Doing Okay.

It’s the early hours of Friday morning here and I felt like writing a new post.

As you know, it’s been a break from therapy starting from last Wednesday. I went a weekend break and spent time with friends and my husband. It was fantastic to just get a change of scenery, and believe me, the scenery was truly beautiful!

I noticed this time that I had much less anxiety going away than I did last year. I felt a bit anxious or overwhelmed the night before as I was packing and trying to get housework done but it was at an acceptable level. I also get a huge amount of guilt leaving my cats, even though they were being well cared for. I am not sure if the massive guilt I feel is a symptom of the anxiety? Because the guilt is almost big enough to make me not want to go away on holiday. And realistically, I know they’ll be okay and maybe they don’t even care too much, who knows? Yet the guilt cripples me and makes me cry sometimes.

But I knew for my own sanity that I needed to get away for a few days. I knew I needed that. And I know it’s healthy to take holidays and I wanted that for myself.

So yeah, the holiday was great.

I got back on Sunday evening and this week I’ve kept semi-busy with a few different things. My physical health and been really good lately – the best and longest period of health I’ve had for a year or two I would say. I still tire easier than people with normal health levels, but my recovery time is faster than usual which means I can do more. And my mood is elevated too, probably because I can do things and I don’t hurt so much, and I am sleeping a bit better too.

When I feel this good, I feel vindicated almost. I can see how very sick I really am most days, when I am able to compare how I am in this healthy period. I am not lazy and apathetic and permanently miserable when I have a bit of energy. It’s not who I am. When I feel good, I am constantly doing things, housework which is normally a huge task for me when ill is currently taking me 20-30 mins to do. I WANT to do things, I am interested in life and I am cheerful.

When you get months and years of feeling so awful, it’s easy to forget how bad it really is, you just get used to coping and doing the best you can – which is never good enough by your own standards and you feel like a constant failure at life. It goes on for so long that the pain and the extreme fatigue just becomes normal, and you start to think that you’re just very lazy and apathetic and avoiding life. That really you should be trying harder, yet trying harder involves energy you really don’t have and pushing through it would mean even more pain, even more fatigue and becoming even more ill. And bed just seems like a much more attractive option.

I feel a bit sorry for myself, as in, sorry I abuse myself so much and give myself such a hard time for being ill. Truly and life-altering-ly ill.

Psychologically, I’ve been pretty good too. This therapy break has been the best yet. I haven’t pined for Sienna. I’ve remained fairly connected to her, knowing she’s alive and just having a break and will be back. I’ve enjoyed this break. I mean, I’d probably never choose to have it. But I recognise the need for it and why it’s healthy. Although part of me always has recognised why the breaks are important so that isn’t new.

What is new is this contentedness and settled feeling. I suppose I can say I’ve been able to stay in my adult ego state. All of the parts have been extremely quiet this time. And I’m grateful for that because feeling their pain and sadness and longing is really hard and makes breaks interminable.

I don’t know how that works though… are the parts in there somewhere feeling those things and I just can’t feel it because they’ve gone away or do they not feel bad right now and that’s why they’re quiet? Are they feeling settled I wonder?

Over the past week, I’ve felt some tiny pangs of missing Sienna or the start of some young needs but it’s lasted only a few seconds and I’ve managed to stay in an adult place and remind the young part that it’s okay and Sienna will be back soon and now is the time for adult me to be around. I need to stay the adult so that we can get through this. It seemed to work. I didn’t get a sense that the young part heard me or anything but the adult part certainly seemed to and it was she/adult-me that clicked back in.

I’m rarely able to do that so I don’t know why it worked this time. I never know what works with the parts or who is listening to me, I have no control over any of that.

I feel quite surprised and delighted by how well I’ve felt this break. I feel like it’s a real step forward, real progress. And it’s also a huge relief to have (almost) gotten through it. There’s only 3 more sleeps until I see Sienna again.

Part of me feels a bit like I don’t want to go back because there’s only 4 weeks before she’s away again on a course for a week. And I don’t want to rock this comfortable boat. If I go back and start therapy work again, will it make things hard for me again? Will I get another week like this one where I feel contented or will it be a terrible time? Who knows, it depends what parts are running the show at the time.

I’m not even back yet and I’m already worrying about the next break!

I’ve been mulling a few things over in my head during the holidays, so I haven’t been totally therapy free.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that lately I’ve been withholding from Sienna. I’ve felt reticent to tell her things that are going on in my life in the present. I think I’ve touched on this in a previous post somewhere.

I am not entirely sure why I’ve started to withhold things from her. It’s not big things, really. But maybe if she asks what I’ve been up to, I’ll say not much rather than tell her that I went out somewhere. I didn’t tell her I had my most recent holiday planned before she went away. And I still feel like I don’t want to tell her about it. I am feeling this protectiveness over my life in the present.

It’s almost like I’ve separated my present, adult life away from her. That she doesn’t get to know that part of me. She get everything else, the past, the parts, the mistakes, the regrets, the tears, the tantrums… she gets to know everything about me and somehow, getting to know what I do in my adult present life is too much.

Weird, right?

There’s a huffiness attached to this. I don’t know if it’s a bit of a game – a kind of hiding or an attempt at control or something.

But this thought comes every-time I think on this issue and this voice says the following things petulantly

“ Well, I don’t get to hear everything that’s going on in her life. She doesn’t tell me, so why should I tell her?”

“ Just like she hides parts of herself, I’m hiding parts of me. If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me.”

“ I don’t have to tell her anything if I don’t want to.”

“ Why should I be the one doing all the sharing? Why does she get to hear everything about me and yet she deliberately keeps a lot of herself hidden?”

“ I don’t want her to know all of me.”

I think I sense an anger behind those thoughts. I don’t know why they’ve suddenly appeared, I don’t know why I am thinking the things above. I don’t know what triggered it or even what I’m feeling angry about but I am aware of the anger and the thoughts above.

So I’m just observing them and letting them be there until I know why or until they resolve themselves.

I don’t think it’s all about anger though. It feels like there’s more than that going on. A sense of needing to keep some things for myself maybe? Or a split had occurred even…. Like I’ve split things to be “ Sirena’s life things” and “Sirena’s therapy life things.”

I sometimes get the brief and fleeting thought that therapy is “ work-time” that during sessions that’s for doing the hard stuff, the trauma stuff. That that’s the only stuff she’s entitled to. The personal stuff in the present isn’t needing attended to, therefore, it is not relevant or necessary in the therapy room- from my perspective, definitely not from Sienna’s.

I know that she wants to know all the good stuff in the present too, she needs it to get a more accurate picture of me as a person and me in general, how I am coping in life etc.

There’s a real barrier up around this stuff lately and I am intrigued to know more about it, to understand where it’s coming from because I am not entirely sure.

And yes I know – Talk to Sienna about (eye-roll). It would be a really fruitful conversation I’d imagine and I might talk to her about it if I feel like it. But right now it’s just something I want to keep to myself. ( Anyone seeing a pattern here? LOL )





9 thoughts on “Doing Okay.

  1. Cd says:

    I’m glad things are okay for you right now. Moments of reprieve from the darkness seem so foreign…But are also can be eye opening.

    I’m on a short break right now. It’s only 11 days. Then I have 3 sessions then nothing for 2 weeks (technically 21 days). I’ve been freaking out. Seems so stupid but I’ve definitely relate to the adult toddler feeling you wrote about a few weeks ago. I’ve lucked out that this break is my fault and my therapist has been there for me. The next one already feels awful. I need to figure out how to feel connected. :/ I don’t even want to feel connected…I want to run! Ugh!!!!

  2. all the little parts says:

    Hi hun. So glad this break is going well for you. Therapy breaks suck and what makes it worse is when only those in long term therapy for trauma get it!

    I also wanted to say – remember that you don’t have to tell Sienna everything. Not in a huffy way, just in the same way you wouldn’t tell a friend everything. It’s good you’re deciding not to tell her some things… as long as you genuinely think she doesn’t need to know then having that withholding part is a sign of healthy boundaries and healthy disclosure levels. I have an issue with wanting to tell everyone everything and I think that if they don’t know it all how can they possibly know and accept the real me? I know my way isn’t healthy – maybe selective disclosure (even to a therapist) is a good sign? Maybe you feel huffy about it because you actually feel a little guilty and it’s a defensive thing?

    Anyway, just my 2p worth as usual.

    The holiday away sounds awesome – we have one booked in at the end of July in Wales nr Snowdonia! Can’t wait!

    Oh and thanks for the kick up the bum regarding health stuff. I am chronically ill too and need to take better care of myself and learn to be a little compassionate with me. I think mental, emotional and physical health go hand in hand. When one goes down, they all do. I need to physically look after myself and remember that it’s OK not to be OK.


    • Sirena says:

      I know I don’t need to tell her everything, and I never have to be honest. But I find myself keeping things more close to my chest lately and it feels like it’s retaliatory in some way. Which isn’t good or at least something to be explored most likely. 🙄

  3. This little mind of mine says:

    This was so lovely to read, I can really feel that content in your words. Let yourself enjoy it 😊

    Re the last part, feeling a bit of anger along with the withholding…I recently read that anger is always sitting in front of another emotion, something we’re typically hurt or scared about. Which makes sense obviously but reading it this way just made a difference for me personally. The psychology being that the anger is a defence to not feel those hard feelings beneath, which in your example could just be as simple as “it’s not fair”, “Im upset that I don’t get to know more of Sienna”, because it’s not fair or equal and that’s hard, but as you say, not because Sienna is being intentionally hurtful at all.

    I agree with you, I think you’re making awesome progress, with all the positive vibes and even with the way you’ve described this bit in the background, there’s still something calm and positive about how you’re discussing it. It seems important but under control in the sense that it doesn’t sound like an emotional bomb waiting to go off?


  4. twinkletoes2017 says:

    Love everything that This Little Mind Of Mine has said above. I agree and also wanted to say I am so pleased you’ve done so well in the break, I am well impressed particularly given how I freaked at the start of mine ha!

    Thinking about this withholding thing… I was going to say that perhaps it is a healthy sign but when I read that you say it feels retaliatory somehow then that made me think the same as above – tit for tat and I get that completely. It is so hard baring your soul constantly to someone who doesn’t do the same back. The one-sided vulnerability is bloody hard! It makes you feel exposed and vulnerable and nobody likes to feel those things..

    One further thought I had, and I hope this doesn’t read wrong but what about the tiny winey possibility that if you showed her the “good stuff” the adult stuff, the day to day, you know “I’m doing okay” stuff – that she may think you don’t need her as much or that she might tighten the boundaries because she doesn’t think you need her to be so available or something like that – sorry I am typing really fast and I am not thinking as much as I should be but hopefully you will get my gist… is it possible somewhere deep down that you worry if she sees not only the harder, deeper, painful stuff that she might decide you are much “better” than she thought and pull away somehow??

    Just my random musings… feel free to ignore!

    Glad you had a lovely holiday xx

    • Sirena says:

      I did consider that briefly but no it’s definitely not the fear of appearing too well. That’s not a fear I have at all. I used to when I started with my first counsellor but not now.
      I think it’s maybe to do with feeling hurt that there’s great swathes of her life I don’t get to be part of. It’s all part of the attachment stuff I think. But not entirely sure what is the crux of the matter yet.

      • twinkletoes2017 says:

        Fair enough – at least you considered that, I always try out a number of things to work out what is going on so it’s good even to be able to clear out what it isn’t, isn’t it…

        I do genuinely get that feeling of being left out of her life. I feel the same. It sucks. x

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