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How to describe my last session. It was yesterday. It may be it was really helpful, but I kind of can’t tell. It was very painful for the rest of the day. Today I feel odd – spaced. Everything seems empty. I might feel sad but I can’t really feel it. I do lack all motivation to get anything accomplished, which sucks – my last precious day off – I start my new job Monday.

It is good to have time free. One big advantage is that my continuing sleep difficulties don’t impact me as much. I’m routinely up a few hours in the middle of the night, and with no work, I can sleep in, and no harm done.

So the session. Ron seemed a little different – very solemn somehow. He’s always quite serious, but this was extra. I had the impression something has perhaps gone wrong in his personal life. I didn’t ask him directly, but he gave absolutely nothing away at all, where otherwise he might tell me this or the other. I asked if he was going away this weekend, because he couldn’t see me on Friday, and he just shrugged no.

I started out by saying that I’ve had lots of triggers this week, and what should I do? He asked me to describe what they were. I described three triggers – last week’s therapy, then the Easter dinner, then the acupuncture I’d been to on Tuesday.

I’ve gone to acupuncture to help with this virus that has been hanging on for weeks and weeks. The treatment seemed to plunge me into body memories. They’re like a state I get into, with choking, but I don’t feel much, I tell Ron.

Ron says body memories can be a substitute for whatever the feelings are, and the way to deal with them is to try to feel the feelings.

We then took a detour to the Easter dinner trigger. I complained that it wasn’t clear what caused my depression the next day. Ron said sometimes an event is a reminder of something else that was very sad. Like if someone’s spouse died a year ago, then they attend a wedding, and then feel very sad. The wedding didn’t cause the sadness, it reminded the person of their lost spouse.

That did make sense. I talked a bit about how many years I’d wasted with my ex, how I’d wanted to leave, but couldn’t get work, with no experience. And with a baby, you can’t just rent a basement bachelor, you need more than that, so it wouldn’t have been cheap. But now I think my parents would have helped me, and my ex also. Not emotionally, but they would have given me some funds.

Ron just listens and nods.

Then we’re back to how I’m feeling. This whole time, I’m still feeling the effects of the acupuncture. Ron asks me to describe it more. Like black clouds….blackness, I try. The feelings are swirling around me, but I have trouble articulating what they are. I feel angry…like kicking something. And of course, now I switch into a part, maybe B. My speech becomes more child-like and intense. I’m fighting to stay with all this swirling blackness. I tell Ron it’s really hard and it feels really bad. He nods. He mostly just sits with me while I go through it. When I don’t say anything for a while, he asks me a question. It’s taking a lot out of me to just keep staying with the black feelings. I feel small, angry, sad, and as if I’m being attacked. There are no clear pictures of what is happening though.

I use most of the rest of the session to stay with this stuff. I’d rather feel it than be in this odd disembodied state that the acupuncture put me into. At one point I tell Ron I feel I am bad. He asks if someone told me I was bad, and B. replies Yes, very positively. Personally I don’t remember any of this.

Close to the end of session, I say I need to switch out, and Ron tries to help me ground a bit, asking if I feel my body and such.

And I leave. Right after the session, I feel this was good work. I’m trying to feel the feelings. Because as Ron pointed out, I keep getting triggered, even though I try to avoid it – by the dentist, the acupuncture, therapy….if I exercised, I’d get triggered by that also, and many other things. Theoretically, I see it’s better to try and feel it.

I’m disappointed though that today has been mostly a wash. I have no motivation, and feel kind of dissociated. It seems like making any effort brings up a lot of sad feelings, so likely I’m avoiding that by staying home and reading.

So I’m still losing quite a bit of time to therapy aftermath. I’m still thinking of interviewing a few other trauma oriented T’s. I missed my opportunity to do that when I had time off – now I basically have to see someone evenings or on the weekend, which is hard as more experienced T’s tend to work business hours it seems. Could be after a few weeks at work, I’ll be able to work from home once in a while, so then, I could see people on those days.

This seems disloyal to me, as I’m appreciating Ron again and I think he’s doing a pretty good job. I don’t think it’s easy to keep accompanying a client to these dark places. I just have an itch to see what other methods might be like. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Ron. But I’ve read quite a bit about trauma now, and I know there are other methods to try and help with it.

 

Today my co-worker C and the lead for the project, E, and I went for a coffee meeting. It’s the first interaction I’d had with E all week – he was hiding out. I asked for the meeting and he did accept, so that’s something.

I hadn’t expected a run down of what went down, but that’s what we got. I’d just wanted to know if he wanted anything else done in the three weeks we’re still there. It turns out that basically no, he doesn’t. So, OK.

E is garrulous, and he talked a lot. About how he’d met with K, only mid week last it seems, and been frustrated that nothing we did was OK with him. Then E apparently told K to ‘cut them loose’ if he didn’t like our work. He said it just seemed that nothing we could do would satisfy K, and he didn’t want to go around in circles any more.

He talked a lot, and I’ve forgotten most of it. C also had lots to say – about the silliness of the changes K was asking for, about disparaging things K had said. I didn’t get much chance to talk, as those two were saying so much. I mostly felt sad, rather than angry at the time, and C was angry so had a lot to say. I asked some questions, and I remember the answers to those.

I wanted to know if bottom line, it was our skills that K wasn’t happy with, and E felt that was mostly it. Though E was happy with what was produced, as it was clear and easy to follow, as per his requirements, for K, those very qualities made the document suspect as lacking in depth.

Then I wondered if the big boss CN was involved, if it was a budget issue, and apparently not, as far as E knew.

Once E had said all he wanted to say, he was eager to leave, so that was that. He likes to talk, he doesn’t like to listen as much.

I just think – what are the chances that K and E hired two incompetent individuals. I can see hiring one who is a mistake maybe – say they were having an off day when they hired me. But to turn around a month later and hire another incompetent person? Really?

Then, what are the chances the project was badly managed? Say, um, 75%? That seems par for the course with projects.

It was a huge problem that I thought E was managing the project, and his requirements were what counted, but then K came into it in the last month, with totally different requirements, which he actually never made clear. What did he want? We’re all scratching our heads, still trying to work out what it might have been.

I think my part of this disaster was that I didn’t stay calm. I think if a situation is dysfunctional, I’m not good enough yet that I can stay sane through it. I should not have been responding as I was. I wonder if I’d felt more comfortable there, if I could have established more trust with both K and E. Instead of being triggered and reactive. Even if they weren’t doing the ‘right’ things, maybe I should have been worried about our relationship instead of having a great product. In the end, it’s what they think that counts, not so much what I think.

I’ve realized I really need to work on being able to talk to people and establish relationships. I need contact during my day – I’m not like the technical people who can do a task all day long and don’t wish to be disturbed. If I get some conversation, I’m a lot happier and can roll with the punches more.

Sometimes I establish little relationships with whoever is near me, but it’s not enough. The people near me are often very introverted, and it’s tough to talk to them. I need to engage more extroverted people, even though they scare me a little. These are much easier to talk with, and they’re more like me in that they want contact also, though usually they already have lots of people to talk to. Still. I want to make it a priority next contract to be more sociable, and to value relationships the most. At the end of the day, it’s my relationship to my client that is going to make or break the contract. If I’m sociable and calm with others, that should carry over into my client/boss interactions also, so I’ll be less likely to mess up and be triggered. I just get anxious and freaked out very fast, when that’s not needed at work. What’s needed is calmness and kindness. Much more than intelligence and great writing.

So while I can see the dysfunction and really bad management, I’m also pretty aware of my own shortcomings here. E didn’t say anything about that, but of course he wouldn’t, that would be too personal. But he sure didn’t feel comfortable talking if C wasn’t there. For the chatting portion of our coffee meeting, he really only interacted with C. So I guess our relationship really went downhill in the last few weeks. I feel bad about that, and it’s water under the bridge.

Since I have been writing about my failings and shortcomings, maybe a balancing post on things I have done that are more positive.

In therapy, I say something about how I can be soothing to people, in counterpoint to how I am a bit aggressive in work meetings sometimes. How? Ron asks. When are you soothing? I sense skepticism in his voice – it’s quite true I’m not soothing to him. I pay him to take care of me, not for me to take care of him in the short fifty minutes we have. Anyway, at the time, I can’t think of an example. But later, I think of these:

  1. Listened sympathetically to a friend who is truly upset about a dating relationship gone wrong. I have my own ideas about what goes wrong for her, as she has obvious patterns, but I hold my tongue and just listen and sympathize. I’ll just aggravate her if I try and dig into why this is happening to her again. Soothing, IMO. My role is just to be on her side.
  2. I listen to my ex’s troubles. He has the same troubles he has always had, caused by himself for the most part. I don’t point this out (most times). His life is hard, and I just hear him out.
  3. I am polite and friendly to my next door cubicle neighbour. He is extremely introverted and gets annoyed when you talk to him during the day. Plus he is only comfortable talking Chinese – I’ve never heard him talk English to anyone if it’s not about work. He would have ignored me, but I’ve built up a little relationship with hellos and goodbyes, and a few comments here and there.
  4. I have instituted inter-group communication at work, at least about our documentation projects. There is a lot of distrust between groups, but I think my bi-weekly project updates, emailed to managers and directors of the affected groups, are helping. They get to trust that they will hear from my group, even if the project isn’t doing much. And they get to know of any issues or updates, in case they want to comment. I feel like that’s an accomplishment. Group soothing, let’s call it.
  5. Tactfully helped a blind group member down the complicated stairs for his smoke break. Didn’t grab his arm – asked how I could help, and guided him down by talking as he requested. OK, anyone would do this – but I happened to do it, and it was fine, so I’ll write it out.

That’s all I can think of. It’s not much, but it’s something. I want to be kind and helpful. Maybe intent is good enough for now.

 

 

Well, I feel terrible. I want to lie down, but when I do, I don’t feel much better.

I’m not sure what the feeling bad consists of really. A kind of blankness. Lack of motivation to do anything.

I feel bad about work but can’t do anything about this situation now, on the weekend.

Maybe the feelings are coming from parts. I know that B hates conflict and seeks kindness and connection above all else. So she will be feeling freaked out by my actions at work.

I feel kind of choking feelings, feelings of being attacked maybe. Kind of just out of my line of sight, this is happening.

Trying to let any feelings happen and move through, but probably I’m not successful with this. If they’re locked in parts, then I’d need parts out to figure out what’s going on.

I think of writing to Ron but not sure what I’d say.

These feel like incomplete feelings that I can’t quite feel, can’t quite name. Anger, but at a large distance. Feelings of being attacked. Feelings of being small and helpless. A kind of crushing fatigues that rest doesn’t touch. Feeling cut off from the world.

Frustrated that yet another Saturday is going to waste on being stuck.

Work got difficult. I spent a fair amount of time discussing this in my session, but because I didn’t really take in any of Ron’s comments, except one or two, I’ll just write about it as I’m thinking it through now.

I feel I messed up. The way I always do – it’s not my work, it’s my interpersonal skills. I started to feel outraged and hard done by, and I expressed that, and it did not go over well. At the time, it seemed so justified to me. But now, two days later, I wish I had handled things better.

I’m actually waiting for the other shoe to drop – imagining the director calling me into a meeting to take me to task on this. I imagine how I explain it all….I don’t want to keep thinking about this, when it hasn’t yet happened and may not.

It’s hard to explain what happens in a way that makes sense. I know I got caught up in a trauma response – I seriously over-reacted, and then, because I felt totally justified, I didn’t apologize or try to make it better really.

I’m a writer, and my work gets reviewed as a part of my job. Often there are a lot of silly changes that make no difference, which I make. Then there are changes¬† that would make the document incorrect, which I protest. Then there are changes that just make the document worse from a usability/communications perspective, and those I first protest, explain the problem, but if a boss insists, I then make the change.

Anyway. I have a co-worker, C, on this project who isn’t a writer, but has other good skills. We’ve been having some conflict, because I don’t like his power plays. We’re equals, but he keeps trying to take over the project. In meetings, he ignores me. If I say something, he doesn’t respond to what I say. He won’t look at me at all – he only concentrates on whomever has the most status there. I would have liked to set up a more collegial relationship – we suffer the same problems with management and with the project. We have lots in common. Why can’t we be on the same side?

So I’m already irritated by this, though have said nothing much. How to address feeling ignored with someone you don’t really have a relationship with anyway?

Then also on the project is the business lead, E. I like E, and he does listen to what I say and does not ignore me. I really respond to being accepted and listened to – I don’t take that for granted at all. And, we are very often in agreement as to how the documents should go. Which is surprising, for a math person to understand about documents.

A very large part of E’s personality is that he avoids all conflict and disagreement. Everything must be happy and pleasant. Anything else is ignored. If there’s a lot of conflict, he judges the person and tries to go around them. So, not someone who will work through disagreements, or even understand if anyone gets angry.

The project has been more or less stalled because of mixed messages and lack of higher management input. We are using my part of it as a test, because I was finished first, and wanted to take it in to the head of the division to see if this is what he is looking for. We’d use this as a model for all our other projects, taking any feedback as direction for our other projects also.

E was supposed to have this meeting. There have been other little meetings in the past with the head (I don’t attend), with confusing outcomes. And yet, the head is very concerned apparently that we are meeting his goals.

So, this meeting never happened, and there are no plans to re-schedule.

So I was surprised about this, and kind of fed up. It’s been months, and no input from management, and we’re stuck. So I was mad. And E is just not good at managing projects, so who knows what he communciates….part of this is likely his fault, but definitely not all. I can see it’s a tricky situation to navigate.

So we get into a meeting with E, C and myself. E says the meeting never happened.¬† He doesn’t acknowledge that this is a problem. So his inspiration is to have C ‘channel’ our actual boss, K, and do a new critique of my document, and he also will do another critique of my document, trying to anticipate how K will think and what he will want.

I thought this was a completely ridiculous plan and I did say so.

E had already done a review as part of our process. This meant we’d have to go back into the review cycle, get our sign-offs again. How could C mind read what K would think? No matter how perfect the document, someone reviewing will always be able to want things different. It’s almost like the drive to edit and change is stronger than common sense, for most. It makes little difference how many changes someone else has made.

And I felt so fed up. Here we are, going in circles, and E’s solution is to keep picking away at my document, when we have no actual feedback as to what they want done differently. As if we can mind read the problem away. God that seems so ridiculous to me. It still does, even now I’ve cooled off.

Of course, E and C think I’m being defensive. I don’t want anyone making changes to my precious words. But that’s not really it. I don’t think them nit-picking away at the only document any of us have managed to finish is going to help. It’s like denying the real problem, while torturing me.

Anyway. Why could I not have been diplomatic? Because that’s not my nature. But also, I’m pretty sure, because something got triggered for me. I still think I have a valid point of view, it’s just that I expressed it so poorly.

I was relentlessly criticized as a child, and never supported. No one cared how I felt, and I didn’t really even know someone could care how I felt, or that I was being mistreated. Likely those feelings, of being criticized and sometimes raged at by my father, came rushing to the fore and I defended myself.

We did have some ‘critique’ meetings of my document. Actually, some of the discussion was interesting. I’m not sure the changes I’m being asked to make will actually help anything. C’s suggestions are pretty much terrible – he doesn’t understand documents, plus he entirely misunderstood the goal of the process I’m documenting, so he tried to change it to more clearly explain what he thought the process does. Since it doesn’t do what he thought, most of this stuff he wants to change is wrong anyway.

I know E will likely not address any concerns with me directly, as he must avoid conflict (according to his inner dictates). I’m worried he’s gone to our boss, K, to complain about my attitude, and that K will dress me down. I wanted to quit this job on the spot, last week when this situation first happened. I just felt it was unbearable to be there. Which is a bit odd – I’ve been interested in the job up to the previous day, and suddenly, I need to quit? Instead, I went for hour long coffee breaks and did little work.

My outburst happened Thursday. Friday I still felt completely justified, though I was complying with what E had asked, and I was much less angry. But as the day wore on, I became afraid that my boss would be pulled into this and I’d be told off.

Now today, Saturday, I’m picturing myself apologizing to E and C about over-reacting. That’s what I think I need to do, though I didn’t feel the need last week. Not because I’m afraid of the boss, but because I did over-react. However ridiculous things get, I need to roll with it, or at least express disagreement calmly.

Sigh. One thing – because I have this quality of acting in a way I don’t like sometimes, I do understand when others do the same. Yes, I react to them at the time. But after that, I understand that people get angry, they sometimes do things they later regret, and I don’t hold it against them necessarily.

 

 

 

 

Well, a difficult weekend. Yesterday was spent mostly in bed, with me being too down to even watch TV.

This morning I again contemplate going to services, and I would have gone, but I’m so slowed down I wasn’t ready in time to go.

What is the sorrow? Not sure. Work seems overwhelmingly awful. But it is mostly the same situation as before, when it didn’t seem so awful.

I went off to my session Thursday night, after writing my post about work. I started in telling Ron basically what I’d written about. Ron felt something like I sometimes exaggerate conflict, and brought up the situation where I’d felt he and I were fighting, or not getting along, while he hadn’t felt that. I didn’t say much at the time, but actually I think the situation is pretty different. I always really cared what Ron thought, while I don’t care so much what my co-worker thinks.

I brought up how depressed I’d been feeling, and Ron said something about how I seem to have a fair amount of anger and disagreement, but that I’m turning that all against myself. Oh yeah, I was feeling negative about everything he said to me, and he picked up on that. He invited me to voice my disagreement.

I agreed about the negative feelings. Just, I didn’t think they were justified. He was generally saying perfectly nice things that made sense intellectually. I told him I have attacked other people in the past, and it’s not been a good experience. Ron said our goal here would be to try to understand what the angry / dismissive feelings are about, so it would be different.

I agree that in general, when I’m too nice and stifle my real opinions too much, I do get more depressed.

All this time, I’ve been feeling profoundly exhausted. I think about just slipping sideways and putting my head down on the couch, and closing my eyes. I tell Ron I just can’t talk, I’m too too tired.

Ron says it’s OK if I don’t talk.

I get out my crayons and paper and start doodling. No one says anything for about ten minutes. I feel as if I’m pushed against a glass wall, and the effort of saying or doing anything is too much. I feel vaguely sad and frustrated by this situation.

What’s happening? Ron asks.

I tell him I feel sad, and a bit scared. Why? Well, I’ve depended on therapy for a long time, but if I can’t talk….what’s the point?

I feel like I’m wasting my money sitting here not talking.

One time not talking, among so many other sessions…I think that’s OK, Ron says.

So I keep sitting there, not talking. I think about leaving early, but feel too tired to make that effort. I feel so sad and alone, but just completely unable to fight this inability to talk.

I forget how it happened, but for some reason, parts are now allowed to come forward. B tells Ron her perspective on work. She talks about some social things that happened, which she liked, but also that mostly she doesn’t like work. She starts crying. Then V, a teenage part, also comes forward. She sees all of work as black, lonely and scary. When I’m V, things do seem overwhelmingly dark and hopeless.

Interestingly, once these parts are allowed to talk, there’s no shortage of things to say. Suddenly they remember all kinds of things I didn’t remember. I did remember, but it didn’t occur to me that they were of any importance.

So this is positive. However, parts talking leads to overwhelming emotions. I start crying, which I suppose is their pain. As this goes on, emotions just flood up. The session is over, but I can’t stop crying. Ron tries to talk about scheduling, but I can’t regain control, and just cry hopelessly every time I try to respond.

I tell him I’ll email re scheduling and head out the door. I can’t get it together enough to say goodbye, so I just leave.

Once I’m walking away from the building, parts start receding, and I get my rational self back. It kind of feels like I’ve been in a car wreck, but it’s over now, and I’m walking away.

A kind of dissociative wall slams down. I feel the wall, and it feels uncomfortable, but at least I can drive home and get to work the next day.

So, that’s all I know really. It’s really rough getting through the workday Friday. Saturday I cannot function. And here I am, Sunday, trying to get it together once again.

I feel so angry today after work. It’s like this ball of pain surrounded by a shell of anger. Not sure why it came up for me today with such huge force. It feels so physical, like something I can’t digest, which is with me no matter what else I think about.

At the moment, I intensely dislike the man I am working with. I talked about this last post. I’d been having severe anxiety, but that anxiety went down as I got in touch with how I was feeling. I was feeling quite a bit of resentment for being condescended to by this individual, and hadn’t really been conscious of that – instead, I got super anxious.

So today, I had a meeting with a client on a communications project. I had a first draft, and needed to go through some questions. At the last minute, I invited C, my co-worker. This is because we’re both supposed to be producing the same type of document, and we’re not on the same page at all. I thought if he saw how I was approaching it, he could maybe give input on how we do the documents, or at least see how I was doing it.

Earlier in the week, he’d sent me a draft of his project, and seemed to be expecting me to edit and format it all for him. No way. I offered to show him how to set up the document so formatting is easy, and he just looked at me blankly. He seems to be expecting me to act as his admin, fixing up his project after he’s done the ‘hard thinking’. No way am I doing that.

He has worked in this particular area for many many years, so he knows the way the business works. There’s a lot of knowledge of how money works that you can acquire, and I understand he has that. In fact, I sometimes ask him to explain various concepts, which he happily does.

However, this job involves producing usable documents. Something he has never done, and has little interest in.

So we get into this meeting, and he proceeds to show off how much he knows. Kind of. He asks about obscure technical details of the process I’m trying to document. When I ask a question (to the client), he understands much faster than I do, or thinks he does, and so cuts me off with of course, I understand perfectly.

But I’m writing this project, so I have to understand so I can write it clearly. We’re not there for him to show off, or to make friends with the clients by being one of them.

I honestly thought he’d be interested in the document, in how best to write it. So wrong. He was basically a nuisance in this meeting. I don’t have endless client time to go over documents, so he’s taking up time for no reason but his own ego.

But still, so what. Not sure why I am so enraged by this. That feeling of being looked down on for not knowing….just bugs me so much. But why should I feel so much pain over this, that it’s still with me hours later? People are people – they’ll act in ridiculous ways.

Then…I’ve also had more dealings with my actual boss, K, while my client E is away. I’ve been liking K. Not that I’ve had a lot to do with him, but we had a few short meetings, and he seemed to like me.

This has now gone somewhat wrong as well. I wanted his input on a flowchart I’d done – on whether the approach was right. He didn’t get back to me on it all day. I’m worried he thinks it’s a mess, that’s why he didn’t talk to me about it. It is kind of a mess – but I can explain why. Anyway, that’s why I wanted his input. He had requested a specific kind of flowchart, and I wanted to know if this was kind of like what he wanted.

That’s all. Nothing happened, literally. I’m imagining he disliked the chart, that it’s the worst he’s ever seen. Then what? Nothing. I hadn’t meant to leave it with him – I’d wanted a quick chat about it when I went to his desk, but then he had to get a call, so he didn’t have time, so I left it.

Big deal. I suppose it meant so much to me that he seemed to like me, rather more than my knowledgeable co-worker. I feel like the bad flow chart will erase that liking entirely. I know he can be harsh and critical at times, though he hasn’t been to me yet.

So, there is my pain. It seems very silly when I write it out. Maybe that’s why I did.