The difference it makes seeing T

So, as you might have noticed, I wasn’t in the best of moods yesterday. I was very down and very miserable, that lasted all day long. I took myself off to see T as usual and was feeling a bit anxious about going in.  As it turned 7.30pm exactly I got out of the car and knocked on her door. It felt as though it took her longer than normal to open the door, I had a very quick panic that perhaps she wasn’t there – I had the wrong day – she was on holiday… totally irrational for what could have only been about 3 seconds.

T opened the door with her usual smile and “Hello Twink” – she never ever seems any different. I thought to myself then and again today, how hard that must be. How she can keep the same eye contact and smile, the same tone of voice day after day, week after week… that must be hard. I sure as hell do not keep the same voice, smile etc at work every day that’s for sure!

I walked in.. sat down and T asked “how does it feel coming tonight?” I said.. “usual” and kinda looked at her awkwardly and said “I feel nervous/awkward”. T seemed disappointed/sad that I felt this way. We started to discuss this but within literally seconds of me trying to explain how I felt, the lump in my throat appeared and I began crying.  I am still shocked at how quickly the tears seem to come sometimes. I had barely been in the room a minute! I got a bit embarrassed and T said not to feel embarrassed, that it was good I could bring it to her and said it must have been really tough “holding it all weekend”.  I said to her I hadn’t done very well “holding” it at all because I had cried a lot over the weekend.  She said exactly, you’ve held it on your own – without me. You needed to bring it here. I agreed.

I got upset telling T how I felt which is basically what I said yesterday. I get hit by this tidal wave of feeling/emotion – depression or grief or whatever it might be… I then feel as though I absolutely NEED to email T, like it isn’t a want but a real need and then I send an email to her and at some point afterwards, I am hit by the shame of being so needy and then the fear and panic that I will be punished or pushed away or told off by T.  I was very upset telling her this.

T said (for probably the millionth time) that she would not be punitive, that she would not punish me. I said I knew that logically but that what worried me was that she thought that I didn’t know what was “too much” and then would feel she had to (reasonably) tell me and that I didn’t think I would handle the rejection well – the boundary.  T said she did not think that at all.

I told T I worried she would say I could only email say, once and no more – that she needed to tell me what was okay and what was too much. That she would say X is okay, but Y is not. T said she absolutely wasn’t going to do that, she wasn’t going to put a limit on me like that. That felt so reassuring although I still think she might regret saying that lol…

She said it was like I had created rules in my head what was okay and what wasn’t – she said I really didn’t know were the boundaries were did I… I agreed. I said that last week I had seen her twice as usual but I had then emailed her TWICE before the dream thing and that the dream thing felt stupid because at the end of the day, it was only a dream!!!

T said that it wasn’t “only a dream” and said that the dream had clearly stirred up some very deep and painful feelings in me. I agreed. We then spoke through the dreams and T asked me what I thought they were about. I said I thought it was obvious and she said she wanted to hear my words/my view of them.  I said that the shower one I felt was about the fact that when I was young and my mother was (rarely if ever) single, she would be much nicer to me but that then as soon as she got a new bloke, I was dumped again and in the way.  I said that I guess the fear was that if there was a man around T, that I would lose her in the same way (despite how unrealistic that really is).  T agreed.  She said she felt both dreams were of a very similar nature but the second was much worse.

We spoke about the relevance of my stomach being split open – of my guts all falling out. T said how scary that must have been and that she felt the fact I was in so much pain and the guy on the phone wasn’t taking me seriously, wasn’t helping me was very symbolic of the pain I was in during my childhood and how nobody “saw” it and nobody helped me or took me seriously. I agreed completely.

We spoke about her “daughters” and her “son” the photos etc. T said, “you say you felt insanely jealous” that is a very painful feeling. I said yes. I said that the way she looked at her son with such fondness upset me so deeply because I knew nobody looked at me in that way and that hurt my chest.

T said how it all comes back to not feeling “held in mind” and that when other people are around I think I disappear. Me and T have been having this conversation for some years now so this isn’t new.  I agreed.  She said that I think when others are around, partners, kids (referring to the dreams), that rather than the love being replenished, it is taken away.  I agreed. We said how this is due to the fact that is how it was for me as a child, I really was forgotten when my mother’s latest love interest came along – or her new best friends who were often only a year or two older than me.  I hate her for that.

I told T that I was really struggling at the moment and that I felt so up and down. One day I was happy and the next I was furious or depressed. I said it was tough and it made me worry about how my boyfriend felt. I said it made me feel as though I was less stable than I used to be which can’t be true… T said it may well be true but only for now.  She said you have years and years of held in feelings and now they finally have a way out it is hard work.  She said to try and hold on to the fact that in the end, I will be so much more stable on a permanent basis.  I agreed.

I told T that I don’t understand this absolute dire need to reach out to her when I feel like that – I told her again that it really didn’t feel like I just might like to, it was like I absolutely HAD to – like I couldn’t cope on my own. T said that was okay, that is what I needed right now and that was fine.  I told her I worried she might feel like I treated her like a dumping ground for my bad stuff.  T said she did not feel like that at all. She said that it won’t always be like this, that you have to be flexible depending on what the client needs and what the client is going through.  She said that she does have her own boundaries and will only read/reply to emails when she can and that is HER boundary.  She said she won’t “bleed all over the client” because of her own stuff.  I said I worried that she saw my name ping in her inbox again and again and would roll her eyes and think “god, her again!”.  T said that right now, during those moments, I was regressed to a child state and I did NEED T and that was okay.  T said I was really scared of being vulnerable and I agreed yes I was. Very.

I wonder to myself today whether T or anyone really can truly understand the depth of that feeling – I don’t think they can because it is so hard to explain. I told T that it was weird I was suddenly so aware of this because it’s got harder/worse than it ever has been before, I didn’t even used to know I felt scared (even if she did). T said I was “right in the depths of the work now”.  She told me to just say to my boyfriend to hang on in there with me for now because it was a hard time.  I did say that to him when I got home and he said he knew already. I said “why, because I’ve been a miserable cow?” and he said “no, not miserable but…. up and down”.  I agreed.  He said he felt I was picking fights with him when I needed to cry. I disagreed with that but said perhaps I was being easily triggered by things.

I also told T that I had noticed the last week or so that when I returned home from anywhere, being home was making me miserable. T said “when you are alone?” and I said, whenever – alone or with others. I told her that Friday night I actually excused myself off to bed early because I felt so miserable and low that I just didn’t have the energy to be around everyone and try and act happier than I felt.  I told T my grandmother had shown me photos of me as a child that day and that I wondered if that had brought on a lot of feelings.  Seeing “little me” in front of me like that.. kinda makes it hard to deny what she (I) went through. I also told T that when I was younger, coming home from my nan’s was always horrible and I would be in tears very quickly.  I said perhaps that is part of the reason I felt the same when I came home Friday from my nan’s. T said it almost definitely would be.

T asked me how I thought I would feel when I left and I said I thought I would feel relieved because she hadn’t told me off for emailing or asked me to stop. I told her that I knew it sounded very extreme but I truly felt if she told me I couldn’t email her anymore, that I wouldn’t want to continue therapy, that is how scary it felt. I also told T that I felt very fat, ugly, spotty and just generally wrank. I said I hadn’t even done my hair for work today and I always did my hair.

I left feeling much lighter (as always) and I woke up today feeling happy. I spent some time when I got home last night preparing a healthy salad and fruit salad for work today, I got up and did my hair and I walked to the station instead of driving or getting the bus.  I also went out for a walk at lunch time to get my steps up.

Isn’t amazing what a difference seeing your T can make on not only your mood, but your clothes, your hair, your exercise.. everything. Is that just me? I was thinking this earlier and it triggered off a weird thought – every time I see my Dad (not often), I have brought a new outfit to wear………… that says a lot doesn’t it? Yet I will go to T’s in an old baggy top with my hair tied on the top of my head with black eyes from crying….. I really must be starting to feel more comfortable showing T who I “really am”. Clearly more so than my own parents. That is amazing isn’t’ it?

 

Agh! I Text T! 

Hi guys,

I can’t believe I am saying this, but… I text my T. I sent her a text message whilst she is on a break. This has never been done before.

Some background: I have today off of work and was laying in bed re-reading some of my old blogs, particularly the ones just before the break and ended up crying. Not crying crying, just some tears rolling down my face.  I was pretty surprised as I am finding the break fine but hey, clearly something had mad me cry.

I had read my note on my last session and I think I felt the strength of our bond, our connection to one another or something, I’m not too sure.  Anyway, I decided to try something I have never done before and text her.

Firstly I have never text, I always always email.. secondly I have NEVER in nearly 3 years sent her a message of any kind when she has been away – that feels like a no-go area.  Here is what I said:

Hello [T,] I hope you are enjoying your break so far.  I just found myself re-reading my notes from our last session(s) and note that I am feeling like I miss you a little bit and feeling very grateful that I have you in my life.  

I feel a bit emotional – not particularly sad or depressed, just a little emotional.  Hard to explain but it feels it will pass quickly and not ruin the day. 

I have been reading your book and playing my Alanis album which seems to keep a connection alive for me which I like. 

Anyway, no questions… I just thought I would be brave and try something new and send this to you during a break even though it feels “forbidden” somehow!

Take care and see you soon.”

 

I then distracted myself by having a shower and getting ready.. I then read for a bit.. I then went to the shop and got some food shopping done… I then came home and eat lunch.. watched an episode of a series, put some washing on… and here we are nearly 4 hours later and I haven’t had a reply agggghhhhhh.

The adult and rational part of me can reason that she may well be on holiday and not just off work, she could be at an event or any manor of things… but the child and more emotive part of me is scared now that she isn’t going to reply or that I’ve overstepped the mark somehow.

I said I missed her. Aghhh gaaakkkkkk.

To be continued.

Session after “The Emails” Part 2

This is Part 2 (see Part 1 here)

I told her that I think it is best for me that we agree she will never contact me first because I think if she did sometimes and not others, I would struggle with that and it might cause me more pain.  She agreed to this very quickly and said she thought perhaps that was most sensible but we could review this and nothing was set in concrete. I surprised myself that I potentially could have stopped this from happening one day, but I guess I was doing the right thing for myself in the long-term… or, as T said, perhaps it being “my decision” meant I took back some control which made it less painful.  Maybe.

We discussed what I said about her responding clinically and my fear that if she did she would cement in the feeling of being “just a client”.  She said “Yes, and all the negative connotations that come with that of course”. I nodded. We spoke a little more about therapists responding via email and the problems it can cause. She said sometimes she/T’s are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” and that sometimes they just have to take a “leap of faith and hope for the best”. 

She told me that sometimes she might misunderstand something and sometimes she might not respond in the way I want her to.  She told me this might absolutely enrage me and that if that happens, we will just have to work through it together.  She then told me a story about her own therapy where her therapist had responded in an email telling her it was “okay to let it go” and that she was absolutely furious at this because she interpreted it to mean “let it go” whereas her therapist had actually meant – let the tears out.  She said she laughed about it now but that it did actually cause a huge rupture. She said sometimes if there is anger being expressed via email, it is actually best to wait until the session rather than dealing with it via email because she said just her kind response could actually “dilute” a lot.  She said if it is close to a session, she might respond to say something along the lines of “bring it with you tomorrow” and that this might annoy me.  I said I think I would struggle but this conversation would help that a little.  She said that when you are right in the anger, this conversation won’t actually help at all!

I read out loud the paragraph about boundaries – I was particularly dreading reading that bit to her. (I still cringe a little at swearing in front of her, although I am getting better because she has started to swear too so makes me feel like it’s more allowed). I read the bit about only being allowed my feelings during scheduled hours wasn’t fair and she agreed. She said it absolutely wasn’t fair and it was very hard – I started to cry a bit, she carried on validating me and before I knew it the flood gates were open and I was really crying again. I actually couldn’t breathe properly at one stage and had mascara dripping off of my nose! (I bet I looked very sexy!) She said some really kind things – like “I am so sorry you are having to go through this” and things like that.  They seem to have made me cry even harder but they were really nice to hear.

I read the line about feeling like I was that kid again, bashing the door in with my hairbrush. She was nodding quite enthusiastically and said “Well yes! You do because what else could you do? You were furious and being ignored”. I told her that I can still visualise being locked in that room like it was yesterday. I was locked in there such a long time and according to my mother, I bashed on the door for hours and hours but I said I highly doubted it was that long.  She looked sad and said that those angry feelings were completely justified.

We spoke a little about her upcoming Easter holiday (2 weeks! Aghhh) and I said I was dreading it and what if this sort of thing happened just before she went away? I said the thought of it made me panic. She said that the psyche has a very clever knack of “winding down” before breaks and that I should be okay. She said that we would get through it.  I don’t want her to go again.

She said something about session times being only an hour and said that a lot of therapists offer 50 minute sessions with ten minute breaks between clients. She said she had no idea how these therapists managed to do that. I said I was glad it was a full hour because an hour feels so quick, so 50 minutes would be even quicker! She said that the reason sessions are an hour are because the psyche gets to “wind up” then “wind down” again, hopefully enough that we can leave feeling relatively grounded and then a lot of the processing is done between sessions.  I understood this anyway and said to her that I did a lot of my processing the following day.  I said that the evening of my sessions I am normally just tired and needing sleep, but the following day I tend to write it all out and that is when it starts to make proper sense to me.  She asked whether I was able to remember a lot of our conversations and I said yes, usually but joked that perhaps if she were to read my account of our sessions, perhaps she would disagree!

I mentioned to her that someone I followed on here (enter Sirena) was allowed to record her sessions and that I have wondered whether this would help me in that I could play our sessions back and wouldn’t forget anything… she said that this may bring its own problems but is something we could think about and talk about some more.  I liked that she didn’t just refuse which I thought she might.

That is about all I can remember for now…. I left feeling that warm feeling of attachment/connection which I love and wish lasted longer and will admit (despite its pathetic-ness) that I played a song very loudly on the way home called Home –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGvo62fX8V8 and thought of how it sometimes feels like “home” when we connect like that… I know, pass the sick bucket!!!

I got home and felt very tired and delicate.  I went to bed early and I’ve felt kind of sad today. I’m not really sure why considering the connection but perhaps it’s just a therapy hangover.

I then had a dream featuring my mum and her ex-boyfriend (who abused me) where my mum decided to take him back despite knowing what he had done to me.  She just stood there with a blank face and he smiled. UGH, not enough crap for one night clearly!

Session after “The Emails” Part 1

Hi everyone, this is a long post about what happened last night following my feelings last Thursday/Friday about T and the emails that followed that. I have split it into two parts so it is easier to read.  This is Part 1.

 

I was feeling really nervous about last night’s session and that feeling seemed to get worse the closer to the end of the day it got. I pulled up outside with only a couple of minutes to spare, normally I have 15-20 minutes but I think this was probably a good thing on this occasion. As I turned off the engine and prepared myself for what was to come, I exhaled very deeply as though I had been holding my breath and then my heart started thumping sooo fast! I could feel it without even putting my hand to my chest.  I then got jelly legs as I stepped out of the car!!

I knocked on the door and T opened the door with her usual smiley face and greeted me the same as every other time. Nothing had changed at all – thank god. I sat down and put my cardigan over my legs as I always do and hoped she didn’t comment about this tonight because I needed the comfort of it. She didn’t thankfully.

T asked how I was doing and I said “scared”. She didn’t seem surprised.  I told her about my nervousness and my heart beat in the car.  She asked me what it was specifically that I was feeling scared of. I said I was scared of it all. She asked if I was scared of the fact I had emailed her? I said no, more that we now have to talk about it all face to face and I find that hard.  I said I felt very vulnerable and I was scared of the feelings I might uncover and scared of how upset I might get in session.

T questioned whether I was scared of the imagined repercussions of reaching out to her. I said I didn’t think so, I knew she wouldn’t tell me off or anything. T said that the adult part of me might, but what about the child?

She said that she had noticed in my email I had tried to cover all grounds – i.e. I had said I know we can’t “do” therapy over email, that she had told me before that emails can be dangerous, that it put her in an impossible situation etc – she asked me what it would mean for me to let her worry about those things? …..

I thought about this for a moment and read that part of my email back to myself. I said I think that perhaps I said all of that so that she didn’t.  I said that this way it was like I was saying them before she did because it would hurt less.  She said something about boundaries and that she felt things that she has said before about boundaries have become stuck very rigidly in my head. I agreed. I said I would hate to overstep the boundaries. She asked me why, what would that mean to me and I said “well, I guess I worry about the… well, punishment is probably the wrong word but the….” She interrupted me and said “No, I think punishment IS exactly the right word”.  She said again that she thinks I am scared of being “punished”. I agreed, perhaps I was. She said she thought this would be because when I was little I would have been punished when upset or angry etc – this is true and something we have spoken about before.

We spoke about the actual event again. She said that she thought I had really got in touch with some painful stuff on Thursday just before I left and she could see how much pain I was in. I nodded and got a bit teary. I said that when I had got to the door, she had said something nice and that it had set me off. She said that sometimes people caring can be painful. I agreed. I said as soon as she said what she had said (something about keeping both of my feet firmly on the ground) I had to try so hard not to cry before I got to the car.

She then said that in future if I leave in that state I must not drive home straight away. She was quite strict about this. She said the last thing she wanted was for me to have a car crash. She said if I feel too vulnerable crying in the car outside then I could drive into another road or to a park close by, but that I needed to find a way to ground myself before driving. She suggested playing a game on my phone or writing it out.  I told her that I knew what she meant but that I had actually found the drive with the loud music and windows open quite helpful. I said I actually went a longer way home than I needed to in order to keep that feeling a little.

I told T that I felt rather disconnected emotionally from actually directing any anger or blame onto my mother and said I felt like I had taken a huge step backwards. She said that she completely disagreed and said I haven’t done that, but that I was transferring the feelings onto her which is exactly what I was meant to do.  She told me how I had to do a lot of the things I didn’t get to do as a child with her – because I can’t and couldn’t do them with my mother. I nodded.

She asked me if I would like to read out loud the email I had sent her. I jokingly said “oh yes, that would be lovely, I would love that!” because she knows how much I hate doing this. She makes me do this because it really gets me back in touch with the feelings – it works every time.  I knew it would last night because I was already able to access those feelings pretty easily.

I read the email out loud and we stopped at lots of bits of it for her to offer some comfort or explanation. She said that she really saw how I couldn’t possibly believe that she would have been thinking of me after I had left – that to me, she really couldn’t “care less” or “give a shit” and that I was just forgotten about in my head.  I said yes. That I knew that sounded horrible, but it is how I felt at the time.  She looked quite sad for me and said “I have been very pre-occupied with you since then and have thought about you a lot hoping you were okay”.  They were such lovely words to hear. I can’t ever look at her when she says things like this. It feels impossible, too good to be true maybe. But they have given me something lovely to hold on to today.  Actually writing that makes me feel a bit emotional again.

She told me that she understood my fantasy of her texting me to see if I were okay but that there are various reasons she doesn’t do this. One being that although I might be upset in session, I am an adult out in the world and she doesn’t want to disempower me. (At this stage I wanted to tell her that she could feel free to “disempower” me because I am never “powered” but I didn’t).  She said that sometimes she might get it wrong – she might text thinking I am dreadfully upset and in fact I am not.. all sorts of reasons.  She then said to me, “please don’t think I don’t have my own fantasies about contacting you, because I do”. That was lovely to hear. Although I do admit that I did automatically try to decide whether this was her just being nice (I know, I know…). I thought to myself I was surprised that she told me that, but that I loved that she had.  I liked that.

She said that she isn’t saying that she absolutely cannot and will not ever reach out to me first, but that it is important that I learn that just because I have to reach out first doesn’t mean that her response is any less real or valid.  I said I guessed so, but it didn’t quite feel the same. She told me she understood that. She said that I was hoping and wishing she could just know. That she would be completely attuned to me because that is what I’ve never had. She said my mother should have been completely attuned to me and been able to just know when I was in pain and soothe me – but that obviously she didn’t.  This made me teary again and I nodded.  I felt like saying “this isn’t fair!!!” but I didn’t.  She said she wasn’t trying to be cruel in saying that, she just wanted to demonstrate that she understood.

(Part 2 coming up)