Monday, 25 October 2010

A snippet of my clinical psychology therapy

Recently one of my parts wrote my therapist (T) a letter asking for help, because they have not been able to directly speak in the sessions so far but wanted to express that they were there. Another part: an angry, scared part (I haven’t decided what pseudonym to give them on my blog yet) then tried to destroy the letter. It was salvaged by yet another of my parts, a more mature, observant part (who we call ‘the observer’), who then wrote a cover letter to T, explaining a few things about the whole ‘parts’ situation and issues we are encountering in trying to trust T to help us.

We were very nervous about how all of this would go down with T. We didn’t know if perhaps we would be rebuked for doing this. Growing up in an environment where any seemingly small or insignificant thing I did or didn’t do could have been the wrong thing and have scary consequences, makes me always worry I am doing something totally out of order without realising. There is also the fear of being accused of making this all up. And then there’s the fear of the person just not realising how significant a thing it was for me to give them the letter. But we got a good reaction. T said it was very courageous of us to give it to them.

In the letter, the more mature part asked T to ask us about the pictures.

So T asked me about the pictures at the next session (which I had been bringing along every week for months but hadn’t had confidence to mention in case T didn’t want to see them: that would be a huge blow for someone so fragile) and I showed them to her.

The pictures were originally supposed to be a project which I decided to work on to try to get to know my parts, after first becoming aware of even having parts. I set myself a task of trying to express on paper, each alter that I am aware of. I allowed one page per alter and tried to use pictures/drawings/colours/shapes/words/anything else to visually represent that person.

The child parts however LOVED this activity and I found them kind of taking over with it. The ‘one page per alter’ thing didn’t really work out as I found ‘little C’ making several pages of pictures, ranging from cut outs of magazine pictures to Christmas collages!

Eventually the child parts worked on making two projects: one of ‘likes’ and the other of ‘dislikes’ or as they named it: ‘Things I don’t like and things that make me feel bad’. Some of the ‘dislike’ pictures are hard for me to look at. Some of the pictures, another child part had scribbled out. Some, although not scribbled out, a child part decided needed to be sealed off or covered for safety, so they stuck pieces of card over them to make flaps or envelopes to hide the pictures in. This felt safer somehow.

So I sat there opposite T, while she looked under all the flaps and opened the envelope full of tiny pictures on bits of torn paper. She was talking through what she was seeing. Some of the pictures had captions too and she was reading them. I felt my angry child part getting very upset, wanting to scream at her to stop talking and stop looking at the pictures. Another part was feeling some other unpleasant emotions and my body was physically reacting.

Me, the shell of everyone, sat there in silence, wishing I could disappear and wishing she would stop talking through what she was looking at. I think I was drifting in and out of the room as well. I could hear her in the background but I was trying not to: “I don’t like buttons.... maggots.... being asked to do things I don’t want to do.... this looks like a bathroom...” but I wasn’t really there anymore. I heard her say: “This tells a story” and something about it giving a lot of “information”.

I woke in the middle of the night with everything buzzing round in my head. There was so much talking going on (there’s always talking going on but sometimes it gets louder and more disturbing or argumentative or tiresome). Someone was REALLY anxious. They remembered the words “tells a story” and “information” and they were shouting at me: “What did you tell her?! What have you done?! What information?! What was on the pictures?!”

I don’t think they were really looking for answers though on reflection. I think they were just panicking. We have lived our lives with the motto of: trust no one because everyone will let you down or hurt you. We learnt that lesson at a young age after crying out for help to adults who didn’t want to see what was going on so ignored the cries and looked the other way.

Sometimes if there’s too much going on in my head, I get a pen and paper and write down the narrative as it goes on. This helps people to get their say; it helps me to know what is going on, but it can be a really bad thing too. Sometimes when given a means of expressing that is not usually available, things start to come out that can be very disturbing to see on paper. If you’re interested perhaps I could put some of the narrative into this blog, if that’s something you’d like to read? I know I’ve tried Googling to see if anyone else has tried blogging their internal conversations but I haven’t been able to find any. I will need to think more about if this is definitely OK to do but if you would like to read it let me know (often it’s not pretty though. Does this blog have rules about language or content?)

Anyway, that’s enough for now, I’m sure your eyes will be tired, if not your brain after reading all of that!

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