Therapy Friday

Last session was one of the few that didn’t leave me with a major therapy hangover. We spoke about the interview. I can’t remember what else we spoke about – something about staying adult I think. Ron said being an adult in conversations is being as authentic as you can…or something. I should have written this down, because he said something more complex. I commented that I’m just talking about staying adult as opposed to flipping into a child part.

I talked about the difficulty I have going to things. More than half the time, I don’t go to things I’ve had planned, because I feel too overwhelmed, and I feel in the wrong state to go out and interact with people. We talked about my 12 step group. Ron thought if I am able to be somewhat honest about what I’m going through, I’d feel better about being there. I said I didn’t think people would relate to being in parts, and then I’d feel more of a freak than I already do.

Ron thought if I can bring in some part of my honest experience it would be helpful. Which I agree with, and I do try to do.

There’s more to my difficulties than being in parts, though that’s a big piece of it. I’m getting inappropriate emotions in various situations, like a kind of loud mouthed irritation at a job interview, which is really really not serving me at all. It is very frustrating.

At the end of the session, Ron suggested tracking my mood and any parts that are forward hour by hour for a week, emailing him the tracked results at the end of each day. I’ve been doing that and it’s been interesting, because I forget pretty fast what state I’m in during the day. I tell him it seems like an unusual request from him – he never seems to want to track anything or be at all systematic. It’s always ‘tell me about your family’ or exploring feelings.

Another part of the session I remember. I keep bringing up my relationship with Ron, because I find when I talk about it a bit, it helps me feel connected to him. If I don’t talk about it, I feel as if I’m speaking, but no one is listening. Although I know he is listening, really, but I can’t feel it. I was speaking about some feelings, and then felt kind of ashamed. I mentioned that, and that I was wondering if he thought it was wrong to speak of these kinds of things. That I felt ashamed and like it was wrong. And that my mother would always have rejected any emotions being expressed, and shamed me. Ron said he felt the opposite of it being wrong to speak of feelings. And that my mother had absolutely no idea of how one should be in the world.

Which made me feel good. Always, my mother gets off the hook. She is the essential ‘good girl’, never angry, always providing cooking and cleaning services, and if not, reading. She never actively opposes or corrects anyone. She’s more like this absence. If you’re her child, it is quite agonizing to not be seen or responded to though. I don’t think I’ve literally ever heard anyone say a word against her. Oh, except my best friend in grade school one time. She said something like ‘your mother’ and rolled her eyes. I’ve always remembered that small exchange, as it’s the only actual time anyone made any kind of criticism of my mother, in my presence, ever. To the present day. Now Ron’s comment makes the second time.

Because this session was more focused on the present, a little more practical, I wonder if Ron did hear me, about wanting to improve my life. It needs improvement, believe me. It’s hard to fix my life if I need to spend several days in bed after each therapy session to recover. I miss a lot when that happens. Not being as triggered by therapy would be helpful, for a while anyhow.

  1. I also wonder if tracking your emotions and parts might be helping with the hangover effect. Maybe consciously and deliberately acknowledging them and giving them some attention helps?

    • Ellen said:

      I’m finding it interesting. Pinning down a part or feeling every hour is something I’ve never thought to do. It forces me to search for a word for what’s happening. I do notice that my feelings / states change almost hourly sometimes, and they do follow predictable patterns throughout the day.

      I do think the lack of hangover though is because we stayed in the present this session, not venturing to the past, or to dreams or images coming up. I don’t get a hangover from discussing the present, on the contrary, clarifying the present is energizing. Thank you Cat. Hope you are well.

  2. Ashana M said:

    This seems like a step in the right direction.

  3. Possibly just the fact that you are able to email Ron everyday is key. There is no hangover because you are able to stay connected. I like the idea of tracking moods and parts-ingenious 🙂.
    I also think Ron may be on to something else when he tells you that it might help to share about your internal experiences, especially a 12 step group where most everyone has probably felt broken. Not the same as having parts but I’m guessing everyone there has fallen apart more than once and felt fragmented. I’m amazed at how many people have felt fragmented.
    I had this thought that possibly we are all quite connected. We are not alone in our experiences. I’ve seen lots of people act out like 2 year olds or 16 year olds when they are adults lol. It is what it is and possibly beginning to accept the parts of us that feel little, scared, confused, overwhelmed is the first step to being okay with not being okay. Finding the same compassion for your self and your parts that you would have for others…💜

    • Ellen said:

      I emailed him every second day in the end. He doesn’t reply, so while it helps a bit with connection, it doesn’t help that much. But a bit.

      Thanks for your thoughts AG. That makes sense.

  4. I’m glad that Ron is hearing you, and trying to help find ways to stop the therapy hangover. You shouldn’t have to feel so awful after therapy most of the times. That is too much. I hope that tracking the feelings and parts helps shed some light and gives you something to continue to work with in the present. Xx

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Alice. I am glad also.

  5. tracking seems useful. I hope it turns out to be. glad the session helped. xxx

  6. A ‘therapy hangover’ …something I definitely used to experience when I was having therapy but could never quite explain and you have just given me a name for it! Made me smile – sorry, I realise that probably wasn’t quite the reaction you were expecting!

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