Note of final session before Easter Break

Hi everyone

It’s Monday afternoon here in England, about 1.30pm as I start to type this up. I haven’t got much to write about but I feel aware that I haven’t written much lately which is quite unusual for me – team that with the fact I am officially “on a therapy break” now, that is very surprising.

My memory is pretty hazy on my last session Thursday before the break began. I went in feeling fine – I had no physical symptoms and nothing I particularly wanted to discuss. I told my T this and smiled and felt pretty good but she seemed to think perhaps I had gone into “self-sufficient mode”.  That is something she says I do at every break.  I said maybe, it is possible but I generally felt okay.

Then, much to my surprise, something weird happened….. T was saying something about how she understands that I will miss coming, and miss her and that she will still be holding me in mind (blah blah blah) and that she cares for me or she will be thinking of me or something like that – I can’t quite remember what it was she said, but what I do remember is that I felt very embarrassed as I usually do if she speaks about her feelings for me.  I remember I looked away and kinda acted like it was all fine and then she said “that touched on something didn’t it!” and I quickly said “no it didn’t” and then tears rolled down my face!! WTF.  I genuinely don’t understand why or how that happened. It shocked me.  She seemed to be almost pleased with herself, not that she had made me cry of course, but almost like that reaction proved her right in her feeling or something.

I said that I felt okay but that I wouldn’t really know how I was going to feel until some time had passed and that the weekends were generally okay because I was busy with the kids and didn’t have much time to think about therapy stuff.

She said that sentence again “it’s okay to be okay you know?” – I don’t get what she means by that. I think that it almost annoys me because I take it mean that I don’t HAVE to fall apart when she is gone – which I clearly know so that’s annoying. I don’t exactly enjoy being a loser. A nearly 29 year old that acts like a 6-year-old when she is gone. I do know it is “okay to be okay”…. Raaaa.

(I think I am in a bad mood today so this possibly is a bad reflection of the session).

Later in the session we were discussing something totally unrelated to therapy – baby massage and she told me that her friend came round once and did baby massage on her dog. We were laughing about it and she said how much the dog loved it.  She told me the dog’s name and I felt like I had been let in on a secret element of her life….. it’s only her dog’s name, hardly something to write home about but I liked it. I have remembered it and I like that I know.  I have wondered since whether she let me have this little snippet of information to  hold with me during the holiday… or whether it was completely unintentional and not something she gave a second thought too. Who knows.

I said that last time we came back from a break we had discussed transitional objects and things like that but that I realised the day before this session that we hadn’t discussed it and that I felt it was too late. I also admitted that someone on here suggested I emailed her that day (Wednesday) but that I fought against this internally and didn’t. She said something about how I am still very afraid to show her any that I have needs.  She said this all stemmed from my mother’s hatred of anything “clingy” or “needy” and she said she thinks I think she will be “punitive” (her word) if I was to show her I had needs.

On reflection, she is probably/possibly right about this but then I feel like saying well if you know I have needs, if last time I came back from a break I told you how hard it was.. I told you I would like a transitional object or something to help me through.. why haven’t you just offered it to me without me having to be here on the last session again….

I feel like a child saying that. I know it isn’t up to her to offer these things to me but I need to ask for them. I just can’t ask.

She said that if the break is hard I could email and I said I knew that. She said I wouldn’t email though would I? and I said probably not and laughed.  She asked why? I said I didn’t know…. She said that she thinks I am worried about hitting some invisible boundary and being punished and I agreed. I said sometimes I worry because say I wanted to email her and she had only been gone 3 days for example, then I would worry because what if I then needed to email on day 7 and day 10 and day 16?? It would be too much.  She said I become self-sufficient because I always did.

I said I wouldn’t know what to say if I emailed her. She said “even if you just say “I am feeling like total shit” that’s fine!” I laughed. I like it when she swears, it seems to make her less formal and less like a teacher or something.  She said she thinks that she “wears off” when she is away because I can’t keep going back to “check in” and so I lose the connection and this could make me turn her bad (I haven’t done that yet).  I said she is right that I start off okay but gradually I forget the good feeling and the nice stuff and it does wear  off.

I asked her how am I supposed to feel when she is away? What is the right thing to be saying/feeling because if I say I am fine she thinks I am going defensive and self-sufficient but if I am falling apart crying then I am being too childish *she doesn’t say this, this is my take*.  She laughed and said well….. you would just swing between the two less.  It would have less effect on you.

Anyway, I did end up borrowing a book. It’s called “ Every Day A Little Closer” by Irvin Yalom (who also wrote Love’s Executioner) – it’s a book by a therapist and his patient and they both write a note of each session it is very interesting being able to compare their views/take on how the session progressed. I’ve already read quite a bit of it so it is unlikely to last me the whole therapy break but it’s something. If I am honest I would have preferred a note but I feel hugely embarrassed to ask her for that and I don’t know what I want the note to say…. I just imagine I would like it.

I can’t remember much more from that session but I left feeling okay and I have felt okay since. Like genuinely okay. I actually am quite relieved to have a break at present, but who knows if that feeling will last.

I had a weird dream Saturday night which I’ve noted down for T (if it still feels at all relevant by the time she comes back (unlikely).. we shall see how it goes.

I hope you are all doing okay in the break so far.

TT x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Session Tuesday 4th April

Hi everyone,

Firstly thank you to everyone who commented on my post yesterday about feeling unwell, it seems I am far from the only one who has experienced somatic symptoms on therapy day and I have absolutely no doubt at all that it is linked. Far too much of a coincidence for my liking! I have woken up feeling much better today which is a relief.

When I got home last night (shortly after posting about how I was feeling on the train), I found myself in floods of tears and desperate for a cuddle from my boyfriend. I didn’t know what I was crying at which is something I still struggle to accept – I get quite aggravated at myself for not understanding what is making me cry. I really needed to be cuddled by him, he had just taken his top off to get changed and I literally had my head pressed on his chest and just cried all over him (I know, lovely!). I do feel for him because obviously he asked why and when I said I didn’t know, he didn’t know what to do or say to me lol!

I asked him if he could drive me to my session because I really didn’t want to go and I really didn’t want to drive (I have noticed that when I feel like this, I lose concentration when driving or I make stupid mistakes and scare myself) but he couldn’t because he had to log back onto work. So I had no choice. I really, really didn’t want to go.

But I did go, and I did drive and I arrived – with no nails having bitten them all off.

T asked me how I was and I said quite honestly, “Err, I’ve been better”. I had a bit of a miserable sulk face on and breathed out quite heavily.  I went on to explain my physical symptoms and she asked me what I thought they were about. I said I didn’t know and that I hadn’t had any thoughts accompanying the feelings so I was a bit confused.  T said she thought it was about the break and I said I had thought this was possible too.

I told T that I had also bitten off all of my nails and that I had realised I had also done this last week. T asked if I always bit my nails and I said that I used too, but not anymore.  T said that I have suffered with my stomach a lot haven’t I and I said that I used to think I had IBS for years.  T said “used to?” and I told her that for nearly a year now, I’ve barely noticed any stomach troubles and that it had nearly gone unless I had a lot of dairy – which was easy enough to avoid.

T said “so you are re-experiencing physical symptoms that you used to have?” – that made sense. I agreed. She said she didn’t think that was a coincidence and said something was going on and it was all in my tummy. She asked if I was scared and I said I wasn’t sure. She asked if I was angry and I said I wasn’t sure.

I told T that I had burst into tears when I got home and she said she thought it was interesting that I had cried at home rather than in the room. I said that I had felt like I needed to cry all day long so I wasn’t surprised it came out when I got home – she said maybe the “upset” coming out in tears at home would help with the “belly upset”.

T mentioned the break and said that obviously the break was next week (for two weeks) and that it was probably having an effect on me. She said that last time in the break I found it very hard at first, but was then able to settle into it a little. I didn’t say much at this point…. I noticed that for the first time probably ever, there were a lot of silences from me.  Usually I talk A LOT. I just didn’t have anything to say and that is very unusual for me.

My mother came up and I said that I hadn’t thought much about my last therapy session and that over the weekend I had totally turned therapy stuff off (again this is unusual for me). T said that it struck her in our last session how much I was realising about my mum and how painful it was.  Silence from me for a bit….. I then said that it had really hit me last session that everything we spoke about and every suggestion T made about my wedding, that my first thought was about what my mother would think. I said that I couldn’t really believe how much I did this and that it really made me realise how much I do it. I said it was stupid.  T said it wasn’t stupid, it was completely natural because I have been trained to please her and I’ve become very loyal to her because of it.  I felt irritated and annoyed. Deep breath out… more silences.

I told T at some point during the session that I just can’t believe she is that bad yet I know she is. I said it is annoying me because I feel so stupid – I have all the evidence there – right there in front of me and yet, I still have these thoughts and hopes that it isn’t really true. I said I just can’t understand that conflict!  T said again how it is normal. She said that sometimes we need our defences because things are truly so painful.  She kept telling me not to call myself stupid and I said even though I understood why I might do things or feel things, it was annoying me.  T asked where the anger was and I said I do get angry! I do, it really pisses me off that I do this, that I fall into her trap – it pisses me off that I can be so gullible and feel so much guilt and it annoys me that I still can’t accept the truth!!!!! She said again not to turn the anger to myself. (easier said than done).

The tears were flowing by this stage and I think they pretty much stayed there for the rest of the session on and off. I still find this hard to believe because up until fairly recently, there were no tears EVER and now they are there nearly all session nearly every session.  I worry she will start to find me too depressing even though I know that is not something a trained therapist probably thinks about her patients.  I also know that I am not there to entertain her but hey, I can’t help the thoughts that come – true or not true.

T told me to limit how much I see my mother during the two weeks she is off and I said I would and that I had no plans to see her. She said that when she is away, she isn’t there to regulate and contain me and my feelings about her so not seeing her would help with that. I agreed.

We spoke a bit about how when I see her and when I am in touch with my anger, I find myself rather aggressive – I question the things she says that don’t match up and I point out inconsistencies etc. I am guarded and ready to fire – I said that this wasn’t fun for me and that if I’m not like that, I am too soft and seem to get sucked in to her attempts and don’t realise what she is doing. T said that it might help to imagine that I am wearing a sort of cloak. It is soft enough to let the good stuff in but is hard enough to let all the nasty stuff just bounce off.  She has used this concept before but it hasn’t really worked for me before. I told T that some weeks a certain family friend will be all wonderful and the next time I see her, she is slating that person and that I find myself pointing that out to her.  T said not to waste my time or my breath – I said I know, I just can’t help myself.

I said that I had thought a bit about our conversation about the row between my mum and my boyfriend and that it made me feel sick to think that her reasons for allegedly “protecting me” were so different to what I had hoped/thought they were. I said it made me feel sick – she pointed out it wasn’t a surprise I had physically felt sick all day. I said to T, obviously it is all sick but it really is so sick isn’t it? She is so sick.  T didn’t say much but I just kinda looked into nowhere and sat with that.

I said that I know people say this sort of thing often but I just cannot comprehend/believe that she could be so … just like this. It is hard to truly accept properly. I said yet someone had commented recently on my blog to say that perhaps my mother wasn’t narcissistic and I was very quick to point out that she really is. I said I know she is but I just can’t believe it.  T said she really did understand.

T said it takes time and I said I thought I had understood all of this for the last 2 years, why now am I back to denial? T said I might have accepted it on an intellectual level but the feelings about it all are much harder. She said it takes time and that I would get there slowly. She said to settle in and that 2 years really wasn’t long. I let out a sulky moan type noise and felt kind of defeated inside.  I wanted to tell her that I don’t want more years of feeling like this but I didn’t say that.

We spoke some more about the guilt that I feel (this is not a new conversation) and I said that sometimes I guess I fear she will know what I am thinking and saying about her and that ….. I paused here and said I know this is totally ridiculous but I guess that I worry she will die and I was wrong (about her being shit and narcissistic etc) and that I would never forgive myself. T said basically I worry that I could CAUSE her death? I said yes, and that I know that isn’t possible.  T understood this fear and said that it doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not, fears are fears and feelings are what they are – they don’t have to make sense.  She seemed to understand this and said again, it is just more evidence of how much I have been taught to look after her and put her needs first and that obviously going against that so much would bring on these fears.  She said I was taught growing up to keep her good and happy otherwise death was possible.  Even writing that sounds stupid but I hope some of my readers might understand this somehow.

Conversation changed towards the end of the session and I spoke about 2 examples of arguments I have had in the past with my mother. I told her the details of the stories which I won’t go into here but one of them resulted in her not speaking to me (or her husband) for 3 weeks and that was whilst I lived at home. I said it was horrible and she seemed quite shocked.  The other story, she told me if I left a party she held that she would never, ever throw a party again – I told T that I DID leave and she didn’t ever throw a party again until a year ago.  T said “she made you very powerful in that didn’t she?” I said yes.  I spoke more about how these two events happened surrounded by her friends and by our family and that this is why everyone thinks so badly of me. She cries and becomes a victim and everyone only ever seems to see me when I have had enough and I get angry and respond either with words or by refusing to do what she wants and that this is why they think I am bad.

T said I know it is hard, but it doesn’t matter what these people think. They are her flying monkeys – people that associate with her that are either scared of her, just like her themselves or just only see little bits, not enough to get the full picture I said I knew all of this and that I know it shouldn’t matter what they think of me but it still does – it still infuriates me.  I told T that I had a dream the other night of someone hiding a knife in my purse or bag and that everyone thought I was dangerous but it really wasn’t me – she said that dream was pretty symbolic of being made to look like the baddy. I agreed.

I can’t remember much more of the session but I left feeling okay and I feel fine today too which is nice. But… it is on my mind that tomorrow afternoon is my last session for 19 days including weekends and that obviously isn’t a nice thought….. we haven’t discussed ways to help me through the break with transitional objects or voice recordings etc and I am worried it is now too late. I am debating sending an email today asking for something but I feel so stupid doing this (despite the fact I would encourage anyone else to do this!!!!).

 

 

 

Last week before break (Number 2) 

So this is my last week at T’s before her two-week break. Needless to say I’m not looking forward to it.

I’ve woken up feeling sick this morning. It’s all in my tummy and all I really wanted to do was stay home from work and sleep but I can’t, so here I am on the train.

I’ve said it before but it’s probably not a coincidence that I feel like this on a Tuesday – it’s like my body clock taps me into stuff now in readiness to take to T. It’s a shame it can’t wait until 7.30pm rather than make me feel like this all day!

So two sessions. I’m pretty sure I will be all non-eventful and adult and perhaps eventually cry. I am dreading her asking me “how are you feeling about the break?” Because there doesn’t seem to ever be a right answer.

If I say I am dreading it or if I cry then I feel embarrassed and childish – she will tell me she’s coming back which the adult part of me already knows, and then I feel like an idiot….

Or I say I haven’t got many feelings about it yet or that it’s fine and she doesn’t believe me.

So what do you do with that? Last time she took a break, only 6 or 7 weeks ago I cried in our last session and the first few days she was gone was awful. I think I’m scared of feeling that way again. I told T this a while ago but she said just because it happened once doesn’t mean it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy……. does that mean I shouldn’t feel that again?

I think I’m angry somewhere. I think the churning stomach is angry. I could very easily cry and very easily have an almighty strop… I can feel it.

I don’t like this shitty therapy stuff today. I’ve had enough of it all. It’s nothing but pain and tears and anger and frustration and embarrassment and patheticness.

I hate it.

Another thing I hate is that she says she will “hold me in mind” and that she will think of me, that I’m not forgotten. But I am. I know I am. She makes me feel stupid for not believing her but I just don’t. I bet she is trying to be kind and she is saying all the right things, but I’m not a kid, like I honestly believe she is going to be on a beach somewhere  or wherever she’s going thinking about her 29 year old patient …. I don’t think so.

She won’t MISS me. The break will be a welcomed rest to her … I feel pacified. There there *pats head*. It would be like me having two weeks off work and telling a colleague I’ll miss them … (I won’t! But I might say it to be nice).

I don’t want to go tonight now. I want to hide. I can’t even pretend I’m sick because she already knows that I would be hiding or angry… she won’t believe me anyway.  She asked me the other week what I did when I was angry with my boyfriend and I said I would probably spend time away from him – out of the house so she said that when I’m angry with her I’ll probably not want to come – damn it! Why did I tell her that?

What a crock of absolute shit.

Being angry isn’t really something I do very well in therapy and I’ve never felt very angry with T. My rational mind is telling me I am not angry with her and my childish mind is saying I am.

Back To Therapy (Session 1 after the break)

Hey guys.

So I went back to therapy last night! It was.. what was it? It was lots of things.

This is a (lengthy) post about how it went. I’m not sure it will be of much interest or use to anyone else but I want to post it because it helps me to process the session and it is good for me to be able to look back on it.

I was very nervous about going back last night. The anxiety had really set in as I pulled up outside her house. I didn’t know what to say to her, what she would ask me or how I would feel. I kept trying to decide what things I would tell her and in what order – trying to plan the structure of the session I guess. I had printed off my blogs during the break and thought I would take them in with me.

First of all, I decided to make myself tell her the two things I wrote about at the very beginning of the break.

Challenge 1: Tell her that I have a blog and that I hadn’t felt I could tell her before the break.

I told her that I had something to tell her and that I should have told her before the break, but that I hadn’t. She questioned whether I had wanted to tell her but hadn’t got to it and I said no, I hadn’t wanted to tell her at the time, but had since written about it and had decided that I should tell her.  She reacted well. She didn’t seem shocked or hurt and she reassured me that she would never go looking for my blog if I was worried about her invading my privacy.  I said it wasn’t that.

I told her that during the break I figured it was because whenever I started anything new or exciting, my mum would always ruin it and so I think I was trying to “keep it safe”.  I also told her about my little Freudian slip, but it seems that she hadn’t noticed anyway.  I also told her that when she asked if I write things in my “journal”, that I don’t tell her – I had lied when I said no.  She understood and said it is scary.  She also said that it must have been hard having to “hold” that all of that time.

Challenge 2: Tell her that she had upset me with her joke about the Easter Break.

This is the thing I was dreading the most.

I decided to force myself to tell her that her joke about not telling me her Easter holiday dates had upset me. She said it nicely and as a joke – I think to cheer me up! but it had played on my mind and upset me a bit.

She apologised (quite a few times actually) and she also said that she didn’t think she had meant it as a joke – that she genuinely was concerned that her Easter holiday would be coming up quickly and as this February holiday wasn’t one she normally took off, they would be very close together. Either way, it lead to a helpful discussion that we would, in her words, “need to be creative about the Easter break” and that we would need to “think about it carefully”.

I’m not entirely sure what she meant by this, but I perceived it to mean that we would need to discuss things to help during the break. Maybe contact or maybe a transitional object or something.  I don’t know.

It led to a discussion about transitional objects though, which I had secretly been thinking about for a while but never had the guts to ask for.  She said she thinks perhaps we should think about that and I agreed (I shocked myself!) and I asked her what she thought would help?  She said that she would be “guided” by me. I would rather I was guided by her, but I got the point.

transitional-object

She told me that when she was in therapy herself, her T used to “charge up” a scarf for her and then let her have it.  I love it when she tells me things from her own therapy.  I like to know things about her and I only get very small snippets now and again. She also explained to me that the reason she was telling me that was to normalise it for me a bit – I told her I found it very useful and it definitely helped to normalise the feelings.

So the two scary challenges were over. Breatheeeee.

I then told her I had printed all of my blogs and I read them all to her. Some parts of them were pretty cringe… some parts I didn’t like reading out at all, but the hardest bit was reading out Emotional Flashback? – Jesus that was tough.

I sobbed my way through it. I shocked myself how easily I got back in touch with those feelings. I cried a lot, my shoulders and back started to hurt which often happens when I am stressed. I was hot, my chest became very tight, I couldn’t breathe.. it really was very tough. It is hard to articulate.

She was great though and she sat with me through it all. I noticed that I couldn’t look at her because I felt very embarrassed.  She said things to calm and reassure me like how she was there with me, that she was there now – we were together now, that kind of thing.  It was probably the most vulnerable I’ve felt with her to date. The good thing is, nothing I said seemed to shock her. Nothing seemed to annoy her or upset her – she just seemed…. compassionate I suppose? She told me that my words had “moved” her.

At one point in the session, she told me that although there was a lot of replay being done and transference etc, that the feelings were still real. She told me that she does care for me (I can’t remember the words she used). I felt embarrassed by her words and couldn’t look at her. She has never told me she has any feelings for me before and despite hoping she did, hearing her say the words was lovely but oh so awkward! I felt a lump in my throat which luckily I managed to swallow down.

embarassed

After that was out of the way, I read Object Constancy which was pretty cringe-worthy as it did mention that when she’s gone, it feels like she is dead………. LOL!! But she didn’t seem particularly surprised, or hurt, so that was a relief.

The other blogs were a lot easier to read. We spoke them through and at the end she told me how I really had worked very hard. I really liked that she acknowledged this because I had worked hard.

The hour flew by, I hate how quickly a therapy hour goes, but I think I crammed everything in I needed – I would have hated to have finished having only got some of it out. I’m not sure how that would have felt.

time-too-fast
When I left, I wasn’t really sure how I felt. I drove home and felt tired – I think I felt emotionally drained, which I often do after crying like that.

I had an interesting dream last night which is very clearly about her and the divide between her “therapy room” and her home.  I think this was because we had discussed whether it is better for me to know where she is/what she is doing when on a break or not.

I said I wasn’t sure because in one way it was easier knowing she was at home and not miles away: yet at the same time it was harder because she was close, but not available to me. [For context, she had time off to get some work done to her house and in the dream I went into her house and she asked me if I liked her new decorations. I said I did, but I was lying because I hadn’t turned the light on and so I couldn’t see!].

If you’ve made it this far, then thanks and well done!

TT x

 

 

 

The Reunion – Back to Therapy Tomorrow

I started drafting this about 2 hours ago.  It was feeling very confused, but since typing it all out, I seem to have made some sense of it.  This is what I love about writing and about blogging. It helps me to un-jumble all the chaotic thoughts and organise them a little better.

It’s Monday 27th February today and I have called in sick at work. I woke up early this morning with such a pounding headache.  That and the familiar sense of sadness.  I hate that feeling. It is so obvious even when you’ve only been awake for seconds and you know the likelihood is, it isn’t going anywhere for at least the rest of the day.  Not a nice start to the day, or the week!

The thing is though, tomorrow happens to be “Return To Therapy” day and so I don’t think it is a huge coincidence that I feel like this.  I often have a lot of physical responses to therapy stuff (read: feelings).

Tomorrow will be the first session back after 12 days.  Today is day 11 (obviously) and yes, I have been counting! On the whole, I’ve done okay. Last Sunday and Monday were pretty awful, but since then I seem to have been in “adult functioning” mode and have been able to get on with life and not feel that sense of doom and panic that I had.

An hour or so ago, I re-read the post from last Monday and I cried. It felt as though it got me back in touch with those feelings again. I wonder if I am a bit regressed today. I think Little Twink is around.

All I have wanted for the last 11 days is to be back in there with her, so you would think today I would be excited and happy wouldn’t you? But no. I feel weird. I feel anxious, nervous even, and physically my head is banging so hard it’s like a door knocker!

What am I nervous about?

  • Am I scared she will have changed?
  • Am I scared it will all be a big anti-climax?
  • Am I scared she will extend her break at the last minute?
  • Am I scared of overwhelming her with all the stored up needs from the last 12 days?
  • Am I scared of admitting how needy I’ve felt and telling her the real feelings I’ve had?

I think given how easily that list was to write, the answer is probably yes to all of them.

It has made me question whether this is how I felt as a child when my mum was due back from one of her latest holidays. Did I feel nervous then? I can’t remember.  One thing I do remember is that she would be really “nice” for a little while and then everything would go back to normal and that seemed to hurt more than if she had stayed the same.  I guess it was that bit of hope that things were different at last … and then that sense of utter devastation that nothing was different at all  would hit. And it hurt like hell.

good-or-bad-mum

I don’t think that bit applies to therapy though, because I don’t want anything to change and she doesn’t need to be “nicer” than normal, because she isn’t like that.  Maybe old habits die hard?

This cocktail of feelings is unnerving. The mixture of anticipation, excitement, panic, dread – it is horrible.

I have read on the net today that lots of people feel angry towards their T on the return to therapy. Anger for having left them alone or anger as a defense to their painful feelings of abandonment. I don’t feel angry.  T has often told me that it is okay to feel angry feelings about her and that it is natural but consciously at least, I have none. Maybe unconsciously I do? Who know’s?

I have known for the last 11 days that today would bring these feelings of anxiety and nervousness, so it’s nothing I didn’t predict already. I’ve felt this way before.

I have tried to intellectualize my way out of this today and it has helped a little – I know that isn’t a good thing really, but it helps me to feel the feelings with less shame. It at least stops me from denying them completely.

For anyone who hasn’t watched The Strange Situation,who struggles with these feelings, give it a watch now, it is incredible. It models attachment styles in babies beautifully. It reminds me that a lot of these feelings are all due to my particular attachment style which is either anxious or disorganised. T says I flip between the two.

With that in mind, I can appreciate that it is transference making me feel this way today.

Because of my attachment style I experience a really high amount of distress when I am not with my caregiver (therapist).  I can’t soothe myself well and I therefore stay hyper-vigilant whilst she is gone.  When she returns, I remain just as fired-up because I don’t know what I am going to get. The good mother or the bad mother.  I guess that does link in with my memory from childhood actually doesn’t it? How long will the niceness last? How long until I have to feel the same again? I guess that is why I have often gone back to therapy after a break with “no feelings” and nothing to discuss, because if you want to keep your caregiver good after they’ve been away, you keep any “bad” feelings away don’t you? You stay good.

That isn’t going to work tomorrow because I have a whole host of feelings ready to take to her.  I guess THAT is what is making me anxious.

 

Object Constancy – Are you still alive?

The definition of object constancy, according to one of my favourite sites for C-PTSD is “An inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision

As I understand it, a lack of object constancy is a result of insecure attachments to caregivers when we are young. It means that those who suffer from a lack of object constancy are kinda stuck at that development stage, having never successfully managed to pass through it.  At that age (about 2 or 3), when your caregivers leave, you are naturally frightened, sad and worried that they will be gone forever, but with any luck, you have a decent caregiver who models to you time and time again, that they will return and so you manage to learn that you don’t need to worry – that said caregiver is still “there” somewhere and will return.  You learn to self-sooth and use your internalized image until they return to comfort you again. You gain “object constancy”.

Unfortunately when you don’t have a decent caregiver like moi, you don’t learn that and so when someone isn’t around, you still feel those infantile feelings of abandonment, panic, fear and/or anger and you begin to question whether that relationship even exists anymore. This is what causes the panic, the clinginess, the jealousy and can drive our partners crazy.  It is what makes us feel “needy” when we compare ourselves to others who don’t suffer from a lack of object constancy. Having a lack of object constancy makes us insecure – literally.  For example, if my boyfriend is out and doesn’t contact me all day – I won’t automatically think that he is just busy and will contact me later.  No, obviously he doesn’t love me anymore, is planning to leave me or worse – is dead!! Dramatic isn’t it?

Learning about this has really helped me because now when I get these feelings and thoughts, the adult part of me can (try to) calm myself down. Easier said than done I must say, just see Emotional Flashback? for proof that I can’t think my way out of the feelings, but it does help to understand that I’m not “crazy”. God how hard I used to try to be “casual” and “calm” in relationships – I tried so hard to be the laid back girlfriend that boys wanted but eventually my true colours would come glaring out – usually after a few vinos and that was not a pretty sight believe me!!   The worst thing about this is that when I eventually unleashed the crazy, it was the beginning of the end in my relationships and so my worst fears would then be realised – da daaaaaa!! It’s a wonder I’m in therapy isn’t it?laid-back-gf

Anyway, I’ve been thinking today about all this object constancy stuff in relation to this therapy break… I think this explains a lot for me. It explains why I felt so awful on Monday. She was gone physically so to me, having a lack of object constancy, she was gone forever. That brought all my feelings of panic, abandonment, terror and grief flooding back.  I’ve since calmed down because I can reasonably talk myself down to a degree, knowing that she will be back, just like she has every single time before.  The logical stuff can work to a degree, but poor Little Twink, she couldn’t rationalise that way could she?  She didn’t have a good role model like T showing her this stuff and she didn’t have a “good enough mother” either.

I guess that the fact I can’t “hold someone in mind” positively for very long is probably why I assume nobody can hold me in mind either?  That would make sense.  Clearly I am painting everyone with the same brush!! I did think this morning that Monday was particularly awful but since then I’ve been okay. I don’t know if I’ve just gone into “self-sufficient mode” because I’ve repressed any feelings since or whether I’ve genuinely been able to calm myself down enough with this logical thinking (or if that is even how it works?).  I also thought that although I’m okay, I am looking forward to next Tuesday and that I would absolutely hate it if I no longer had therapy with her anymore.  I also admit (cringing) that it does feel like she is no longer alive when she isn’t here… and that I will be anxious when I wake up on Tuesday – what I am nervous of I have absolutely no idea!!

This is another one of those things that I knew already – but know a bit more today.

T is re-parenting me by constantly showing me that she will return – like, I guess, most people will in this world. …..Just not my mother.

teddy-bear

 

Shh!! My Inner Child Is Taking A Nap..

I just wanted to write to thank everyone who liked and commented on my post yesterday “Emotional Flashback?” I was in a really horrible and desperate place yesterday and the comments and likes really helped – the likes because I felt less “alone” and less “crazy” – the comments because it is lovely that people take time out of their busy lives to add some support/validation or give suggestions when others are suffering. It is so easy to “read and run” so I thank you all, sincerely.

Today, it feels as though the child part of me – I will call her “Little Twink” has settled back down.  Perhaps she is taking a nap after exhausting herself being so hypervigilent and alert yesterday.

Yesterday (and Sunday) I was really feeling these child-like feelings of abandonment and pain. Sadness, grief, worry, embarrassment – all of it. The post I wrote yesterday was as raw as they come. I very nearly didn’t post it because it is embarrassing to me to have feelings that strong, that needy and that dramatic, but, the point of this blog is to share my therapy journey and so it wouldn’t be right to not include these darker moments with you all.  Being able to accept these feelings as being “allowed” is still very much a work in progress for me.  I hope that by sharing some of this darker more desperate stuff, people are able to see that they are not alone if they experience similar things and on a totally selfish note, it helps to validate my pain when people tell me they understand it too. Win-Win right?!

Looking back to yesterday, everything felt so terrible. Everything was going wrong – it all felt so hopeless and just, well, shit! Today, I feel so much better. I am smiling again, I am laughing again and I feel in my “adult” brain again.  I have been trying to understand what took me out of that place and I don’t really know.  Perhaps I just felt everything enough to let it pass?

When I regress like yesterday and Little Twink takes over, it’s nearly impossible to imagine feeling better.  When the adult me is back in control, it’s hard to imagine having felt that bad!  It’s a weird concept.  I knew the second I opened my eyes this morning that today was going to be a better day. The first thought I had when opening them was that I had been able to sleep, all night, unlike Sunday night – that seemed to make things better immediately. I managed to get out of bed easier and the day just seemed “lighter” somehow.  When I was on the bus to the station this morning, I read a few posts on here that made me smile – they genuinely lifted my spirits and when I caught myself physically smiling (like a loon on her own!) on the bus, I knew adult me was back!

I hope that Little Twink has settled down because she feels heard and reassured and not because I’ve shamed her to pipe down. It’s hard to tell isn’t it? I am aware as I read this blog entry back to myself before posting that that my need to refer to those feelings in me as another person/part of me – Little Twink – and by using words like she and her I am objectifying to make it easier to tolerate. Baby steps.

sleeping

I read about emotional flashbacks ages ago. Pete Walker’s work talks to me as though it was written for me alone.

When I read sentences like this “Flashbacks strand clients in the feelings of danger, helplessness and hopelessness of their original abandonment, when there was no safe parental figure to go to for comfort and support” I can rationalise that I can tell my T the feelings I had yesterday without feeling hideously embarrassed because she knows this stuff isn’t really about her – it’s transference.  Yet, there is still a huge part of me that finds the whole thing so scary. I am learning that for me to really, truly need or depend on her (anyone?) it scares the living daylights out of me – I think this is actually what triggered all of this in the first place.  To acknowledge and admit that her being away for one week could cause such awful angst and sadness is one hell of an insight for me – but I am glad that I am starting to be able to let the feelings in because for the last 2 years, I’ve been adamant that I’ve had no feelings whatsoever about the breaks…. Clearly my unhelpful defence mechanisms are starting to thaw – and that is progress.

Anyway, thank again everyone. I am sure there will be much more where that came from!

On a completely different, happier and more random note – I wanted to thank Just Ruminating Rob for his Bitmoji suggestion – here’s mine! (I’m now addicted and sending them to all my friends ha).

bitemoji

Twink x

Emotional Flashback?

Have I been triggered by T being away?

I can’t make any sense of what is going on in my head but I don’t like it. It is horrible. It makes me want to scream and cry and punch things and cry some more. My mind is absolutely consumed with therapy things and the fact that T is off this week – yet I wouldn’t even have a session until tomorrow anyway, so how does that work? I keep reading and writing hoping to suddenly “get” something to make this all hurt less… but all it does is make it worse. I’m trying to intellectualise it away.

I hate the break, it is really painful this time, really, really horrible. I never understood when she used to say it might bring up painful feelings – I didn’t foresee it feeling like this. I read earlier that missing your T can feel like missing a friend when they go away, but it is nothing like that at all. If my best friend went on holiday, it wouldn’t make any real difference to me for a week – or even two.  We might have contact via text, but that’s all. T said if I needed to, I could send her a text message to ask her “are you there” but as I’ve said previously in a blog, how is that meant to help me when “there” is just somewhere that I’m not??

I keep thinking that maybe this is how I felt as a child when my mum went away. Maybe these feelings are emotional flashbacks, but I can’t remember. 

I don’t know if it’s worse knowing she is at home and not physically far away or whether it would be harder knowing she was miles away on a beach abroad somewhere. I can’t work out why I wouldn’t be feeling like this if she weren’t on a break because I wouldn’t be seeing her yet anyway!! so why is it making such a huge difference to how I feel?

I feel like the child part of me is in charge at the moment. I didn’t want to go to work today, I really felt very down the second I opened my eyes. I forced myself to go, obviously, but it was hard. I feel very miserable and I can’t even explain why. I am even questioning whether it is about her being away or whether I’ve just made that up.

I want to hide away yet my thoughts are so loud that I don’t want to be alone because then they would be even louder. I know I sound desperate.

It’s made me realise this was how I felt at Christmas those days when I felt so miserable and cried easily – it is exactly the same. Those feelings kicked in very quickly after my last session to, and before I would normally see her again.

I don’t like this feeling of being left to fend for myself, without therapy. It makes me want to cry. I can’t handle things on my own. I need to check in with her twice a week – it makes my weeks okay. I need the connection and I need to see her and talk to her. I need the understanding, the smiles and the odd “in joke”.  It feels like I’m suddenly obsessed with it all – I feel ashamed for feeling this way. I am a grown woman and not that child anymore, but it doesn’t feel like that at the moment.

I’m already thinking about the Easter break and that makes me want to scream. After Easter it’s summer break – her’s and mine – constant breaks all the time, why?????????????????????  All that therapy breaks do is BREAK ME.

I could never imagine a year or two ago having these feelings because of the breaks. I used to laugh at the thought that you could feel so strongly because your therapist had some time off, I admit I thought it was a bit pathetic really. Now I am in panic because what if this is only the start? What if there are more horrible feelings and thoughts like this? I just want to make some sense of them so they don’t feel so powerful and so confusing.

I don’t like feeling this needy and this vulnerable and weak and young. How the hell did I cope with these feelings when I was actually young? How didn’t I die?

It feels like life and death – clinging on, surviving. So bloody dramatic.

Why won’t I just send her a message? I am adamant that I won’t – my reason being that it won’t help or it will make me miss her more. It’s like I’m punishing myself somehow or just trying to take some control back over feeling so, well, out of control.

 

Packing up my feelings 

Last night I had a dream that my boyfriend and I were packing up our house to move when I couldn’t ignore the sense that he was also moving away from me, emotionally speaking. 

I confronted him and suggested that we moved out separately because it felt that was what he wanted. He said he wasn’t sure – but he didn’t say no and so I took that as my answer. I began running around the house collecting my things ready to take away with me – in a hurry.
Later in the dream, i was in my car, he was driving behind me and the car in front of me crashed at some traffic lights. I remember thinking how upset I would be if it were my car that was smashed like that. 

That thing happened again – I have a dream about therapy – I understand or make sense or something and then I wake up and I’ve forgotten! This has happened the last few nights and is infuriating because I know it’s bringing me some clarity. 

It was something to do with the article I read last night about not being able to grieve a childhood that you didn’t have, because you can’t appreciate the loss of something that you’ve never had. 

It was about how you start to get glimpses in therapy of how that original attachment should have been (via the relationship with the therapist) and how you play that out – take it in, let it emotionally “feed” you and/or pull away from it because the thought of trusting it’s safe is so scary.  The fear of abandonment. 

I had a thought that the reason I went into my last session before the break feeling like I had no feelings or emotions to discuss, nothing to use to connect with her was because I had put it all away – because of the break. But I think also because T didn’t react how I hoped she would on Tuesday when she made her harmless (badly-timed) joke…. I think it scared the child and vulnerable part of me back away, I packed up my feelings and left. 

I think the dream of packing up the house and moving out alone may symbolise this – vulnerability and dependence.

Perhaps witnessing the car crash and thinking how upset I would be if it were my car “smashed in” is a symbol of the fear of conflict… not wanting to tell her it had upset me. 

It’s played on my mind that when she mentioned blogging on Tuesday I didn’t tell her I had started my own blog – I’ve been questioning myself why? I think it’s because when I attempted new things or got excited about things like this as a child, my mum would mock it and ruin it. I guess I wanted to keep it “safe” from being ruined. I know this is transference because she wouldn’t do that – she is always encouraging.

I also note I had a bit of a Freudian slip by saying “when I wrote on my blog...” then corrected myself quickly “journal”… ahhhh! 

She also asked whether I write things that I wouldn’t “bring to her” I said no…  

Real answer: Yes! 

Why exactly do I pay for therapy yet go and not tell the whole, scary truth? Is it fear? Fear of being mocked, fear of upsetting her: our relationship….

Good girls don’t say things like that, do they? Ive learnt that if I am not good, nice and have no feelings, I’ll be abandoned. 
I guess I’ll have to tell her this then. 

The therapy break hasn’t even started.. yet it has started for me

It was my last session before the therapy break yesterday and I had forgotten! I’m not entirely sure how that is possible given I’ve spent over a month in countdown for it and spent Tuesday night’s session crying at the thought of it – defenses? Maybe.

The session yesterday was very light-hearted. Very different from Tuesday’s session where I cried a fair bit.  I wanted to find something to connect with her on in one way, yet in another, it is easier to leave for the break on more of a light-hearted chat… I guess it depends what mood I am in on the day.

I slept heavily last night and I know that I dreamt about her – I remember waking (I think) and “understanding” something about her – I can’t articulate this very well because the memory is now hazy – more or less gone.  It was like I accepted or understood something from the child’s point of view – my inner child that is.. like I was a small child and I understood why the break was so painful for her – but now it’s gone away again and I can’t get it back.

I read some articles this morning in bed about the therapy break and I had tears falling down my face again… one thing that I hate about it is that it hasn’t even begun yet – I wouldn’t normally see her again until next Tuesday, yet the countdown to the break being over has already started … that makes me feel both sad and needy.

I was reading a wonderful book which I finished today, the ending of which was very tear-jerking and I cried again. I’ve been wanting to write here, but I don’t know what it is I have to say. How do I feel and what am I thinking and feeling? I don’t know. What would happen in an ideal world – I still don’t know.

I’ve worked in absolute silence today. No TV, no radio. Absolutely no background noise and that is unheard of for me – does that mean my brain is noisy enough with unconscious thoughts that I just can’t grasp?

I look around the house and notice I need to clean,  the house needs hovering and dusting – bathroom needs bleaching yet I just don’t want to do it.  I am usually extremely OCD about this so that is also weird. Have I regressed or have I put my barriers back up to defend myself for this break and I’m having a strop? Am I angry? I don’t seem to have the answers. I guess that’s okay, isn’t it?

My T says that I like everything to be neat and tidy – to have its place – to be understood…. she says that I don’t like my “messy feelings” and we’ve been working on trying to get me to stay with them – to tolerate them but not let them overcome me.

So this is a work in progress but this is me saying – I don’t know how I feel today but I won’t lie, the break that I am already “in” in my head, sucks arse.