Today I brought a printout of the conversation I had in my head last week to my t appointment. I gave J the background story – about my son, and his medical situation and the tests he needs and the blood test success story and the barium x-ray not so successful story. I told him about my son’s anxieties and phobias. Then he read the conversation with the voice in my head (VIMH).
While he was reading I was looking around. I noticed the Purell. When he was done I told him that he can use the Purell. Since I mentioned it three weeks ago he hasn’t used it when I come in. He said he can’t use it today and showed me two open blisters he had on his hands. He said he used it yesterday and Ouch! I said, but seriously, its fine that you use the Purell, I didn’t mean to make you stop using it. He said, it’s only been three weeks since you said anything, and I said, “And you haven’t used it in front of me since then.” He said he only uses it about twice a day, and wouldn’t you know since I am the first person he sees in the morning he has been doing paperwork and typing and feels his hands might be germy. I said, “So it has nothing to do with me, and the fact that I emanate germs and you have to disinfect when I walk in? Maybe you need a spray version of it so that you can get all the germs I give off.” He said, “Well, I do disinfect the couch before you come in.” And I said, “And after, too, I hope.”
Then we talked about the VIMH. He said it’s great that I wrote that all out, and that I gave this voice an entity. He said he knew about someone with an eating disorder, and she gave it a name. I said, “Ed?” He said, no that would be too obvious. “Nigel.” (??)
But giving the disorder a name had some purpose; I can’t remember what it is now. He said I should give the VIMH a name. I’ve been thinking about that, it would scare me to give it a name. It would have too much power if it had a name, wouldn’t it?
He said obviously no matter what I do, this voice will tell me it’s not enough. What if I see a turtle crossing the road and pick it up and put it in the grass and even give it a little bowl of water. The voice would say, what about all of the other turtles, why aren’t you taking care of them?
That reminded me of an article I read about a jellyfish. J and I had talked about jellyfish a few weeks ago. I asked if he heard about the big jellyfish in New Hampshire. He hadn’t. So I told him the story. A 40 pound jellyfish wandered in the water of New Hampshire, where this type of jellyfish doesn’t usually venture. It somehow died and broke apart, but the jellyfish tentacles can still sting even when they are not attached to the jellyfish body. That morning in New Hampshire 150 people got stung by the tentacles and five people had to go to the hospital.
So that was a little tangent.
Back to the VIMH. He talked about the validity of the real me vs the VIMH. He asked which one is more valid, and I said, “Logically, or which do I believe?” He thinks the real me is correct more often than the voice. We talked about times when the voice might be good, like if you have the impulse to do something bad or wrong and the voice tells you not to. But generally, the voice is incorrect, and operating out of lack of objective evidence.
He told me about the id, ego and super ego of Freud, and what each one does. He said my super ego is very harsh.
He asked what I ultimately decided – who is right, me or the voice? I said that I posted this on my blog and everyone says it is ok that I felt good about myself when I helped my son, and that I did help him. But I said that of course they all said that, they had to. They aren’t going to post mean things to me on my own blog. He went over the whole thing with me and told me that I did a good job and I should feel good about it. He asked if I think EMTs feel bad when they help people. It’s not like they sit around saying, “I hope we have a few good car accidents today.” I said, “Maybe they do. If they don’t have accidents they can lose their jobs.”
I told J that no matter what anyone said to me, I didn’t believe that I made things better for my son until I actually asked him and he said that the things I did were helpful.
I asked him how the voice got in my head, and he asked me how long it has been there. I have no idea. I asked what the voice gets out of saying mean things to me. I was thinking that it’s hard to be good all the time, there is so much pressure. But J was telling me about how it’s easy to get into a pattern of what you know, it is comfortable. Even if it is abusive. For example if a child is abused she may end up marrying someone abusive, because that is what she knows. I was confused about this part and what it had to do with the voice.
I asked him how to get the voice out of my head. I told him that I want to kill it. He asked what I meant by kill. Silence. I don’t think I answered.
He said rather than get rid of it, I need to make the “me” louder and the voice quieter. I asked how I do that. I’m drawing a blank here. I don’t know what happened. I don’t think I got an answer. I don’t think J knows the answer, and this happens week after week. He tells me I need to do something, but he doesn’t tell me how. I would like to make the VIMH quieter, but how?
He said it is like a bully, and it is very harsh and it has been making me feel bad about myself for a long time. And he told me how to stand up to a bully, but I can’t remember that now. He said I am smarter and stronger than the bully, and I said I don’t think I am, but he says I am.
He also asked me how my son was after the blood test and I told him how talkative he was, and how he is planning on taking some classes at the community college. This led to a whole discussion about how I am being supportive of him and making him feel good about himself, and how I can continue doing this. I told him that my husband made my son feel bad because he said to him, “Are you really going to go to classes? Are you really going to do your work?” And I thought it was a stupid thing to say, because my son finally got the motivation to think about school, it’s not like we are pushing him into it. And I think we need to be supportive and positive, and my husband was being very negative. J asked if I said anything to my husband about this, and I said no. He suggested talking to my husband and telling him we need to be united and present a supportive front. I told him it sounded very patronizing to me. I wouldn’t like it if he talked to me that way. I don’t plan to talk to my husband about this. Unfortunately my son now knows not to talk his father about his plans, because he’ll just be shot down. But the thought of talking to my husband as though he is a child isn’t appealing to me either.
So although we did a lot of talking today, I don’t feel that anything is resolved. This is continually happening. I know I need to change, and what needs to change, but I don’t know how to do it. And J doesn’t seem to be able to tell me how either. I’m starting to think “What’s the point?”