Therapy limbo and badly timed trigger

I really appreciate the supportive comments I received on my last blog about the therapist taking a call during our session. After considering it, I decided I couldn’t move past it and decided to email the centre that I visit. I felt guilty for doing it but realised there was no was no way forward for me. I just sent a generic email requesting a recommendation for a new therapist as I felt this relationship had come to an end. However, she wanted more information about the reasons why, and I decided to elaborate, I wrote this;

“******* is lovely. A very warm person. But her using her cell phone during our sessions has really gotten to me. I’d prefer this stay between us. It might not matter to other people. Initially she told me it was to check the time. But the sound is on, she will receive texts and calls. Last session taking a call threw me off when I was opening up about something and I found it impossible to get back on track.

Some people probably wouldn’t mind that but I really struggle as it is to be open. A distraction like that left me feeling quite vulnerable and exposed. And I felt that because I hadn’t discussed the phone thing at the start I couldn’t discuss it then. On from that the relationship seems irreparable as I feel her experience of my experiences are a bit limited. There has been more of a lean towards depression – as I know that she suffers with that herself. But I need to work through all the trauma.

Anyway I hope that gives you more of a picture.

I’m sorry about this. I was eager to make this work and tried to throw everything at it. But now it’s feeling like I’m wasting everyone’s time and the call on Thursday was for me the final straw.

I look forward to hearing from you”

I feel pretty shitty actually that I wrote that to her manager. Like I’m making something out of nothing, but I really don’t feel I can carry on seeing this woman. I genuinely have felt that her knowledge base of my experiences has been a bit limited. It’s like the call has been the final straw for me.

Anyway, I haven’t heard anything yet.

Meanwhile now in therapy limbo I happened across this picture on Facebook:

IMG_3824-0.JPG

I suddenly realised I had no idea what ‘he’ wore. I got so upset and mentioned it to my husband who in turn got upset because he hadn’t realised that I’d been asked what I wore – which of course is the standard questioning. I feel there’s a gaping hole in my memory. I feel sick. I’ve been trying to force it, but there’s nothing. Often I lose little things, then I’ll remember other things. I hate the way my brain won’t work to my demands. Every little detail is painful. Every missing part is a hole and a piece for him to have over me.

People that lose their virginity should have special memories. They should cherish every moment. Remember the finer details. Not force their brains to remember the clothes of the person that forced them self painfully onto them despite protests.

I hate you. I hate you so fucking much. You took everything from me and I don’t even know what fucking shirt you wore.

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Therapy hassles

I went to therapy today and began pouring my heart out about how relaxed and free I felt while I was away. No listening for footsteps, no waiting for the attack, no fearing the darkness, no jumping at shadows. I felt for the first in time in years, free. I could hear the birds, enjoy the view and read my book. Since being home, I’d had a horrible nightmare, there was this foreboding sense of dread and….

Her cell rang.

She answered it.

She previously flippantly told me to ignore it, of course she wouldn’t answer she said. This time she did.

She spoke to her daughter for a good ten minutes.

Then she looked she at me, ‘where were we?’ She said.

I felt tiny and weak and embarrassed. I had been exposing my raw truth, my vulnerabilities and her cell had taken precedence. I should have confronted the issue – I am in other respects an assertive woman. But I couldn’t. It didn’t seem important, I didn’t seem important. My worth, my story, my predicament didn’t seem worthy.

I closed up after that. I said a few things and her responses seemed to ‘canned’ and at times not quite fitting. I wonder if she was listening to me properly. At one point I gazed out the window thinking about how beautiful blue the sky was. She told me I had a look of determination on my face, like I was planning something. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. It almost felt like I’d come to see this rip off psychic reader, she was off base with my expressions and my comments, trying to second guess what I wanted to hear. It felt painful, disappointing. The hour dragged. When the doorbell rang and she announced that was her next client I felt relief. She hugged me at the end. Even that didn’t felt genuine.

When I go into therapy I tackle the offender and I tackle my abusive ex. Today I was weak and they were strong. They won again.

I came home I felt so drained. I fell into a very deep slumber.

It feels lonely. Ok so my therapist took a call, not a big deal, although her bloody phone is always going off in our sessions. Taking a personal call was probably a tad unprofessional, but the point is that in my ONE HOUR a week I get to unload all that nasty stuff. All the fears and anxieties , the stresses and pains of the past. Today it felt like my own therapist felt I wasn’t worth that.

I’m wondering if therapy is more hassle than it’s worth.

The break

Last week was pretty intense for me. I was took part in a march through the city for women’s rights which was very important to me and yet at this point in time well outside of my comfort zone. The walk led from the centre of town to parliament. Here is a link of the national news if you are interested:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11325011

Then on the same evening I went and watched a viewing of ‘Consent’ and listened to Louise Nicholas do a presentation. She’s an advocate for the rape presentation education organisation in Auckland and the movie is based on her experiences of repeated assaults by police officers.

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/news/2014/louise-nicholas-fronts-film-screening-of-her-story

Both experiences were emotive but important and empowering to me and I met a lot of incredibly inspiring people.

Therapy was confronting on the Thursday as I explored a lot of my anger and voiced my deep rooted frustrations with everyone that have let me down.

I had decided I needed some time out. Therapy had been getting intense, I was in this ongoing routine with the kids, regular psychiatrist appointments, taking my medications, not sleeping well, just feeling on edge and quite miserable. The plan was to go away on the weekend to Rotorua. But I decided to drive on Thursday up to Taupo. Best decision I could have made. The weather was rotten, and it took a good 5 hours. I was exhausted. I stayed in a hotel on the lake front. The following day it was just a 2 hour drive to a Bach I had rented. Situated on private land, next to a forest and right on a lake. It was absolutely stunning. Peaceful, warm, and a spa pool! I didn’t use a radio or a TV and didn’t bother with social media. I just read. It was absolute bliss. I’d read for hours and forget the time. And every night I slept deeply and peacefully. I didn’t feel anxious, I didn’t feel fear or anything. Of course I had my torches next to me just in case but I felt truly safe. I felt free. It was the most amazing feeling.

I left on Monday and drove straight through to get home. Unbelievably there was snow on some of the way home! It was pretty odd drive. Suffice to say I was shattered by the time I arrived.

Last night (Tuesday) I had a couple of awful nightmares and woke up in a panic not sure where I was.

And tomorrow of course is therapy again.

The break was wonderful and I’m so glad and appreciative that I got to go. To see that I could actually experience those feelings of being relaxed. Of sleeping properly. I wish I could have bottled that and not the array of medications I have instead.

Missed therapy

I didn’t have therapy on Thursday. My kids have taken it in turns to be sick 24/7. I’ve been at home everyday. They are ok minor tummy bugs, but I’m feeling especially claustrophobic! I like therapy particularly after a weekend group session to defrag. I also appreciate having some time out to myself. I had hoped to get back into swimming this week.

Nightmares have been awful this week. Waking up in a state of fear. Pretty much always thinking I’m back in England. If not graphic violence then clear loss of control, anxiety, fear. I’ve been running on less sleep than usual and I haven’t wanted to rely on sleeping tablets because the kids have been coming In due to illness. There’s been an impending sense of it never ending.

I told my husband I needed to get to away for the weekend. My brain feels like it’s going to explode. I haven’t been away from the family for so long and I’m exhausted. I’ve spent the week covered in shit and vomit and the laundry has tripled – which is pretty remarkable. We’ve gone from prison loads to entire hotel chain loads. I’m just slowly losing the will to live! If we had family I’d ask them for help, but we don’t.

So next weekend I’m driving up the country to a favourite spot of mine. I’ve rented a small house on a lake . I just want peace and quiet. I intend to read and sleep! Take some nice strolls around the lake and I hope find some inner peace. I know that sounds a bit cliche but even the cynical of us need a bit of hippie talk sometimes!

Not having therapy means I’ve not focused at all on what’s going on internally. It’s the strangest feeling. I used to ignore it. Now I’m aware of it and I’m aware it’s been neglected. Certainly I could go on and bury it all again. Part of me wants to. Frankly I’m sick of it all. But there mere fact that I’m aware of it’s presence now, I’m starting to wonder if that means there could be something better for me . Plus the nightmares were worse from lack of talking things through. And I crave time away to be alone with my feelings.

I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to have that time to myself and I’m grateful to my husband for arranging it.

Would you think less of me if I also admitted that I’m also very anxious and have all the typical fears – being alone in the dark? What if there’s a power cut? What if there’s dodgy people near me? What if I’m scared? What if I have a nightmare? What if I have a panic attack?

Where did the vibrant independent woman?

Group therapy then a BAD day

Yesterday was the monthly group. It was also Fathers Day here. I thought it might be quiet but in fact there were a lot of women there. In every group thing I go to there is always the one person I click with and the one person I clash with. Always happens. When I say group, I don’t mean support, I mean work training, presentation – ANYTHING that involves a group of people. I’d have thought that being a group of survivors I’d avoid that particular pothole. But no. Same thing.

So this time I had blondie, she had long blonde hair tied into a side pony tail and she had brought this really pretentious poem and I should have given her a break. I shouldn’t have judged. But I couldn’t help it. She kept flicking that ponytail and playing with her hair and sniffing it. And talking about herself. And there was a platter of food in the middle and she kept eating it all without asking anyone else. The other women were really nice, some timid, some tearful, some chatty (not like blondie) – and yes before anyone says she might have been nervous. But she spoke with such authority on everything. Bordering patronising to the other people.

One of her discussion topics for the group was, she has so many friends, how can she manage them. How can they be ‘normal’ considering she’s a ‘survivor.’ I took issue to this and maybe there was some misplaced anger there maybe some fear I don’t know. But I said, as survivors, there are so many things that we think about, where we park our car, what time we go out, characters near us, panic attacks, nightmares, where we sleep, drs appointments – friends – who we have in our lives is the ONE thing we can control. Analysing friendships is something non survivors do as well. So why must make ourselves different again, add more stress by adding a sub heading for something we can actually have more control over.

Suffice to say, it didn’t go down well.

In fact blondie had acquired her own younger buddy who argued back and then when I used the term acquaintance she said she wouldn’t use the word that way. And I said that’s how it was defined and she said that was how I defined it. And I said no, it was in the dictionary that way. And she still argued with me. I guess it was all very emotive in there. And this younger girl her emotions were right on the surface whereas mine seem to be shoved down deep against my spine somewhere.

As the afternoon progressed references were made to the Rolf Harris and Jimmy Saville cases. As well as a media case here. I made reference to the coronation street ‘Ken Barlow’ case in the UK which everyone got behind in the group. This one is my greatest trigger. And the one likeliest to rouse the greatest emotion from me. I found it did create a platform and from that I talked about the weekend when my husband was up in Auckland and my daughter had used the word ‘raping’ so unexpectedly. I talked about how I dealt with it at the time and felt like a failure. The emotions and the fears.

The facilitator broke it down for me and me realise just how much it would have affected me and why. She made me realise that it was ok to feel like that and the ripple effect on me. I explained that as far as my husband was concerned it was done. She told me this was why the group was good for me, because everyone here understood how I felt.

By the time I got home I felt physically, mentally, emotionally empty. My husband wanted to watch a movie and to spend time with him we did. It couldn’t have been more inappropriate, there was a scene of a couple losing their virginity. I felt sad. A little disgusted.

Last night I had recurring nightmares, some about my husband forcing himself on me.

This morning i had my day planned. I felt tired but got the kids ready, was about to leave and discovered my husband had left the car seat in his car. There was no way I was going to drive my son without his car seat. It’s not a long journey but I wouldn’t risk my beautiful boy. So I called my husband, finally got through and screamed at him. He had to leave the city and come home.

End result, kids are late, I’m upset and anxious and he’s in a mood.

There’s just no consideration. I do this group once a month. It’s my only chance to be around people that understand me. All I need is some support and compassion. I only stayed up last night because HE was disappointed that I wanted to go to bed early last night.

He knew I’d had a tough night. And he knew I had my day planned today and that I’d be overly anxious and emotional and yesterday.

To be honest he’s probably bored of the whole thing. I know I would be. All these years later, same issues, same upsets, same emotions, same words.

But i have spent so long pushing it away. For everyone else’s convenience and to an extent for our marriage. I’ll just do this then I’ll be over it….ok, I’ll just do this ….NO, it fucking well hurts.

And when it’s really bad I want to go away. It’s HIM that prefers I don’t. And when I looked for jobs elsewhere, he preferred I didn’t. So WTF do you want from me? Put up and shut up?

Therapy, feelings, trigger

Something happened, a trigger from a connection over social media. I can’t elaborate for my own security but it upset me terribly. I held someone else accountable and all of these emotions poured from me. Raw, vigorously. I felt betrayed, hurt, vulnerable, scared, sad, angry, confused. It went on throughout the day. I cried, I had anxiety attacks. I talked it through with my husband. I wanted to hide from the world. But my car saga was still ongoing. I had to drop off the rental and sort out my car so there wasn’t time for me to shut down. But it felt like I was going to insane. Like I would always be haunted. No escape

Therapy today focused on this subject. I really wanted to express the heartache, the shock and the sense of betrayal. I realise it’s a difficult scenario to discuss without details! But my therapist made me realise that I had directed a lot of my emotions at the wrong person and the actual social media thing was in fact not of the person’s doing. And certainly not intended to cause upset. I was able to see very quickly the misplaced the anger. But the situation acted as a springboard for me to talk more in detail about my feelings that I find so hard usually to express.

The thing that annoyed me today in my session was that she kept on saying, ‘you’re a competent intelligent woman. You handle things very well.’

Why does that annoy me?

Because that’s my problem. I bury things deep inside. I play my roles perfectly. Until I burn out. I become mentally unwell. I have had breakdowns. Just because I appear competent, just because I manage the kids, house, etc just because I smile doesn’t mean I’m not breaking inside. I can hardly have panic attacks in front of my children or cry all evening. For that one hour I see my therapist I cram in talk about my history. And that history is responsible for the medication I take now and the PTSD I have now. It’s the reason I don’t sleep well, I have nightmares, flashbacks, routines and fears. It’s exhausting. And when I’ve had a bad night I can’t say to someone, ‘oh I had a bad night because I had nightmares’ I can’t explain my misery on a Thursday afternoon because I’ve just seen my trauma therapist. I can’t explain my fears. No one wants to hear that and I don’t want to share it.

So if competent means hiding how I’m really feeling, then sure. Yes I am. But I want to be allowed to grieve and find out who I really am.

The lecture about my competence lasted a good 20 minutes as well as how I shouldn’t dwell on bad things because I seemed hurt at the end of our session. I said of course I seem hurt. I came here to talk about stuff that hurts me.

I just found the end a bit off. But the rest was good. Mostly because I was able to get things off my chest.

I decided to go off and get a pedicure afterwards!

This weekend the monthly group therapy thing meets. I intend to go again. Hopefully I will find it as useful as last time.