Try. Fail. Repeat. The cycle of psychotherapy

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I heard somewhere that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different outcomes. I think the key part for me in therapy is to remember not to expect outcomes.

I haven’t talked much about my therapy since sharing my post about how conflicted I get over feeling love and hate for the therapeutic relationship. I think this is a timely update, because I’ve taken what I see as three huge steps in the last few weeks.

The first was writing to myself.

Sounds bonkers I know. I do quite a lot of ‘no send’ type writing to all the people in my life who I can’t express myself to. It’s really useful in getting some clarity over how I feel. But writing to myself was horrible. I wrote a letter to myself at the age I was sexually abused. It brought up so much emotion, I was shaking and could barely catch my breath as I wrote. So I never thought I would be brave enough to share it with J. But I was. It was extremely sad and provoked a lot of anxiety in my body, a lot of shame. It was also liberating to speak about how alone I felt, to really be heard but someone I knew could handle it.

So next I wrote about the abuse, first person, real time.
I was amazed how the words came streaming out. I filled pages and pages in my journal without even pausing to think. There was so much that had been internalised, rattling around my head, haunting my thoughts and dreams for almost twenty years. It all came naturally. Horrifying but easy. I felt OK about it until I read it back to myself and almost vomited. Again, I managed to read some of this to J.

I was terrified, ultimately of her being repulsed and rejecting me. I have this ongoing conflict between how much I feel I need her and to be connected with her, while feeling pathetic for having those thoughts and wanting to push back. The thought of her not wanting to see me any more was really frightening, I felt like I was taking a massive risk. But she was as warm as always and I felt like her reassurance was very genuine.

The third big step was a consequence of feeling some momentum from the last two.
I took advice on whether I might be able to prosecute my brother, the man who abused me. I wasn’t nervous about the meeting and left feeling empowered. Unfortunately, as my post from a few days ago explains, the bubble was soon burst by my family’s intervention.

I’m now left feeling like nothing is progress. Everything I try and do to take steps forward results in me being knocked back down. I am impatient. I am overwhelmed. I’m desperate to wake up one morning and not feel like I’m going to drown in facing the day ahead. I wish I could find something in the future to hold onto. Maybe then these slow hours of today would be just a little bit easier to bear.

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