My therapy is expensive–or rather, my co-pay is high ($60/session), and I only see E. once every two weeks. I know this makes it feel all the more urgent that I deal with the most crucial issues, so maybe I jump in too deep too fast.
Going into my therapy session on Wednesday, I was feeling pretty good. In fact, I’d been feeling better for about a week, which is the longest I’ve felt fairly sane since I don’t know, maybe December. Since I felt better, I thought it would be a good time to try to talk about some of my earliest, scariest traumatic experiences. Little girl, family member, oral sex, YUCK.
Such a hard topic, and only 45 minutes with E. And now I feel I’m out here in the world with all these hard feelings and no help with them. My stomach hurts, my skin crawls, my body aches, my concentration is poor.
What does this mean? That I should go slower? But for heaven’s sake, I’ve been in therapy for years. How slow do I need to go? I’ve heard people say that at the end of therapy it is good to box it all up until next time, but two weeks is a long time. And anyway, the box is leaky. Or maybe I’m doing it wrong?
CREDIT: Altered photo, original by Ben White on Unsplash
You’re not doing it wrong. Practice sealing that box up again and again. I put everything in a boat and send it out to sea. Some days that boat comes floating back again and again. And I send it back out to sea again and again. The more I practice, the less it comes back without me reeling it in.
That’s a nice metaphor. I will get there at some point, I bet. Right now though, Lately, however, I seem not to be able to seal that box up tight enough, and the monsters creep out, crawl up my back, ride on my shoulders and whisper in my ear. Sometimes one will slide in my ear and take up residence in my head.
A good therapist with experience in childhood trauma will give you guidance on how to get through the time before your next appointment. Sometimes it’s “homework” to work on or journal prompts, something to keep you focused so that your mind doesn’t go all over the place. Have you ever tried A/B journaling?
No, what is A/B journaling?
It’s journaling in two voices. “A” might say, “I never do anything right.” “B” replies, “I do my best and use all the information at my disposal.” The idea is to reply to our negative or critical thought with compassion and love. I find it to be very helpful when I beat myself up. It’s a great exercise in self compassion.
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No, you aren’t doing it wrong. Healing takes time, and it is exhausting, so go easy on yourself. Therapy every two weeks isn’t bad, it will give you a lot of time to decompress between sessions. Hang in there, you are not alone. ❤
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I have difficulty with therapy being every other week as well. And mine costs $150 because insurance covers nothing since she is out of network.
I just can’t orient myself to think in session and then reorient to go to work and then back to home. And I feel like I’m always skimming the surface and trying to trust but I can’t because even with writing I’m not good at containing serious overwhelm.
But I agree, you aren’t doing anything wrong.
I also feel like it’s hard to orient myself in a session. By the time I get to one, I have a lot of things I need from E. I need her to recognize how bad I’ve been feeling (if it’s been a rough time). I need to tell her what I’ve been thinking about–which lately is always a lot. But I also don’t want to use the whole 45 minutes just telling her about the previous two weeks. I feel like I need to use that precious time to push forward. Since it’s hard to talk about some of the important things, I can end up tiptoeing around the core topic for a bit, then relaxing into the situation and finally saying what I need to say. Sometimes she’ll misunderstand a little and respond to the wrong thing, and I will listen but not interrupt her. Other times she gets it exactly, and my heart flutters in its vulnerability. Then, suddenly, time is up, and I have to walk out carrying all that emotion with me. Two weeks later, repeat. It is helping, I would never claim it isn’t, but I think more regular sessions would help more.
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Oh my goodness, yes to all of that! Wanting to catch T up on where I’m at in my mind with 2 weeks worth of feelings. Thinking of the time as precious and not wanting to waste it on things that don’t matter. The feeling of your heart fluttering when you know that you’re understood but feeling vulnerable at the same time. And I fear the time being up. Like what if I decide to share or feel or express something I’m fearful of being alone with. Often times it’s just safer to remain shut down or on the surface. Thank you for understanding.
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