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depression

Therapy hurts. It hurts and hurts and it hurts some more. Two and a half days since my session and still I’m in pain.

I worry that this is bad therapy. This is exacerbated by a book I’m reading, a memoir written by a psychologist about her placements during training. It’s not a bad book, but her type of treatment does not involve having the patients suffer. The author is empathetic and listens to her patients’ stories….but any good she does happens pretty much right away, it’s obvious, and it doesn’t involve anyone going off for a week to feel worse than ever.

My therapy is not like that. At all. Nothing is obvious, everything moves by inches, if at all. It’s like a mess of stew where you can’t really tell what all the ingredients are, as opposed to a nice steak and baked potato.

The psychologist/author provides insights, but those insights do not seem to cause pain to her patients. Most books seem to skip over this part. Insight causes pain. Or at least, emotional insight does. It’s why people generally don’t wish to change, despite the level of suffering that’s brought them to a therapist. The pain of feeling this stuff is just too great.

As usual, we cover a bunch of stuff. Ron waits silently for me to begin. I cast around, usually say something about the traffic or the weather. He responds minimally and continues to wait silently. Sometimes I wish he would launch into some therapeutic topic, but no, he just waits.

I’ve been struggling with my job search, so I talk about that a bit. I tend to shut down when I’m trying to force myself to apply to things, which makes looking for work tricky. I shut down, then can’t remain upright, so I lie down and actually sleep. Which makes me more depressed, so then I spend the rest of the day trying to feel better.

At the same time, I have been doing activities again after the Christmas break. I tell Ron about three activities I went to, which I rated good, OK, and pretty bad.

The good was a choir I think I’ll join. It’s an unauditioned choir. They sing without written music, instead they learn songs from recordings. I’ve struggled with a choir in the past, but was amazed at how I was able to sing with this one without the stress and anxiety I’d had previously. I think it’s partly that it’s a very low key choir where the emphasis is on fun and enthusiasm rather than skill. But also, I really seem to have changed. I could still hear some of my anxious thoughts, but they didn’t take me over, so I was also able to enjoy singing out without worrying too much. The women around me were super nice, ensuring I got copies of the lyrics and chatting a bit. A good experience.

I was trying to tell Ron how I really could see I’d made progress, with about a decade between today and the last time I’d tried to be part of a choir. That gap really let me see a difference. Not sure he really got it, but to me it was a great sign that I have changed.

The OK was a book club I’d been meaning to attend for ages. I didn’t love it – not everyone got a chance to talk, and you kind of had to seize the spotlight if you wanted to give your opinion on the book. I did speak for a minute or two – I hadn’t liked the book much actually. Tried to come up with the reasons. I had reasons, but a big one was that it just didn’t grab me, which isn’t a great reasoned argument. So I felt awkward, but at the same time, I felt it was OK for me to sit there and listen, even if I didn’t feel part of it in quite the way I’d have liked. I wasn’t overcome with anxiety about what everyone else thought of me, and this too is progress for me.

And the bad. The bad led to some discussion of what my family is like, which is what seems to have set me off into this depressed bad time. Or maybe it’s mourning. Whatever.

The bad was a games afternoon at the pub. It’s a meetup group that plays boardgames, which sounds like a nice, low key endeavour, but isn’t. I had been to it before though, but this time the triggery parts of it just took over. It’s a large group, maybe forty people. We break up into smaller groups to play various games. The majority of participants are young men, tending to the nerdy socially awkward side. There were maybe two or three other women there, and I think I was the oldest person overall.

The people there seemed to be experts. Most new a great number of games already, or could relate the games to others they’d played, unlike myself. They were nice enough about teaching me the rules though. However, the rules were complex, and also the games needed a fair bit of skill – logic, or probability, or strategy. I became very anxious that I couldn’t remember all the rules, and then, that I would play badly. Which I did. It’s hard to be learning complex sets of rules for two hours, plus play with any degree of skill. And my fellow players were looking to be challenged. They took the games pretty seriously – they certainly weren’t an excuse to drink beer and chat.

So I got anxiety. I think I was likely switching a bit to kid space, and I know my voice got quite childish at times. The leader of the meetup actually came by our table a couple of times with a worried look asking how it was going, and later, I suspected he was worried about me perhaps. Who knows.

Anyhow. Nothing much happened. I left after two hours (they mostly stay for many hours apparently), feeling anxious and depressed. I felt like I hadn’t kept any kind of dignity and had been hijacked by really hurting young parts.

I try to explain to Ron. It’s as if I feel overwhelmingly stupid and incompetent. I am so afraid, when I hear the instructions, that I won’t understand, that it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

This is an issue I also have had in my jobs, when I’ve been working. Young techie guys will explain what they do in their jobs, and I have to get it down as a procedure. It is massively stressful for me, because I’m afraid I won’t understand and they’ll look down on me. Which happens sometimes. I struggle to take in what they’re telling me.

We start talking about my family when I was growing up. I start to feel like I’m going to go to sleep, in my usual shut down mode. It’s as if I see them down at the end of a long tunnel. Ron wants me to describe specific things I remember related to feeling stupid. But I can’t remember specifics. There was a huge emphasis on academic achievement. Do I remember report cards? Not really – my parents never said much, neither praise nor blame really. I try to remember. I can’t. I remember it felt like a kind of a fog. There were no such things as feelings, and things felt a bit unreal to me I suppose.

Later, trying to think, I just have a sense that my family didn’t seem to care about me. Any problems I had were my own fault, so were therefore shameful, and so couldn’t be mentioned.

It was just a very strange atmosphere. I suppose I was a kind of scapegoat. I fought the hardest, and had to be made an example of. But it’s hard to grasp how I was made an example. I suppose never praised, while my sibling sometimes were. Generally considered inferior.

Anyhow. One of my difficulties is trying to pin down what went on. It’s very hard for me to get a grasp on what it was. Whatever it was, it made me feel ghostlike and inhuman. And confused.

So, since the session, I’ve felt bad. I just hope this is going to help me somehow, because to fall into a depression like this when I’m doing my best to climb out is discouraging.

 

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Definitely depressed today, Sunday. I am exhausted by work, and then I end up resting and doing the basic chores, and don’t make the further effort of doing anything special. But when you always want to lie down, it’s tough to push for things.

I’m not sure what’s going on with me. Yesterday I cooked dinner for a friend. It was quite satisfying to be the one giving, instead of having someone cook for me. It was hard being social though, even just with her. She seems to be going through a rough time herself, and hinted at being down, but she doesn’t like to discuss her problems. At least, not the big ones. I know she is pining for a boyfriend and feels sad about her life as a single woman.

I am relieved I am not pining for a boyfriend. Yes, I would like one, but mostly, I don’t think about this. There’s no one specific anyway. And, I had more than my fill of a partner who was destructive and whom I wished gone for a long long time before I finally was able to leave.

She asked me about my therapy, just casually, and asked if it would ever be over? I said who knows…..It is one of my anxieties, that this therapy process is so open ended. On the other hand, if I don’t go, I’ll still have the same issues, just without a therapist. I’ll still be me. This friend doesn’t ‘believe’ in therapy, though she doesn’t go so far as to tell me not to go. She just doesn’t understand it.

Anyway. I did get my back balcony planted. It’s kind of artistic, if I do say so myself.

I should have gone to visit my son and didn’t. I don’t think I’m much good to him depressed like this.

My session last week was good. It didn’t seem a chore to go – I was eager to see Ron. We had a low-key, companionable type session. We talked about how I might get more people in my life. I’d been trying with an ACA group and with church, but have given those up for now. They took a lot of my limited energy and I didn’t end up with much social contact out of it. Ron wondered if those situations, because they focus on the person, make me even more self-conscious, and if an activity based group would be better.

I liked how Ron was trying to help me think of what concretely I could do. I’m kind of assuming that once in social situations more, I would make pals. I seem to be doing OK at work – I enjoy the cameraderie there that comes from just sitting together at a table. I feel like I’m having companionship even if we’re not best friends.

Activities might work, assuming there’s nothing terribly wrong with how I speak to people or how I’m being perceived. I kind of think there isn’t, really. That if I had people around, I would make friends.

This was all OK. Towards the end of the session, I brought up a visit to my family the previous weekend that had not gone well as usual. I tried to explain to Ron what had been bad. It’s hard to explain about my family. I don’t want to get into it here – this is likely the cause of my depression. I get the strong feeling they blame me for my son’s condition and for him living with my parents, which I know is very hard on them.

My family is such a unit. They all stick together, dancing the family dance, and I don’t fit, don’t want to fit, and get judged.

Anyway, if they’re so great, how did I end up in parts? That happens only in severely dysfunctional situations. They are not that great. They were a terrible family for me.

I just need to moan about yet another bad interview. I am so depressed and feel like I’ll never work again.

This time, again a different problem. Although this is guess work, in all three cases, because I don’t get feedback, just the absence of an offer. Sigh. This time, I was determined to stay calm and in one piece. I did do that, and it was hard. I determined to do nothing that might trigger emotions the morning of the interview, so I skipped my dance/shake routine. I also didn’t listen to music, but read in the subway on the way there instead. As well, I gave myself plenty of time to get ready and left very early, so I was not rushed at any point. That also helps with staying in one piece. I spoke to myself kindly, and located parts and asked them to sit this out, telling them that all was safe.

I also had a good enough suit and had polished my shoes. So. It might have been good to have had a haircut, but I have an appointment for next week, so there was nothing I could do on short notice.

I also talked about having an interview at a small church group I sometimes go to, and several people wished me luck, so I had that bit of support also, and the interview wasn’t a secret.

Those are all good things I need to do, and I am proud of myself for doing them.

I think the problem is I need to go back to what I was doing years ago, namely reading lists of interview questions from a library book, reading sample answers, and making up answers ready to go. When I try to be honest, it doesn’t work. I need readily constructed stories that make me look like a corporate superhero. It seems unjust that I have to do this. It seems stupid to me. But I think that’s how it is.

I have noticed before that when I have this sense of being truthful in interviews, it doesn’t help me get the job. These managers are looking for smart, packaged answers. I guess having the answers available does show you know how to play the game. I don’t think they greatly care what really happened. They want you to fit neatly into a prepared slot in their minds, by saying things they think show you are ‘good’.

I didn’t immediately think of my answers to their questions as problematic. I did notice that the main manager did not seem at ease with me walking me out. I suspected maybe it was my personality, because I caught him saying something under his breath to the other interviewer, something about one of those quiet ones – presumably he had wanted me to talk more. The recruiter had actually told me the manager prefers answers that are to the point and not rambling, but as it turned out, he rambled himself, so perhaps was looking for the same from me.

I was asked about what I felt was my greatest accomplishment in the last six month. I thought about it, had nothing prepared for this, and said I felt I did well adapting to such varied circumstances, situations and requirements in my last few contracts. When what I should have done is said I accomplished something they are specifically looking for – maybe something like that I became such a valued team player so quickly on a very diverse team in my last role. Which is somewhat of a lie, but they are looking specifically for a good team player. I’m stupid. I got a lot of low ball questions like that and didn’t take advantage of them at all.

Tell me about a situation where you dealt with conflict – that one is trickier. I should have had a story ready about how I was a miracle worker with a difficult person I suppose. Instead I said I’d had to interact with a manager who was very emotional and jumped to conclusions. I’d dealt with her by slowing things right down and figuring out what the problem actually was. They asked if our relationship had improved, and I should have said tremendously, and instead I said a bit, over time, but that people have their personalities and don’t change much! Which is perfectly true, but not what they’re looking for to fill in on their pre-printed interview sheets.

I suspect if they really liked me, if I had a shining personality that charmed them to bits, they might overlook these answers and give me the contract anyway. Since that’s not the case (even though I remained calm, even though I was adult the whole time 😦  ) , I won’t get a call back.

Trying to tell myself that I’ll get it right at some point. This time though, so many things that could go wrong were fine. I wasn’t triggered by therapy or by exercise at the time. The location was easy and so getting there didn’t stress me out. Next time, I might have to go when triggered, so emotional regulation becomes beyond my reach.

All I can do is proceed. I’ll get out a book of questions and answers, I’ll make some stuff up and memorize it, and hope for the best.

And these aren’t even great jobs. They’re short contracts, six months, no benefits. It’s hard not to feel like a loser, when I can’t even land one of these, but I musn’t. I have to keep trying, keep on top of it, hard as it is.

I am walking through depression these days, that’s for sure. Trying to keep my head above water. I ordered four different self-help books from the library, or maybe five? I can’t decide what I have that’s most urgent – PTSD Workbook, Anxiety Toolkit, 7 steps Through Depression, Compassion Therapy for Social Anxiety. Four. Plus the Mindful Way through Depression, my old favorite. I feel as if I have pretty much every diagnosis out there except for bipolar or schizophrenia. Oh, I’m also not obsessive compulsive. Everything else, I’ve got.

Today I went to the gym, so I am proud of this. Yesterday I spent a lot of hours in bed, so today I’m more active. I might go to 12 step group tonite. Or maybe let it be for a while.

Yesterday was my first session after the holidays. Ron was thirty minutes late. The boundaries with him, which until a few months ago he was great at holding, seem to be falling apart a bit. He gave me no notice of his unusual two week Christmas vacation, and now he both showed up very late and did not bother phoning me to tell me he was delayed. For the vacation, when I asked why there was no notice, he was completely defensive. He carefully explained how he had been telling people and maybe that was the week we did the bio session so he forgot to tell me. He didn’t apologize. What do I care what his exact problems were – the fact is, he hurt me, by inattention, and it would make sense to offer a small apology. I would, if it was me.

I assumed he’d forgotten my session yesterday, but it turned out he’d been coming in from out of town and my 11:30 appointment was his first. The weather was bad, and he was slow to get here. I can actually understand that. What I don’t understand is why he couldn’t let me know. He had a phone in his car. He could have saved me from coming in for a twenty minute session. He did apologize, and did not charge me for the twenty minutes. I do not see why he didn’t let me know. He shrugged and said his kids were in the car.

I’m going on about these small things. I find them hurtful and unprofessional.

My therapy is pretty much in the toilet. Even in the twenty minutes, I felt criticized and unsupported. To the extent that it plunged me right back into my non-functional depression. But today, I realized that I had been criticizing him, and likely hurt his feelings somewhat. Not for being late – we briefly discussed then let it go.

I don’t know. I was thinking in my mind, first of all, I’ve had a rough time, and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been trying to help me – the exercise, the group. But also, what I remembered today, was I said I didn’t think therapy could help me. And that I wanted to work on a plan for making my life better, rather than plunging into trauma feelings, or something like that.

Which of course Ron is going to be irritated by. I don’t know if he actively dislikes trying to plan for a better life, or if it’s just something he doesn’t think works? And my saying therapy isn’t going to help – that is definitely criticism.

I also explained about my Christmas a bit – leaving the family event early. He did say a satisfying ‘wow’ when I explained how my mother and sister had reacted to my leaving before dinner was over – ‘would you like to take pie?’ and ‘thanks for coming’ respectively, nothing else.

After about fifteen minutes, he wasn’t saying anything, and I felt uneasy, so I said it always freaks me out when you sit silent like that. And he said the hurtful thing, something about what I’d said about the gym, how I’m trying to balance the anxiety exercise causes me with the depression that no exercise leaves me in. He criticized that – something about how I’m trying to manage my feelings instead of really exploring them.

The reason that hurt so much is that I’ve been struggling so very hard to not succumb to depression over the holidays – to get out of bed, to do things. Even though if I think about it, my life sucks on basically every front right now. So I try not to think about it. And I’m kind of proud of going to the gym, of finding a way, after years of avoidance. And of going to the group, despite difficulties. It’s me out there, fighting.

And Ron doesn’t see it that way. I guess. I feel criticized for not exploring feelings properly. And it makes sense, as I criticized his therapy. Which I couldn’t see at first, as my pain was overwhelming at that point.

I didn’t say anything to Ron about this. I do not need another discussion about the way to help me – we’ve done that, got the t-shirt, I don’t need to go there again.

Another thing that occurred to me is that this dynamic with Ron feels very much like the one I had with my father as a child. Enormous hurt, feeling criticized and never good enough. I in turn criticizing him. I never seemed to have any influence with my dad, and it feels similar with Ron. So maybe that’s something I can explore.

I also know that therapy feels bad when parts are no longer involved. Ever since Ron rejected B a few months ago, no parts have showed up for therapy. Ron doesn’t seem to notice – I suppose he believes they have magically disappeared. But B is the main part of me that attaches to people, so if she is no longer welcome with Ron, then I feel quite distant from him. So that’s another thing.

 

I meant to write a Christmas message, and now need a venting type post. Sorry to be discouraging.

Year after year, Christmas has been a difficult and depressing time for me. I start feeling blue at the start of December and get worse from there. This year was different though. I was very triggered by therapy, which took me two weeks to get over, so that took me to mid-December. Luckily there’s a therapy break of a few weeks. I do not really miss it. I especially do not miss the massive triggers and lengthy recovery periods.

I went back to some depression books I’d found helpful in the past – one called Unstuck, and the Mindful Way through Depression. Stuff in those books really helps, and none of it involves looking back to the past. I’ve been going to the gym every other day for the last week and a half. This can trigger me, but it also helps a lot with the depression. Then, I spend some time calming down after exercise, just taking the time to try and feel whatever I feel, and that seems to help.

I also went for acupuncture at a community acupuncture clinic, which is half the price of regular, so I feel I can afford to go. It seemed very low key, but it brought up a lot of sadness for me again, and it took some days to feel better. But then, I felt as if I may have let some old feelings surface and dissipate.

So by today, Christmas day, I’m physiologically not that depressed. A miracle. I’m not super cheerful, but I feel like I can cope.

The parts of Christmas that were nice:

  • my tree – a real pretty one
  • Christmas service last night – I enjoyed belting out the traditional carols, and the candle ceremony where we each held a candle appealed to the kid
  • Christmas lunch with my ex and my son at my house. My ex cooked and brought food, while I provided a tidy space and cleaned up.

The crappy part:

  • dinner with my family today, which I walked out of.

And here I am at home alone at eight o’clock. My family is awful. You might think they’re fine. They don’t yell. Everyone is ‘polite’. But they don’t give a shit about me. It’s just so hurtful. I have known this. But I have been hoping I’m ‘too sensitive’ and ‘too depressed’ and really, I just need to be more self-confident and look at it differently. And now, I no longer think that. I don’t think it’s me.

My siblings and my mother are very focused on cooking the perfect meal. There are five different kinds of veg, plus three salads. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry, many kinds of wine, two kinds of homemade pie.

So I go late afternoon to try and help out. I feel guilty – I bring a veg, but I know they’ve been cooking for hours. Turns out my sibs were down the day before cooking also. I chop things as directed. No one ever talks to me. There is discussion about the food. I ask some questions, but no one responds much, so I give up. I try talking, but no one responds to that either. I wonder – am I boring, or is something I said really embarrassing, or what? I feel uneasy. I feel jumpy. I decide everyone is just tense from the pressure of cooking the perfect meal.

My father’s friends come – all university people. My sister’s friends come – ditto. My father as always refers to my brother’s job, the university professor. The only people who don’t have academic pretensions are my mother, who is almost completely silent, and my uncle and cousin, who both leave early, before dinner, having waited hours for this perfect meal. I know my uncle is also uncomfortable with the focus on university and nothing else.

At dinner, I feel so depressed. No one talks to me. I sit there silently, no longer up to making any effort. Yes, all the dishes are delicious. I couldn’t care less. I finish my plate quickly and leave the table to read my phone in another room. And then, I leave before dessert.

I feel so furious. Maybe I should have said something, but it gets difficult to know at what point to do so. My father is such an asshole. Maybe it’s awful to say it. He must continually control, to show in every way that you must be an academic to be worthwhile. He really does do that. He has never said a word to me on these occasions. I’m never worthy of a comment or any concern.

I’m still seeing red. I hope I get it together to never go back to one of these big family type holidays. They’re all about perfectionism and my father’s controlling ways. I start to feel smaller and smaller until I’m incapable of speaking.

It would maybe have been better to have the fight instead of leaving without a word. I tell you, it’s hard to deal with passive aggression, with mean spirited childish behaviour that goes back many decades. When everything is an omission. My T has pointed out I can still say something, but I find it difficult. Especially maybe with so many relative strangers at the dinner, who are all fitting in with my father’s agenda, and really, just trying to have a Christmas dinner they don’t have to cook.

They have gotten worse these last two years. I understand they are very stressed out by having my disabled son live with them. I cannot help that and would if I could. I know that’s why these rejecting behaviours have escalated, back to the scale they where when I was younger. My siblings just play along for different reasons. I don’t care. I will not keep doing this to myself.

I hope I never see my family again. They can go to hell.

I am going to keep expressing. Though I have no conclusions, and I’m just as confused as ever. I’m still not better, though at least my mind is back online. I have gone almost nowhere, except to coffee shops and stores for food. I have spoken with no one since last Thursday except very briefly to a friend, and didn’t mention going through stuff. I have avoided all the things I’ve tried to build into my life to give me an illusion of having people to see – no 12 step group, no church, no monthly discussion group, no walk with a friend, and tonight again no 12 step group. So, I have spoken with no one about what is happening for me.

The feeling of needing to avoid people is very intense. At the start of the day, I plan on doing these small activities, and when the time comes to leave, I do not go. It feels like zero motivation. You might not realize it, but to even just show up somewhere requires a small amount of hope. Somewhere in your mind, you need the tiny feeling that something good might happen at this event, or that you can get something out of that. I’m completely missing that tiny feeling. How can you go to something when you just see a grey wasteland? How are you going to connect with anyone across all that grey deadness?

I still feel as if something shocking has happened to me. My insides feel kind of jolted, and I have a shocked feeling. Also, I want to lie down an awful lot. I read to try and distract from the sadness and loss.

I’m thinking about medication. For me, they don’t work very well, but they do work a bit for the first few months. That is, you wait three weeks, feel pretty sick, and then they kick in and you feel a bit calmer. For me, I stay slightly nauseous also. But the feeling is better than this. It’s not really a good option though. I know they don’t really change anything. Then they stop working, and you keep taking them, just in case they might be helping. They’re this crappy trap.

I think about the crisis line. Should I call? Am I bad enough?

I’ve written Ron a few emails. He has replied very briefly, but never in a way that made me feel he gets what I’m talking about. I wrote him an allegorical type story too. It was kind of fun to write, but also kind of scary, because it alludes to things I don’t like to think about. He replied that it was powerful, and then said a bit of stuff that basically showed he didn’t get what I was saying.

I just want to go back to how I was feeling last week before therapy. I was coping. Now I can no longer cope. For instance. The front window of my apartment doesn’t close completely. This is fine in the summer. But now, it’s really cold. So I need to call my landlady to fix it. I can’t call her as I’m afraid of the phone. So I’m wearing three sweaters and a hat in my living room. So stupid. I am a grown-up and I need to deal. I can’t believe I can’t do this.

I truly don’t know what happened to cause me to go downhill like this. Maybe it was just too much bad stuff all at once. I seem to be having a problem of feeling things as we discuss them in session. I just don’t realize how bad I feel until I get home. I do remember feeling this huge warning go off internally in my session, when I asked Ron to stop speaking about my family. He thought that was me just resisting. But maybe that was the signal that things were so bad as to be unmanageable at that point.

I don’t get why I’m like this. Clearly a lot of people feel pain from their therapy, but I think I am kind of on the extreme end of that. Being disabled like this from therapy seems kind of inexplicable.

I have a session tomorrow morning, so wish me luck. Ron is unexpectedly taking next week off, something he didn’t inform me about until I asked for a session next week. I guess he was going to tell me the session before. He’s usually better than this and does give notice of his holidays.

I don’t know if this will be my last session with him. I don’t want to throw myself further into a crisis by threatening inner parts that we won’t keep seeing him, so I’m being careful. I do know if I tell him I need support and that’s all right now, he will go along with that. I did not get him a token gift this year. I don’t feel like giving him anything.

I still cannot get it together. I don’t remember ever having this bad of a reaction to a therapy session for years. I think the last time was when I was trying to do group – I do remember the aftermath of those groups was terrible for me.

I feel weepy and I’m kind of shaking. Maybe part of it is trying to now distance myself from Ron. I’ve cancelled for this week only, but am thinking of cancelling for the rest of the month anyway. Parts of me are so deeply attached to him, is the problem. At the moment, I’m about evenly balanced between needing to stay away from Ron because of the damage I feel he’s doing to me, versus the hope that if I go in to see him, we can repair this, and I will feel better. Although I know from experience the arguing with him actually makes me feel worse. He never seems to see his part in anything, and this being therapy, it becomes all about my issues, my inability to accept and hear what he is telling me.

And yet. He is kind. He is undoubtedly sincere and undoubtedly trying to help me. He has helped me. I am now in a better place than I was before I saw him, usually anyway, this week excepted. I understand more about people. Before this therapy, I never had even the concepts of attachment or abandonment. I really had no idea about this. I was living with attachment problems/avoidance, and was abandoned and abandoning, but I didn’t know about it. That’s huge.

Reminds me of how I didn’t have a concept of anxiety before my forties. That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel it. My whole life was dictated by anxiety, but as I didn’t really know what it was or how it manifests, I was ignorant of this. Anxiety is more than just feelings of fear and unease. Anxiety is the wish not to do something, the blankness, the fatigue. Anxiety is cutting off conversations, not going there, trying to stay so safe there is almost no life happening whatsoever.

I understand more about depression. How it’s a big grey blanket thrown over bad stuff and unacceptable feelings. How it can feel better than the actual feelings underneath it. How hard it can be to allow those feelings, how exhausting, how depression just seems easier – almost a choice. Not quite, not always, but for me, it sometimes is.

I’ve applied to one job today, which is all I ask of myself in the jobs department. No special effort, just clicked apply and attached a resume. It’s a job I’ve actually done over a decade before. But I need work. If I’m back where I was a decade ago, well, maybe this time I’ll do it better. Who knows.

My other two goals are laundry, and get to the gym. The gym will make me feel a bit better, hopefully. I don’t feel up to interacting with anyone yet – I’ve been alone since my session last week, talking to no one except to say hello to a cashier. I don’t care much. I haven’t been able to organize myself to have normal conversations. Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be able to do that, because this is getting old.

Oh, and I have been looking at therapist profiles. I wouldn’t get a new one right away I don’t think, but I need to look. The usual confusion. How do I tell who would be good. Trauma therapists seem to be all female. I’ve been to a lot of female therapists, ones who say they’re good at trauma, and formed very little connection with them. But maybe this time. But how do I tell?

First, the ones with really good websites that explain trauma in a way that makes sense. I’ve contacted three of these therapists in the past, and they were not accepting new clients.  There is one more, and one who lives a fair ways away. The first one only works in business hours and is expensive, so not sure I could afford or make appointments during the day. She does seem very qualified though. Then there are body focused therapists – they also teach yoga, they focus on mindfulness, they seem like earth mother types. I don’t know. Maybe? There are a lot with the same type of training and approach as Ron, which seems like it’s going to be unhelpful for the same reasons he is.

OK, writing that felt awful. I know a large part of me doesn’t want anyone else, wants Ron, just a better version of him.