I Need a Dark and Quiet Place

After my session with Anna this morning, I sat in the garage at work and cried for 10 minutes, until I pulled myself together enough to go in and go to my meeting.

So far, my plans have been to quit therapy, quit my job, move out of the city, go on disability, cut off contact with everyone I know and find somewhere quiet and dark where I can just curl up with my cat and sleep forever. I’m not sure which part was triggered today but I suspect it wasn’t the Healthy Adult.

I’d thought that today we would talk about my trip home to see my cousin and her kids. It’s been two weeks and I haven’t spoken to anyone about it yet – after our last very connected session when I cried over the inner conflict and grief I’m feeling about my relationship with my cousin, I wanted to save it to share with her.

But she had her own agenda: to tell me how this isn’t working.

“We’re not shifting anything. Nothing’s changing. The things I’m suggesting don’t seem to be the right way to do it for you. I can’t even go near working with your activation because it’s too much, it’s too big. Everything’s really big.”

Anna knows that I’ve been self-harming because Jen sent an email to all of my team with the (very vulnerable) text message I sent her that night asking if she could call me (which she didn’t do, and yesterday told me is no longer okay), and telling them that I’d come to see her at the clinic last week. I feel so humiliated and exposed.

I want to curl into myself and withdraw from everyone; Anna, Aisha, Jen, my GP – all of them. I feel unfixable. I can’t manage my emotions. They’re too big for me. And they’re too big for Anna too. Why am I putting myself through the pain and the constant triggers of therapy when she doesn’t know how to help me?

“What do you want out of me? Because I’m at a bit of a loss about how to support you. Have a think about it and let me know.”

It was hard to stop myself crying when she said this the first time, and the second time, and the third. She could tell I was upset, but misinterpreted the reason, and told me it isn’t because she doesn’t want to help. I wasn’t feeling rejected or abandoned, though – just very, very alone. Things are hard right now. I’m struggling to get up, to get myself to work, to push through the fog and the heaviness enough to get through the day. This feels like too much. I don’t know how she can support me. I don’t know how to fix this.

It still would have been hard, but I think it might have been okay if she’d tried to help me with it. If she’d said “Okay, these are the things we’ve tried so far – let’s talk about each of them and why they were unhelpful and see if we can figure out something different“. Or if she’d said “Here are some other things we could try; what do you think about this one?”. But I feel like all I got was “Go away and work this out by yourself“.

I know that a lot of this pain belongs to the fifteen year old alone in her bedroom trying to decide what to do about the blood coming out of her eyes, and the sixteen year old with third-degree burns who took herself to appointments with a surgeon to decide whether or not to have the operation they recommended, who had a mother who cared but wasn’t capable of offering support. She’s tired and sad, and she can’t carry any more burdens by herself.

But I don’t know who to give the burden to. I can’t carry it either.

I Need a Dark and Quiet Place

9 thoughts on “I Need a Dark and Quiet Place

  1. This.shaking says:

    Dear Rea: I am so enraged and furious with your T. She is absolutely clueless about being a therapist. I think it would have been great if she had actually said what you suggested she say. Therapy is a shared experience and it’s the Relationship itself that enables us to unlearn and relearn. OR: she could have suggested someone with more experience. I can’t believe she threw everything back at you – I am speechless. I have experienced useless therapists. It is so hard to walk away … and then to look for someone else … and then to try again. I wish you the Strength and Fortitude and BIG LOVE for your Babies to do this, Rea. There ARE T’s who can help people like us. It might be helpful to look for someone who knows about Trauma and Dissociation Lovingly:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so grateful for your frustration on my behalf and your support – thank you. I’m really touched by your message. I’ve seen over 10 psychiatrists & psychologists in the last year and I just can’t even imagine starting that whole horrible process again, but at the same time, I can’t see any explanation that would make this feel okay. She specialises in trauma which makes me feel even worse. I feel like I’ll always be too much and I just want to hold my emotions close and not let anybody come near them.


  2. I have to say, my initial reaction to her asking you what she can do to help, was similar to this.shaking. It is not your job to make the treatment plan, it is her job. My last therapist “specialized in trauma” too, and had no clue how to help me. Not a bad person, a very caring person, but lacked the knowledge and expertise to treat dissociative-spectrum/complex PTSD-type issues. Which it sounds like you definitely also fall under (based on the symptoms you present with). I am sorry she isn’t able to help you, but I can speak from experience that it IS possible to find providers who CAN and WILL know how to help you. My current therapist gets me in a way no one else has before, and I am actually healing now. A therapist can care and be there, but if they lack the knowledge, they won’t be effective.
    I am so sorry you feel so alone with your emotions, I see you working so hard and being vulnerable and you are fulfilling your responsibilities as a client.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Rachel. In some ways I think it would be working if she’d just stop talking endlessly about how to structure therapy and let me actually talk to her about the things I need to talk about. I’ve been through so many psychologists in a brief period of time, but I thought Anna was going to be my last. However hurt and disappointed by her I’ve been, I’ve also been nurtured and cared for and I’m attached to her. More than I knew, I think. But if she doesn’t know what she’s doing then there just isn’t any point in keeping on doing this. At the moment I’m just giving myself some space and time and not pushing myself to make any decisions yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love the idea of giving yourself space, and finding a grounded view of everything. It is so hard when the emotions are heightened, to even know what is going on. Especially when in such a vulnerable position as a therapy client. And the attachment is real, and I really get that part of it too.

        Liked by 1 person

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