ellen said:

      I am so sorry you felt so low on the weekend, and very glad you felt you could reach out and that it helped.

      With parts, it’s complicated. I might feel what one part feels, but not what another part feels. Thanks for commenting.

      • I have just started some chiropractic breatheork to attempt to connect with all the different parts of myself. I am beginning to see I reject aspects of myself that others find difficult. It involves placing one hand on my heart and the other my solar plexus breathing in and speaking to each aspect, giving it a voice, it isnt easy though. I understand how difficult that disconnect is.

        • Ellen said:

          That sounds like a useful therapy EDN. I think healing cut off parts of ourselves is key.

          • Yes just watched a really great video from Matt Kahn posted on the Beyond Meds site Ellen. It was about seeing and respecting our shadow feelings, sadness, anger, inecurity, fear and judgement and acknowledging the power they have. I think we all grow up at odds with certain parts. We dont have to like them but we can respect their power and not split them off. Doing so doesnt involve acting them out but accepting them into us. I found the video very powerful.

  6. This sounds really tough; going back and forth with trust. I hope you can find comfort in a relationship where you can be real. Support is hard to find and yet so important. Sending warm thoughts your way!

  7. e.Nice said:

    That is tough. I am glad Ron has done you good. It always up and down isnt it. It is very lonely trying to do it on our own.

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, that’s one great advantage of having a T – it is less lonely! Thanks nice.

  8. As I read this I couldn’t help but think…and I can’t even explain. I only know how I feel about my T after 2 years and I can’t explain what it is that I’ve “done” or worked through with her. And oh my gosh, if someone gave me a foam bat to beat out my anger I might die of embarrassment or I don’t even know. I wouldn’t be able to do that by myself let alone in front of someone. Attachment is crazy confusing stuff and I think you are just as bonded to Ron as I am to my T and I can’t explain that either. But I can’t imagine having to leave her at this point, almost like a part of me would die.

    • Ellen said:

      The foam bat just didn’t help me at all. I would have needed her to build rapport with me, at least, so I felt less alone. Just handing me a bat – stupid IMO. At that point, I had no idea what was going on for me, and couldn’t do that kind of exercise.

      I actually am bonded very strongly to Ron, you are right. I can’t imagine leaving either, most of the time. Thanks AG

      • 💜 we are both bonded but that is good. It is good to be attached to someone when you feel as if you have no one.

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