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Hitting a dead end at therapy

Discussion in 'Treatment & Therapy' started by StormAndWonder, May 1, 2018.

  1. StormAndWonder

    StormAndWonder New Member


    I'm new here. I've avoided talking about my CPTSD online because it makes me feel too vulnerable, but I've read these posts of yours and this seems like a place to start.

    I found a really good therapist a year and a half ago. I've felt safe, and there has been huge leaps of progress. Everything was going well, and we started digging in my first abusive relationship, which was worst of them all.

    And then I started to crumble. The excerices made me question everything, and in the therapy we dug really deep into everything else too. Not just the things that give me dissociations and panic attacks and numbness- to good things too, things I feel happy about, things I feel comfortable with, things that are safe. Things I've carefully built and cherished and that are reasonable and feel like just the right thing- for example getting married to a kind and caring person I've dated for 8 years. We're not getting married in a whim nor are we having sugar-coated visions of future: we love each other, we share possessions and we both want to legalize this friendship and companionship. But somehow this wasn't fine with my therapist who started poking and questioning over and over again.

    That questioning and the excercises lead to the point where I lost myself. I started questioning literally everything about myself. I suddenly didn't know what kind of clothes would a person like me want to wear. I had a major meltdown at a therapy session, we talked about this, therapist promised to tune things down a bit, I felt ok.

    But now we're getting closer to my next session and I'm stuck in a loop, where I feel ok when the session ends and the day after, but start getting anxious about the next session 4 days before it. I feel like not being able to take any more questioning at this point (there are other things going on too, so it's not the only catalyst), and I'm afraid of the things that are coming up on the next session. I know that there can't be growth and progress without questioning etc, but currently I feel like the whole thought therapy is pushing me further away from attending it. I feel like in need of a long holiday. At the same time I do realize that it's probably a bad idea to stop going at this point.

    Anyone else been to a situation like this? How did you deal with it?

    As for some background information: my cptsd was diagnosed a few years ago. It's been building up ever since childhood (several things, but no sexual abuse and only a few cases of domestic violence/attempts of it). I have a long line of relationships with abuse of every kind, as well as being bullied (both school and workplace). I have several chronic illnesses.
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  3. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

    What kind of therapy are you doing?

    I really don’t see the point of endlessly prodding and questioning the good things in life....unless there are possibly red flags she is noticing that you can’t see?
    Sietz likes this.
  4. StormAndWonder

    StormAndWonder New Member

    My therapist has integrative approach. There are plenty of cognitive methods at use. It's worked well so far, before this current situation.

    I've thought about the possibility of red flags too- and it has left me even more messed up to be honest. If I say that I bought sneakers, my therapist asks that was it a part of dissociation or something I did to cover up something that makes me anxious. No, it was because I had time to go to the stores and look for the shoes, which I had been meaning to buy for a year now. I made the purchase knowingly and I felt happy because maybe now my feet wouldn't hurt as much.

    It's ok to ask stuff like that but doing so in every single thing starts eating my soul. My therapist has been right before in things that are a part of my past, why wouldn't this be one of those cases too? Did I buy those shoes without realizing I was dissociating (no)? Did I buy them to fill a void (no)? But what if I'm wrong?

    Every single thing. Every single effing thing has to be questioned. If I say that I'd rather not, and that I'd rather focus on this other thing that has actually been bugging me, my therapist still turns the conversation back to the thing I never wanted to break into pieces.
    Nessa7 and EveHarrington like this.
  5. Suzetig

    Suzetig Still the Staff Kitteh... Moderator Sponsor $100+

    Tell her she needs to slow down - and if she won’t work with your boundaries, look fit someone else. Seriously, it’s one thing to be pushed to do the work and quite another to be dragged kicking and screaming. Does she know how anxious you are before your session? If not, tell her - make that the starting point for your next session.
    Nessa7 and Sietz like this.
  6. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

    That sounds quite maddening!

    I’ve had my therapist push me on things, but to be fair, it was in regards to relationships, in relevant ways....and since I struggle with relationships, it’s been within the scope of therapy.

    So....I can understand how frustrating it must be to be pushed and questioned about something as simple as buying a pair of shoes!

    Do you think that she’s focusing on these little things and not getting into bigger issues?

    I think that therapy is supposed to cause us a certain level of distress, but if it gets to the point where we question everything, even the good stuff, then this isn’t good...
    Nessa7 likes this.
  7. Justmehere

    Justmehere Help support myPTSD - more info in Social forum Moderator Premium Member

    This is the first session after this meltdown and conversation with her?

    Then perhaps see this session as a chance to see if she will tone it down. If she doesn’t, hold your boundary and tell her what you’ve written about here.
    Nessa7 likes this.
  8. StormAndWonder

    StormAndWonder New Member

    No, it was the second one. And I had to miss it, but I'll write a more general message about it.
  9. StormAndWonder

    StormAndWonder New Member

    Ok- some updates.

    I had to cancel the whole appointment. I had had an abdominal surgery a week before and even though the healing was going well, I tried participating a mandatory studysession the day before therapy and was completely drained afterwards- no wonder really. So I mailed my therapist and told that I had to cancel, because all social activites (even speaking on the phone with a friend) ended up with me totally blurry and drained with exhaustion. And therapy isn't really a part of light and easy sosial connections.

    The thing is, that on top of the surgery I also have those chronic autoimmune diseases, and if I push myself too hard I'm risking a flare. And by flare I mean suddenly loosing for example eyesight. And even though I know therapy can help with my CPTSD, I also know the limits my body can tolerate.

    So I mailed my therapist, who had said it would be ok if I would just send a message on the day before. I wrote about the situation, said I'm sorry for cancelling, and said I also have a doctor's note on my sickleave.

    Then my therapist replied and told that it's unfortunate that I'm not feeling well BUT cancelling the appointment would be bad for the therapy, considering that it has been difficult lately. And would it be possible if we were to have the session online, so I wouldn't have to travel to another town.

    It felt absurd. I understand the point, yes, but FFS. One of the main issues for me is that people close to me, people with power over me, haven't listened when I've said that this is my limit. That I can't go past this point- and by this point I mean that particular point where I've already gone a bit too far from my own comfort zone. And now my therapist, who's well aware of my diagnoses and these issues, pushes those limits.

    I replied and said that I've already taken the video option into consideration, and that I don't like it when I'm being dismissed in mthe matters that are crucial to my wellbeing. I said that I understand the point my therapist is making, but it still doesn't change the fact that I'm literally on my sickbed with one organ less than I had last week and attending therapy right now would have been against my better judgement.

    "We see the things a bit differently and I'm sorry if you felt like you weren't heard", was the reply. I don't know what to make of it- it's sort of the "sorry you felt bad" instead of "sorry my actions hurt you".

    I have a another session this week and I feel like I don't want to talk about anything. I feel like on that point that comes just before crumbling down.
    Nessa7 likes this.
  10. StormAndWonder

    StormAndWonder New Member

    The thing is that I'm kind of stuck with this therapist. Two months ago I would have said blessed, but now I'm not so sure. I get this financial support from the state and I literally couldn't afford therapy without it. The support is for three years only and I wasted the first year with another therapist who, despite from her original interview, had absolutely no experience with ptsd. ("Well everyone has traumas don't they" was my final clue to leave.) This is my last year and there won't be any more coming. My current therapist has been great up until now, and I would really want to work this out.

    I think I'll write about the pre-session anxiety and then read it aloud.

    I don't honestly know anymore. We were meant to focus on one of my major traumas but during the beginning of the process my therapist still wanted to dig open even the nice and good things that would have otherwise been my steady foundations, the ones that would have knit me into this moment in time instead of being assaulted. And as said- I've thought about the red flag possibility but my steady foundations are for example a good relationship with open communications and I really really find it hard to see how digging it open (....AGAIN- we've already done it and nothing has changed) would benefit anything, especially when I'm messed up with constant flashbacks that started when we began dealing with the trauma in question.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2018
  11. Leah123

    Leah123 This is Quan Yin, goddess of compassion.

    Your therapist sounds too focused on her own process and idea of "what's best" to be attuned to reality, attuned to you. I understand about the contamination of good things when a therapist goes too far and tears apart everything rather than the hurtful or dysfunctional parts. The intensity level of feeling every move is up for examination, as small as buying one pair of shoes (this isn't like you were disclosing a $10,000 shopping spree you could not afford) is more than enough to cause the anxiety you're feeling.

    If she can't empathize with you having an organ removed, with how exhausting that is, I don't think she's going to be able to partner with you in a healing way. Her priorities seem more important than yours, not a good sign in my opinion. I hope this helps. I hope you'll trust your intuition, either way.
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