I’m a believer (most of the time) that honesty in treatment is the key to making any progress. I say “most of the time” because sometimes my fear gets the better of me and I want to hide the ugly or scary parts of myself.
In an attempt to “just breathe” and get through the weekend, I tried to take a step back from myself for a moment. I opened up my journal and started to write a list of what I get from my behaviors and actions. I wanted to be as brutally honest as I could be with myself, so I resolved not to show it to anyone. I wrote all the contributing factors down no matter how shameful or embarrassing they may be. I was originally going to make it a cbt/dbt-style exercise with pros & cons, and some challenges to the reasons, but I eventually decided to stick to simply listing the reasons. I am not necessarily in a place to objectively challenge any of those thoughts or beliefs, so I didn’t want to torture myself further by trying (honesty can be scary, especially with all the judgements flying around in my head). I came up with a pretty comprehensive list. I think I covered everything I get from my behaviors. I even managed to cover some stuff I do not like to admit to myself that I get, but I wrote them down in an attempt to be brutally honest with myself. I find myself very stuck in therapy partly because I cannot get past the shame and embarrassment of a lot of things. I’ve made some progress with De on some of the shameful stuff, but there’s heaps more back there still.
My problem comes now in the sense of urgency I feel at needing to talk about this stuff. I’m afraid that if I don’t talk about it right now, in the moment, and to someone who can follow-up with me on it, I will lose my drive. I will find ways to talk myself out of the reasons. The thick walls of shame will fly back up in a flash, and I’ll be stuck again. My hope is to be able to talk to De about all this, but there are boundaries in place over extra contact (boundaries that I desperately need right now). I have to wait until Tuesday to talk about it. Intellectually (and from a professional perspective), I totally get this and know I should wait. The little kid in me is having an emotional shit-fit however. She’s stomping her feet and dying to beg for a chance to address this in the moment. I’m trying to calm her down. I know I cringe at admitting most of the list to De (a professional I have grown to trust), let alone anyone else I may not know or that may not have the professional perspective. I know this needs to wait to be addressed in an emotionally safe environment, but damn I wish it was now. I am trying to compromise with the emotional side of myself. I wrote it out where De will be able to see it and know it exists, but I have asked her not to read it. I am trying to commit to myself to leave it up where she can see it, and to trust that she will not read it before Tuesday (I have no reason to believe she would not do as I ask). I know I need to address this stuff to be able to move past it, but I also know shame can cripple me in it.
On one hand, it’s really good that I have the freedom to show or hide from De whatever entry I need to. It helps me censor myself and practice self-containment. On the other hand, it allows me to hide things I may need to address but am too ashamed of admitting. My ability to communicate is ever-evolving. I am still learning balance. I’m hoping the blog helps with that. I know if it were something I could not edit (like an email after it is sent), I would drive her and myself nuts more than I already do. I think honesty is incredibly important in treatment, but so is self-control on my behalf. With the blog I am learning that I can be more honest when writing, but I am also learning that there are some things I need to learn to reign in. I am able to spill a lot to her, but also go back and hide things or reveal things after the initial emotional spillage. As L reminded me this morning, sometimes things need to “marinate” before being addressed. I’m grateful De puts up with me and my alternating emotional explosions and implosions (sometimes she gets way too much info, other times I am unable to give her anything at all). I’m learning the balance with honesty also. Right now, I am at the stage of needing to be able to tell her everything and be taught what needs immediate addressing vs. what can wait… I hope she doesn’t hate me for this learning process. She only has to put up with me for another 2.5 weeks anyway (I know, not an excuse to completely lose my shit right now)…
::deep breath:: the process of learning things as an adult that I never learned as a kid is incredibly trying and painful… and way more difficult because as a kid, it was expected that I didn’t know this stuff. As an adult, I should know better by now and be past these little hissy-fits.