Stuck in therapy

coraxxx

Sponsor
So I have this therapist and she's the best I've ever had, but she has a tendency to ask me what I want from therapy, and I really don't know. It doesn't help that when there is anything major happening I shut down and cancel. Also it doesn't help that it is expensive and above my means.

I'm very confused about what to do. I'd like to go to therapy and discuss stuff to have some more leverage on my issues, but once I get there it seems it entirely melts away. I become hypnotised by the curtains and the knee jerk reflex of smothering her under information always seems to take over and I feel I loose important time just blabbering about silly things. I'm under the impression she's observing it while not doing anything about it.

I might be answering my own question here but what can I do? More exactly,  how can I do it? I'm constantly feeling unsafe and unstable in my life and not feeling like I can risk having a decompensation with trauma therapy while working my ass out. I'm having far more stability than before, I'm feeling better, but I also have obligations and am feeling like this is a critical point where I shouldn't change my coping tactics too much too fast, at least not before having designed an efficient replacement.

Overall I'm feeling like therapy confuses me much more than no therapy. It's bizarre to explain, the more I think of it the blurrier it gets.

I'm also worried of being somewhat of a bad patient because of this tendency to flop. I think I might have irritated her because it happened several times. I'm on the verge of ghosting on her (I already did but I mean definitely) because I feel bad for having ghosted before.

Is that something you experienced? If yes, what helped you going further? What helped you improving your life?
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
posilutely, i experience this. it remains far easier to wallow in my psychic cesspool, telling myself that i am fine. how are you? pulling myself out of that cesspool is hard work that not only calls for wading through the muck and mire to reach the banks. i also have to find the shower, clean clothes, etc., to function in the world outside my familiar little cesspool. my instinct screams to just leave well enough alone and let me wallow.

the good news is that pushing past this all-natural apathy is a whole lot easier now than it was during the early therapy when questions such as "what do you want from therapy?" were enough to trigger my freeze reflexes. for what it's worth, my answer to that question is, "i want to heal."

what helped you going further? What helped you improving your life?

patience, persistence and gentle self-compassion.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
I'll frame it like this: therapy didn't start to work for me, until I could answer this question. I went into Kayla's office with a laundry list of things I'd like to accomplish and I am actually accomplishing them. Therapy is inherently a goals-oriented space, so your therapist isn't wrong here.

Often times it feels like we're just going to therapy because that's what we're supposed to do. We're not doing well, we need emotional support, go to therapy. When I first started therapy, my goal was to get emotional support. I wanted a space where I Could Say The Shit and the other person wouldn't have a nuclear meltdown.

By the time I met K it was to learn emotions like a kindergartner. Because I got that opportunity with Bryan, it helped, and that allowed me to really focus on my actual, practical life. To be at peace. To enjoy my life. To have a purpose. I think the existential questions are definitely relevant, here.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Mmh yeah, I think I might have apparently conflicting targets in the sense that on one hand I'd like to sort all the shit and partial memories, on the other hand I'd like to have more meaningful social relationships and be able to relate to others in a less distrustful way.

And I think that distrust also extends to therapy since I'm so used of things going well only when I take the matter into my own hands, it feels easier for me to spend years studying psychology than just be open about issues and trusting someone to help me through it. It's a problem I'm regularly faced with, that even if I'm actually struggling and asking for help, in fact I'm already concocting a plan and I'm certainly coming across as not open to suggestions or help. Which is true to an extent.

It doesn't help that even in situations I do comply, I actually don't. Because for me compliance is a means to an end and a strategy adopted to actually avoid something worse. It's like being undercover. It can go as far as being very compliant with something to the point of genuine engagement, then at some point it back fires and it's just a huge no no and before I could understand I'm just out. I realize this is an ingoing pattern and I also realise why it's there. It's just very difficult to let it go because it's been very instrumental in surviving.

Something I do realise as well is that pure therapy spaces really bother me because I don't feel like I can bring anything but my own nonsense problems. Talking in survivor spaces I can at least have the impression that my words and reflections can be useful to someone else, whereas when I'm faced with non fellow survivors I just feel like anything I say is a sack of bricks that they'll have to process and is at best annoying, at worst harmful. And that even if it's a paid trauma professional, I don't see why she should get through all this rambling with me. I also feel a bit angry about her quietness and validation, but as I don't think they're valid responses I shut it down. Probably I should rather raise it.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
Mmh yeah, I think I might have apparently conflicting targets in the sense that on one hand I'd like to sort all the shit and partial memories, on the other hand I'd like to have more meaningful social relationships and be able to relate to others in a less distrustful way.
This sounds like an incredible answer to the question "what do you want out of therapy?" Whether it's conflicting, who cares, I'd just send her that whole thing.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@coraxxx what about finding a survivor group to join, one run by a therapist, then you could be of use to others while working on yourself? It might fuel your progress and you could go back to individual therapy later. Usually groups are about the day to day. You could build those skills and maybe be more prepared to trust someone to help with the past issues.

You could also continue with your therapist and decide which goal you want to work with. Personally though I know my personal life is affected by this, I function well enough that I decided to prioritize the past not haunting me as a goal. Sometimes the present comes in to play and sometimes it doesn’t. You can work both of those goals at the same time too. Free yourself of the doubt and pick one for now, it’s not like you’re chiseling it into stone.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
@coraxxx what about finding a survivor group to join, one run by a therapist, then you could be of use to others while working on yourself? It might fuel your progress and you could go back to individual therapy later. Usually groups are about the day to day. You could build those skills and maybe be more prepared to trust someone to help with the past issues.

You could also continue with your therapist and decide which goal you want to work with. Personally though I know my personal life is affected by this, I function well enough that I decided to prioritize the past not haunting me as a goal. Sometimes the present comes in to play and sometimes it doesn’t. You can work both of those goals at the same time too. Free yourself of the doubt and pick one for now, it’s not like you’re chiseling it into stone.
Thank you Charbella, actually I did try back in time but I was told by the docs at the hospital that I was too volatile and dissociative for group therapy and that I should follow individual first. The lady recommended me a first year psychologist that answered my email like a girl scout.

I have no idea how they formed themselves such a strong opinion. I did mention I had a few blackouts during specific moments and that was it. They explained group therapy was last intention  and then recommended me to that person who was visibly not ready to deal with a patient that was deemed volatile and dissociative. I have to say that didn't help me to trust the psychiatric system.

Now I'm not really finding survivor groups around here, at least not in a therapeutic setting. I did wait for more than a year and was refused past year, perhaps I can try again but it's very discouraging.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Actually I just realised something. One thing that my T does and unsettles me is that she’s very emotionally guarded; reasonable and validating, but she rarely shows any expression or emphasis, or very little. I mean I can sense she’s keeping a hold on herself and that is I think quite normal, but it mirrors my own attitude in tricky situations so much I realise this is actually triggering... Something to think of.

That said I’m also pissed by the ones who become vindicative 😂 so what can i do
 

prynne

Confident
I'd like to go to therapy and discuss stuff to have some more leverage on my issues, but once I get there it seems it entirely melts away. I become hypnotised by the curtains and the knee jerk reflex of smothering her under information always seems to take over and I feel I loose important time just blabbering about silly things.
For me, it's been helpful to write a reminder note and bring it with me when there's something specific that I'd like to talk about. Also, I bring it up at the beginning of the session so we don't run out of time. Most times, I don't do this though. For me, it is just putting too much pressure on myself to have a preplanned structure for every session and I break down. Allowing myself to have some small talk with my therapist and talk about the things that aren't so serious is important to maintain our relationship. I do have that feeling of wasting expensive time if I do it too much though, so I keep my general therapy goals in mind and try to keep myself talking about something in that realm for most of the session
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@coraxxx
Maybe you haven’t found the right therapist for you.

I’d have given up on therapy over a year ago but mine decided to work with my silence instead of working against it. I realize he is special and I’ve told him many times I appreciate it while still not wanting to let him in all the way. I journal and he reads them and then we talk. He gets most of the what are you thinking details from my journal not my voice. Which has allowed me to do therapy. He’s gotten to know me and what I need versus some formula for success concocted by the psychiatric community. He sees my reluctance to open up for what it is, a life spent having to. It’s hard to undo 40 years of not being able to trust anyone.

I couldn’t have an emotionally guarded T I need experience with handling emotions in order to develop some of my own. Emotionally guarded is an understatement when dealing with me. I can be on the verge of self destruction and no one would know, about to sob and all you’d see is everyday me, after all practice makes perfect and I’ve had a lot.

Honestly I don’t know how he does it, how he works with someone who continually asks for help then wants to fix it on their own. Who shuts down at the slightest provocation. I take advice, I read things, I research but it seems everything is slow going. I don’t know how he stays positive.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Yeah, I’m struggling to stay positive too. Especially with the dissociative stuff. Some pdocs did sniff there was something up there, but the immediate reflex is to absolutely keep it normal looking, keeping well gathered, keep it a grocery list. It is very annoying because it does get in the way of asking for help. The reflex is to take the matter in my own hands, and it is very, very difficult to let that go especially when I did find validation of doing so.

Being badly attended or having to discontinue many times also doesn’t help forming a bond. Now I feel like I can try with this person but every time I get close I can sense myself closing off and the blabbering self coming up, smothering with anecdotes and garbage information, or not so garbage information but at least proxy information. It’s like trying to address an issue by proxy. Issue X isn’t dicible; therefore, adopting issue Y as a front so there is some attention but that isn’t the crux of it. Then feeling bad because not being symptomatic enough even though my entire life is amounting to one huge symptom of avoidance or dissociation.

Since I am functioning rather okay, I don’t really know what to action. I said I wanted to feel things again. Then it landed on childhood territory and I don’t know, I can’t even think of it. The more recent stuff I have more of a structure about it and it’s easier, but that old shit it really daunts me to the point I can’t even feel or think about it.

And I wish to carry on and do something about this because I think it is pretty much the root of the rest. But it demands a leap. I don’t know if I can take that leap with her. I don’t even know how to present my issue about this.

And now I feel bad because I get so triggered around the issue itself, the fact I might have disappointed her, the fact I’m unstable and irresponsible, the fact I struggle to pay. Somehow I’d wished it was more structured and not so dependent on me having to organise it all because it’s one of the things I really struggle with. I fell like a super shitty patient because I do ghost and cancel and probably get very reluctant, don’t take the medications as intended after a while, then show miraculous responses in a short span of time and then everything starts again for a new cycle.

And I never stayed enough time with a therapist for them to entirely witness that pattern. I’m rambling a bit about myself here I’m sorry, but I managed to make that a damn knot in my head.

I guess also I’m sensitive to positive reinforcement. I don’t feel very positively reinforced after therapy, I just go all stressed end come back all stressed. I don’t know. Normally I can think things right but around this issue something really is bugging me.
 
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