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I went back to therapy Thursday. I’d say the session was helpful.

We chatted a tiny bit about Ron’s vacation, and how it’d been four weeks since we’d met.

I spoke about the work situation I described in my last post. How furiously angry I’d become, and how it seemed out of proportion to what was happening. Ron had pointed out previously that with bosses, I almost always fear they don’t like me, or don’t like my work, or that they are somehow displeased with me, and he thinks this is the case now. I couldn’t really point out anything specific this boss had done that showed she was angry with me – I just assumed.

Well. I do think I was getting up her nose a bit, because she doesn’t like a lot of questions. Ron pointed out that my anxiety was likely affecting her also. And I did find, on Friday, that as I was less anxious, she reacted better to me.

I found after a while, I really wanted to leave this topic of my new boss and myself. I was feeling more and more anxious, and gaps occurred in our conversation, and then I was tempted to change the subject. I had other things to talk about, and parts also would have liked a say. However, I mostly do jump about a lot in therapy, and as a result, never tackle any subject in much depth.

At one point, Ron asked me to speak in both voices – the part that wants to continue with the topic, and the part that wants to change the subject. I found that really hard to do. Like a pros and cons list, he said. OK, I could do that. Pros of continuing on – we can go deeper with the topic, it’s good to stand up to and tolerate anxiety, instead of running away from it. Cons – it felt like this was a conversation I could have with a friend, and didn’t need Ron for, and there were other things I wanted to talk about – a massage I’d had, and some troubles after exercise. Ron said maybe we could discuss this in a way that I couldn’t with a friend, and that we could come back to the other topics next week.

So I stayed with this. The boss. The feelings of anger. How it tied back to being criticized as a child, how nothing had been enough for my father.

I can’t remember any grand conclusions actually. But the next day, I felt calmer at work, in a way.

That night though, I couldn’t sleep. Parts of me were furious with Ron for not getting a chance to speak about their concerns. I actually wrote him a furious email in the middle of the night, but luckily I didn’t send it. I felt differently in the morning.

At the end of the session, Ron asked how it felt to be back after the break. I didn’t really know – I didn’t feel anything in particular really.

This adult way of doing therapy is kind of new. I like it in that i don’t have a huge therapy hangover the next day. And spending time on a topic seems good. The downside is younger parts don’t get to speak. But, maybe that’s OK. Speaking in therapy wasn’t really getting us anywhere much except triggered.

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Suffering from anxiety today.

I got a new contract last week, and it starts last week of August. I actually got two offers at the same time and picked the best paying one. I hope it was a good decision but can’t really know. I don’t know how to tell what the manager is like in a half hour interview. They always seem OK to me. It’s after that problems arise.

This morning, unexpectedly, I had to do a second telephone interview for the contract, which I’ve already signed. It was stressful for me. I cancelled a plan I’d had for the afternoon to be ready. Then at the appointed time the manager didn’t answer her phone. Eventually my recruiter let me know she’d be calling later in the afternoon.

So I did that interview. It was very project specific, with the person going on about the details of her project. Very hard to say anything to the point. She was looking for me having had the exact experience before, which I haven’t. Each contract is different, just like each job tends to be different. Well, different and the same. So it was a frustrating conversation, but in the end she said she’d look forward to meeting me in a few weeks, so I take that to mean it’s OK. She’s not the hiring manager, but some other manager who presumably I’ll work with also.

Anyway. That was anxiety inducing, bringing up my fear of being judged big time.

Yesterday I went for a massage. This was a good experience for me, but I suspect my anxiety today is related.

In contrast to previous massages, I told the RMT that I do have some issues with touch and some trauma issues, so I need her to proceed gently. She looked a bit shocked to tell the truth. Oh well. While I had a stiff neck and some lower back pain, I decided to ask her to focus just on massage for stress.

So she basically did that. She did gentles strokes on my back, hand massage and foot massage. Then she did a head thing where she held my head and kind of rocked it. I mostly felt good – I enjoy being gently stroked. At one point it felt like I wanted it to be over, but that soon passed. And I’d asked for only 30 minutes, which seemed a good length.

And after, I felt fine. I felt a bit glowy from being touched nicely and gently. And because of previous experiences, I kept expecting to be hit by waves of sadness and depression, but that didn’t happen. I continued feeling good and slept pretty well.

This has been my first massage that felt good after. So I think my plan of asking for gentle stress relief was a good one. Usually, I’ve only gone for massage when I had issues I wanted addressed. Maybe the more intense massage, trying to get kinks out and addressing aches and pains, is too much for me emotionally…..

I do have back pain that I’d like to get massage for. Maybe in a few days I’ll go back and get half and half – half stress, half back pain massage.

I was actually thinking that everything brings up trauma for me. It’s great to find something that doesn’t seem to, and actually helps me feel better.

I’ve been trying to address my lack of a social life by going on various meetups. So far this has not been a great success. I picked a walking group meetup because I do walk quite a bit, and I find it enjoyable to walk and talk. However, they walk much too far and fast for me. I can do it, but then I’m hit with a huge amount of trauma shut-down afterwards. Last time the walk was in the morning, and I spent the rest of the day and the next day completely shut down. It’s such an odd feeling – I feel like a robot. I feel like I am outside of my skin somehow – I can feel my skin, but can’t feel further in than that.

So also trying to be friendly with fellow walkers is difficult. I feel fake, I think because after a while I’m probably fending off various feelings, and it’s too much to talk much to anyone at the same time. I have a sort of fake person persona that can take over but that feels pointless. As well, I feel somewhat judged there, as being weak and somehow not as good as others. It’s too much of a complicated situation. Although I was enjoying seeing other parts of the city I’m not familiar with, I think I’ll drop this group for now. Anyway, once I’m working I could not afford to have two entire weekend days where I cannot function after one of these walks.

It makes me mad that I’m in this situation, and that it’s so hard to make progress.

Ron is on vacation. I’ve again contacted a trauma therapist who has not gotten back to me. Our last session was not much good without being terrible. I just kind of listed my complaints about things without getting into much depth. I think depth for me involves parts, and it’s hard to launch into them just like that. Ron doesn’t discourage it, but he doesn’t encourage it either. I think he doesn’t want to encourage the dissociation of parts. But – they already do exist no matter what he does. So in the end, I stay mostly adult. The adult is not terribly emotional, and the session feels shallow as a result.

I think Ron is a good therapist, but has not much understanding of trauma and dissociation. If only he had that, he’d be great. On the other hand, someone with the knowledge, but who isn’t good as a therapist, is basically more useless.

I have been finding I’ve been trusting him in my mind. It makes a big difference to have someone to trust as being on your side in your mind, and it seems like my choice, whether I trust him or not. I can think one way, and distrust him, or another, and trust that he likes me and cares. It feels better to trust.

Day after therapy and I am a mess. I’ve gotten into some kind of a state where I can’t really function and now can’t sleep. It’s like this shocked state maybe. It feels bad but not really like a feeling which passes if I stay with it. It’s more like a state.

It’s not probably Ron’s fault. His therapy doesn’t help me with this, but I had other stressors. I knew I didn’t want to go into see him but it was too late to cancel, so I went. He’d actually moved the session at the last minute to the evening for me so I could go to a job interview.

The interview stressed me out a lot. It was a last minute request, so I hadn’t had a chance to memorize answers to the HR type questions they sometimes ask. My first interview this round of looking. So I prepared all morning memorizing these BS answers I’d written out last time I was looking. And reading over the recruiter’s advice sheets. This is something I try to avoid on interview day because it makes me even more nervous. Something about preparing really scares me so then I’m scared the whole day, and by the time I get to the interview I don’t present calmly.

And it looks like I didn’t get the contract as they were supposed to let me know today. (You only get positive notice.) That’s a bit of an insult. Even though I know I wasn’t as calm as I like to be, I was actually over-qualified for this one. The rate was a good deal less than I’m used to making, and I had 17 years’ experience where they were asking for three. I’d also done basically this job at the very start of my career, for this same large organization. Plus, to top it all off, they are actually hiring six writers. So to not be offered one of those places, something must really have gone wrong in the interview.

I’ve been trying not to take it too personally though. I don’t know what happened. I imagine bad things, like some kind of note on my file from when I worked there full-time over a decade ago….I remember some issues I ran into then. It was my first corporate job and I had some people issues, and one time I complained to HR about something I never would today. Who knows.

They did say though they really liked my resume. Ah well.

It’s not so bad. I have another interview Tuesday for a much better paying contract….Hopefully that one will work out.

The day before I’d had an emotional type day. Which was good, as I have trouble feeling my emotions often, but it left me vulnerable.

I’d gone swimming. I only swim for a short time, as I have trouble with exercise putting me into a dissociated state. This is one of my big issues. I have not been able to figure out why that keeps happening or how to stop it, and it’s so disruptive to my life that I limit exercise quite a bit, as it takes so much time to recover.

I enjoy the actual swimming and lying in the sun. After I got home I was in the usual state – heavy, feeling as if something was wrong, unable to function normally. This time I stayed with it more though, determined to find out what it was. I know i had tears running down my face at times. I tried to write out what I was feeling. And I noticed a lot of expression was coming from a traumatized young child part. So I went with that, and switched over to that part, but still trying to provide caring and compassion from the adult.

And so, I was young and traumatized, but things started to help. I put on some songs that this part liked. We ate ice cream. I tried reading a fairy tale, but the reading was too difficult. Finally, I ended up watching a Disney movie, and this part of me loved the movie. In my usual state, I wouldn’t respond like that to an animated movie, but this child part did.

Then I slept a solid seven hours. That never happens. I always wake up once or twice, if not more, at night. So to sleep that deeply is something. And I woke up not depressed. That was the day of the interview.

I think a problem was that i had to make such a severe switch from that vulnerable state to the adult trying to prepare and go to a job interview. It was a lot of stress right on top of having this emotional experience the day before.

So after the interview, I felt kind of blank and out of it. I went to my scheduled therapy session. I talked about my experience with the swimming and the kid after….I don’t know. Ron looked concerned I guess. I was talking about all this therapy stuff, but I’d say I was pretty out of it really. It was too much – the stress of the interview, after the child episode the day before, and now trying to talk about it. I know therapy is where you go to discuss things, and likely I do need to discuss this, but the timing was very bad.

Plus I’m finding I’m not trusting Ron. Where has my trust gone? I used to trust him so much. He gave me this odd look as I was leaving his office….I know I’m unusual and strange.

I suspect this therapy isn’t much good for me at times.

So here I am. I can’t sleep. I didn’t do enough today as I felt I couldn’t function. I ventured out to the store in the morning but that’s about it. It was threatening rain most of the day, and did rain quite a bit, so it wasn’t good outdoor weather.

There are other aspects to how I’m feeling but I’ll save those for another post.

Today I have a lot of anxiety. Having no work has now gotten old. I can really feel how important the social interaction at work is to me, as without that I have no one to say anything to on a day to day basis.

I wonder if other feelings are beneath all the anxiety?

I feel bad about how my last therapy session went, though I have nothing specific I feel I could write to Ron about it. I think I’ve removed myself a bit from being very emotional about Ron’s actions. I remember being so reactive and freaked out about many many things he said or did. I no longer care as much. I think because we’re no longer doing much parts work, so those younger parts emotions aren’t involved anymore like they were.

Last night I got really suspicious of Ron for some reason and googled him to, um, see if he’d been in the news? What on earth was I thinking. Anyway, it seems he’s removed his professional web page. He’s still listed in Psych Today and on another site, with a profile and picture, but his many paged site is no more. I’m wondering why.

His profile is extremely accurate. I’d read it before, but this time, I realized that he is saying exactly what he believes. He does not treat conditions and does not label. He looks for the feelings underlying any symptoms. His main approach is deep engaged conversation. He asks if the reader is experiencing disturbing emotions they don’t understand….If so, he wants to help. He doesn’t use techniques – he wants to listen.

And that is exactly his approach. You go there with your emotions, and he kind of witnesses and explores.

I’ve looked at the web pages again of two of the therapists I’ve found in previous searches. One of them I saw before, briefly. She doesn’t give an email – I’d have to call. She’s like the anti-Ron. She lists the conditions she treats, and lists her techniques. She’s a psychologist, and I can afford her because she works out of a centre that keeps prices a bit lower. But still higher than Ron’s rate. I liked her OK when I saw her about a decade ago, though I never became attached to her.

I keep thinking I need some skills and some analysis. I feel exhausted by the thought of going to Ron and having to come up with what feels like everything, including what I’m trying to do, and not knowing how the talking is supposed to help me.

But it could be I’d have trouble with any kind of therapy. Facing trauma is so destabilizing, I want to shy away.

I feel confused and anxious and unable to act.

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.

I feel unbelievably ambivalent about my therapy. I don’t see where it’s going, I feel a lot worse after sessions, I don’t have a lot of confidence that Ron’s ideas are going to help me much. And yet….I have changed. I am better at relationships and I see more clearly where they might be going wrong. But my PTSD remains the same, basically untouched.

Last Thursday’s session put me back into a depression which I’m still trying to climb out of, thereby wasting a lot of my time off. I’m still doing a few things, but quite a bit less than before.

I’m having trouble focusing on what the trouble might be. I know Ron hurts my feelings deeply when he tells me I’m like my family. One reason he says that is because there are topics that I don’t wish to discuss. He thinks I’m then shutting down discussion as my family did. Though to tell the truth, with my family, discussion was mostly suppressed before it could even start, rather than shut down in progress.

Ron wants to discuss my son. He says I have all kinds of massive feelings about his situation, and it would help to discuss. I do not want to waste my fifty minutes on discussing the situation. It’s hard to get Ron to understand anyway, and it doesn’t go anywhere. There’s nothing he can do. I ended up telling him if he needs to discuss this, I’d listen to everything he has to say, because I don’t want to shut him down, but that I didn’t have anything to say about it. My efforts at not shutting him down. Isn’t choosing a topic different from ‘shutting people down’?

Anyway. This isn’t what triggered off the depression. Towards the end of the session, I asked Ron – shouldn’t he be linking my past to my present, isn’t that what his job is in psychodynamic therapy? He agreed and said that’s exactly what he’s doing in trying to discuss my son. I didn’t see it. How is discussing my son’s current situation doing that? Where is the past in this? He’s not making any links as far as I can see. He’s just intent on showing my son’s situation is psychological, not physical. It may have psychological components, but I am convinced it’s also physical. But I just don’t have time to get into arguments in my short therapy session, arguments that will not help me.

But. At the same time, I was drawing with crayons, doodling. That provides a lot of relief to parts of me that are not involved in this type of discussion. It also opens up my emotions, which I suspect are from these split off parts.

So then I said, half from an emotional parts type state, I thought Ron should be focusing on what it was like for me, what effect did it have, to have a mother who was unable to tolerate any emotions from her child. And I can’t remember what Ron said to tell the truth. He said a bunch of stuff, and I was still drawing away, feeling more and more emotional and child-like. I felt both sad and also angry and petulant, like a kid sticking to her guns despite a grown-ups fancy arguments.

I think that’s what pushed me into the depression. Parts emotions lead to other parts emotions, all walled off but ready to come tumbling out all together.

The fact is, it was severely painful to have a mother who needed her children to suppress all emotions. There was not a lot of love, but what there was went to any child who did not display feelings. So we all learned very early not to have feelings.

Which led to my being depressed for most of my life. All my life force dammed up as my mother needed it to be.

So reason enough to be depressed in the present.

Is this helpful? I have no idea. It means therapy is having an effect, but I’m not sure if it’s going to be a good effect in the end.

 

 

I’m wishing to keep this blog alive but having difficulty writing. I’ve started a few posts but left off, discouraged. It’s hard to know what to say.

I am thankful to have finished my contract and have some time off until I find a new one.

I went back to therapy last week, after Ron’s vacation. It wasn’t a successful session, but I am going back tomorrow. I do have time and energy to devote to therapy after all.

Last week I went in and spoke in an adult way about my difficulties. I was proud I’d been out to two meetups, one for walking, one to see a movie. It’s hard for me to go to them, and I kind of enjoyed chatting with people. I guess I would have liked a pat on the back or some acknowledgment. Ron doesn’t really do that though. I felt he didn’t get how hard it was for me, and also, that it could be a good thing for me if I could keep trying this.

I guess I mainly remember what I didn’t like about the session. How he again said I was like my family. He’s said this a lot. I think he means critical and judgemental. My family does have strengths, but I don’t think that’s what he means.

My impression is I hurt his feelings by criticizing his therapy. I didn’t actually mean to do that last week at all – he brought up that I hadn’t been coming in much. So I just said I wasn’t sure what he was trying to do with the therapy.

When I say that, he tends to say the same thing. I think he thinks I’m asking him to give advice instead of just sitting there. He then tells me I have to assert myself and speak up with my family. He’s said that over and over.

The thing is, there’s not anything obvious to assert myself about. The main thing they do is cold withdrawal, kind of a silent judging. I’d have to attack somehow, and I’m not sure what the point would be.

I also spoke about my son, who is a continuing issue. He can’t really keep living with my parents, but cannot hold a job. Anyway – I don’t think he and my parents are even on speaking terms, yet he lives in their house. I know my parents are massively disappointed in him, and angry. They seem to be silently blaming me for the situation as well.

My ex and I are hoping to help him move to a small place away from the city. He needs a place with less air pollution. Trying to make that happen is hard. Especially when I’m not sure it will make him feel better. He’s convinced it will though. There’s not a ton of money to help with that, but between us we have some.

Talking to Ron about this makes me feel worse about the situation. He seems so appalled. The thing is, I already find it so overwhelming sometimes I can’t cope with it. So I stay away from visiting my son or trying to find solutions, because I just feel too bad. So I don’t need to feel more about this.

I left the session feeling kind of battered and bruised. This account is  probably unfair to Ron. I know he wants to listen and to help.

I wish he understood PTSD. However. If I want to emotionally explore something, he’s good at that. I just can’t expect him to lead me anywhere. I have to figure it out. If I don’t want his input on some topics, I just won’t talk about those things with him. It’s only fifty minutes after all.