Expression in Therapy

When I walked into her office there was clay on the table.  My T knows I often don’t have the words to express myself.  And there are times when I don’t even know what I am feeling.  And it seems that non verbal ways of expression helps bridge that barrier for me.

But when I walk into the room and see whatever creative stuff she has laid out I get nervous.  I don’t consider myself very creative or artistic.  I can barely draw a stick man.  I start worrying about the “what ifs”.  What if I can’t do the exercise?  What if I can’t think of anything to create?  What if she notices how I suck at art? What if I just don’t get it?  Can I say performance anxiety?

She tells me it’s not about my talent or lack there of.

I also worry about what the art could bring up for me.  I try to keep my inner world very controlled.  I have seen in my family what out of control can do.  I get nervous about becoming uncontrolled because I don’t want to be like them.  The truth is that emotions, especially anger, scare me, well actually terrify me.  And like I said art bridges that barrier.

Last night we continued our work with anger.  She wanted me to use the clay to make symbols having to do with the emotion of anger.  I ended up making four symbols.

I made a stamp because this is what I do with anger, I keep stuffing it down.  Trying to stamp it out, barely acknowledging it. Anger? What anger?

I made a square box with spikes all over it. This is to keep people out and me in.  My anger is too scary for you to see.  And yet there are spikes to keep you out.  But I also don’t want to hurt you in my quest to keep you out.  So why are there spikes and not just walls.  Hmm…I will have to think about that one.

I also made a long rope with a noose at the end.  The anger I experienced at the hands of others caused the death of my emotions.  And I have continued to try to kill them(emotions) off.  I think that my anger is one of the reasons that thoughts of death plague me.  I have had these thoughts since I was about five years old.

The last symbol that I made was a round shape that was hollow inside.  With all the things that seem to fill me up, I mostly feel hollow inside.

I’m not sure why but I actually said that I would like to revisit these symbols at another time so we saved and put them in a safe place she has created for my scary stuff in her office.

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9 Responses to Expression in Therapy

  1. Wow, this sounds like really good stuff – you are working really hard. Those symbols are really powerful, I was particularly struck by the noose. I’m glad you were able to work with this.

    • lostinamaze says:

      This has been hard work for me. It makes me very nervous!

      The noose was also the most interesting for me. I think that there might be more meaning to come out of it when I am ready to revisit it.

  2. Just Be Real says:

    This one line of yours says it all…. “I try to keep my inner world very controlled.”

    Perfect and I can relate so well to it.

    Hugs to you in your progress. I like you t. ideas to help you along, as nervous you may be. I too do not like to engage in projects. My last session I had to show how my mother hit me, with a teddy bear, that my t. had. It was hard, but I did it.

    • lostinamaze says:

      You show a lot of courage in being able to do that. I would also find that extremely hard to do.

      My t has been very patient with me and I appreciate her efforts in finding ways to help me express myself.

  3. Harriet says:

    Anger work seems so difficult. You are working so hard, and in such creative ways. I admire both you and your therapist. Can I ask you something though – how do you just leave the office when you are done with your session and continue with your life? I have been having a lot of trouble with this, I just can’t shut everything off and it becomes overwhelming.

    • lostinamaze says:

      Thank you Harriet, it has been hard.

      That is a good question. With the help of my T we created a visualization of what would be a safe place for me. We do this at the end of a difficult session to help ground me. I also asked her if we could chit chat about everyday stuff for a bit after the session. For example I will talk about my dog, what I am doing for the weekend, etc. This helps me create separation from the session itself. It helps bring me ‘down’ as well.

      But for all that I still have to deal with the emotional aftermath but maybe it’s not as bad as it could be if I didn’t do the above stuff. It can be very overwhelming.

      Maybe I should write a post on this.

  4. freelyfloating says:

    Hi there…

    I just came across your blog, and I wanted to say that I admire you for being able to express yourself so creatively through art. On the spot, in a therapy session, I would never, ever be able to do what you did. I’ve shut myself off to my feelings, and it is taken a long time for me to really feel things. Let alone feel them when I’m sharing all of these details about my life that I’ve never shared before. Again, I admire you for your willingness to work through everything…I know how hard it is! And your therapist sounds wonderful, too.

    • lostinamaze says:

      Thank you and thanks for stopping by. It has taken me a long time to get to this point. I never thought that I could do this stuff either. In fact it scared me to death.

      But here I am in the process of trying to ‘feel’ my feelings and to identify the ones that I already experience. It is still scary but my therapist said that we will do this in tiny bits so it doesn’t overwhelm me. I guess it just takes time.

  5. Pingback: Wrapped Up « lost inamaze

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