I have been chugging along, therapy less and all. I missed Ron when I was massively triggered from a too long group hike, but otherwise, not greatly missing. Such a change from previous years, when I was constantly aware of his absence for the vacation weeks.

The T I emailed a week ago did get back to me. We’ve been going back and forth by email a bit, with long delays in between. She thinks she’ll have space later next month, but is not sure about an evening slot. I’m not sure whether I’d need evening or not anyway. The fact is, I feel massively guilty ‘going behind Ron’s back’ and speaking to another T. Even though I’m making no progress on the trauma part of this whatsoever. And I remain sceptical that I ever will with Ron, because he doesn’t have the knowledge.

Though it could be some kind of interpersonal issue I guess. But he’s not going to help me with that either.

And yet. He’s bee so faithful. And never condescending, which for some reason seems difficult for therapists. And I’ve learned a lot about my family. To the point where sometimes I feel negatively obsessed by then, full of anger and resentment. Unreasoning anger and rage. I want to work through this and leave them behind. Instead they seem to be an open seething wound in my soul.

I’ve been trying to complete chores and tasks that I let slide when employed. For instance, my towels started dissolving and leaving gobs of fluff all over me, especially noticeable on my face. I realized they were about thirty years old after all. Went off to a big box store yesterday to purchase more. Difficult for me. It sounds silly, but I’d never been to this damn plaza before, just seen it out of the corner of my eye. So that creates this barrier as something that is a difficult task – something I have to gird myself up for. Did that yesterday, purchased four towels. Even on sale this is not cheap. Boring and expensive, that bad combination.

I washed all my pillows and in the process destroyed one of them. I didn’t know you had to wash it cool, and washed it hottish. A mess of lumps. I slept on it anyway and today I woke up with a massive headache, so bad I felt sick to my stomach. So today nothing got done whatsoever….But the headache is quite a bit better, so that’s something. Just these are my last days off and it is a pity to waste them.

I’ve tried attending more meetups, other than the walking. I am giving myself credit for efforts at socializing. I don’t seem to meet anyone very compatible, but I am realizing I’m OK in social situations. I can cope and say appropriate things. I didn’t used to feel I could, so social situations would frighten me. But I’ve learned. However, it’s still an effort to go to one of these events. Today I could go, and I just can’t make myself.

Today I feel rather down. I’ve been trying to find a good book to read. I read about 100 pages, then give up. Suddenly, the book seems useless and I find i have zero interest in finding out what happens. I keep thinking, if I can just find the right book, I will be happy. Maybe it’s not the books.

I need to get back to this alternate T and maybe get on her waiting list. Maybe it’s a good sign that she’s booked up, maybe she’s especially good. She charges 45 more an hour than Ron. Ron’s prices are a little low though. He is very unmaterialistic. I suspect her rate is more average.

Saw bits of the partial eclipse on Monday. I called my ex, and he called my son, and we all went to a local science centre where they were handing out glasses. Of course by the time we got there the glasses were gone. Still. We borrowed from others, and stayed about an hour. Through the glasses, there was an orange sun with a growing bit of moon shadow in front. And the sunny day became briefly darker, though no where near dark with a partial eclipse. I liked being part of a major celestial event, marking the day by going somewhere new, being part of it for a while.

I was a bit bitchy with the ex. I seem to have a lot more resentment of those years together than he does. Of course, I was oppressed, he was doing the oppressing. He wasn’t happy either, but wasn’t left with a huge chunk of anger as I was. I just wasn’t especially nice. I contradicted, I criticized his choice in the restaurant (he has health issues, but that’s not really my business is it). I felt in general out of sorts after the outing, irritated with him and with myself.

In general I’m just bogged down a bit. I suppose depressed. Shying away from groups. My friend E is back from vacation, so we can do a few things together on weekends.

I’m trying to write stories. I feel that I do suck big time. Still. Maybe if I keep at it, I’ll improve? It’s hard. My family doesn’t really tell stories. In fact, they are outstanding for their silence on almost all topics. So why not blame my lack of story telling ability on them? Might as well. Nya ha ha.

 

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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.

Well. I suspect I’ve triggered myself by going to see an unsuitable movie. Sigh. I am feeling discouraged, like I’m swimming through fog. I can again so easily spend time in bed doing nothing.

I’ve been doing OK overall. Despite being concerned by the lack of work, now for four weeks. The job market is very slow in July. But I’ve been doing activities. Like going to movies.

Last night I went off with a movie meetup group to see Dunkirk in Imax. It was intense and I admired the movie. It’s about the heroic rescue by ordinary small English fishing boats of 300,000 WW1 soldiers trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. ┬áThe movie conveys the trapped soldiers’ point of view so well – bombed from above, the sea in front, the Germans behind. There wasn’t any gore either – just the imminent peril all the time. With Imax, you feel as if you are right in the movie – on the sea, or flying above in these tiny shoeboxes of airplanes.

And after, I chatted for a while with a woman about my age, and the conversation felt mutual and fine. I’m going to these types of activities in order to be with people after all. I felt good about the outing overall.

But today, I have not been able to get it together to function much at all.

I keep getting triggered without realizing it at the time it’s happening. And so many different things seem to do that.

 

 

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.