Posted by: Marie | December 16, 2010

(467) My mind is playing tricks on me

Post #467
[Email correspondence with my therapist on Monday, July 5, 2010]

Hi, Edward –

I have been thinking about not sending a status report this week – and instead just seeing how things unfold in this next session and maybe say something to you after that. But, after much internal debate, I have decided the better choice would be to tell you what is going on despite my fear of doing so. I’m going with this latter plan and I’m sending the email today, before I change my mind again.

Here it goes . . .

I am having trouble making sense of everything that happened in the last session. I keep telling myself I was just tired during the session, or I have been tired during the times since the session I have tried sitting down and figuring out what happened.

Photo by Martin Chen

I’ve been fighting allergies . . . I was having trouble sleeping for a couple of weeks because my nose was plugged. So, I got an OTC allergy medicine for it, but that made me really hyper and I had trouble sleeping for about a week until I cut the dose in half (I was only taking a 12-hour dose once every 24 hours, now I’m taking ½ a 12-hour dose once every 24 hours). Now I’m sleeping better. I cut the dose around the time of our last session, so I had not been sleeping well in the week prior.

Maybe this is all because of that – in the session, I noticed I was a bit light-headed a couple of times, and I was thirsty. So, maybe it was the medication and the lack of sleep.

Having said all that . . .

I think I’m missing chunks of time in my memory of what happened in the session.

Normally, if I sit down and jot down some notes within a day or two of a session, I can easily recall 90% or more of the conversation. Then, I can go back up to a month or two later and fill in the details of the conversation including transitions between topics and key points and even many of the key phrases and important vocabulary. It’s almost like I have a tape recorder in my head.

However, I sat down to make the general notes in the hours after this last session and had trouble remembering even key points. What I do remember I’m able to remember because I have the text of the letter – but I’m not even sure which of the first few paragraphs we finished. I remember about half (I think) of our conversation about the letter.

I’m not sure what percentage I remember because I seem to be missing chunks of time and I’m having to guess how much time I’m missing based upon how much time I remember. It’s not like I was counting the minutes, so it’s a guess.

The parts I remember are when I was being “logical” and reading the letter without emotion. In those times, I could function well but felt like I was reading something not of my own writing – I had very little memory of the process of remembering and writing the letter in the first place.

When I allowed myself to “feel”, several things happened:

– I was no longer able to comprehend the contents of the letter, I could only pick out individual words but I couldn’t stitch them together to understand what was written – like the vocabulary was beyond my comprehension.

– I felt like I was underwater and I was having trouble hearing your voice – it was very muffled. And, I have little memory of what you said.

– I felt unable to speak – or, at most, I felt only able to respond to direct questions/commands from you. I felt unable to use logic or create new thoughts. Furthermore, I had no desire to communicate. Instead, I wanted to curl up and sleep – I didn’t care about doing therapy.

And now, as I have continued to attempt to pull together some notes about the session, and as I’m typing this letter, I keep getting light-headed and sleepy. Every time I start thinking about our last session or what might be coming up in the next session, I want to curl up and go to sleep and not wake up – and it’s not just a passing mid-afternoon slump – it’s a disabling stall in my flow of energy. When I’ve felt that way, I have lain down on my bed for a nap. But, I don’t fall asleep . . . and, within 30 minutes or so (when I’ve stopped thinking about therapy and started thinking about something else), I’m ready to get up and go at full speed again.

I’m working today . . . I’ve been functioning fine, teaching lessons, working on lesson plans, etc. But, as soon as I sat down to make some notes about the session this afternoon, I went back into a major slump.

I don’t remember anything like this happening before . . . or, at least not to this degree. I’m struggling to know what to think of it.

I’m afraid to tell you about this – I’m afraid you’ll think I’m making it up or exaggerating. I’ve tried to convince myself it’s a fluke and it won’t continue. I’ve tried convincing myself it is nothing that a little extra sleep won’t fix. But, it has continued now for five days despite an increase in sleep and water and protein in my diet. I have been binging some, but not more than what is “normal” for me – in fact, a bit less than “normal” because I’m focusing on getting my body chemistry leveled out.

But, I’ve had a dramatic increase in skin picking since the session – the picking has been mostly dormant for the last 4-6 months – maybe I’m doing that to replace the binging.

So . . . um . . . I’m not sure what to do with this.

– Marie


Dear Marie,

Thank you for the letter.

I want to acknowledge getting your thoughtful correspondence.

I’ll take some time and read it over in advance of our meeting next week.

I look forward to our shared time.




  1. Hi Marie,
    I get that symptom of feeling an enormous fatigue and feeling like I need to lie down immediately when I’ve been triggered. It’s not a true tiredness for me – it’s a kind of state. Sleeping doesn’t help – if anything, it makes it worse. But lying down seems like the only option at that point.

    And also the not remembering well…sounds like you were flooded by ‘old’ emotion, and then somehow the brain doesn’t function normally…that has also happened to me. It’s a very odd feeling.

    I know this has happened some months in the past…I suspect as you processed your session over time, you went back to normal? I have to admit, I don’t know any remedy for these symptoms, beyond not beating yourself up for having them. Sometimes that’s the most difficult thing to do. Cheers

    • Hey, Ellen –

      I think this experience is pretty common . . . just not for me . . . or, at least, not in recent memory.

      To answer your question . . . it was a temporary thing . . . and Edward helped me through it. So, yes, I am back to “normal” . . . well, except my normal has shifted . . . but you know what I mean, LOL!

      Thank you for your encouraging words!

      – Marie

  2. I’m not surprised you zoned out sometimes Marie. If you had allergies and were on medicine as well as dealing with some really triggering stuff – all that would be enough for me to zone out sometimes.

    • Hey, Evan –

      And, yes, I later learned my reaction was within the “normal” range . . . it just wasn’t something I was used to . . . it freaked me out!

      – Marie

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