Too much joy from my unicorn socks this week!!
Managed an 18 hour fast. Sirena is a happy girl today.
Had a session yesterday which was fine but has left me with the most painful mourning/attachment pain.
I’ll write more about that later. But for today I’ve meditated and that helped quite a bit and I am trying to stay very present in the moment to help combat the attachment pains.
I feel so young and just want a cuddle… from Sienna. I had to stop myself texting to ask for an appointment for tonight.
I am trying to talk to the abandoned child and reassure her that everything is okay.
I have reminded her that Sienna is still there and we’ll see her Monday and that she loves and cares for us.
But I don’t even know if that’s true. Does Sienna love me?
I think so. But I feel a lot of doubt about the word love.
Anyway… I’m just trying to keep busy and stay present.
Someone whom I met through my blog and whom I think has become a great friend sent me an Amazon voucher to buy these unicorn socks I’d seen online. 😍
She knows I have a thing for unicorns AND for novelty socks 🦄🦄
It was such an unexpected but beautiful surprise to receive such a gift. It made me smile so much and still does.
I am very excited because my unicorn socks have just arrived in the post.
Not gonna lie, these make me so much more happy and excited than they probably should at my age hahaha!
I love them. So thank you to my lovely friend and supporter for this beautiful gesture which has brought me so much joy this week. 💙💚💛💜
If you love my socks comment #unicornsforever or the 🦄 emoji in the comments box!! 🖐
I can’t go to my session tonight. I knew this last week and Sienna has offered for us to have a phone session instead. She said to let her know by Monday morning.
Well, it’s Monday morning and I don’t know what to do. Do I want a session? I don’t know. Not really, would be my guess.
Yet, I feel apprehensive about cancelling and not having that chance to connect because I know how important it is and it usually feels excruciating to miss a session.
But because of where I am with my attachment pattern (mistrusting, avoidant, aloof) I don’t need it. I don’t need her. I don’t want to talk on the phone.
I want to want to speak to her. But I just don’t feel much need. Plus part of me feels a little bit satisfied at delivering a clear message of ” I don’t want or need you anymore.You broke us.”
Is that obnoxious?
I do enjoy not needing her. I enjoy being in this adult space where I am coping and I am not reliant on her. I know it won’t last so maybe I should just enjoy it while it’s here?
I suppose it’s just hard to commit to no contact this week because things can change quickly and I could find myself wishing I’d just taken the damn phone session.
I am 98% sure I will just cancel. I can’t be bothered with it.
I dragged myself to therapy on Monday. I felt unwell and to be truthful, just not wanting to be there.
At the start I had to do some juggling of my session over the next couple of weeks and as we did that Sienna told me she had me in for this Thursday. I didn’t show it but I was surprised and delighted and relieved that she’s keeping my Thursday sessions.
I was so glad I didn’t have to ask for them and that the extra sessions were staying. It made everything seem so much more manageable.
Sienna couldn’t give me alternative dates for next week that I can make, so it looks like next Monday (tomorrow) I will have to miss a session.
Sienna asked if I wanted to do a phone call. But I don’t want that. Partly because we are keeping things so surface in sessions that I don’t think that would translate well into a phone call and I think we’d end up talking about deeper things that I’m just not ready for and partly because I feel fear about telephone calls after her meltdown where she put the phone down on me.
So we’ve left it that I can change my mind and just to let her know if I want a call.
Sienna asked what I needed from the session. She asked if I wanted to some grounding and some breathing? I felt quite adult and in the present so didn’t feel I needed to.
I told her I felt quite nervous but that’s normal for me to feel like that in session.
I had brought in some fidget toys to be kept in the office, so I got them out to show her and explained why I thought they might help me when dissociated. I bought strong medicated sweets for taste, an “atomic ball”, a glitter bouncy ball, and a snow globe with a mummy polar bear and a baby bear on an iceberg.
I really feel like going down the somatic body experiences route it the way to go. I think I need to pay much more attention to my body to stop myself from getting so dyregulated in sessions. But I’m going to need Sienna’s help with that because quite often I’m gone before I even realise it and it’s very hard to be brought out of it.
I’ve also bought a couple of books lately to try and understand myself better and what’s going on for me in therapy. One in particular (Healing The Fragmented Selves Of Trauma Survivors; Overcoming internal self-alienation by Janina Fisher) is amazing and I’m only 15 pages into it and every page I am excitedly shouting inside “ YES!!! That’s it, that’s so true!!!” and that’s just the introduction pages.
When Sienna and I were on a break, I did look for available Somatic Experiencing practitioners in my area and there were none unfortunately. But Sienna is super interested in all of that stuff too so even though she isn’t qualified in it, if she can learn how to work somatically if benefits me and it enhances her practice as a therapist.
She has asked to read the book once I’m finished with it and I’m really happy she wants to.
Something that Sienna told me a few weeks back and that has lingered in my mind is that her supervisor said that we might need to slow the work down. That we have done a ton of work in just two and a half years, work that she’d not be expecting with a dissociative disordered client until year 5 or something. And perhaps that’s why we both imploded so much this year. Maybe it’s too much for both of us.
There’s a few reasons for that I think. Firstly, I was ready for it, had already laid the groundwork with other therapists. Secondly, I am very self-aware and also able to understand quite complex psychological theory so we didn’t need to go through an awful lot of the whole psycho-education phase. Thirdly, in the first 18 months, I had a lot of access to Sienna, which helped me feel safer to push myself harder into the work, and I attached to her quite quickly because of all the stability and access she was giving me allowed me to build trust.
Also, since we were so much in contact outside of sessions, the parts began having a voice, suddenly they were being listened to, seen… they existed to someone else and someone wanted to hear what they had to say. That was both joyous and overwhelming for me. The down side was that both Sienna and I had to endure the very traumatised parts and what they had to say and I became more tired, more traumatised and more out of control and Sienna became more fatigued and probably vicariously traumatised by what she was seeing and hearing from me and her level of dissociation were building.
I think the mistake we made, if you can call it a mistake was that we were both so interested in what was occurring and what was there inside of me that we stopped paying attention to the safety and stabilisation phase so much. It’s like we got caught up in rip-tide and swept out to sea so suddenly.
I think that’s an occupational hazard when working with trauma, for both the client and the therapist. So it was a big mistake which we have both paid dearly for. But I don’t think it’s a mistake we should particularly regret because it’s been an important learning point for us both.
The worry I have about slowing everything down to a very basic, somatic level; paying attention to the body rather than the words, working with the body essentially, is that it feels like it will take decades to get through this work. I don’t want to be in therapy for decades. I am 40 years old in a couple of years time, that feels old and I don’t want to be walking around feeling like a child in an adults body. Plus, Sienna doesn’t have decades of work in her. I am guessing she has around 10-12 years before she retires. I don’t want to start over with someone else.
But there’s no other way around it. We need to go slower for now at least.
In the session Sienna made some gentle suggestions about how we can start processing slowly what happened and also how to build trust again. But even just broaching the subject made my body feel panic and I felt the barriers fire up so I moved away from anything personal. So eventually we just chatted and played with the sensory toys I’d brought in.
I don’t know when I’ll feel able to approach the topic of the rupture. It feels too raw still. Sometimes I still don’t know if I’ll ever get the trust back and if that’s the case, why am I wasting my times going to sessions?
I did tell Sienna that I sensed that I was just trying to hold everything together. Hold it in so I didn’t crumble. What I didn’t say was that to talk about the rupture or anything therapy related or especially anything relationship related threatened that delicate balance of holding everything and coping without outside support.
Although, now that I know that I still have my extra sessions, I do feel a bit more confident that I don’t have to hold so much for myself. So that might help me to feel that I can talk about the rupture.
My session on Thursday was more of the same. Just keeping things surface and light. Avoiding the big stuff. We played with play-doh and chatted. It felt a bit indulgent, going twice in a week when we weren’t really discussing serious issues. Paying to go chat about random stuff.
It’s weird, everything feels very new all of a sudden. Like I’m back at the beginning of therapy and the therapist is treating me with kid gloves. All of a sudden therapy is back to being about me. I’m the main focus again. I am leading the pace again. It feels simple again.
In some ways it’s relieving, to feel that structure and balance. That we are back in our traditional roles. I feel like a young vulnerable child in some ways. And it feels like Sienna is very focussed on me again in a way she hasn’t for a long time.
Yet behind that, we both know there’s a shit ton of crap to be sifted through and understood. It’s like the elephant in the room.
What makes it weird being back in our traditional roles is that it’s almost like being super polite the way you would with a stranger but with your mum or best friend. That would feel bizarre, right?
So, for now things are low key. We are just picking our way slowly through this stuff.
I’m not sure I’ll be writing anything of much interest or of much depth in the coming weeks because our sessions aren’t containing a lot of therapy discussions. The therapeutic aim for now is just turning up and hopefully building trust.
I hope we can find our way out of this rupture.
Last week, after my lovely connecting first session back with Sienna, I began to feel stirrings. Different negative thoughts filtering in.
I was in a place where I could sort of jump out of what my brain was doing and just watch its process, like a third party onlooker. It’s really good when I can do this because it means I don’t get stuck in the experience of whatever my brain is flooding my senses and body with, I can just watch it as it does its thing and remain objective and not allow it to overtake me.
What I noticed was that within a few hours of the session, I began to notice some intrusive thoughts I was having. It would start with remembering something nice about the session, something Sienna said or a warm feeling and instead of being able to bask in the warmth of having reconnected with my therapist in a really meaningful way, negative thoughts would come to dampen down the warmth, little doubts about the authenticity of that session that would niggle at me and make me feel angry and mistrustful.
Luckily I was in a place to be able to step outside of what my brain was doing and not get lost in all the negativity. I was able to retain the good stuff from that session. But it interested me to see it in action. To see this process play out.
And I do wonder why my brain does that? Why does it need to destroy intimacy and warm authentic moments? There must be a reason for it, it must have a purpose.
My thoughts are that perhaps it’s a defence mechanism, a protective process linked in to my attachment process. Maybe my brain feels threat from connection and seeks to gain distance from it, so that I don’t become attached to anyone too much and thus ensuring my survival if and when they abandon us?
Maybe it’s a sort of hypervigilance?
Something I’ve reflected on last week was that Sienna had commented that she understood that the younger parts of me just want her and no one else. They don’t want to seek help elsewhere because the only person who will do, is her. And her supervisor had suggested that that was because I couldn’t cope with too many other people around me.
At the time even though I nodded in agreeance, I felt a twinge of something akin to embarrassment or annoyance. It felt like being outed.
But the comment stayed with me last week. Sienna was right, the reason I only want her is that I can’t cope with inviting other people into my space in a caring capacity. I can’t cope with trying to build relationships with other people. I can’t cope with the complexities other people bring into relationships.
I have my world just as it is, in order to cope. I live a small life with few people in it. I am fairly reclusive, a bit introverted. I don’t like noise and bustle and extroverts tire me out very quickly. I hate parties and shopping centres and nightclubs… ugh. Give me candle-lights, soulful conversations with 2 or three people and a bottle of wine and I am perfectly happy.
And in pondering what Sienna and her supervisor had said, I became aware of some memories from childhood and realised, I’ve always been this way.
I remember at nursery feeling very overwhelmed with all the children who were confident and bolshy and noisy and running about like little maniacs, just like most normal children do.
But I found it excruciating. I found it hard to connect with any of the children, I didn’t know how to interject in their play and find my place with them. I think I relied on another child taking me under their wing a bit. And if no one did then I spent my time wandering from different toys by myself feeling really lonely. It was an alienating experience.
I remember my mum telling me that the teacher had said she would like to see me come out my shell. Being four it seemed like a funny phrase and I asked what that meant? Mum said “just be more confident, talk more, put yourself out there more.”
It felt like a criticism, that there was something wrong with me or that I was doing something wrong. So I remember trying to talk more or play more. But it was really hard.
So yeah, I’ve always struggled with too many people. I’ve always just needed or wanted a few people in my life. Not hundreds.
I think that’s okay.
But it feels illuminating to realise that the reason I only want Sienna is because I don’t cope well with too many relationships to juggle. I think that’s partly down to personality and partly down to attachment stuff.
By the end of last week, my brain had done enough negative twisting that I felt like I didn’t want to go to therapy on Monday. I really didn’t want to go. And when Monday came, I really wrestled with myself about whether to cancel. It just felt pointless to go. I didn’t feel like engaging with the process.
Another worry that I had during the week was whether my Thursday sessions were now cancelled too? Sienna hadn’t mentioned them and we didn’t do a Friday check in as it wasn’t mentioned either. I was scared to ask because right now I’m scared to feel all the strong feelings that therapy evokes. I am desperately trying to keep away from any explosive material in an attempt to stay grounded in the present.
I did go in the end. I will write about that in my next post.