I’m in turmoil after therapy today. It was such an odd session. On Tuesday I dissociated, and J doesn’t want that to happen again. So she asked me to sit somewhere different. That made me uncomfortable. I hate sitting in the ‘therapising’ chair, so we compromised with me taking a seat beside her.
Then I was closer than usual, so she checked I feel safe with her. She asked if I was afraid of her. I’m not. I’m afraid of everything that lurks within me and threatens to surface when I am with her. That’s different.
Then she asked whether my going to therapy is useful. She asked me how I would be without her. It felt like she was pushing me away. It felt like she wanted me to quit. I hated that. I need her. I know as an adult who is married and goes to work and functions in a seemingly normal life I don’t need her, but I’m not always that person. The facade is thin and only protects me for a small percentage of the time. There’s someone fragile underneath, someone small who needs all the help she can get.
We talked about a lot of stuff that felt unimportant to me. We avoided any potentially difficult or triggering topics. J reiterated that we shouldn’t talk about anything that could kick off my anxiety. She said the stress in my system needs to settle. The dissociation, flashbacks and nightmares I’ve experienced recently need to have time to fade in me. Once that happens, apparently we can tackle the tough stuff again.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Those feelings won’t just leave of their own accord. And they are debilitating. I don’t get decent sleep. I feel scared and disgusted and angry as soon as my mind isn’t occupied with something else. How does that pass on its own? How long will it take? It is exhausting. It sucks the joy out of my life.
I’ve got this horrible feeling in my gut now and I feel unsafe. I can’t swallow being patient. I can’t just sit tight and hope for things to improve. I’ve got to change something. I can’t just wait and carry on living like this.
Photo credit: zeitfaenger.at, Creative Commons
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Reading that you sat next to her made me uncomfortable. I hate people being too close to me, especially ones I’m not intimately involved with. Conversation while sitting next to someone is the worst. Across is ok, not next to. I have a large personal space bubble.
My therapist once talked to me about “the end” of therapy and I freaked out so much that he’s never mentioned it again.
I’ve learned a lot about feelings from him. First of all, thoughts are harmless. Imagine you’re standing at the side of the road and cars are passing by. The cars symbolize your thoughts. So your therapist recommended you be patient. 5 or 6 cars fly by (fill in the blanks with what you thought). We are meant to let these cars continue driving, acknowledging the feelings but not running out into traffic trying to stop the cars. Does that make sense? Where we torture ourselves is trying to stop these cars and “deconstruct” the thoughts. We’re just making ourselves crazy. We judge ourselves for thinking these things and judge how we feel. We torment ourselves with what we “should” be doing or thinking or feeling. Then we mull it over for weeks, months, years even. All the while, all of the other cars are piling up around us causing traffic jams and accidents. This is how we end up in this place where we are freaking out.
Something else important he’s taught me is to be kind to myself, which I suspect your therapist was trying to do. You’re in a tough place right now, why make it worse with more hard work? Give yourself a break, you didn’t get here in a day and don’t need to fix everything in a day. Try to treat yourself with the kindness, compassion and empathy that you would extend to someone else if they were in your shoes. Talk to yourself in third person if you have to, as we automatically are kinder while doing this.
Last but not least, and this is something that my cousin tells me all the time- everyone has struggles. There isn’t some cosmic plan just to screw with you. We all have shit.
I highly recommend practicing mindfulness to stay present. There are tons of articles online about how to do it.
A ghost writer on my blog shared this “open letter to myself” and I think it is very applicable here. If you have time, I would recommend giving it a look. https://riseofthephoenixblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/an-open-letter-to-myself/
Take care of yourself, and never forget that we care about you and you are an inspiration to us all. We share your pain and you are never alone.
hugs to you is all I can say.