Still trying to Process

Over the last week I have started missing my sessions in a more intense way.  There has been a lot going on in my life it seems.  Learning a new casual job, upheaval in my regular full-time job and a friend who is dying.  Most days I am ok but some days not so much.  This is when I really miss having the sessions.  But I also know that I will get by.  I always do.  I just wish that I had the support that I felt therapy was giving me. (Of course I could always try to find another t)

I was going through some papers the other day when I ran across the letter my t had sent to my pdoc and family doc.  I had only read it when my t gave it to me.  I haven’t looked at it since.  Until the other day.  I read it against my better judgment.  I have written about what my take on the break is.  And I will admit that it is probably really biased.  I try to look at the big picture but find myself having a hard time doing so.  But I do want to be fair and say that it’s obvious that my t and I don’t look at me in the same way.  I think she sees something in me that I do not and I see something in me that she does not.  If that makes any sense.

I have debated on whether to write out what’s written in it. (I’m a little paranoid that she will somehow see this because I do respect her. I hate for her to take all this the wrong way.).  I realize that it is a professional letter written to another professional.  And I need to remember that when I’m reading it.  It doesn’t talk about all the discussion we’ve had about it.  The letter is actually really bare bones.

So here goes…

Dear Doc

I am writing to inform you that I have decided that it is appropriate for lost inamaze to take a therapeutic break from counselling for three months.

Lost inamaze began individual counseling with me 05/17/2008 and has attended several therapeutic groups prior to and during our time together.  Through my recent assessment of her, I have seen continuous improvement in lost inamaze and would now like her to break from counselling for her to recognize these gains and build her confidence within herself.   Lost inamaze has discussed with me that she does not agree with this decision as she feels she is at the point of “really wanting to talk about the big issues”.  She further disclosed  “I haven’t told you everything yet”.  I have reminded lost inamaze that counseling is a process in which you learn and take that learning with you to help you along your journey.

This counselling will occur intermittently through out a short period of time.  I have encouraged lost inamaze to contact blah Health Services if she requires long-term support/counselling.

Thank you….blah, blah

So now you know the rest of the story.

I know that I need to take this letter and read it in the context of the two years that I have been in counselling with her.  But I think that I would have liked to continue the sessions while the ‘continuous improvement’ was happening and maybe take a break if I felt things had plateaued for awhile. Or at least felt more ready within myself (if that’s possible).  But I wonder if I could be wrong with that line of thinking.  I realize that every counsellor has their own reasons for what they do. And I’m fairly certain that she would only do what she thought was the best for me. (and maybe in the end it will be?)

When I read the letter again I had a pile of emotions rise up.  Emotions that I would prefer to stay away.  I’m not sure what those emotions are, I’m not sure what it is I’m feeling.  But then again I’m also not looking too closely at them either.  What I do know is that when I read this again I somehow felt bad about myself.  I’m not sure why.

I would really like to quit whining about this.  But I am having a hard time processing this. (as I’m sure I’ve mentioned many times before).  I can’t seem to come to any conclusions.

For your sake and my sake I will really try to let this go.  No promises though.

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36 Responses to Still trying to Process

  1. I don’t want you to feel you have to stop feeling this. It’s a big deal, and you have every right to feel hurt, angry, abandoned, and upset etc etc. Conclusions aren’t everything.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I think therapy put too big of a crack in my wall and I don’t seem to be able to patch it up as I have always been able to before. It’s hard to feel what I have never felt before to this extent, what I was never allowed to feel. I have a hard time thinking that a have a right to feel these things. I’m always trying to justify everything.

      • I hear this a lot, the ‘I used to be able to cope better’ kind of comment, which to me seems to be a sign that the defences have started to be pulled apart and therefore don’t work the way they used to.

        If you are in continuing therapy this is a good thing, because you have support as you work on the stuff behind the walls. When you aren’t in therapy (or don’t have support) then it really can’t be a good thing at all. 😦

        I understand that if you weren’t allowed to feel things before then feeling now must be very hard – hard to believe that it is ok. Who is saying that you aren’t allowed to feel?

  2. Just Be Real says:

    Dear one you are not whining. Your pain is real. I too would have wanted a plateau to happen before cutting back on the sessions. Dear one you have every right to feel your emotions. They are yours. Appreciate you sharing with us. Safe hugs to you.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I think that I’m used to taking life’s knocks, not really acknowledging them and carrying on as if nothing has happened. I have never let this kind of stuff be mine. I guess I tend to get down on myself when I feel that I can’t move on. Hmmm…do I hear my parents speaking to me…

  3. Harriet says:

    Don’t feel you have to stop writing about this for our sake! This is huge, and you need a way to process it. Sure you can bury it and move on, but it will rear it’s ugly head one day. She doesn’t seem to think that you need the same thing from her as you do, because she suggests you contact someone else if you think you need long term counseling. So maybe this has nothing to do with you, maybe she just doesn’t do long term counseling and you reached the end of her time frame that she has set for herself. I know that still hurts of course, after all you have been working well together, so why can’t she bend her rules for you? But maybe she is uncomfortable with long term care and you would, indeed, be better off with someone else. Just a thought.

    • lostinamaze says:

      This has given me some food for thought and a different way of looking at it. I think that you may be on to something here. When I go to her I think that I will talk to her about what you have said. I think one of the reasons this bothers me so much is that I feel that we do work together well.

      All I know now is that either with her or a new counsellor I will be talking time frames in our first conversation.

  4. You are not whining and I for one am not tired of this. It is how you process and this is a good forum to do so. It sounds like it might be good to talk to a professional about it as it is difficult to sort out feelings, thoughts and shoulds. Perhaps even go back to your therapist to discuss this. It doesn’t mean that you are making a committement to return. Nothing is permanent and is almost always changable.

    Take care,
    CC

    • lostinamaze says:

      I really do feel like I’m going on incessantly with this. And I am really glad that I have the support of this forum to try to figure it all out.

      I’ve given it some thought that maybe I should talk to a professional about this but I’m feeling a little ‘once bitten twice shy’ about it.

      I don’t think that I would talk to my therapist until I go back to her. I kind of got some mixed messages about that at the end. At one point she told me I couldn’t contact her on a crisis basis. Then at our last session she made some comment as I was leaving that she would be there. I’m not sure what she meant by that comment. Your last statement…how true, but how hard for me.

  5. Hey Lost…
    Really thinkin of you right now. I don’t have any words of wisdom cos I just cannot even begin to think about how painful it must be to have your therapist ‘leave’ you when you don’t feel like that’s an ok thing to happen…
    If The Woman ever did that to me I would never trust anyone ever again.
    I understand your unease about wrting here and about ‘whining’ but you are so, so, so not. As others have said, this is a REALLY big deal. You need space and this is GOOD space.
    So sorry that it is so upsetting for you.

    x

    • lostinamaze says:

      When I give some thought about this and I’m honest about it I feel that my feelings have been disregarded by her in this matter. It’s like my parents making decisions for me because they know what’s best for me. And I feel deep down that I wasn’t quite ready.

      Trust, yeah that will be hard. It was almost impossible in the first place.

      Within me it feels like a bigger deal than it actually should be.

  6. giovana says:

    Lost – Sorry, I’m new at this. I’m reading over your entries and feel for your pain. That was a very difficult thing to endure. You are not whining, in my mind. You hurt, you’re feelings are reasonable. Not knowing you it is hard to respond.

    Did your t do work with you on abandonment since you began in 05/2008? I would think after that much time, your t would have gotten you to a place that gave you more understanding about your emotions. Maybe she was limited in her ability. Maybe she did all she knew to do. I have been to many t’s. Not all of them know how to put the pieces back together.

    I hear you saying that you feel badly about yourself. You shouldn’t. You showed up for your sessions, you bared your soul, you did the work. That is really hard to do.

    What did your t accomplish? Are you in a better place? Did your 2+yr commitment get you anything? What did she teach you? That is their job, to teach how to heal the wounds and live with the scars that will never go away.

    I read your posts and see you have doubt and feel badly about you. You are wonderful and amazing. Your t was supposed to give you tools to live your life, to teach you how to handle your emotions so you know how wonderful you are. Did your t do that?

    Sorry if I am not responding well, as I said, I’m new at this. But after that much time, she should have given you better tools to deal with emotions you are afraid to face…

    With love…

    Gia

    • lostinamaze says:

      Thank you for responding here and you have also given me some food for thought. Some of your questions I’m actually not sure about.

      She has always known that I have abandonment issues probably even before I did. But I can’t say for sure if we worked on that.

      I would have to say that I am in a better place in that I more aware of the why’s of why I am the way I am. I have more vocabulary to describe some of the things I feel. I have actually learned a lot about myself.

      She has also taught me some tools to help me cope but I feel somewhat overwhelmed right now with the intensity of my emotions. That intensity seems to over ride everything else at times.

      And just maybe, even though we have worked well together, she has done all she knew to do. I will be thinking about this.

      And you’re right, I need to remember I did work hard.

  7. Just read your reply to my comment Lost and wanted to pick up on:

    “Within me it feels like a bigger deal than it actually should be.”

    Should? A bigger deal?
    I feel so much that a part of you wants to play it down… Dismiss your feelings… Perhaps because you feel ashamed in some way. I suspect maybe you are struggling with a sense of grief and yet you might be telling yourself off for doing so.
    You’ve read my blog, lost; you know I barely have wisdom for myself and so am in no position to be pointing things out to anyone… But I wanted to say that I hear so much in that statement: so much fear; so much self doubt; and so much pain.
    I know it is hard to take coming from me, and please feel free to disregard it, but please don’t hurt yourself by trying to hide how bad it must feel. There are no ‘shoulds and shouldnts’ with feelings. They exist in spite of whether we want them. I hate them but it’s worse when they’re covered by shame.
    I hope you can manage to let yourself feel mote about it and I’m so glad you could be honest about feeling disregarded. I wonder if she did the right thing in this instance.
    Hoping you’re ok and thinking of you

    WS
    X

    • lostinamaze says:

      I would never disregard what you say, I value it. It’s interesting that you mention grief. My thoughts have been wandering down that road and I have wondered if part of what I am feeling is grief. Although I do find that bothersome.

      I am trying so hard to dismiss what I am feeling because well, it’s just all so difficult. Shame, yeah.

  8. lostinamaze says:

    samesky – I find it strange in that I feel that this is one of the hardest things that I am now experiencing since starting therapy without the support of therapy. I feel like I am floundering in trying to figure it out myself. My defenses certainly aren’t working to full capacity…ugh

    “Who is saying that you aren’t allowed to feel?” Nobody, well maybe some part(s) of me, then again my parents voices still seem to live in me somehow.

    • Hmm, I think that is the thing that jumps out for me ‘my parents voices still seem to live in me’. I wonder whether parts of you have taken up their beliefs about emotions, to keep you safe when you had to abide by their rules – only now those parts are making it difficult to feel now, when you need to most.

      • giovana says:

        Hey to both or you..

        I am working through this right now. I left my abusive home at 16yrs old. She was no longer there to abuse & berate me.

        Not to worry, I picked up right where she left off. Have been doing it for yrs now.

        I spent the week listening to my derogatory statements, wrote each of them down. Then came up with a more accurate, positive statements to replace each of them with. Counter-statements – good stuff.

        Being the ‘voice of your parents’ is a habit, a learned skill. It can be unlearned, if you try.

        You have the power to modify what you say, think and feel. You are in control of your emotions, even though you have chosen to let them control you in the past.

        I don’t know how your therapy was. (usually either talk or behavioral) I have C-PTSD, so behavioral therapy is the most effective for me.

        Because its behavioral, every week, we meet just to confirm that I did the work during the week that I was supposed to do & talk about what it felt like.

        I blog about it for added accountability. http://www.lessmeblog.com

        Lost – you are ultimately responsible for what happens in your life now. You can do therapy right here on your blog, you don’t have to go meet with someone. You can do work with yourself while on this break.

        I am having to learn to self-parent. To go back to that ‘inner-child’ and love & nurture her the way she never was when we were little. It has been really helpful for me.

        Much love – Gia

  9. One long journey says:

    Hey there –
    Wrote a fairly long comment earlier in the week which was lost because my internet connection had timed out 😦

    First off – I hope that you realize that you are not whining. One of the reasons I think many of us have started a blog is to get feedback about things that others may be experiencing or that we feel insecure about. You have been through a lot and this is a particularly vulnerable time.

    One thing that strikes me after reading the letter is the comment about short term and long term therapy. Is this something you remember discussing with her and do you know what her definition of short term therapy is? Two years seems like a long time to me (having passed it myself 🙂 Everything I’ve read about healing from trauma indicates that it is usually a long process with ups and downs. Certain aspects may be quicker, but the examination and processing of the effects is long for most.

    Given that, I’m wondering if when you go back, you might ask about the time limits and possibly transition with her help to a therapist who will be there for you for the long run.

    I know that you are managing – that’s what we do – we manage with or without our T – but I think it is within your right to have a long term therapist.

    Thinking of you –
    OLJ

    • lostinamaze says:

      We never really discussed long/short term therapy in a concrete way. When I first started she made some sort of vague comment about therapy taking as long as it needs to when I had asked her how long would it take to get better.

      I will definitely ask her about time limitations she may have in mind and then I guess depending on her answer I will decide what to do. How hard can it be to get help for myself?

  10. Lothlorien says:

    You said,
    “I think she sees something in me that I do not and I see something in me that she does not.  If that makes any sense.”

    Yes, that makes perfect sense! I felt the same way with my last therapist.

    I am still just as confused as you are about the idea of this break. Even after reading the above, it dies not make sense. While I understand her wanting you to realize your gains and that you CAN stand on your own….why it would take three months to realize that is beyond me. Then later in the letter I am confused as she seems to be referring you to another place for “long term counseling.” I am finding myself wondering if you consulted another therapist, what THAT therapist would think of this. I honestly don’t want to pass judgment on your T. I’m just utterly confused.

    My heart goes out to you,
    Lothlorien

    • lostinamaze says:

      I’m just as confused, as you can probably tell. My family doc is confused as well. I had told my t that I knew that I could stand on my own already. I have been doing so for most of my life but of course always suffering with the aftermath of trauma but still, standing on my own.

      I have been debating on consulting another therapist but I wonder if it would cause more confusion within me. I’m a little nervous about that.

      • lostinamaze says:

        Lothlorien,

        I’m beginning to wonder how conflicted she is herself because of these different messages which leads me to wonder what is actually going on in the relationship between her and I. But unfortunately that is something I will probably never know.

  11. One long journey says:

    Hey there –
    do you think your family doc could help with finding a new T for you?

    OLJ

  12. lostinamaze says:

    Gia~

    I have been giving your comment some thought. I have just recently started to recognize those so called ‘voices’ in my head and where they could be originating from.

    I think the idea of counter statements is something that I will try.

    This blog – just getting out what is inside by writing about it has helped me more than I ever thought it would. I am thankful that I have this blog these days.

  13. giovana says:

    Lost – Wow. I just finished reading all of your posts. The first thing that popped into my head was “I AM SO VERY PROUD OF YOU!!!”

    You are doing some really hard work. Reading I saw that we are kinda alike. I cannot take medicines either. Especially not cold medicine… or anti-depressants. I too have ptsd, from my ‘wonderful’ childhood. I have thought & thought… about your break… and your reaction to your break. After reading all the posts, I feel the break might be good for you, if you spend the time doing something other than stressing about it.

    One of my t’s explained therapy like this: we are trapped in a box. the instructions for getting out of the box are written on the ‘outside’ of the box (and i think they’re written in a foreign language). So, we need the therapist to give the instructions to us. Then ‘we’ have to get ourselves out of the box.

    You’ve done so much amazing work. More so than I originally thought. This break is important. We can only process so much emotional stuff at a time. Ah, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just wave a wand and be ‘fixed’ instantly. Trust yourself. Know that you will be ok.

    Sometimes in desperation I have instilled new ‘coping’ skills when forced into an overwhelming situation from therapy. When pushed, I finally started doing the things therapy taught me, that I hadn’t realized I had learned.. A new step outside the box.

    Remember the colored papers she kept in her file? Those are what you can use now to get through this break. Your new coping skills. Play around with them. See how it feels. When your feelings overwhelm you, write it all down, and save it for another day. Writing it out is expressing them, in a way. You don’t have to deal with them when you write them, just get it out. Then one day you’ll know what to do with what you’ve written.

    Like you, I have large parts of my childhood that I cannot remember. I may never remember those parts. But it’s ok, I am still able to heal myself.

    I have accomplished amazing things! If you met me on the street, you may not think I’m any different than others. But knowing what I went through, what I survived, to get to today – I’m amazing. And so are you. You will be just fine…

    Much love… Gia

    • lostinamaze says:

      The fact that you read all of my posts – I say wow back to you. I just hope that they mostly made sense.

      I had to chuckle (in a good way) when I read this. The first thing that came to my mind was that this must be my therapist in disguise writing this to me 🙂 She has said these same things to me.

      I guess right now is that I am trying to figure out why I have reacted the way I have regarding the break and figuring out my relationship with my therapist.

      The stress about it comes in ‘waves’ so to speak. I don’t think about it all the time as I do have a very active life. But it is never far from my mind. I am hoping space and time will help with that.

      I have often told my t in conversation that I know she can’t make me better, all the while wishing that she could, that it is only me that can do it with her support. I really like the visual of the box. It has given me an idea in doing something creative with it…

      • giovana says:

        That IS funny – no, I’m not your T. I’m just a little further along the path.

        you said – “I guess right now is that I am trying to figure out why I have reacted the way I have regarding the break and figuring out my relationship with my therapist.”

        My best guess is that you have abandonment issues from your childhood. What better way to meet them head on and address them than this. You’re t has safely ‘abandoned’ you temporarily. What else would give you a chance to meet the issue head on and come up with effective coping skills.

        She must see how strong you are – we who are survivors are all so much stronger than those that have never dealt with what we have dealt with.

        Remember that whenever we engage in therapy, there is transference with our therapist. It’s like our mind uses the therapist to relive and deal with people from our past. We can’t go back to being young and actually relive that trauma from our childhood.

        Transference is our mind’s way of reliving so we can apply grown up problem-solving skills to what we experienced as children. By learning to face what happened in the past as an adult, we can comfort & save the lost ‘inner child’ so she can heal.

        Seems to me your relationship with your therapist is exactly what it should be considering what you are trying to heal from. Learn to love you, accept what you are feeling as a normal part of the process and heal from it.

        I am trying to learn how to effectively deal with the obsessive worrying. When I push myself too far, I obsess and worry about every little thing. I know my mind does that in frustration.

        Going back to old, ineffective coping skills because I haven’t learned the new coping skills completely. I have to really ‘break’ my mind out of it and force myself to ‘not obsess’ negatively.

        To remember that I am just fine and very strong. That everything will be ok because I’m not a terrified little 5 yr old trying to deal with an overwhelming life. I am a grown up with really amazing problem-solving skills.

        I’m so happy my rambling helped in some way.

        Much love – Gia

  14. One long journey says:

    Lost – this is a comment for Gia –
    <>

    The above statement is wonderful – it would be a great place to get to for all of us. And I am there a lot – although when there I wonder if I am being narcissistic to think so highly of myself.

    The hardest thing is staying at that place and not letting the waves of self doubt take over (the waves that have been there for decades).

    Refreshing –
    Thanks, OLJ

    • giovana says:

      OLJ – thank you! 🙂

      you said – “it would be a great place to get to for all of us. And I am there a lot – although when there I wonder if I am being narcissistic to think so highly of myself.”

      Those of us that show up & do the work called ‘therapy’ will all get there. I have learned I don’t have to be there every moment of every day. It is a process. I am there more often today than I was months or years ago.

      I don’t feel you are being narcissistic at all. Through the mist of all the work and suffering we do to ‘heal’ from things we should have never experienced, why can’t we be proud of ourselves? Why can we glory in our excellent choice to face our past and heal? And all the work we’ve put in.

      Why can’t we acknowledge that we have accomplished more than others- because of what we had to live through. I wear my scars with honor. I ‘earned’ that right!

      And so did you, even more so than I. I only dealt with physical & emotional abuse. I was spared having to deal with CSA. You humble me. I have read some of your blog, god, you are strong. I admire you so.

      The waves lessen as we heal. As we comfort that lost child and begin to protect her, the doubt eases.

      Those of us that are survivors will always have scars. I liken it to being a burn victim. You heal as much as you can. Do some cosmetic surgery to remove what can be removed. And you learn to accept the scars as part of who we are. And one day, we feel special.

      Because we have accomplished amazing things – we have the scars to prove it. We know we are amazing and we feel good about that. And we love ourselves, as we should. Nothing narcissistic in that at all…

      Here’s to us!!

  15. One long journey says:

    Hmm – although I copied and pasted a passage from the message and it showed up in the comment on my screen – it didn’t cross over when uploading –

    The comment I found so refreshing is “But knowing what I went through, what I survived, I am amazing. And so are you.” plus the sentences before.

  16. Hi, Lost. I am sorry that your therapist has changed the rules on you after saying in the beginning that therapy would take however long it takes and I am sorry that your relational needs were not taken into account with her decision.

    For myself (and each therapy client’s needs are a bit different), I would never hire a therapist to read me some ‘instruction manual’ to get me out of the box. I would just buy the recorded version of the manual and have someone start the recording for me so I could hear it in there. It would be cheaper, faster and simpler.

    I think there are some needs that may be different for some of us who have dissociative disorders. For me, ‘coping skills’ are just things that actually rebuild crumbling walls and keep out the material that needs to be dealt with, thus assuring that it will keep coming up and that I will become quite tired using so much energy to ‘cope’. Constant coping makes sure I don’t get to do any of the big things in life that I really want to do. Coping uses up so much of me that there is nothing left with which to chase my dreams.

    Last night on the way to therapy, I got horribly triggered by the weather. I showed up stuck in that awful nether-region between a terrorized hell and a dissociative trance. I remember my therapist asked me: “Lynn, do you know where you are?” Yeah, it was that bad. Instead of coping I ended up eventually able to tell what had set me off, how it is similar to other things that have set me off, how I know those triggers ‘go together’ and come from the same events, and how I can’t remember for certain what those events might be and have only a vague and foggy idea from the blasted out ruins of the memories of my childhood. And I was able to share my frustration and upset with all of this. I was able to put something together in order to get some relief without having to get rid of my self, my feelings or my thoughts to be able to do it. But only because my therapist was holding my hand the whole time and periodically reminding me that I am safe now. It would have been too terrifying otherwise. I was a lot better off when I left than when I arrived. And I didn’t have to ‘forget’ the session to make it happen.

    No instruction manual could have done that for me. I hope you won’t feel bad if you need more than a manual. You DESERVE more. We all do. Maybe I’m just stubbornly devoted to telling the truth, but… I really don’t think that relational trauma can be resolved outside of a safe and trustworthy relationship. Parental abandonment is a relational trauma. It can be retraumatizing when trusted therapists abandon us. It happened to me, too. It was devastating.

  17. lostinamaze says:

    Hi Ethereal, I think you are right, my relational needs weren’t taken into account. I wonder if somehow that has sent me mixed messages. I keep thinking that this shouldn’t be such a huge problem as it seems to be.

    It’s interesting what you say about coping. My t said to me regarding this break to remember your new coping skills. My reply to this was that I have been coping all of my life and I’m sure that I can continue to cope. But I want my life to be more than that.

    I think it’s great that your t is there for you like that, to help you work through it. I think that’s amazing. I agree, for myself anyway, with your statement “I really don’t think that relational trauma can be resolved outside of a safe and trustworthy relationship”. I’m not sure that there can be a time line (in dealing with it) for this sort of thing. I just know that I wasn’t quite ready for it (the break).

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