Do You Tell Your Therapist How Bad You Feel?

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Queen Boudica

MyPTSD Pro
Actually, thinking about it more, some of the stuff I do want to tell him and intend to tell him, but it is so hard to get into words and I am anxious that it is the wrong thing to say or not relevant.

There never seems enough time to deal with all the stuff that has gone on in a week. It is easier to talk about some stuff, or I start with stuff at the beginning of the week and never get to the stuff I think is more important because just covering the other stuff takes all the time and the more important stuff would have been more difficult to explain and take up more time, so I would not cover the other stuff.

Or I just forget because we have been discussing the other stuff.

After a session I think, I should have covered that, or told him that and I think I will tell him next time, but, by that time, a whole week has gone by and there is so much more stuff.

I guess I am saying I am so completely overwhelmed by this, that I can't see how I could possibly tell him or cover all the bad stuff and how I feel about it.

And, when I do hint at how bad I am feeling it seems to be just almost washed over and there are suggestions made, that I think I am already doing, so I should not feel so bad if I were doing them, but I am, but obviously in the wrong way or something. Or I am just too overwhelmed for it to work?

So I think there are a whole load of reasons why I don't tell him how bad I feel. I intend to and then anxiouness and lack of time and all the other issues and thinking that I should not feel that way if I am doing what he tells me to. And sometimes I get into his office and it just goes out of my head completely. Or at the time I am feeling OK so I just can't explain how I feel when I am feeling so bad because it just seems fake.

Just too hard.
 

Meadowsweet

MyPTSD Pro
It might be helpful to keep a brief journal. Not necessarily to include all your thoughts and feelings. But a brief one line reminder like 'imagined suicide once today' or 'had a lot of images in mind today'.

If your therapist can look at that at the start of the session, it would give him (or her) a more complete view. They could then ask you to tell them more about certain parts of it.
 

maddog

MyPTSD Pro
Gosh, Lizio, you just summed up my struggle exactly. There is never enough time, never enough energy or ability to articulate or prioritise or time manage or speak logically...

I long so deeply for honesty, yet sometimes feel as though it is somehow beyond me for reasons I can't even be honest about, because I don't really understand them.

Just wish I could teleport him into my world at key moments when I have the words, and the strength, and the time...

Maddog
 

Claire

MyPTSD Pro
I have something with my therapist we call The Headlines. I say, I've got lots of things I want to talk to him about and he says ok, give me the headlines. So that might be: Sleep (lack of), nightmares, sounds of cars, work pressure. It can include whatever but then he at least knows. Then we go on and talk about each one of the most importants ones. I also write lists. I really hate going there and then coming away with the thing I wanted to talk about still unsaid. Part of going to therapy is the unloading of things, you cant discuss or work things out if you keep them to yourself. I've also found writing an email or letter is the easiest, least painful way to say what I want to say. Then we discuss it. It's a way of getting it out there in the open.
 

KvE

Learning
I also often write my therapist an email. It really helps because then I am getting it out there and I don't have to worry about forgetting it because he will bring it up. I will normally write him the day before my session and be like these are the things I need to talk about. I also see him twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday so I sometimes will write him over the weekend if stuff gets bad enough.
 

myself

Learning
I do strongly believe that honesty is somehow almost always the best policy.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me at least, I know that the fears about opening up and being honest with my T are directly related to the abuse I went thru. I spent most of my childhood just trying to survive, and that seriously messed with my head and my ability to trust and rely on other people. I have a hard time opening up and being honest about the abuse because:

a) I’m afraid it will trigger flashbacks or panic attacks.

b) I’m afraid they can’t comprehend or understand and will think me crazy or do what so many others have done and deign that I lived what I lived, saw what I saw, and survived what I survived; having my reality deigned is just too hurtful to keep going thru and I don’t want to set myself up for that pain and hurt. It makes me feel worthless and like I’m less than human when people can’t give me the dignity of recognizing that my feelings are valid too and that what I went thru was real; it sucked going thru it alone and being called a liar by those who should have protected me as a child and it sucked when people enabled the abuse by deigning that it was abuse, justified the abuse/abuser, and/or treated the abuse as if it were a normal way to punish bad children. Having people do that today pings at my heart and stomach tearing open very visceral old wounds reverberating them with the same insecurities and hurt I felt then all over again; to have my reality deigned hurts me to my core, and I don’t want to go thru that so it is easier not to open up.

c.) I have a fear that what I go thru is not normal, and that I am going crazy, and someone someday is going to figure out how f#cked up I am and lock me up.

d.) one of my abusers used to threaten to kill my sisters and then me if I were to talk about it.

e.) my abusers used to beat me for expressing pain, anger, and sadness.

f) to this day I still have problem expressing “negative ” feelings due to the abuse I survived. I am however trying to take away the lingering influence and oppression this has over me by speaking up and talking about it; by trying to open up and talk about it, I hope to take away the power these thoughts and memories have over me (and in a way, take away any lingering power my abuser has over me), even though it is very hard to do and hard to go thru.
 

Hashi

MyPTSD Pro
Basically we have a written agreement that says I can tell him I feel like killing myself and he won't send me to the hospital. If I tell him that I am going to though then he would.

This is a good idea. I had something like this with my last T, but just spoken not written down. It would be a good idea to talk about it in general with my new T now, while I'm not in crisis. I'm sure as you and others have rightly said, it's having plans and intentions that would trigger any action on the therapist's part, not just wishing/fantasising.
 

Hashi

MyPTSD Pro
I agree it's hard to cover what you want to in a session. 50 minutes is so short, and a week is so long. I'm not convinced this is the best way to arrange therapy. I wish I could afford to go twice a week or have a longer session.

Lizio, I really understand what you mean. I make a list of what comes up as I go through the week and then decide before the session what the priority is for me to talk about. That can make it harder in a way, because it means I'm choosing to launch into what's probably the most difficult thing to say, so often I write a couple of paragraphs about it to read at the beginning, to get started. (I've also made a therapy rule for myself never to talk about any everyday upsets unless they're important with regard to the trauma or healing from it, because there's just not enough time for that.)

It's still a really short time that I've been seeing my new T. I told her something last week about my lack of coping and it was tough, at the time and after. She was OK about it. but for me it was weird to tell her something like that. I still feel like she's basically a stranger. *sighs*
 

Hashi

MyPTSD Pro
I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me at least, I know that the fears about opening up and being honest with my T are directly related to the abuse I went thru...

b) I’m afraid they can’t comprehend or understand and will think me crazy or do what so many others have done and deign that I lived what I lived, saw what I saw, and survived what I survived...

c.) I have a fear that what I go thru is not normal, and that I am going crazy, and someone someday is going to figure out how f#cked up I am and lock me up.

d.) one of my abusers used to threaten to kill my sisters and then me if I were to talk about it...

myself, I'm sorry you have so many reasons like this why it's hard to talk. I relate to these above, and especially I think the threat to kill you if you talk about it goes very deep. There's also something I've struggled with, which is not directly having flashbacks but generally feeling like I'll die if I tell someone. I've had the experience of disclosing something to my T and then being convinced I was going to die right there, that she would be the last person I'd ever see. Apparently this happens for a lot of people whose lives were threatened during trauma.

You're very brave to be in therapy and posting here.
 

maddog

MyPTSD Pro
Yes Hashi, I too have experienced this irrational spontaneous conviction that I will die upon disclosing something in therapy. Even more oddly, I have, on a few occasions, experienced this surreal kind of sense that my father is in the room with us, observing and somehow injecting himself into our discussions, trying to shut me down through his ever-present threatening existence, trying to derail the conversation, manipulating the dynamics...

It's truly horrible, and very very reflective of the fact that his presence became a constant ingrained obsession of mine as a child which is enormously triggered when those events are.

Not surprisingly therefore, I often experience an escalation in fear that he will find and harm me immediatley after I have disclosed something for the first time, as though he somehow intuitively knows when I have betrayed him.

The dynamics of trauma run so deep, so far...

Maddog
 
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