• 💖 [Donate To Keep MyPTSD Online] 💖 Every contribution, no matter how small, fuels our mission and helps us continue to provide peer-to-peer services. Your generosity keeps us independent and available freely to the world. MyPTSD closes if we can't reach our annual goal.

Embarrassed to go back to therapy

Compass307

New Here
Hey everyone- hope all is well. Popping on here to share some shame around going back to therapy after a dissociative episode. I don’t have much continuity with sessions, I only recall I’ve had them because I’ve seen the email reminders in my inbox. It’s three or four sessions spanning two months and I just don’t know what we’ve discussed. It feels awful… has anyone experienced this? How did / do you improve amnesia or cope with it once it’s happened? I feel like I’m missing so much of the good and that I have no control.
 
Can you share the above with your therapist?

Therapy isn't going to work if your disassociated the whole time.
There is no shame in this at all. But, a therapist needs to know that this is happening so that you can work together on building a safe place, grounding, before tackling any of the stuff that makes you disassociate.
 
Can you share the above with your therapist?

Therapy isn't going to work if your disassociated the whole time.
There is no shame in this at all. But, a therapist needs to know that this is happening so that you can work together on building a safe place, grounding, before tackling any of the stuff that makes you disassociate.
I can for sure share this! I appreciate that encouragement. It’s not necessarily that it was the content of therapy but more this experience of feeling disconnected for so long. Like I’m living in the background which feels crazy to me. I’ll share this too..but, I just don’t understand any of it!
 
Seconding sharing with your T. Dissociation can sometime be a difficult one for a therapist to spot, especially if it's a newer relationship... When I started therapy the first time round I knew something was happening, I just didn't know what, and she never mentioned it, so I just guessed it was normal. After a few months she gave me language to understand what the sensation was, rather than just not concentrating hard enough/ forgetful and suddenly stuff started to fit together. I get the shame, but there's nothing to be shameful of, full stop. Your body is doing it's best to protect you, it hasn't twigged yet that it's safe, and good grief that can be a loonnnggg process in trauma work.

Practically, some people decide together with their T to audio record/ video record (if online) sessions so they can revisit content, or write notes of anything you can recall, even just single words can sometimes prompt a thought, or their T sends a short summery of the topics that were brought up. I think it's one of those things that's really individual dependent on the relationship between you, but talking about it is step one...
 
It’s three or four sessions spanning two months and I just don’t know what we’ve discussed.
my own damaged memory has turned a 50 year pro-parade into a big ol' bowl of alphabet soup. names, ranks and serial numbers are all a jumbled mess which i don't feel motivated to sort. they are too socially distant to be worth remembering accurately. my memory of peer supporters i have worked with is far easier to sort, but the focus of my remembering is on the strictly personal healing.
How did / do you improve amnesia or cope with it once it’s happened?
i started formal therapy in 1972 at age 18 with full trauma induced amnesia. it took me about 15 years to figure out why all those well-educated people kept saying, "amnesia" like it was a bad thing. "forgive and forget" was my living motto. alas, who needs to forgive what we can forget? the bitter ooze of non-forgiveness was seeping into every corner of my life. to this day, i perform daily memory tests to inventory how well my memory is working on any given day. it varies ALLOT. an unexpected bonus is that today i am the only senior citizen i know whose memory is improving with age.
I feel like I’m missing so much of the good and that I have no control.
this was the very radical acceptance which proved to be a breakthrough in my own healing journey. during my early therapy, i was far more focused on **just getting over it** than the tedium of healing. i was also so much of a control freak that the stick up my ass had a stick up its ass. i was far more interested in appearances than healing and missing out on life for the sake of appearances. giving up the illusion of control allowed me to open my mind and heart to the healing mysteries.
 
It feels awful… has anyone experienced this? How did / do you improve amnesia or cope with it once it’s happened? I feel like I’m missing so much of the good and that I have no control.
I just make it an adventure in my mind. There are times we did stuff last session and I can not for the world remember what we did.

Its a great reason to start a trauma diary here though. (Usually some reminders and thoughts after your session).

Best part of them is - there is someone where you are or that has been where you are to help you work stuff out too....because in reality and in therapy sometimes, I can't see stuff others can.
 
It's brave to acknowledge the challenges you're facing with therapy & counselling, especially after a dissociative episode. It's not uncommon to feel disconnected from your sessions, and you're definitely not alone in this.

One thing that might help is to keep a journal where you note down key points after each session. This can serve as a reference and help improve continuity. Also, discussing this amnesia with your therapist could lead to tailored strategies that might work for you. Keep pushing forward, you're doing a great job by just showing up.
 
Yes I agree a tailored strategy which works for you is best and you need to try a few of those strategies out which takes time... and, your T needs to know the extent you're not remembering things.. they need to be on that same page so that together you're working on it...

I think though, don't put pressure on yourself to remember everything... atm, you're maybe in the stage of getting yourself to session, learning how to stay in the room physically for the duration which maybe causing the dissociation (learning how to be safe)... and the more you can do that and your both develop that therapeutic relationship, the more present you'll be and the more in time, you'll retain from session... it's ok to be at the stage you are now...a necessity step.. I've been there and I know how it feels, but if you work well with T, you can work through it...

Here are some strategies I can think of, some of which I use:

- Agree with T at the end of session the main points (a summary) of what's covered at the end of the session

- Get T to run through contents from the previous session to bring you up to speed before session starts... they'll need to be careful not to go into triggering material, as you may have forgotten since previous session (just a general overview)

- keep a member diary here to record down what you discussed and your reflections, this can really help! Or write it in a journal at home

- T may email you a summary of that's something they agree with... but I think if you make points immediately after session, and T has summarised at the end of session, you can often retain key points

- set an alarm on your phone once/ twice a week (or however may times you want) to read over the points you've made about sessions in your diary to keep reminding yourself of the work covered (repetition helps)

If you think using these strategies are too difficult to put in practice, e.g you're even forgetting about the strategies despite trying, you may need to bring that up in session with T to work out extra strategies.. if you're dealing with parts and losing time etc (e.g a dissociative disorder of sorts) you may need more specific in put...
 
It's brave to acknowledge the challenges you're facing with therapy & counselling, especially after a dissociative episode. It's not uncommon to feel disconnected from your sessions, and you're definitely not alone in this.

One thing that might help is to keep a journal where you note down key points after each session. This can serve as a reference and help improve continuity. Also, discussing this amnesia with your therapist could lead to tailored strategies that might work for you. Keep pushing forward, you're doing a great job by just showing up.
Thank you so much!!
 
Back
Top