Friday, 27 May 2011

Clinical Psychology Session: forcing me to talk about work issues

So, yesterday was T day again.

We were all muchly pleased to have a clinical psychology session this week, having had one last week. Normally I only go to T every other week (HATE that!) but as she is away next week she offered me an appointment early instead. I was glad to see that she did this after the meltdown that happened last time when she went away and tried to make it a three week break. She obviously must have realised that three weeks between sessions isn't an option!

Last week in the session, she made me talk about work. I REALLY didn't want to talk about work because I felt there was no point as all the stress can't be changed and I have no control over how horrible it is.

But she made me anyway.

She asked me a few times what I thought could be done to help me manage the stress of trying to do about four different people's jobs in one week. I got quite frustrated in the end and told her that if I knew what to do I would be doing it and that there was no point in talking about it because there was nothing that would help.

At this point she actually gave me some advice on things that I could do to help at work. I don't know about other therapists but in my experience, they don't usually offer advice. The consensus seems to be that you don't go there to be given the answers to your problems but rather to explore them together with someone who can help you to reflect and come to understand things better for yourself. Blurrgh!

The few times that my T has actually offered me some kind of ideas as to practical solutions to problems I am experiencing, they have been mostly, like a breath of fresh air and have surprised me too: finding there are solutions to problems that I thought couldn't be solved. I am a desperate pessimist. T is an eternal optimist.

The first time she ever really helped me with practical ideas, was when I was freaking out at an impending trip to a spa with family members, where I felt I would not be able to hide the scars on my legs from them. I had been stressing about it for months and had a great sense of impending doom about the whole trip.

For me, my family knowing about my DID or anything to do with my mental health issues would be one of the most humiliating things that could ever happen to me. I think it's because of the way I was brought up: where any kind of ill health or negative emotion was seen as a huge flaw. Actually, it was seen as sinful. You were made to feel like you were weak and those weaknesses could be used against you.

I remember how awful it was when my parents found out I was self harming as a child of twelve. I remember pleading with my teacher not to tell them and then the hours of interrogation afterwards and the awful embarrassment of being found out. To this day, I still want the ground to swallow me up if the words 'self harm' are mentioned when I'm in the presence of my family.

I thought that my fate for this holiday was a done deal: they would see my scars, ask me what had happened, I'd slowly die of shame and in the process get a patronising lecture about how I need to sort myself out.

To my immense surprise and relief, T came up with several super brilliant ideas about dealing with my scars that I never would have thought of in a million years: such as special body makeup to hide them or ideas as to what I could say about my wearing longs shorts etc. I could have hugged her at that moment. She even suggested that I might be able to get laser treatment through the NHS to help remove them so that I wouldn't have problems in future with this issue.

Thankfully, I don't think I will ever need to get laser treatment on my legs as they have faded down now quite well and you wouldn't see them unless you really looked or were in a very specific kind of light and saw the texture of the lines.

But I digress...

So yeah, last week she offered me advice on managing the stress at work. At the time I was thinking "these suggestions won't help!" but I thought about them afterwards and they were good ideas. Plus the process of just being made to acknowledge and talk about the work stresses made me realise that it is affecting my mood and burying my head in the sand isn't helping. I felt more motivated to take charge of my own destiny so to speak and have done a lot in the week since to help things.

ANYWAY... I am supposed to be telling you about YESTERDAY'S session! So yesterday, I went back and gave her some feedback about how I'd found it to be helpful talking about work last week. She admitted that she'd reflected on having given advice to me afterwards as she usually tries to avoid doing it and I got the feeling maybe she had been unsure as to wether she should have done that or not.

Once I told her how it had helped, she then got me to talk MORE about work and the problems I am having with being able to delegate work to people who can help (I hate asking other people to do things for me, even though I know that it is reasonable and necessary to do so). I REALLY didn't want to talk about work again this week. I guess I set myself up for it, tellng her that it was good that she had made me talk about it the week before. I think at one point yesterday I told her I was hating talking about it, but she didn't let me off. I felt so frustrated and anxious and wanted her to change the subject more than ANYTHING.

I think it's also hard for some of my alters to hear us talking about work, when they feel they are carrying around much larger burdens that they have been bursting to talk to her about for years now. It is important to be able to cope with the here and now parts of my life though and I think work has been making me really down so it was helpful. My new job is so much harder than my old job, but the pay doesn't reflect that. It makes me feel a bit shit.

After a while (like, nearly an hour?) though it was just too much, I just couldn't bear to talk about work anymore... especially once she started trying to do CBT with me (I HATE CBT!) so I kind of just stopped responding and sat staring at the floor with my heart going at a million beats per second and my hands fiddling about like a mad womans. I think eventually she got the message and asked me if there was anything else I wanted to talk about.

And so, I told her about the alters that are dying to talk to her and want me to let them come out in the session, but how I can't let them because of fears about how she might react and also because I find it so hard to give up the control of them in case of what they might say and about how I am so nervous of a child part coming out because they are not like me and wouldn't just sit on a chair like a grown up and I am scared about what they might do and so on. Every week between sessions I tell them they can come out and I want them to, but then we get to the session and I don't let them because I'm too scared and then I get so anxious because I spend most of the session trying to hold them in. And they are angry about this!

She was really understanding! Apparently, we have never talked about this, although I thought she knew what is going on inside me every week, but she said it was good to know that. In relation to the issue of my concerns about child parts coming out she had a suggestion for that too but I am not going to tell you it in this post...

Pan (a child part) wrote down what happened and what his feelings were about it, on some paper after we got home from the session yesterday. I think I will type it up as a separate blog entry and post it after this one.

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