Frustrating day in therapy

I’m dissociating a little today, so bear with me if this account seems a little fragmented with little detail.

Looking back at today’s therapy session, C seemed to be impatient with me. She looked at me like I was a tangled mess that needed a pull in a certain direction- but no matter how much she tugged and how many questions she asked, I remained tangled. I felt uncomfortable during the pauses where she looked like she was racking her brain, deeply searching for answers. I haven’t felt like this with her before, but I distinctly felt like I was the problem in the room. It doesn’t feel great to be felt that way, when in reality you literally are the problem that the therapist is solving. I mean, it’s their job.

How I’m feeling may not be what was intended, on her end of course. I’m not going to try to mind read what it could have been, because those thoughts will swallow me whole. It could have also been the compounding hopelessness that I haven’t been able to escape from, recently. Feeling much like a lost cause. C did say that I have a strong internal locus of control, so I should not be apologizing and making everything my fault, when it actually isn’t. So. Today’s session was weird. End of story.

When I brought up the fact that I was dissociating a lot again, and that my physical health has a strong correlation with my mental health (e.g. my energy levels fluctuate depending on my place in the depression/hypomanic cycle, hunger is a strong trigger for dissociation), she brought up the fact that she has a client who dissociates, but still manages to go to class and live a regular life. Ah, yes- the comparison card. I’ve gotten that before about having bipolar: she had another client who also has bipolar, but manages to have a relationship, hold a job, and do other “normal” things. I can see when taken out of context of our conversation, that is supposed to give me hope and imbue positivity, but right now, as a depressed someone with a strong internal locus of control, I feel like I’m failing in this battle to keep it together and stay stable. I can’t function and my mind has gone mad- reminding me and torturing me with intrusive thoughts, and there is no exercise program, or correctness in sleep hygiene that is helping.

C wanted me to process the events in the intrusive thoughts. I said I would be highly uncomfortable to bring that up, because those thoughts will circle around me for the whole day, so I wanted it locked up in a box for now. Too fragile to do that yet, she assumed. Full stop.
C: Well, you can’t change the past now, so let’s correct what is going on in your current relationship. Me: I kind of don’t have friends in the city. My only meaningful relationship I have in person is with my mom. C: (something along the lines of, let’s try to find new friends somehow).

She noted that when I tell my stories, I tell them matter-of-factly, instead of speaking about how I felt about the situation. I said I wanted to be as objective as possible. There is always a war inside me between what is true and what is nice to hear. But there is no objective truth in relationships, said C. Me: The jury on that would be what most people would think is correct. Topic changed.

I need to express my emotion in a healthy way, all the uncomfortable ones like anger, sadness, annoyance etc. As an over controlled person (see RO DBT), I do not like losing control of my emotions, especially the strong ones, because it makes me uncomfortable/embarrassed to think that I would be acting outside of my ideal character.

That was therapy today. All I know is I have my work cut out for me. I’m going to my psychiatrist to sort my meds tomorrow. I hope I won’t be dissociating by tomorrow.

 

Advertisements

When you’re battling and surviving but not living

Back in knee deep depression- isolating myself, feeling hopeless and numbed out, dissociating. I feel like I’m sitting in the backseat and someone whom I trust is a reliable replica of me takes charge. She’s doing well, playing the part. I’m trying (she’s trying), still- going to classes, finishing chores, eating what I’m supposed to eat. But there is this strong feeling that the world will still be fine without me. The recurring memories of pain seem pointless but ceaseless. Remembering days of hypomania, I feel so much lower in comparison, as always. At this point, reading about other success stories of recovery that I got so much strength from a week ago doesn’t help me because they don’t have exactly what I have and we’re different people in different environments. No hope. But wait, didn’t I say that there is always hope? Nope, no hope. I wonder if it will be worth it. No, I already know the answer, but I’m feeling too bitter, resentful and hopeless to change that. I’ve just been fighting for so long, in the dark, and my tiredness is tired. Trying hard to not listen to the thought that “I’d accomplish more dead than living the rest of my life.” Trying hard to not trust thoughts and feelings because they almost always lie. Feeling barely alive. My dad says my skin looks great, over the video call from the other side of the world where it is daytime, and not night. Oh, how brutal invisibleness of invisible illness can be.

I have a problem with anger

You might be conjuring up a Christian Bale video where he flies off the handle during a shoot, but no- I have the opposite issue, according to my therapist, C.

I can’t express anger- expressing anger makes me uncomfortable, and I avoid expressing anger at all costs. I also don’t really talk about my feelings until the tank is overflowing. Today we talked about why this might be- being a good therapist, C kept digger for more, then of course, we got to the bottom of my childhood issues. The root of the issue was, that I got put down by for being an “overly” sensitive person a lot of times. Not that I could help it. I feel more than the average person, and I notice more, naturally. To others, I was always analyzing too much, and seeing things in interactions that one might not have even given a second of thought. The invalidation came mostly from my mother. Bless her heart, she wasn’t trying to make me feel worse- in fact, she was trying to make me feel normal, when in reality it was doing the opposite. Most of our conversations would go like this. Me: Mom, I feel xyz about this, Mom: Amy, that’s totally normal, everyone feels that way; you just have to be better at ignoring this/not take it personally etc. This wishy washy, generalized response from her always made me feel weak and felt like I had an inappropriate response to something that shouldn’t have even bothered me in the first place. It would have been much better to have received acknowledgement or better yet, validation for the feelings that came up. Since I didn’t get that, said C, was why I couldn’t express some of these scarier emotions in a healthy way.¬†This also possibly explains why I dissociate-¬† I “learned” at an early age that feeling, especially feeling too much, was bad.

Another was what I witnessed during the time my (now separated) parents lived together under the same roof, when I was very young. All I remember are these nights when they just screamed at each other and threw things. I don’t recall this, but apparently my mother and I(as a baby) fled to her friend’s house because things got so bad. Usually during these nights (which was most of the nights) I went into my room and shut the door but was too scared to plug my ears in case something happened to my mother. That’s one of the first things I learned about anger. Anger is bad. Anger is scary. Must avoid anger and confrontation.

What my mind ended up doing to cope with these values, was to get rid of preferences. A simple example is, choosing a meal. A pizza or a burger? My response- don’t care, everything is fine, I don’t dislike or like anything when it comes to food. If I really dug deeper, I probably do have a preference (it’s pizza, by the way), but since the difference is minimal, I don’t pay attention to that voice. No arguing about which food is better, no confrontation, no anger. Another crisis averted.

I still have an automatic response to situations involving anger and confrontation: fear. When I sense fear, I run out of there as fast as I possibly can. It definitely hasn’t served me well, because I can link this back to the reason for one of my more recent relationships ending (“we never fight,” said he.)

So now, I have been given the assignment of expressing my feelings outwardly (writing blogs and journaling doesn’t count. It has to be directly at someone, face-to-face). It already makes me cringe!

Depression paradox

I’m not supposed to trust my depressive thoughts and feelings, especially the ones that start with an ‘s,’ that says death is freedom from all this. I’m not supposed to trust my manic thoughts and feelings either, especially the ones that tell me that I can change the world in a fortnight, that I am special and gifted, like a chosen one. I’m told I should listen to my feelings more, and let that guide me- but I can see that two out of the three instances, that would lead to disastrous results. This of course, isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way- confusion about my judgement. It happens every single time when I’m in a depressive episode. All this leaves me without confidence in my thoughts and my direction, like walking across a bridge over a pool of alligators, blind folded with ear muffs on. It is without a doubt a very scary thing to be doing for days, weeks and months. There is very little intuition left in me- and the ones that are left get doubted to be depressive or manic ones that don’t reflect my values. Wait, which values? My values change just like the weather.

I get too tired from thinking this circular, fruitless, thought, so I escape, I exit- more mindless distraction.

Numb

I’m not feeling well today. I was so exhausted with this week that I had to miss a class yesterday- missing it felt horrible because I don’t like missing things that I can go to, but yesterday it felt like a very bad idea, and I don’t think going would have been beneficial for me. I meant to take a ten minute nap but it turned into a much needed 3 hours of rest, and even afterwards, I felt weird.

I know it’s not the flu, because I don’t have any flu like symptoms today, so it’s probably the beginning of another depression cycle. Feeling flat and hopeless, hearing stream of negative thoughts and suicidal ones, and the like. Feeling like nothing really matters because we die in the end anyway. So yeah, typical depression self talk. Never gets old.

This is probably not the best thing to do, but I’m putting my happy face on for my mom, who is at the moment, in a great mood. She worries easily, and I’d rather see her smile. She probably knows that I’m faking it, because she knows me so well, but she’s going along with it. I have to ride this out like any other time. Keeping busy, staying away from my thoughts, avoiding triggers, and not take anything too seriously.

What eyes can tell

I’m scared to look into people’s eyes sometimes for what I might discover. I mean really look inside. Sometimes I see nothing, but if I linger too long, I can sense this chilliness, loneliness and misery that is deep inside them. I get sucked in, and it takes me a while to pull myself back. The first time it happened was after my first hospitalization, when I briefly returned to work to hand in my resignation letter. She was one of my coworkers, and had these jet black, sparkling Eastern European eyes. I was talking to her very briefly, and more I listened, I saw what was behind those big eyes- helplessness, desperation and anguish. No amount of smiling could erase this fact. We were only talking about work, but that energy was so strong, I couldn’t help but get sucked in. I obviously cannot know what she was really feeling internally, and why, but being an overly sensitive person, I just picked that up.

This is one of my intrusive thoughts- I have an encyclopedia of them, of course. What I saw that day, during such a brief encounter, still gives me the chills. It’s nothing concrete, but just this feeling of profound sadness. I felt something similar today while I spoke to my model for my figure drawing class. She was very bouncy, happy, and energetic (“hyper” was how she described it)- looked almost manic with her eyes darting at one thing to another, while she chatted with all the students in the room before posing about the dress she prepared for the class (a period piece that someone gifted, that made her feel like Jane Avril) there was a sense of hidden sorrow, behind all the pomp and chatter. It could be from how she acted, her every word seemed planned, and every gesture from something out of a silver screen many decades ago- all the same while looking so anxious. While she modeled, she seemed to bite her lips (which made drawing them difficult) constantly, while she frowned and fretted quite a bit. She tried to shake off the thoughts time to time, but the thoughts just returned (from the look in her eyes), and she was fidgeting again. I would not have had such an in depth look at someone, but I couldn’t help it, as I was drawing her.

Needless to say, my energy was drained by the end of the session, trying to draw this person as an empath. All this could be a projection, but some of it might not be. Who knows.

Enough

It took me a long time, but I think I might know now.

(Though, knowing isn’t the same as doing.)

Before, I didn’t feel enough for this world. But the truth was, the world just wasn’t enough to take me in.

Me, with the jagged edges. Me, who couldn’t fit into a cookie cutter shape.

I lived merely to fit into something instead of:

Creating, finding joy, appreciating, feeling good about how things were when they were, being happy, going with my gut, taking risks…

Living.

My blank canvas. So many things I could have painted instead of painting over my flaws.