Took an unexpected road trip but I’ll be back soon with lots of posts.
You know, I often think about what my therapist really thinks. I’m pretty sure the majority of clients do that. I’ve read a lot about the one sided nature of the therapist/client relationship, I’ve read about how attachment works, I’ve read about how the client wants to occupy a special place in their therapists life. I’ve done a lot of reading. It’s an interesting area of study. This is why I love therapist blogs. One in particular is What a Shrink Thinks. It gives you a glimpse of what really goes on in the therapists mind. It fulfills that craving I feel to know, to see, to really get into that mystical place that is the therapist brain.
I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to work with some amazing female therapists. A few of them were in person and another was online. I never pass up the chance to say how much I like Discussing Dissociation. Not that Kathy needs any advertising from me as you’ll see in this article but I don’t mind saying that her blog and one on one sessions I’ve had with her have been invaluable. I’ve never had a male therapist so I have no idea what that relationship would look like or feel like. I don’t know that I could even build that relationship. But the women whose care I’ve been under for significant periods of time, well they’ve just been fantastic.
I saw my first therapist when I was 15 and she continues to be a part of my life. We’ve sort of segued into a hybrid sort of friendship but with boundaries sort of relationship. I know that if I still lived in the same city as her I could call and seek therapy from her and she would be perfectly willing. I also know that if I called and asked if she’d like to go for coffee she’d oblige me that way as well. I know that I can send her a joke on Facebook just as easily as I can send her a private email asking about her health. I know these things emotionally, intellectually. I know them deeply.
Another woman I worked with was quite the opposite of that first therapist. She did not allow hugging or touching but still managed to develop affection for me and me for her. She was very closed off about her personal life; it was not something we discussed at any great length at all. But I grew to care deeply for this relationship, to depend on it for my very life. When circumstances forced us to part ways when I left the city she told me that she would never forget me and that our experience changed the way she would conduct therapy in a profound way. That made me feel so good. It could have been a line she fed me but I really don’t believe that. I believe she was being genuine and her declaration was heartfelt. I have called her since leaving and she has been helpful in trying to find new resources for me. Though she gently encourages me to rely more and more on the therapist I’m seeing now. That is her style. To push me in the direction I need to go however painful it might be is what she has always done.
Anyway, what all this rambling is about is just to demonstrate that every therapist has their own style, their own way of dealing with the complexities of their job. And to also talk about what it’s like to want to be a bigger, more important part of your therapist’s life. What is it like to really get inside their minds?
I haven’t yet developed that need, that attachment with my current therapist. I feel as though I’m right there ready to take the leap. I just need one more push, one more reason, a teensy bit more reassurance that the leap will be worth it.
I’ll be writing more about this subject again, but this is a good rough start. Tell me what you think about the relationship you have with your therapist. I know for multiples there are so many different levels and layers. How do you deal with all of that?
One of the things I love about my therapist is that she checks in with me every so often to make sure we’re on the same page. Do I know what her goal is? Do I know what my goal is? Are they the same? Are we in the right stage, going in the right direction? Are we moving forward or standing still? How do I feel I’m doing now as compared to a month ago, 2 months ago?
Today was one such day where we kind of looked at each other like, okay wait, what are you saying? Where are you going with this? I told my therapist that I kind of felt like we were in a holding pattern. She didn’t necessarily agree with that assessment. So that is why we stepped back and looked at our game plan.
To me it feels like I’m playing the waiting game… again. Waiting for the consultation with the DID specialist. Waiting to see if she accepts me as a full time client. Waiting to see if I’ll be continuing with my current therapist in some capacity.
My therapist explained that even if we do continue seeing each other she wouldn’t be digging into trauma work with as of yet. She feels that I still have a ways to go in achieving higher functioning in my daily life. After dissecting what exactly she means, I have to agree with her standpoint.
The goal now is to achieve some sort of structure in my day to day life. I don’t have much of a schedule that I follow right now. And what little scheduling there is certainly doesn’t include things like exercise, getting out of the house, regular meal times etc. I’m very isolated at the moment which is partly to do with the season but I have been making strides in that department. I try and accept invitations from friends more often and even initiate an afternoon out for coffee. But there are other things such as volunteering that I have yet to follow up on.
So the idea is to make up a schedule of an ideal day/week that strikes a balance between those things we must do and those things that are pleasurable, and then add those things into my actual schedule. That means scheduling a shower, doing the dishes, vacuuming, going for a walk, going to the dog park, spending meaningful time with my wife. Scheduling absolutely everything.
But everything has to start somewhere, so much against my all or nothing nature the one thing I choose to add this week is going to the dog park at least 4 times. Should be doable right? I’ll keep you posted.
In the end, my session with my therapist was quite productive today. I like knowing where we stand. It gives me that sense of control over the process that I so desperately crave in my life.
After all, that’s what therapy is about right? Building a sense of mastery in one’s life.
Remember, it’s okay to ask in therapy, “Wait, what were we working on again?”
The body of a child,
Ripped, torn and beaten.
You think it was
Tripped, worn and eaten
Up, like dinner
Served to the winner.
Prized, praised, pretty and primped.
Lies, laid, little and limp.
Promised, plied, played and pimped.
Taste the bile,
All the while,
Stick to your style
Piece of shit.
So yesterday in therapy we talked about the darkness and the light. We talked about how life has both, needs both, to balance the other out. The reason we were talking about this is because I have been in a bit of a lull. A period of calm you might say. With the exception of feeling a little melancholy here and there I’ve had mostly good days.
I’ve written about this before in a slightly different context. It is in these times that I find I can’t enjoy myself too much. I can’t relax too much. To let my guard down that way would be dangerous and ill advised. It is hard to accept that things are okay without feeling that the other shoe could drop at any moment. Of course, this all fits in with the PTSD and so, is somewhat inherently part of my makeup. But what my therapist would like me to try and realize is that I don’t need to waste the okay times anticipating the bad. The bad will come eventually whether I am prepared for it or not. So why not just relax and basque in the glow of happiness without judgement?
That’s where the DBT skills come into play as well. Being mindful, present, doing one thing in the moment. Filling up my time with pleasurable activities and being mindful of what exactly this emotion is. I guess I truly am learning a few things in DBT. I still don’t believe it’s the be all and end all that some chalk it up to being but it does have some useful ideas. I guess really I’m a fan of anything I can do to keep out of the hospital.
I know that many, if not most DID people have been in and out of the hospital at least a couple of times. I’ve been close to being admitted a couple of times myself but in those moments of evaluation I was able to pull it together enough to receive outpatient care instead. Being put in the hospital terrifies me. I don’t know that I would even stabilize me in a time of need or if it would just scare me to death. So I hope to avoid that eventuality at all costs. Perhaps this fear even keeps me from reaching full healing potential. For if I dig too deep I risk destabilizing and leave myself vulnerable to the need for intervention. Unacceptable. Maybe one of you can explain to me what happens in the hospital to take the mystery out of it for me. Fearing the unknown is a huge issue in my life
Fear in any form has been a huge issue in my life. What to do about that? What to do?
I’m sitting and watching the snow reduce itself to a massive watery mess at the curbside. The sun is slanted sideways through the evening sky shining directly upon my face through the dusty window. I feel the warmth of that solar power warm my skin. It helps to keep my bitter coffee from cooling down as its aroma fills my lungs. I feel a longing inside.
The song I hear, speaking words of loss and loneliness. I wonder what the days ahead hold in store for me. A bag sits in front of me made of the recycled bits of our past. That plastic pill holder you threw out, the casing of a syringe from the pharmacy, the bottle of booze in the gutter. Is that what went into the making of this bag? I think maybe we’re all made of recycled bits of our parents. Enmeshed, mingled, molded into something new and perhaps not so different. After going through the crushing and grinding, heating, cleansing we are then spit out in our current shape. Or maybe we’re quite different in our new shiny form. We were made for an alternate purpose, mistakenly placed amidst the hell that we suffered. Yes that’s it. It must have been some universal glitch. Surely it wasn’t meant to be this way. For whatever a believer believes in, a divinity of such cruelty should not be allowed to exist.