Friday, 20 January 2012

New psychologist: second, third and fourth sessions

I seem to have gotten behind in my blogging, which is weird cos I feel like I have been writing a lot. I apologise for my cursing at times, by the way. I know it is offensive to some people, but I try to be honest on here and express myself in whatever way I need to and sometimes that involves the F word. I hope it doesn't put anyone off reading. I try to just keep it for special occasions for the most part, if that helps you tolerate me? It's worse when certain parts are near the front of the bus.

So, I am going to have to summarise a lot because I've neglected to blog when I should have (later edit: I didn't do too well with the 'summarising' and good luck with this one, it's long). Let's go back to last week. I went to my appointment with new psychologist last Thursday and although it now seems like forever ago and I've forgotten much of what happened, I remember feeling really happy about how it went. I was smiling when I got home.

Although in general I thought I was doing OK since T left, I did tell you that cracks have been starting to show and I have been having some meltdowns recently. I've been making myself sick a lot (probably averaging on about four or five times a week which is a lot compared to the average of zero before Christmas) and cutting myself. I cut my wrist on Tuesday more deeply than I usually do and although it's still OK and not dramatic enough to need any stitches, it still freaked me out and scared me. I felt really bad on Tuesday actually. The day and the few before it had been a bit of a disaster. I told you in my blog post on Tuesday that I had texted my new psychologist to ask if I could see her early this week and I'd thought she hadn't got it, but after I posted that she contacted me to say she would see me at 4.30. It was already 3.45 so I dragged myself together and went down to meet her, feeling a bit guilty about having made a fuss because I was now feeling more normal.

As I was heading out the door Adam told me that I should not go there and tell her everything is OK just because I am feeling a bit better now. He said to explain that things had been really bad and not to play it down (think he was a bit worried about me?). Funnily though, I had already emailed new psychologist to explain that I'd sent her a text because things were bad, that she hadn't gotten but not to worry and I said at the end that if I went on Thursday and told her I was doing fine, she should remind me that I emailed her to tell her things are really bad. LOL

So I saw new psychologist and it was really great. I don't mean that we had a laugh and a joke (although we did have a few actually) but it was great because she was kind and compassionate and reassuring. She told me she was glad I had contacted her and that I had done the right thing in asking for help. I said that I'd worried she'd be angry and she said that it was on the contrary; that she thought it was really good that I asked for what I needed. She asked about my arm. I can't remember now how she knew about it but she asked if she could see it. T never asked me to show her cuts and I was surprised by this. I know that her reason for asking was probably because she wanted to see if I needed to get any treatment for it but I declined to show her and said that it was fine and didn't need stitches. She asked me a few more times during the session if I was sure it was OK and said she was concerned that I might be neglecting to care for it as a way of self harming. I thought that was very considerate but really it was fine.

One other thing that surprised me about Tuesday was that one of my alters came out... Ebony. Ebony has been out with T before but I don't know that T identified her or realised she was out all of the times. I was surprised that when Ebony came out, new psychologist picked up on it and asked if it was Ebony. She's on the ball isn't she?! She was really, really kind to Ebony. She said she could see that Ebony was a very sad girl and had a lot of pain. She asked Ebony a few questions, which Ebony didn't answer (she's not very good at talking to people I don't think) and she told her that this was a safe place where all the adults were acting responsibly and that she hoped Ebony would come to feel safe there in time and feel like it's a place she can be, or something like that. After a while she asked Ebony to go back in and me or Grace to come out. I wasn't sure why she did that. I guess because Ebony wasn't talking. Ebony didn't want to go back in and felt sad that she asked her to. She wondered if she had done a wrong thing. I think it was a huge thing for Ebony to have someone acknowledge her. She is used to not being noticed. It was huge for someone to see her pain too. After I was back in the drivers seat, new psychologist asked me some questions about Ebony and then she said: "Ebony seems in a lot of pain; I can feel it... it's palpable in the room. It's very moving, you can really feel it."

I felt touched by what she said. I also felt a bit guilty that this apparent stranger seemed to have so much more compassion for Ebony than I've ever given her, because she asked if Ebony comes out a lot and I said that we're usually really separate but she'd come out more in the last week and new psychologist said: "Aww" in a really genuinely sad sounding tone. Ebony felt... I can't say 'happy' because I'm not sure she knows how that feels, but it was huge for her to have someone care for her in this way. It was really huge. And I felt guilty.

New Psychologist also pointed out that while I had been dissociating she had been able to see the bandage on my wrist. She asked again if I was sure it didn't need stitches and I felt so mortified and tugged at my sleeves to make sure she wouldn't get another look... but also touched that someone would even care.

At the end of the session she told me that we'd keep the Thursday appointment as well and I felt relieved when she said this. I need support at the moment and her caring manner was so needed and helped me so much not to feel paranoid that I had done a bad thing in asking for help. I asked for help a number of times as a child and the reactions varied from those who were too overwhelmed to be able to even face helping me so moved themselves away from me to anger and punishment. I still expect to be rebuked.

So that was Tuesday and today I went to see her again. It didn't go so well. Now, I don't think it was her. In fact, the poor woman may have been wondering what the heck to do with me, but I just really struggled. I worked hard make sense of anything she was saying and was really struggling to form any answers that consisted of more than one word. I felt like I kept drifting off. I know it was a kind of dissociation and I think on reflection what had happened was that after seeing her on Tuesday, I'd felt pretty knackered and a bit relieved. I went back to work on Wednesday and needed to be able to function, so I switched to function mode and became detached from everything 'feely'. Coming back to see new psychologist today 'I' was still in function mode but the others were ready to feel and the two don't go well together. I found myself in a struggle of not wanting to tolerate the emotions that were coming up because they felt like they'd overwhelm me and I ended up with whirlwind brain.

Maybe in a way I was worried that I might switch again too. I am a bit concerned that my new psychologist seems to notice switches and be looking out for them and the fact that Ebony has already come out and been noticed is kind of shocking. I feel almost like it's unfaithful to T because the parts have wanted to talk to T so much and I've not been able to let them. If they start coming out and talking to a complete stranger, how is T going to feel when she comes back and finds that out? I know I shouldn't be worrying about things like that but I am and I can't help it. So perhaps that's why today I felt so much resistance to talking to new psychologist; because I was trying to hold back more. I felt sorry for her, but when I get in that state I find questions really hard going and she kept asking me work questions. I always get really agitated when T asks me about work in the sessions and I felt the same way today.

I think maybe the surprising switching with new psychologist is understandable. T has seen me switch, possibly more times than I can remember, but not a lot of the time. Although I have wanted to let parts out to meet T, I have struggled to allow it to happen and at times really fought to hold parts in. My main reason for that is pride. I feel embarrassed about what they will say or how they'll act and I've been with T for a while and care a lot about how I'd be perceived. Maybe it's easier with new psychologist because I don't know her and it doesn't matter so much what she thinks of me. That's just a theory. Or maybe the parts just aren't having any of it anymore and needed to break free... or maybe it was just a one off, because I was having a sort of crisis wasn't I? I guess if I had gone to see T on Tuesday the same thing might have happened. Maybe I should stop worrying so much.

I don't know that it would have been all that apparent to new psychologist just how much I was struggling today. I think it probably was visibly apparent that I wasn't totally at ease, because at one point she actually said that what I was doing to my hands looked a bit sore. When I'm anxious or feeling like I might dissociate I tend to dig my nails in my skin because it helps me stay grounded. It's a helpful thing for me although it probably doesn't appear to be a good thing to her. It doesn't hurt at the time. It's pain, but dulled down. It's just a real feeling; sometimes I can't even feel anything. It's later that I feel pain. Today wasn't too bad but some days I've come home feeling like my hands have been scalded with boiling water. T has never said anything about that before. I never realised how obvious these behaviours that I have are to other people and I feel a bit freaked out now because I quite often do things like pinch or dig my nails in my hands when I'm with other people. I guess I never really considered that other people would look at me and think that strange; but I suppose it is strange isn't it? I suppose other people don't want to feel pain in that way.

I need to be more self aware. I also need to be more careful about people seeing my arm. Adam is so unobservant that I don't need to try hard to hide things from him. I tend to use him as a measuring stick for how other people will be, but what if other people are actually as observant as new psychologist? I expressed my worry about that today and she said that she tends to look out for things like self harm though and is suspicious if she sees someone pulling their sleeves down a lot, so maybe other people wouldn't be thinking in that way. I just don't know. Yesterday my sister Katie asked me if I had some kind of allergy because my neck was all red and rashy. It was actually just that I had been scratching at my neck the way I do when I'm anxious. I don't do that in psychology sessions, funnily. I always feel more frozen. I tend to hold myself still and keep my hands in my lap, but they just work at each other when I'm anxious instead of scratching chunks out from behind my ears and making my neck and chest rashy.

Anyway, I felt really awful by the time I left the session. I felt like I had been really hard work and that new psychologist was probably angry with me for not co-operating better. I sat in my car for ages spacing out and feeling confused and angry with myself and missing T and thinking that new psychologist must hate me now and wanting to never go back to psychology again. When I came home Adam took one look at me, who was now Pan and said: "Oh dear. What happened?" Pan said: "I don't want to go to Psychology anymore." Adam asked why and Pan stated that he didn't have to talk about it and wanted to put pyjamas on. I got my jammies on and curled up in bed cuddling teddy. The short post before was Pan's expression of annoyance at everything too. He can be a bit over dramatic sometimes.

Now that I've had a lie down, ate some dinner, thrown it up again and had a while to think over the session, I don't think it outwardly went that badly. In fact, new psychologist may not have had any idea how frigging hard it was for me today. I just felt so much internal pressure. I think I needed to get in touch with that and instead I tried to ignore it and keep it back and maybe asking me about work might have been new psychologist's way of helping me to talk about something less stressing, but really it just made me feel worse because the others inside were just pushing at me more and feeling angry that I was wasting time talking about stupid work stresses when they've got life and death issues to deal with. I think the worries about her now hating me and being angry with me are just my own stupid internal issues too. I have always tended to swing from feeling like T was OK with me to the next week feeling paranoid that she can't stand me and not wanting to go back because I'm sure I'll be shouted at. I guess it's not likely to change just because it's someone else. I'm feeling quite bad about myself in general today. I kind of feel like all the world hates me and that no one is going to want to read my miserable, pathetic lamentations. I don't know why this has struck me. I got a few nice compliments at work today from people, one person said she thought I had lost weight and one who came up to my desk specifically to tell me I looked nice. If anything I should be feeling more confident but I actually just want to crawl into bed and hide from the world and not come out again. I guess comments about my appearance can be hard to handle even if they're nice. I remember my dad saying things about my appearance. Cringe.

I still have so much more to say but this post is way too long already and I apologise to you although I probably should have put this apology earlier as I'd be surprised if anyone has made it this far and really, you only have yourself to blame for putting yourself through such trials as reading a blog post this long! If you have made it to here, well done, I admire your stamina/stubborn refusal to quit. I wanted to talk about how I'm finding it really hard that new psychologist has read all my notes and now knows so much about me that we haven't discussed. I'm really struggling with this, but it will have to wait for another day, you'll be pleased to know.

Goodnight for now. C


Ruth said...

Candy I was telling NewCounselor today how it bugged me how KavinCoach knew so much about me. I am noticing that the work I did with KavinCoach makes it easier to work with NewCounselor. He also pushes me differently so he gets a different response. Change is rough. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I've just read your post and to me it all makes a lot of sense. I know you feel way out of your depth at the moment, but I think you are making massive leaps forwards, you just can't see it yet.
Your new therapist sounds lovely and very on the ball. I think she understands much more than you realise.
Sending you al my love and best wishes. Well done for sharing all of this, rather than bottling it up. I'm sure it will help in the long run.
Take care

emma said...

Hi candy can

I have come across your blog after googling DID. I have been diagnosed today and feeling a bit overwhelmed have you any tips on how to deal with this..


Ellen said...

Hi Candy,
I find your posts really interesting and this one in particular is interesting to me. As you probably know, a little swearing does not bother me at all - I laughed when I read the title of that 'swearing' post - it seemed completely appropriate to me.

Do you find it a relief to have parts emerge and talk in therapy? I actually do, although it's also scary. It seems like it would be a great thing that this is happening to you.

It makes sense you are still struggling with the transition. I would hate to have someone read a bunch of notes about me also. Luckily in my case no one is taking notes.

Hope things start to look up for you. I'm glad your posting a lot because I like to read!

Hi Pan! Are you feeling good? I'm OK. I saw Ron today but I didn't talk to him but it was still good. Your friend, Ellen

Candycan said...

To ellen I am happy you said hello to me. I got a owl like yours for my birthday and its grey and white and got yellow eyes and (Candy) said she thinks about you when she sees it sometimes and today i have got a headache. i hope you not lonely today. Me and little C are your friends. I have to go now. Pan

Candycan said...

Hi Ruth, did KavinCoach know about you because of notes from a previous therapist too? It's kind of difficult isn't it? I think the simple solution would be if I had a copy of the notes myself; at least then I'd know what she knows and the context. Ugh! She did give me a choice wether she should read them or not but I thought this would be better than the alternative of feeling frustrated at her not knowing anything. I felt that way with T when I started with her. It's interesting that you felt your work made it easier with new counsellor. I think that applies too. It has taken me so long to learn to trust T and in a way, it is a little bit transferable. I don't know if we'll ever fully trust someone but I feel it might be easier to trust a psychologist now after my experience with T. I guess I trust the process more. Anyway, sorry for the long response! C

Erica, thank you for the encouragement. I really hope you are right that I am moving forward. Maybe it's harder to see it when you're (we're) in the middle of it all. I think new psychologist is very on the ball and lovely. I think it was just me being paranoid. The feeling sticks with me though and won't go away until I go back and (hopefully) have a better session where I feel more secure. I am just really insecure. I already don't know if T even exists any more. I find myself wanting reassurance that she is still alive, so it's not surprising I doubt other things like if new psychologist believes me or doesn't hate me or wotnot! Thanks for the best wishes and the safe hugs on the other post. It's really kind of you to comment :) I hope things are going ok for you at the moment. C

Emma, thanks for commenting and my heart goes out to you with your new diagnosis. Gosh, there is so much I could say about this but I guess a lot of my experience is just my experience and might be different for you. I have found though that reading DID blogs has helped me so much because there are A LOT of things that other people with DID have in common that I always thought were just me being a freak! I recommend reading about other people's experiences can be helpful. At the same time remember that not all people with DID are the same and don't panic when there are differences. It might take you a while to get your head around the diagnosis. Many people with DID have trouble accepting it at times and that's part of the nature of it sometimes too. There are some really useful books which I have found helpful (check the book review tab) and I have written various blog posts on general DID things especially more when I first started the blog. If you want to get in touch with me via email I'd be happy to chat with you more (candycanandco at g mail dot com). Take care of yourself and take one day at a time. I hope to hear from you again.

Hi ellen, thanks for saying you are interested in my posts. It's always surprising to hear that people are! I think it is a huge relief for parts to talk rather than me acting as a messenger. It makes me feel so anxious when I know they are there and I'm trying to hold them in. If they come out it is a physical relief. It's also hard too if it's someone who's upset and I find it takes a lot of my energy. Tuesday evening I was so shattered and I have felt so tired all week since. But in a way I think that's also because it's a relief. Your parts seem to be more comfortable talking with Ron and sometimes when I read your posts I envy that a bit; that they can feel so comfortable to talk to him, especially the kid. Thanks for reading and thanks for talking to Pan. He really likes hearing from you :D

Candycan said...

P.S Emma, sometimes I am not great at remembering to check my emails so if I don't reply either leave a message here or hopefully I will find it before long. Or of course you can always ask questions on my blog etc. Take care.

emma said...

Hi again candycan
Thank you so much for replying. I dont really believe I have this I have tried to find another explanation for all this but the dr is adamant. I am really scared and my life is chaos at the moment. I will continue to read your posts, thank you xx

Candycan said...

Hi Emma, can you talk more with your doctor to find out their reasons why they've decided that? I'm sorry you're feeling scared and that things are out of control at the moment.
My therapist helped me to tolerate my uncertainty more by helping me to think of DID as a useful framework for thinking about how my internal world is structured. It helps me because I can see that certain things fit but i don't have to convince myself one way or the other. The label just gives me a framework to help me understand myself. I don't know if that makes any sense at all! Anyway, I feel for you and hope you won't feel pressurized one way or the other. Here are some links to posts which might be helpful...

Justine said...


I like the swearing! makes me want to read your blog cos I know it will be real. (Aspen)

Hi Candycan,
REally appreciated reading your blog. describes SO, SO much of what I felt when having a new therapist 2 years ago because my previous one died of cancer. At first I found I could show parts of me that first therapist never saw in all the 14 years I saw her. I think not knowing the new one helped me to have a fresh start but then showing her those parts created an intimacy that i really panicked about and wanted to rear away from. She does still see more than last therapist but not as much as she did at first. Your situation is really hard though with the split loyalties and such but you know I think that's there problem rather than yours.It' okay for you to take what you need from them. I bet that's what they expect.(that looks a bit stark when i read it back but I hope you know what I mean by that - that you don't have to look after them)
Take care


Candycan said...

Thanks Aspen, I'm glad you're reading it.

Archie, gosh, that must have been really hard losing your therapist like that. It sounds like your feelings during the change were similar to mine in many ways. You make a good point that it's not my problem. T said to me before she left that she felt my work with new psychologist would be just helping me manage day to day while she was gone and that much movement with my parts issues wouldn't be likely because I wouldn't have built up the trust with her. I did say at the time that I was concerned that the others (parts) might not see it that way and that I can't stand the thought of coming to psychology and things not moving forward and some of them are desperate for help. She acknowledged then that it's not her place to say and I may find change does happen and things move forward and that it would be entirely up to me. But you know, I do worry. I do feel scared too at how it will be if things are better with new psychologist than with T. I know it's too early to be worrying about that too but my brain just races with these things. I like having answers!
Take care and thanks for coming over to comment!

Justine said...

That does put you in a real bind doesn't it? You need your needs meeting (and obviously can't wait 6 months for that) but it feels like success with your new psychologist will destabilise your old relationship that you have been able to trust. I really feel for you! I'm glad your T realised what she was saying was unfair. I guess the need for answers is part of feeling safe. Uncertaintity is terrifying for my different parts. Me too actually although i bluff my way throuh it better.
Thinking of you

Take Care

Meronym said...

As I was reading, a suggestion came to mind. Try on the idea and see if it maybe helps.

You have a certain way of relating and having sessions with your old T. And you don't want to feel disloyal to her.

So set aside the question of how you'll deal with T in six months. That's not this week's problem - put it on the calendar to think about in five months, and until then, leave it alone.

As for the new T and things being different, why not encourage the difference and see if it works for you? OldT wouldn't ask to see your cutting, NewT does - show her if you feel you can, let her see that it's fine. Most alts wouldn't come out with OldT? Maybe NewT is exactly who the alts should take turns coming out with. Maybe OldT is your T, and New T is theirs.

The great thing about the NewT is that right now it's planned to be a short-term thing. This is a chance to try things that you're worried about doing with OldT. Like switching a lot more, and showing your cuts, and anything else you wouldn't want to do with OldT.

It sounds like NewT is really observant, and kind. She doesn't have as many preconceptions about you as you might have about her. So let yours go and see what happens. It might be a wonderful thing. And if it isn't, well, it's only six months.

Anonymous said...

Having read these posts out of order your psychologist here sounds like she is functioning much more in tune with you than she did in session five. I am glad you have that positive exerience. I hope you can let her know how she made you feel in week five. I have such admiration for your self awareness. It takes a lot to feel it and to express it and be with it, never mind try to understand it.