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abandonment

Feeling calmer again. It feels like a victory, to have this island of calm after such rough holiday seas.

I don’t want to jinx anything by writing it, as this peace feels fragile and hard won. And yet, I want to make sense of it.

I had a make up session Friday afternoon. In terms of Ron and his therapy, I felt a lot better, although upsetting feelings came up that I have been processing ever since, until tonight. I was determined not to pretend in my session – by pretending, I mean I ignore some of my feelings about Ron and the therapy, and just go ahead and talk about my issues or events in my life, such as they are. Ron asked me how I’d felt after last session, and after briefly revisiting his lateness, I said that mainly, I’d felt criticized. So we discussed that. He also brought up that he’d been getting the impression I am thinking some other form of therapy would help me more. Which I agreed I had been thinking and considering leaving.

It was a hard discussion. It’s hard to say you feel criticized and unsupported. He wanted me to point to specific instances, but I just stuck with what happened last session. We talked about how I was wondering if it was related to my issues with my father, who was very critical of me. It’s hard to describe my feeling about Ron, especially because it changes so much. I had been feeling like either he’s not really there, which is like my mother was, or at other times, that he is super critical of me and any attempts I make to help myself.

I ask him what’s wrong with going to the gym, with reading self-help books, with going to groups? And he replies that those things are all good things to do. I say I understand that I’m in therapy to explore my feelings, but that when I’m at home, not in his office, don’t i need to try and feel better?

Ron said about how it seems like sometimes I don’t want to talk about things that come up, and he’s interested in understanding why that is. I say sometimes I’m just maxed out on feelings, and can’t deal with one more bad thing – say we’re talking about my mother, and then my son’s situation comes up – I just can’t handle everything at once. He says that the reason I feel maxed out is that my energy is bound up in the thing I don’t want to talk about, and if I talked about it, it would help. Or something. That everything is basically stemming from one root. Um.

I really find it difficult to verbalize and articulate an argument in his office. My feelings are so involved, somehow, it’s like trying to see through a thick fog. Arguments become foggy and indistinct. I no longer know what’s true for me.

I liked how Ron stuck with it. He does invite me to say anything I wish to say, about him or about his therapy. Well, at least that session he did. And I really sat with how difficult trying to connect with him felt, how far away he felt.

And I stayed with my feelings, even when they didn’t make all that much sense. And of course stuff came up. I remembered about a self-help technique I’ve been doing – shaking and dancing. I told Ron about it. You put on some music. First you shake your body, from the feet right up your body to your head, all parts shaking and jiggling, for about five minutes. Then you pause. Then you dance, again five or ten minutes. Then you rest a few minutes. This is supposed to help with depression, to shake lose stuck energy. The resting allows you to absorb the benefits. I’ve found this really helpful to do.

Ron is interested in this – he is interested in body based type healing, even though he doesn’t ever suggest doing it. For me, because of the dissociation, the shaking tends to shake lose bits of things – I’ll cry for a few seconds, then stop. Also slices of trauma come up, then are gone. It’s not enough to plunge me into despair, but enough to lighten the depression as I guess it’s a bit of a release.

So I easily call up one of the slices of whatever it is in Ron’s office, to demonstrate. I become younger. Then I realize I’m seeing an image, of myself wandering through a wasteland, brown mud, full of these deep dark disgusting pools that I’m afraid I’m going to fall into. It is like in Lord of the Rings, one of the terrors of the voyage. I feel the lostness, the fear, the overwhelming nature of walking around these pools, afraid.

What would happen if you fell in? I’d be covered in blackness, in black goo. It would be awful.

I wish I could remember what Ron said here. I tell Ron that now i’ve told him about this image, I feel ashamed. Why? I don’t know. It’s like news from a foreign country. Here I am, telling my therapist about difficult feelings I’m having, which is an OK thing to do. So the feelings are like a memory. My mother would have not reacted well to difficult feelings. I would have been made to feel ashamed. Ron says something about how as a child, I was devastated by my mother’s complete negation of my experience. Or something. I never can remember what he said when I’m in the grip of these experiences.

I leave feeling connected again. I really like how seriously Ron takes images that come up for me – as if they were actual occurrences, which is how they feel to me. He kind of leaps right into whatever it is that is going on.

So since then, I struggled with the devastating feeling that came up in the last part of the session. And tonight, I feel like I’ve come through it. I did keep trying things and didn’t allow myself to collapse for more than a few hours. Maybe the key is to pay attention, but keep trying to help. So I stopped reading my novel that was making me feel worse. I started listening to a children’s book on my ipod instead. I went to the gym in the afternoon. I cooked a decent supper. I didn’t push myself to go to my group when I didn’t want to go. When parts of me didn’t want to go.

I also feel trust in Ron, and that helps. It cheers parts of me up a lot.

The pain from the session was severe, and now it’s lifted it’s like I’ve come through a short illness. I would like to know what I did, what helped, and this is the best I can come up with. I actually feel if someone was here that I needed to interact with, I could do it, I could be normal. I feel like things are OK again.

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I’m still suffering the effects of my last session. I wake up at night, my stomach clenched, as if I’d been kicked there. I can’t work out if it’s because I feel unconnected to Ron, or if it’s about my family and what we discussed in session. Likely a mix of both.

I’m still pondering leaving this therapy. There are many good reasons to leave, and if I list them, you will likely agree that I should. And yet….and yet. Is this still my process? Should I be learning to tolerate feelings, not trying to change them by leaving?

I’m not sure that it’s standard procedure to lose at least a day every week to feeling so bad I can’t function, after pretty much each therapy session. After six years, that works out to almost one whole year of not being able to function at all. I understand therapy is painful, but is it effective to be painful to this extent? The reason I’ve put up with this though, is one, hope that this will help, and two, the fact that without therapy I do lose days to black depression on my own. With therapy, I do have some decent days now, while before, I was mostly in a gray fog.

But maybe now, if I stop, I won’t descend into that fog. The thing is, I can’t seem to try and fix my life with so much of it devastated by these after therapy states. I can’t go out, I can’t try and make friends, I am just shut down. As one of my chief problems is lack of relationship, this is not good is it? I do think that any relationships I do have have improved. So I have one friendship, basically, and we’ve become somewhat closer. I am maybe closer to my son, a bit. However, if I see him too close to therapy, I end up not relating well to him at all. So the last two times I saw him this was the case, and I was not able to be supportive, being in too much pain myself.

My career is obviously in the toilet at the moment. I don’t think therapy caused that. It didn’t help a whole lot either.

I don’t have confidence Ron understands enough about parts and dissociation to be able to help me with them. He wants to do therapy on parts. I really don’t see how that would help. It’s not as if I have DID and parts take over and do dangerous things.

I truly don’t think Ron appreciates how far down I go after sessions and how much of my life is lost to coping with the aftermath of therapy. And when I try to limit what goes on in therapy, he pushes against that, as he thinks I’m avoiding. Yes, I am avoiding. Because I can’t handle the fall-out of addressing everything at once. This is actually recommended in dealing with trauma. Why does he not get that.

Anyway. There is an aspect of my frustration with him that has shown up in other relationships I have. I am sure there are unpleasant or unhelpful aspects of myself that are obvious to him, that i just can’t see, as is the case for everyone. It could be it would benefit me to stick around and figure it all out.

Meantime I feel so alone. There is just no one. I will feel better once I’ve recovered more from the session though so I’m hanging on to that.

 

 

I’d been having a rough week. Every day after work, I felt so out of it, I had to lie down, so got nothing done all week. I’m often tired after work, but I was still getting out to return library books or go to the gym. Last week, no, I just couldn’t.

I tell Ron about this. It is a Thursday after work, and so I feel those feelings right there – that white fatigue, that need to lie down. I speculate as to what’s changed. I wonder if it’s because I stopped taking medication in order to sleep, so I’m simply more tired. Without medication, my sleep is interrupted a lot, so I don’t seem to sleep at all deeply the second part of the night.

At home, I realize what the change likely is. It’s that I’ve been doing sit-ups and pushups before work. Just a few. But as exercise triggers me, I’m pretty sure I push those feelings right down at the time so I can make it into work, and then by end of day, I’m completely shut down, so have no energy (since I’ve shut all my energy down).

It’s odd that I can’t make these connections in my session. I’ve noticed that a lot – it’s as if a bunch of fairly obvious things leave my mind entirely while I’m in Ron’s office.

I start the session by complaining about this dissociated feeling, how I had trouble writing out his cheque because first I couldn’t remember what year it was (of course not remembering I could simply look at my phone) and then I couldn’t remember his name…fun times. Of course, after a few minutes I did get it together and wrote the cheque, but I was running late, and it was frustrating.

I then talk about stuff I thought Ron missed last session. I mean to go into the anger at work scenario I wrote about here, but instead I talk about when I got angry with my mother. I’d felt Ron hadn’t really understood how difficult my mother is. At my session the week before, I had forgotten why I’d become angry – the whole story of trying to tell her about my dental surgery, then my brother arriving, being dropped. I had forgotten this whole reason for the anger, and Ron had seemed to focus on my mother’s hearing problems, which to me where completely beside the point.

So this time, Ron did empathize with me. When I said he didn’t seem to understand how difficult my mother is, he said it seems as if I am not taking on board how difficult the level of abandonment in my family towards me was for me. And i say that lately, I’ve been remembering the emotions of what that was like, and it is quite horrifying sometimes. I am realizing it, and I hate it.

A lot of the rest of the session was working with the greyness I had been feeling that week and was feeling now in his office. I thought it might be V’s feelings, which came up at the end of the previous session. She seems to carry the damage from my family from when I was in school.

I tried to let V talk, but it was difficult. That part is so depressed and so sad, at times it seems she cannot speak at all, just feel.

In the middle of the session, some kind of shadowy scenario came up. There were large people around (adults from my child perspective), we were in the apartment in European country, there was a crib, maybe on of my sibling’s.

I tried to get more clear on what was happening, but couldn’t. The scene was all shadowy.

Eventually I became extremely upset. It was as if some awful awful thing had happened, and I was totally alone with it, with no one to help me. To a child mind, help is expected. I knew someone should help me, yet there was no one to do so.

So I cry in this heartbroken way.

The session was almost over, and I know in a part of my mind I need to come back, but really can’t. Ron tries to do grounding, but I have absolutely zero interest in that. I kind of come back, but feel incredibly remote and withdrawn. I tell Ron I don’t want to do an emergency switch, as I have in the past, because it cuts those parts off entirely. He agrees, and keeps trying to help me come back enough to leave and drive.

I think I stay one or two minutes late, trying to breathe and get back. Then I leave, not really saying goodbye. I’m kind of shocked by what seems to have happened to me in the past.

Since the session, I’ve believed more that something really traumatic happened to me. The part that carries that is buried, but less buried than before. So I feel pretty bad – not very functional.

I did notice Ron did not offer a call or check in. He said I could write to him. I miss him offering check ins.

Overall though Ron was  great. He always wants to hear how it is, and hear from any parts that can speak. He doesn’t push, and he doesn’t shy away either. I do have the feeling that he was there in the experience with me somehow, which makes it more bearable.

 

One thing we discussed in my session is how very fraught the situation at work seems for me. Instead of being a bit disappointed that it’s not working out as well as I’d hoped, or maybe thinking I don’t know that much yet about this boss or co-worker, I’m likely projecting a lot, to what I think they’re thinking, and I go right to wanting to jump off a bridge. I could take it easier. Ron didn’t say that exactly, but I think that. I’m going to extremes here.

Why is that. The situation must be triggering me into old feelings. One thing I thought of is how very isolated I was as a child. Especially as a teenager actually. I found high school very very rough. I had few social skills, and felt like an outcast. Then at home, my father had stopped speaking with me, and my family more or less colluded in this – they pretended it was not happening. I felt surrounded by people who would not talk to me as if I were a normal human being, who counted.

Writing this is scaring me a bit. In session, I said that basically, in my family, no one cared how I felt. I kind of didn’t know what that would be like, if someone actually cared. Once in a while, I’d experience bits of caring, mostly from women. Some aunts were kind to me, and treated me like someone with feelings. The nicer ones were in old European country though, so very far away. One of my mother’s friends was kind, but in an over-emotional kind of way I found difficult.

The consequence of this was, I didn’t really learn how to be kind, how to care, and what people were like. People just seemed dangerous to me, and I mostly pretended no one else was there. That seemed the only safe thing to do. Any feelings I had, I’d mostly try and pretend I didn’t have them.

So that was hard. Now I’m an adult, and things are different. I’ve changed – I’ve learned that people have feelings, that people might care about me and I about them. Even if I haven’t found a lot of friends, I know how to care and how to show some caring also.

So with the people at work being so very reserved, I must feel triggered back into that time when no one cared and when the only safe thing to do was to pretend no one else was there. That was so painful.

I don’t know if that is what the people at work are doing. I don’t understand Chinese culture and what things mean. Surely I’m not catching the subtleties. It is definitely a different culture, and I can’t expect people to act in a typically Western way.

Anyway, that’s why I want to jump off a bridge. It’s not so much what’s actually happening. That might feel strange and unusual, but it would not normally be devastating.

 

Yikes. Another day where I get up only to go  back to bed. This time I think I wasn’t triggered so much by therapy as by my 12-step group.

I appreciate the group, and nothing bad happened. Some stories are hard to listen to, but I feel up for it. I guess it was my share, and then that some people seemed to have some reaction to what I shared, which, in the absence of much information, I maybe spun out in a way that scared me.

I shared about anger. My anger keeps simmering at work, and mostly out of my awareness unfortunately. Thursday I guess I was brusque and impatient in a meetings. I have little to do, so am trying to define some requirements for a project, and they were going around in circles. I don’t know. I didn’t mean to be impatient. But since then, I basically got the cold shoulder from my two team mates.

So I shared something about this, but didn’t explain, so it likely sounded as if I was maybe shouting at people, or being completely inappropriate, instead of basically inpatient.

Then therapy on Thursday was aggravating. A few times I had a strong impulse to get up and walk out. Again we had really a halting conversation, though at one point I said angrily that none of this was helping me. But I left calmly enough.

In the middle of the night, therapy felt unbearable, and I wrote Ron an angry email, saying I’m thinking of quitting. After five years, I don’t seem any better. I recommended a book to him, The Body Keeps the Score, to address his lack of knowledge of trauma. Not exactly kind or even handed. He had also hurt my feelings in that session. I had written to him that I was behaving badly at work, criticizing people. And he jumped on that, that I am critical, and I agreed, and said that I had criticized him also, and I know I have that quality. That’s a quality my father has, and I have it also. Just I don’t employ it to hurt vulnerable people, the way he did.

So I sent off this email at 3 am, and felt nothing very much after. I went back to sleep. At work the next day, I felt somewhat better – less aggressive. Though at that point, my team mates were giving me the cold shoulder, so I couldn’t demonstrate all my calmness and acceptance unfortunately.

In group, I said then that I’d sent my T this angry email criticizing his therapy. I didn’t explain much about it either. I was just trying to sort out what parts of my anger are from the past. Maybe all. Though some anger is needed in this life, as protection and warning.

After, this one guy gave me a worried look and asked me something about a task I do there. Another guy said I seem to be having a tough time. And a woman I met on the stairs said that ‘everything you said was very valid’….I don’t know. Usually no one comments about my share.

Today and last night I’ve felt afraid. I think it’s fear of abandonment. Expressions of anger or disagreement in my FOO resulted in shaming and complete ostracism. Ostracism is life threatening to a child, who depends on others for almost everything. So I can see why I would feel afraid.

Ron replied to my email Saturday morning, saying he was committed to working things through, if that is what I want. I hadn’t been thinking about him, but the email scared me. I wrote back that I no longer felt like I had, and that I’d had a better day on Friday and maybe therapy had helped with that. I apologized for the tone.

I’m also on tenterhooks wondering about my contract. It turned out E didn’t seem to have any information that my contract wasn’t being renewed. I keep fearing it won’t be….I haven’t found anything else, and am somewhat attached to this job, and the uncertainty is difficult.

Anyway. Today I’m wiped out and just want to sleep or read my light mystery novel. The world is too much. Must buy groceries. Must do laundry and cook.

Back from therapy this morning. Not sure if it sucked or didn’t suck or was helpful or what.

It was low key and undramatic. By my choice really. When I started therapy years ago, I would plunge into trauma and many sessions ended with myself in a child place, or severely distraught, and then I’d go home. It took ages to crawl out of that place again.

I don’t know. I am set on not continuing in that vein, and so I’m not. I am left with the uneasy feeling that Ron doesn’t approve – he wants the intensity and the drama perhaps. Or something.

I also feel uneasy that I have seized control. This is not Ron’s preferred way of working. This is what I feel I need, but I don’t get much feeling that he agrees. His philosophy though is to let the client lead, so he goes along with it? Maybe.

My life last week was simply working and recovering. I’d struggled with sleeping, waking up every two hours, then falling back to sleep after maybe another hour, then waking again….I tell Ron about this. He asks why I think I’m having this trouble this week, and I don’t know really.

I say I wonder what we could work on that would be helpful. He says helpful in what way? By which I think he means ‘feeling better in the short term is not going to help you feel better long term’. But, as he doesn’t say that, I just say, well, how to get better sleep for instance.

Then I say if we work with parts, could we do that in the first part of the session, and then spend time getting me back to my adult state? So Ron asks if there are any parts that want to speak.

B speaks for a while, about the Christmas tree, and a necklace she wants, and the colleague whom she likes who jokes around, and the colleague who scares her because he gets angry. And then B stops talking, and just feels sad. I hate being in that sad place, so I switch back. It feels like enough.

Also teen V gets a chance to speak. Being V is to be plunged right away into a world of darkness and pain. I also switch back from her feelings fairly soon.

At one point I tell Ron I feel like there’s a pain of glass between us. I do feel a sense that we’re not connecting at all. We talk about what the glass is….I switch to V who seems to be pounding on that glass.

We spend the last 10-15 minutes ‘grounding’ – feeling my feet and hands, then talking a bit about what I’ll do next with my afternoon. Ron’s heart is not in grounding exercises, but I find them somewhat helpful.

So I leave – not hugely upset, and in an adult state. With the uneasy feeling that I’m disappointing Ron, not doing therapy the way he wants to do it. Being a disappointment.

Oh yeah, one thing we touched on was loneliness. Ron asked me and also a part if we were lonely. Well, yes. Sometimes. But how not to be. There really isn’t anyone out there it seems. There are people at work though I suppose.

And also, I said a thing about how I think a problem I have is I’m not feeling things in a regular way, so I need help doing that. I don’t feel things during the day, then maybe get hit with a lot of exhausting emotions after I get home.

I don’t think he really understands how it is. I’m so different from him. Maybe that’s just my pessimism and distrust though.

I know I should look for other therapists, and maybe I will, eventually. I too tired right now.

Well, I’ve been lonely today. I feel as if I can’t describe how things are, so likely I need to make the effort to communicate, even if it’s just to my blog.

It’s been about a week and a half since my last therapy session, and so parts of me really miss Ron. I wish I didn’t feel this way. I’ll see him for an hour tomorrow – not long. Maybe at that point I won’t even want to talk. Maybe the conversation will go no where much. Still, it feels important.

Work has been swinging widely up and down. At least, my feelings about it have. For the first part of the week, I was wishing to quit altogether. It seemed the project I was hired for had evaporated, mysteriously, and a different project which I’m not suited for was in place instead. I’ve been struggling again with my client, E. He cannot seem to plan a project, and it’s very frustrating for me. He has good intelligence and lots of knowledge, but his way of dealing with the people involved is so haphazard. If he likes them, and doesn’t feel threatened by them, he’ll talk to them and invite them to meetings. If he doesn’t like them, he avoids dealing with them. You just can’t manage a project on that basis.

The other problem was I had nothing to work on, so was back to clock watching, which I find depressing. The second half of the week, things finally started to become more interesting again. There were meetings to try and set up this new project, and it was engaging. I enjoy working with people. As I am so alone so much of the time, I guess it becomes a way for me to be with others, and I know I really need that. And E’s very positive qualities emerged – he is not critical, he is interested in my ideas, he is interested in trying new things, as long as they don’t involve tackling difficult people.

I took today off. We have a two week mandatory holiday at Christmas for contractors. No way do I want two weeks off at Christmas – it’s cold, dark, lonely and depressing then for me. So I’ve asked if I can take some of that time in advance instead, and I can, so today was the first day.

It was an OK day. I felt tired and sad, so that part wasn’t great. I can’t seem to sleep in, so I get up still tired. I bought fish for supper, went out for tea, and in the afternoon went for a longish walk in the nearby park. The park was beautiful, but empty and lonely also.

I know I need to work on having more people in my life. I did go to my twelve step group last week, and it was helpful. It’s hard though in general to find friends while depressed. I tried asking a co-worker to go for coffee, and that was OK, but he did not have much interest really. I’ve asked this person a few times, and he’s come with me twice, but he’s not really a breaks type of a person. If he doesn’t initiate, I may ask him once in a while, but not more.

Sometimes I feel B taking over. The whole feeling of myself changes – I become less anxious, but often very sad. But then, as B, very little things can cheer me up, like happy music, or seeing squirrels….

I wonder if this loneliness is really coming from these young child parts. It feels so basic – as if people should be here, and it’s not OK to be by myself. It is OK for an adult to be alone, but less so for a very young child.