Went back to therapy today after a break due to J’s vacation. It was hard to be back. Lots of anxiety, didn’t know what to talk about, felt like I was starting all over again. J started with saying he thinks he sees some changes in me – I’m less critical of myself, less judgmental, as evidenced by the meatball episode. He brought up the situation with my husband and I told him how underwhelmed I felt about talking about that two weeks ago. I told him that I don’t feel any emotion when I’m there with him. He mentioned barriers and what do I think I’m protecting myself from. I told him I’m like the third little pig, all safe in my brick house. He said in one version of the three little pigs story the third pig lets the other two into his house when their houses got blown down by the big bad wolf. He wanted to know if my house had a door, and I said it does, but it’s locked. He asked if it has windows, and I said, no, no windows.
He thought maybe my protective house has been built as a response to the experience I had with my son’s therapist. He asked if we could talk about that a little. So we did, we went over how my son’s therapist, D, didn’t treat us well, promised things and never followed through, we’d show up for appointments and he wouldn’t be there, he didn’t return calls or emails, and in general crossed a lot of boundaries. Plus he criticized me. I couldn’t remember during the session exactly what D had said about me, but when I got home I looked it up. He said I was “standoffish and sarcastic” and when I asked him about this he said, “oh, and also argumentative and pessimistic.” He was actually very difficult to work with, and after doing some reading I have come to see that he has a very narcissistic personality. This therapy came to a bad end.
So, yes, perhaps my brick house has been built in response to how D treated us. But I think the house was built long, long before that. J asked if anyone has treated me like D did prior to that, and I said I had a relationship once a long time ago that was similar. But my parents did not treat me that way.
J says I compartmentalize, which sometimes is a good thing, but also can be bad. For example if a man is driving to work and ranting and raving about the traffic, he isn’t thinking that perhaps his anger is due to the fact that this is his last day of work because he was laid off. That things affect other things and if I know why I’m so protective it would help me to understand it. As far as I know I’ve been like this since I was a child, so I think it is just my personality, but I don’t know.
He asked me about the cutting, and when I last cut. I told him that I don’t really remember, but I think it was about 2 months ago. He asked me where on my cutting flowchart I would put a picture of me dissociating from my feelings, which totally confused me because my cutting is very emotionally charged, and is not a result of feeling numb like I know is the case for some self injurers. So I’m not sure about that, and I tried to explain that I only seem to not feel my feelings when I am in session with him, but maybe I do that in other situations also.
We talked about the wellbutrin and if I think it is helping, and I said I don’t think so yet, but I feel the side effects already.
Then he asked about the book he lent me, and how I liked it. I said I liked it. He wanted to know what I liked about it. I didn’t tell him that I hated having his book for three weeks. That every time I picked it up to read I couldn’t concentrate because of the stupid obsessive thoughts I got about spilling something on his book, or ripping up the book. I was so happy to give that book back to him today and I hope he never offers to lend me anything else. But I didn’t tell him any of that.
I did mention that I thought the concepts of Flow and Mindfulness are better suited to people who have more control over their thoughts than I do. I was so busy thinking about all of the horrible thoughts I have had over the past few weeks while I was working on being mindful that I wasn’t paying much attention to what he had to say about this. He did ask me about the thoughts and I wouldn’t really elaborate, so he said something about depressing and anxious thoughts. I wish that was all that they are.
It was approaching the end of the session and there was something I really wanted to tell him, something I’ve never told anyone because I was afraid I would be hospitalized or my children would be taken from me. I just feel badly that he thought I was making improvement and now I was telling him this very negative thing about myself. So I guess I looked really anxious and/or upset and he asked me if I felt ok. I said I was fine (as usual – I’m always fine!) but I wanted to tell him something. Then I paused and he said I could tell him or not. I said I wanted to tell him. So I did manage to tell him, it was really only one sentence. But it is something horrible about me and it’s a secret that I have carried around for over 19 years. It involves intrusive thoughts. After I told him I said I don’t want to talk about it, and anyway it’s time to go. As I was walking out the door he said, “This is more common than you might think.” I said, “I don’t think so” and I left.
And lately my intrusive thoughts have really been getting out of control. I’m not sure if it’s due to working on mindfulness – it seems when I try to clear my mind that is when bad thoughts pop in – or maybe the wellbutrin is too stimulating to my mind. I know I should talk to J about this, but when he started the session by saying he noticed positive changes in me I didn’t want to invalidate that by telling him that my thoughts are so bad that I think I’m going crazy. I know going crazy means having a psychotic episode, and I also know that is not what is happening to me because I know the thoughts are in my mind and not real. But I really don’t know if I will act on these thoughts, sometimes the urges are very strong. I just don’t know what is wrong with me, and it’s very scary. It’s even scarier telling someone about it.
It took about 15 minutes after the session ended for the emotions to come to the surface. And I’ve been holding back tears all day. Right now I’m focusing on the screen and the keyboard and trying to figure out what I’m going to do for the next 6 hours until it is time for bed. Something to do that doesn’t involve negative coping strategies. I feel pretty awful right now. I guess I’m not always fine.