Therapy during high stress

RNrecovery

Learning
I started therapy (after a successful run 20 years ago) in 2020 when my PTSD relapsed during COVID. I was lucky to find a therapist who works well with me and never pushed. Despite my defenses we have built up trust. I had reached the point where I was actually able to improve my PTSD symptoms, shut down less often and was coping with four deaths in 2020.

There is a new COVID surge in the area. Nurses from clinics are being moved to help manage the surge. I am so overwhelmed because our work load never decreased between surges. Covid and vaccine distributions has meant double our workload. Now we will be pulled to help with the onslaught of people presenting at our urgent cares and emergency rooms. When we are go no one will be there to do my work. It will be waiting for me.

Last time things got bad I actually pulled back from therapy. I had just started and it felt too vulnerable to talk to someone during the highest stress. The week before last I broke down an cried through most of the session. This bout of covid is shaping up to be worse. We are taking on more work after 18 months of being overworked and the cases are much higher.

I’ve been with her much longer at this point. It feels like therapy will be a lifeline that gets me through this surge. But I still have the huge urge to quit, take time off, anything other than let someone see how upset and overwhelmed I get. I did tell her how I am feeling. It was helpful because she’s supportive but also doesn’t pressure and said if actually felt like I needed a break we could. I said what I’m more afraid of is how much I know I’ll need it in the coming months.

Does anyone else have the urge to quit therapy during times of high stress? It makes me feel like such a failure to have needs. I should be able to just keep my chin and up get through this like everyone else. I’m sure it is a narrative from my abusive childhood. Don’t be a wimp. Why are you crying…
 

Teamwork

MyPTSD Pro
You have a lot of great insights so I just want to encourage you to keep going. If it is from childhood and you are catching a glimpse of it you may want to poke around in it a bit and see if as a child you also learned that it was best to disconnect from helpful people when you were upset just in case they also told you to not be a wimp. If you stick it out with the mindset of learning a new skill from someone who doesn't judge you so that you can also learn to not judge yourself. It will take courage to keep going with this person walking it out alongside you but in the end you may find you start looking forward to the sessions as you shift into, this person helps me rather than is annoyed by my behavior or whatever your inside chatter is for you.
 

grief

Sponsor
this is happening in my field as well. the worse covid gets the worse shit gets for us, because people are at home, quarentined with nothing better to do then abuse their f*cking kids i guess. we noteced this was starting with everyone. my husband's job is 100x worse than it was. people are in crisis all the time. this whole pandemic is having ripple effects across every aspect of our society.

i actually started therepy for because of my job and ended up more or less just talking about my child hood. decompressing about my job? it isn't possible. not while i'm still doing it. i have to put it away and keep going every single day, i cannot afford to break down because then i won't be able to do my job any more. and therepy has been a bit-hit or miss, maybe? is the right word.

i'm either having a total f*cking mental breakdown in her office (like, for real) or i'm going to the hospital myself (twice and counting)-like, what i am starting to kind of realize-and put into perspective, is that you need to balence the stressors that you have. because a human brain can only take so much before it completely f*cking shuts down.

and i don't know where you are on that scale right now-but therepy is a stessor, when you are dealing with stressors on top of it all. you can't really do the trauma work if you're being tramatized. i've been able to make some progress on some of my stuff. but a lot of things keep hitting this wall and probably? because of my job.

one thing you may want to reframe it as instead of "trauma therapy, for all my shit." is maybe just a space to vent, decompress for a second, before you pack it up and get back to it. i have the urge to quit therepy all the time. i'm afraid it's making me worse and me healing will irrevocably harm my family. on top of every thing else.

but the primery thing, the most important thing, is managing your mental wellbeing. that comes with managing stressors. how you're doing therapy? might need to change. therapy itself? is good. for every one. every one should be in f*cking therapy! in my opinion. we all need a space for just our selfs that no one else can intrude. but what that looks like will be diffrent depending on what is happening around you.

lots of love and luck your way rn. 🫂 hopefully things will ease up at some point. this stuff is really crazy.
 

RNrecovery

Learning
Sorry to hear you are having a rough time too. I feel bad complaining because everyone is under so much more stress. It’s hard to see an end.

I feel lucky to have found someone who seems to get their is a time and a place discuss certain things. She never pushes me in any particular direction. Right now we are in survival mode. What do I need to do to make it between appointments. As much as I hate to admit it I’m seeing her twice a week.

You have a lot of great insights so I just want to encourage you to keep going. If it is from childhood and you are catching a glimpse of it you may want to poke around in it a bit and see if as a child you also learned that it was best to disconnect from helpful people when you were upset just in case they also told you to not be a wimp. If you stick it out with the mindset of learning a new skill from someone who doesn't judge you so that you can also learn to not judge yourself. It will take courage to keep going with this person walking it out alongside you but in the end you may find you start looking forward to the sessions as you shift into, this person helps me rather than is annoyed by my behavior or whatever your inside chatter is for you.
It’s so shitty that are childhoods can hang on for this long. The voices from back then tell me to avoid the very thing I need.

thank you for your kind response.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
My first response to stress is: make it go away. Run away.
So yes, at times of stress I immediately want to quit therapy! What makes me stay is mostly how much I would miss my T. And also adult me knowing it won't help solve things if I do.
But: at times like that I have asked to slow therapy down. Or not wanted a heavy session. Or changed the issues we talk about.

There is nothing shameful about:
Going twice a week
Feeling stressed at work
Feeling anything at all!

Be kind to yourself. It sounds an incredibly tough time. So much death you have had to deal with. And then additional work and stress. And now again more stress and worry, on top of the previous stress. It sounds intense.
And therapy sounds the perfect place to explore it and help you.
 

Friday

Moderator
I should be able to just keep my chin and up get through this like everyone else.
Snicker… like you talk about ALL your problems with your colleagues???

Sure there are times and moments when people connect with “I’m a bit f*cked in the head right now,” &/or laying private shit out on the table. But most people? Keep their private lives & professional lives mostly seperate. Glimpses come out, maybe. In certain times and places with certain people.

It was one of the best lessons I had LIVING with the people I worked with. We were all seriously f*ck’d & seriously coping (in often very unhealthy but well understood ways). The kinds of things we saw? Day in and day out… are the exact kinds of things people in the civilian world do -in private- and simply don’t talk about at work. Because it would get them fired, or shunned/mistrusted.

It’s not that everyone else is untouched by what’s gutting you. It’s that you don’t live with them. You don’t see them sliding to the floor to rock and sob, or eat the freezer full of ice cream, or have sex until it’s time to get up, or drink themselves to sleep, or break shit, or pick petty ridiculous fights, or wake up shaking with nightmares, or lock themselves away / avoiding everyone (books, games, painting, sitting alone in the dark), or going to therapy, or diving headlong into active eating disorders / addictions / self harm/ exercise/ control freakishness/ exercise, or, or, or, or.

You’d see those things if you lived with everyone you work with. People copin in various ways, to various effects, to be “game on” when they need to be.

But since you don’t live with them?

Don’t judge your insides by someone else’s outsides.
 
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