“Disgustingly happy art” was approved (and thoughts on today)

disgustingly happy artMet with TM again today and showed her the finished Unicorn Pegasus picture. She really liked it. We talked about how difficult it was to do, and how it didn’t really meet my standards, but that it was growing on me. I had intended to explain that trying to do the happier piece in my art journal was very triggering, but I forgot to bring it up. I wanted to explain that the art journal needed to be where I could be genuine with the expression, but we ended up talking about how taking the art journal classes was helping me be less critical of my work.

I also mentioned that the Unicorn Pegasus piece may or may not find a way to go up in flames after session, so she asked if she could keep it. :shrugs: All good. I had to think I was making it for her to keep anyway in order to be able to finish it, so I was ok with her actually keeping it. At first she had said she wouldn’t hang it up because she knew how uncomfortable having my other piece up had made me. I came to the conclusion that the piece in the hallway was too vulnerable, which made me feel exposed. We kinda talked about that a bit. While I know a lot of my art expresses stuff, the more vulnerable and “dark” a piece is, the harder it is to have it seen by random people. It’s kinda like having my journal hanging up in the hallway for anyone to read; just too personal. The Unicorn Pegasus was a piece done “on commission” so it doesn’t make me feel as exposed.

I showed her my art journal that I had started in May. I told her how it was an easier way to express things than in writing, and it was safer in many respects. I have had my written journals read by too many uninvited people to have that feel like a safe way to get things out of me. At least with the art journal, a lot is left up to interpretation. Unless I tell you exactly what I was trying to express, you either interpret it correctly or you don’t. And if you happen to guess it but I don’t want you to know that, I can explain it as something else…

She used the title of “counselor” today and I was able to correct her in real-time about it. I told her how and why it made me uncomfortable. I joked with her that I “get stupid” as soon as I walk through the door to the building anyway, so even if I had gotten my degree, I doubt I could come up with anything intelligent. She kinda laughed at that, then agreed to change her wording to “former intern”. On the heels of that discussion going well, I took a breath and asked for a reality check around whether or not she had believed me the last session when I told her I cut my finger by accident. She admitted that she didn’t know me well yet, but was going on the assumption that I was being honest. I told her that I do my best to be as honest as possible in therapy. If there’s something I don’t want to answer, I will stay quiet rather than lie about it. I was relieved that she didn’t think I was lying, and told her so. We talked a bit more about working in therapy and trying to get out of the rut I seem to be in. I think she may have been generalizing a bit about noticing that I am trying (because really, she’s seen me 3 times. Yes I put forth effort, but I don’t think it’s as obvious as she made it sound… though maybe it is and I just don’t notice it). I may have to bring that up with her, because I don’t believe people when they say nice things about me, especially if I don’t think they would have the knowledge to make a particular statement. It feels fake and forced and like something G would do (either right before or right after harshly criticizing someone else), so it makes me wonder. I know she is not G. I am pretty sure she would not act like he did, however positive stuff towards me always makes me cringe (I know I felt this same way towards TL, and it brough up a lot of transference. I hope TM will be able to tackle it a bit more if it comes up with her also)…

This week’s homework is a bit different: I’m supposed to “practice” doing a trauma narrative. I’m supposed to pick a stressful memory and write about it more formally (beginning, middle, end). I could also do art around it if it’s easier. I may end up doing both… We talked about my desire to be pushed on the trauma work. She mentioned that she normally would not move this quickly, but I seem to have coping skills at my disposal. She is trusting that I will manage myself safely. We reviewed how I have been trying to cope when triggered. She wanted to add to it calling the office hotline. I told her how uncomfortable I was speaking on the phone, and how I often trip over my words or minimize things if I actually get to the point of speaking to a human being (normally I hang up before that can happen).  I told her I will sometimes contact the crisis chats and she seemed ok with that compromise. I guess if it ever gets to her really wanting me to speak with someone at the office, then I can ask her to warn them that I have a difficult time on the phone and it may take more effort on their end to get me to talk… Anyway, this homework is only practice because we are trying to keep triggering to a minimum. She doesn’t even want me to pick a trauma memory, just something more stressful. I’m supposed to describe the event in detail and add as much of both the emotions and thoughts surrounding it as I can recall. I’m also supposed to stop if I get too triggered or stressed. I tried to explain that I am triggered regardless, but she still wants me to take it slower. I’m still trying to figure out what to go with. One thought is the whole incident around Dr. Ass-Wipe wanting to force me into ECT. It’s something I have yet to really process, and I actually remember most of it. It’s also something that reinforces my desire to stay away from psych hospitalizations. Even if I am triggered and freaking out, it will be a very loud reminder to stay safe at all costs.

Can someone remind me to talk to her next week about the difficulty of doing a trauma narrative around something that comes splotchy and fragmented? I don’t really know how to do a “beginning, middle, end” when all I can remember is flashes of various “middles”…

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