Coming clean

I talked to a friend about my last post and everything that was going on. She said some things that really hit home.

First, that the dissociation I felt – the separation between the semi-functioning adult and the crying, hurting child – was sort of normal. I say ‘sort of’ but I mean normal, or normal for someone like me – someone with my history of PTSD, now under huge stress (think dead father, mother with cancer and in hospital coming up to six weeks, new job … need I go on?), with a little bit more stress piled on top and it all went to sh*t. So yea, kinda normal… kinda that thing Back Up Therapist called “climbing Mount Everest and complaining that it’s cold,” only on steroids. No wonder that when Little Kid Me was hurting so badly Grown Up Me decided not to feel anything at all.

The second thing is that I haven’t been entirely honest with my therapist about how I’m feeling, or what’s been going on. She of course doesn’t realise how scared I am or how stressed, because I haven’t been telling her. In fact she thinks i’m doing amazingly well. Guess I got her fooled, huh? My friend hit the nail on the head – and made the little Wonder Therapist homunculus in my head start jumping up and down – when she said that my therapist “isn’t a mind reader.” I forget that sometimes because she’s so good at reading people.

I haven’t told her about the dissociation. I haven’t told her about the way I’m stuffing those emotions away and hiding them behind my old friend food, and my new friend internet shopping.

I haven’t told her how scared I am about not having her there to support me. That the thought of this changing just terrifies me.

I haven’t told her because I’m scared she’ll think badly of me. She’s been talking about how well I’m doing, and yet, underneath, I’m a quivering mess. I don’t want to disappoint her. I don’t want her to judge me and I don’t want her to dislike me. That’s the truth.

And when my friend reminded me of the almighty explosion that inevitably occurs when you continue to stuff the emotions away…I was reminded of the reason I went into therapy in the first place – I’d been stuffing the emotions away and there was an almighty explosion. Apparently I’m on the fast track to doing that again, if I haven’t already.

Clearly I need to come clean with the Wonder Therapist.

6 thoughts on “Coming clean

  1. Sounds like it. Being completely honest with the therapist is almost always a good thing, in my experience, and saves a lot of time. If I find I’m with a therapist who judges me when I’m open or vulnerable (which has only happened about twice), then I’m with the wrong therapist and I fire her. Having been a therapist years ago, seriously, she’s not judging you.Honesty and bravery is admirable, especially when you have a lot going on. She knows what people with PTSD go through and you are completely normal.

  2. Finding yourself using long-established coping mechanisms in the middle of several major life crises doesn’t mean you’re backsliding or not doing well — it means that you’re under incredible stress and you need some extra support. WT won’t judge you. This is a bad analogy, but — it’s like you got an A in second-level algebra, and now you’ve been thrown into differential calculus. Yes, you have a good base of skills and knowledge, but needing more, and needing more coaching/support, doesn’t mean anything other than that you’ve been given a much larger challenge than anyone could possibly have anticipated. The most important skill you’ve learned is to accept help — and not just from WT, but from the friend you reference here, who is clearly understanding, trustworthy, and has your best interests at heart. The fact that you talked about it is *huge*. I think WT will be very proud of you.

  3. This is a really brave step Kerro… Yes, talking openly with WT is a wise move considering all that you have faced recently, and what you describe here. I honestly think she will be appreciative that you are being open with her. Remember that it takes strength to say that you need help, and to then accept that help.

    Sending you lots of (((warm safe huggles)))

    PS I know you’ll ask why it’s strong to ask for help, and it’s strong because it goes against all of our instincts. Our instinct is to hide and cover up; while asking for help shows a vulnerable strength that is normal, yet so difficult to understand sometimes.

  4. @ Sword Dancer – I think one of the things I’m stuck on is that being honest with a therapist is “almost always” a good thing. It’s the ‘almost’ I keep tripping over. Unfortunately my therapist, as Wonderful as she is, DOES judge – every time she points out my irrational thoughts, or less than perfect behaviour, she’s judging me. She does know what people with PTSD go through, though, so may be that will help?

    @ David – That makes sense, even the crazy maths analogy – except that the WT thinks I’ve been doing well – so well, in fact, that she’s suggested spreading out my sessions with her. So now having to admit that I need extra help and support feels like I’m admitting to being a big fraud and a huge failure. 😦 That friend I mentioned – she’s the greatest 🙂

    @ Castorgirl – Brave? Scary? Stupid? All those things. I hope she appreciates my honesty… I’m not sure how to keep moving at the moment, so if she goes all tough on me I think I’ll lose it. I like the hiding and covering option better. 😉

  5. Absolutely! And hey, I do this too. One of the T’s I had inpatient told me my assett and my weakness were both that I “present well”. It is an asset to daily life, but it hurts me in therapy. So, so true.

    As for the idea that your T can’t read your mind, I used to teach adolescents with emotional/behavioral disorders, and I really encouraged them to talk to me. I always told them I was there for them, want to help, etc, but “i can only help you with what you bring to the table”, meaning I can’t guess what it is you need. Sometimes I can infer. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong, but really, I can’t help you with something I have no idea is going on.

    Hope things go well for you when youbspeak with your T.


  6. Hi Lothlorien – Thanks for your comments. My T has often said that I “present well”. And yea, it’s an asset, but a curse, too. I chickened out big time in therapy today, but I may blog more about that later.

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