Therapy Thursday

Just returned from my session and I want to get some of it down because I forget so very fast. This one wasn’t great. Last week’s session felt deep though, but unfortunately, I waited until I felt better again to write about it and by that time it was lost. I lose these sessions so fast. I suspect sometimes that there are other parts involved, and I easily forget anything relating to other parts. But last week, I felt it touched the pain I’m in, while this one, not so much.

I went in feeling negative – I couldn’t conceive really how this type of therapy could help me. I think going in feeling so negative isn’t conducive to making progress, whatever that may be. Maybe I should have talked about this, but I didn’t.

I know I was anxious all morning. I got into Ron’s office and he got out my drawing book and crayons. We’re keeping them in his office now, which I kind of like.

There’s no big story about the session – we just stumbled along, basically, around different topics, then it was over.

First I talked about the movie, Dunkirk. Ron had also just seen it, so he knew what i was talking about. I said how discouraged I feel that things I’m trying to do that should help me feel better end up triggering me. I’m trying to do more, have a life, and meet people, so to that end I go to meetups, and they mostly do trigger me. So while I do enjoy having some social time, I need then a day to recover again.

Ron asked what I thought triggered me in the movie. Well – the soldiers, how they were completely trapped and helpless, the drowning, the constant danger and trauma. Ron asked if it reminded me of being a child. I didn’t know. How was I feeling the next day? Small, helpless, sad. Ron asked if my family’s extreme kind of situation made me feel like that as a child?

I have no idea. I say well, as a child I don’t remember feeling like that. But I know my needs weren’t being met – needs for affection, nurture, someone to talk to, someone to discuss problems with. So I’d say I felt kind of cut off and unreal.

I tell him about a birthday dinner I had for my son with my ex, how it didn’t go that well. My ex got my son a self-help book as a present, which didn’t go over well and caused some stressful arguments. Then he didn’t like what I cooked that much. In general, my ex this time reminded me very much of all the trouble and disagreements we’d had when we were together. We had such widely diverging expectations of a partner. He very much wanted someone who devotedly cooked and made a home while he was free to do the manly things of life. I didn’t have much interest in this, though I tried. Just the whole dark burden of all this was not pleasant to be reminded of.

Then I talked about my son, how I’d given him a book on MCS, which is what we suspect he has, the week previously. How he hadn’t even looked at it. How discouraging that is.

Ron asked why I think he hadn’t looked at it. I didn’t know. He doesn’t read at all, though he used to. So maybe it’s hard for him? Ron asked if maybe a part of him doesn’t want to get better. I say this book has suggestions but there’s no cure for MCS. But maybe, he doesn’t want to get better. I don’t know.

Then I feel very sad and very depressed. Not necessarily about my son’s situation. So I say that. Ron asks how it feels, and I say like being pressed up against a pane of glass. Could you break through? Well, I’d cut myself if I did. Could you use something else to break the glass? Yeah, that would be a good idea.

From this point in the session on, I feel more and more depressed and tired and remote.

I talk about how upsetting it is when I keep trying to help myself, with these meetups and exercise, and how they then trigger me, so it takes me a day or two to recover. Then I go through this cycle again. Yep, this is depressing. It feels quite futile. And yet, if I want any people in my life, I have to do it.

Ron says depression is like a bunch of feelings that aren’t being felt.

I say PTSD is like that – you get a bunch of frozen feelings. It’s hard to know how to help with that. I say I was thinking of trying massage – maybe just a short time period, and speaking with the massage therapist first about how I have some emotional issues, that I need a gentle touch, and that I’m trying to feel things without getting entirely overwhelmed.

Ron seems agreeable to that. I don’t know that I’m looking for his permission or what….I was thinking that if I speak about this, I’d be more likely to do it.

That’s pretty much it for my session. Another bunch of money spent.

Last week I didn’t feel this. But this week, I fervently wish Ron had some approach or tools to offer. Or even vocabulary. He really doesn’t. He does have presence and commitment. He is very reliable. I don’t think he’d ever terminate anyone. He never talks about himself unless I ask him a direct question. He has empathy.

These are really great qualities. Sometimes I do wish for structure or theory, but maybe they wouldn’t help?

The other issue with me is my emotions from the past are largely held in parts. So doing therapy on just me, leaves them out so mostly leaves out my emotions. Which I do feel all the time, and I’m not sure how aware Ron is of this.

Anyway, that was the session.

  1. leb105 said:

    Howard said to me, this week, Let’s get out of our heads… and he never explains anything! Too heady, I guess!

  2. DV said:

    I get what you mean about finding so many things triggering. And it is really hard when you try things that you think will help but they make you feel worse, and you don’t know whether to give in to the temptation to just avoid them so you feel ok in the short term, or to push on and maybe you’ll get something out of it. Or not.

    Out of interest, what things has Ron done in the past that you found helpful?

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, that is the dilemma, exactly.

      He’s done many things actually. Provided support. Listened to parts of me that are not adult, sympathized, given them space. Provided a listening ear. Sometimes was overtly on my side, and that’s a rare experience for me. Sometimes I have felt better after a session, especially if I was in a really bad space going in. I know I can criticize him or get angry and he won’t really retaliate, though he’s not perfect. That’s a new experience for me.

      He does provide benefit, just it’s not clear always how. I can’t decide if that’s good enough or not. It’s like pure experience without any theory.


      • DV said:

        I think there is a lot to be said for all of those. Even with the changes I’m hoping to make in my own therapy, a lot of those are simply aimed at making it easier for Dr L to be attuned to what is going on for me and to know how to handle particular situations better by passing on what I’ve worked out for myself. Kind of like I’m both the parent and the baby in the setting of handing over to a babysitter and filling them in on the baby’s routine and what things work best when they’re upset etc.

  3. Oh, it is terrible to be doing something to try to help yourself feel better and have that be triggering. I feel frustrated just thinking about it! I’m really sorry this keeps happening. šŸ’Ÿ

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you. It is frustrating for sure.

  4. Grainne said:

    Read this post second – my comment in the newer post applies even more now. xx Here for you, my friend.

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