Posted by: Marie | August 17, 2011

(578) In search of hope – Part 4 of 6

Post #578
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: Well, I guess I don’t feel much during those hours . . . I just stay busy and I don’t really allow myself to feel emotions.

Edward: Busy doing what?

Me: Cleaning the studio, doing scheduling and bookkeeping, working on my blog, creating lesson plans . . . that kind of stuff . . .

Edward: I understand that is what you do during the work day . . . what about in the evening hours?

Me: Well, I teach until about 7:30 or 8:00, then I work in my office until 9:00 or 10:00 – until I’m so tired I’m about ready to pass out, then I go home. If I’m that tired when I do finally go home, I have a better chance of going to sleep quickly and getting through the time I’m trying to fall asleep without having to think or feel.

Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: And first thing in the mornings? On the weekends?

Me: (Taking on a defensive tone) I work . . . I’m either teaching, doing business networking, working on business stuff from the time I get up until the time I go to bed, seven days a week. That is the only way I can get everything done and it is the only way to make the time pass at a tolerable speed. That’s why I work so much . . . it’s the only way I can keep from feeling.

Edward: What happens if you can’t be busy and time passes more slowly?

Me: I don’t know . . . I guess I survive it . . .

(I felt the anger inside of me finally reach a boiling point. I felt unable to continue with a calm conversation but I didn’t feel I could allow myself to lose control and start screaming at him. So, instead, I sat silently for a few minutes with my fists clenched, then I did say something . . . )

Me: (With intense frustration)

I don’t know the answers to your questions!!

I don’t know what you want me to say!!

Edward: (Interrupting me mid-sentence with a slightly raised voice)

You aren’t supposed to know the answers! I don’t have all the answers, either!! We’re figuring it out together!!

(I got emotional to the point that I couldn’t talk anymore. I could only cover my face with my hands and sob. I sat and cried for several minutes. I was so triggered by the exchange with Edward that I found myself wanting desperately to disappear. Finally, I spoke . . . )

Me: I can’t do this.

Edward: You can’t do what?

Me: I can’t stay here and have this conversation. I want to leave.

Edward: Are you wanting to dissociate or are you wanting to physically leave my office?

Me: I want to leave your office . . . I don’t want to be here. I want to get in my car and leave.

Edward: You are welcome to do that. You don’t have to stay. If that is what you need to do, I encourage you to do it.

Me: What I need to do is to stay here and deal with this. I want to leave, but I need to stay. It is best for me to stay.

Edward: Okay. You are welcome to stay, also.

Would it be helpful for you to use your blanket or to move into the corner?

Me: I really don’t feel like doing that right now. I prefer to stay here on the couch.

Edward: Okay.

(As a consolation, I allowed myself to dissociate to some extent. I lost track of time. I felt unable to tolerate this exchange with Edward and I felt powerless to stop it, so I just allowed myself to float in nothingness instead. After a while, Edward checked in with me . . . )

Edward: (Very gently) Can you tell me what is happening with you right now?

Me: (After struggling to answer) I keep hearing my dad’s voice telling me to stop complaining . . . that if I can’t explain what is wrong and what needs to happen to fix it – which I’m not able to do in relation to this desire to not be here – then there is no problem and I’m just being silly and overly dramatic.

Edward: Do you think I’m asking you to explain the cause of your desire to not be here?

Me: Well, yes – I think you want me to justify how I’m spending my time – that, if I spent my time wisely – if I did it “right” – I wouldn’t feel this way. I think you think I should know why I feel this way and that I should know what needs to happen to fix it and I need to either fix it or quit complaining.

Edward: That’s not at all what I’m saying . . . I’m just trying to better understand the circumstances surrounding your desire to not be here. But, I think my approach may have triggered you . . . is that what happened?

Me: Yes.

Edward: Ah . . . that better explains things. I was confused by what happened . . . I was asking questions so I could better understand and then I felt anger and fear and I felt you pulling away from me and I didn’t know why. But, now I understand. Thank you for telling me.

I definitely do not expect you to know how to move forward in your healing – last I checked, you don’t have a psychology degree and a counseling license. You aren’t supposed to have those answers. That is my responsibility.

(That made me smile a little).

Edward: So, I understand that you were triggered by the nature of my questions because they reminded you of how your dad would question you in a judgmental manner.

Me: Yes.

Edward: I apologize that I caused you to be triggered. That was not my intent and I’m sorry that you were affected the way you were.

The good news is that we can learn something from it.

I wonder if there is something else here that bears some investigation . . . something in addition to the trigger you mentioned. I understand you fear not measuring up to your dad’s standards. But, is there some additional fear mixed in there?

Me: (After thinking about his question for a few moments) Yeah . . . I’m afraid I’m too broken to ever be fixed. I’m afraid that, even after years and years and therapy and hard work, nothing will be better. I’m afraid I’m beyond repair.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

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