Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Getting stuck in the toilet at therapy

Last week I dissociated badly at the end of my clinical psychology session. I had been pretty detached during the session. Not much insight and little enthusiasm for talking about myself. I think I was struggling with this part of myself who doesn't think I have DID or any history of abused and the part that wants to move forward and get everything out in the open. So I felt anxious. I must have started to come round by the end of the session because I remember asking New Psychologist what she thinks happened to me given everything she knows about me now. I remember her talking in the way psychologists do (you know, how they tend to avoid answering questions directly?) about how in time, through processing it will become more clear to me and that it is perhaps a combination of things. She talked about what some of these things were. I remember her saying she is sure my childhood was difficult, or something and I remember she used the words 'must have been awful... pretty awful'.

I started feeling like I was spinning round, like I was sitting on a tiny roundabout... or maybe I was the roundabout. I closed my eyes and tried to hold onto the chair. NP asked me what happened if I opened my eyes... I tried it and found that I could see that I was in fact, sitting still in a chair and not spinning. But then the room started to move instead. I remember the boxes behind her going left, right, left, right, left, right.... everything going left, right... fast; not slowly. Fast. It was weird. I felt tears in my eyes. I felt far away, everything muffled... the need to close my eyes was strong. The need to disappear was strong. Fighting it is hard.

I remember that I could hear her calling my name over and over. I think she was clapping in my ears and clicking her fingers... but it seemed far away, not strong enough to help. This must have gone on for a while because I remember her going out of the room and coming back to tell me someone else was waiting to come in but I was stuck. I was half there and half gone. After a while she asked if Grace could come out to help. Grace hasn't been around in a long time. I tried to ask Grace to come but I couldn't find her. Then after some time I just suddenly found myself back, like someone flicked a switch and the light went on.

I grabbed my bag and headed for the door, apologising. NP was telling me about my next appointment but I didn't want to wait around in case I dissociated again. She called after me: "Candy, can you go into the toilet because you have some black mascara on your face?" I nodded and went into the toilet to find my face looking like someone had drawn stripes on me with black paint. I cleaned myself up and stood at the sink. My breath was coming too fast. I felt... I don't know what you call it. Grief? Pain? I needed to be present but I needed to go away. I must have spent a long time in the bathroom. I remember leaning over the toilet with my fingers down my throat and not being able to vomit because I had no food in my stomach. I remember vomiting up acid and it covering my hand and it felt smooth and slimy and smelt like having the flu as a child and vomiting up bile. I remember thinking how it felt smooth like semen and maybe I was vomiting up all the badness that's been put inside me ever. I wished.

It must have been a long time because then NP was knocking on the bathroom door asking if I was OK. I croaked that I was. Then she was asking me to come out and I said I was. Then she was knocking again and saying in a loud and put out voice that I needed to come out because the toilet was for use by everyone in the department and I couldn't stay in there. I felt afraid and mortified and wondered if I could climb out the window and never come back. I knew everyone in the department would have heard that because it's small. She used my name. I don't know how I'll show my face there again.

I wiped my face and washed my hands and got myself together and headed out the door as quickly as I could. I heard her saying: "See you next week" as I rushed out but I didn't look round or answer her. I got to my car and sat with my head in my hands for a long time. By the time I was together enough to drive home it was after midday. My session had started at nine thirty so I must have been dissociated for a long time, in the session, in the bathroom or in my car.

At home I sat staring at the TV for a while but by about 2pm I was exhausted. I rang the psychology department and left a message for NP to ring me as I realised I needed to check my next appointment time with her... I also wanted to apologise. Then I got into bed and slept for four hours solid.

That was last Thursday and I guess I've been a bit of a zombie ever since. I have been dithering about what to do this week. I really don't feel like going back for more. I just want to curl up and let it all disappear and never have to think about pain or the past or New Psychologist or T again. I don't have the energy for it. I want to just not go to my session this week but I feel it is wrong to just not turn up when she has to drive to get to my appointment in T's old office. She could be helping someone else. But I don't want to have to ring her either. Either she'll encourage me to come or she'll say that is fine and I think either way I won't be happy.


Ellen said...

That sounds awful Candy. From where I sit, and you may not feel this way, but to me, NP was insensitive. Could she not have shown some caring and compassion for what you were going through, both in her office when you couldn't leave, and in the toilet? Obviously something was seriously wrong. You are not the type to obstruct people on purpose are you.

Maybe she did say some caring things but you didn't write them down? She comes across as if her only concern was that you were blocking the washroom and inconveniencing her next client.

I know how disabling dissociation can be - I hope it subsides for you very soon.

I can totally see why you don't want to go back for the next appt.

take care

Ruth said...

Sounds like a very rough session. I hope you have found some peace now.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you say I have only just started to see someone and something like that has happened to me I just didn't say anything to anyone until now that is . Iam am so glad I found your blog

Candycan said...

Thanks guys. I told her how I felt and she said she was concerned about 'what I was doing' in there ie was i doing something harmful. I just don't think she handled it well. Her main job is in an inpatient unit and i think she's used to the idea of her being the powerful doctor and the patient being passive and not requiring the respect of dignity or choice. Bitch.