I find certain things incredibly difficult to bring up in therapy. I’m not sure if it’s the way Dr C and I go about things, or the topics themselves, or my fear of disappointing her, or what, but sometimes I struggle till the end of session (or even after season is up) with how to introduce talking about certain things.

Last Monday, we had mentioned some stuff at the end of session that I really had hoped to cover today… only today I couldn’t bring it up again in time. The only reason I brought it up at all was because she caught me looking at the clock trying to calculate if I had enough time to get into it. I didn’t. She gave me the option of coming in again this week if I wanted. I took the opportunity, and also asked if we could talk about the self harm stuff that session. She said we can always talk about it, anytime. I told her I wasn’t sure how to bring it up; it’s one of those things that feels irrelevant unless I’m mired in it… only it’s difficult to talk about the “grand scheme” of it when I’m wrapped up in doing it, so it would be good to talk about it now when I’m not fighting urges… we established that it isn’t a current occurrence, but that it’s always in the back of my head (much like the concept of dying is always there).

I hope she can help me break into the subject next session.

Does anyone else find it difficult to bring up certain things at times? It’s not so much that it’s triggering or difficult to talk about (though it certainly can be), it’s just that we get going on another topic, or we seem to stay lighter, and I don’t know a good way to break into the heavy stuff. I find when there’s something I really want to talk about, I stall and sputter and pick something totally unrelated/surface to talk about when there’s actually something much more specific and heavier to talk about. I fall into the default notion of “they don’t really want to hear that stuff because it’s too deep/personal/uncomfortable so I’m just going to avoid it. I know it’s counterproductive for therapy (I mean, heck, that’s what I see the woman every week for: to talk about the uncomfortable/icky/ personal stuff), but for some reason I can’t get out of my own way and simply open up about whatever it is I really want to talk about most sessions. I’m so nervous and anxious about presenting well and progressing, I can’t bring up anything that might hint at any regression…

I know she says I don’t have to worry about disappointing her, but I always do (worry)… :/ I have this intense drive to please people and make them happy in order to make them like me. It rarely works. Half the people aren’t swayed by my frantic attempts, the other half take advantage. I know I should be more authentic with Dr C, but I don’t want her to give up on me or be mad that I’m just always drama…

I need people to like me. I need them to know I exist, and to want me around or I might blink out of existence… I know I won’t really cease to exist if they dislike me or no longer want me around, but the little kid in me doesn’t get that. She’s still desperately trying to please everyone around her in an effort to justify taking up space and resources… funny how much the kid in me is desperate to be real, while at the same time another part of me wishes and hopes for an end (the depressed part. The part that’s so tired of fighting and struggling and trying)… annother topic for therapy “some day.”

Oh, I’m supposed to make “balanced happy” art for Dr C. She was thinking I should do something that makes me happy/feel loved, surrounded by more things that make me happy and feel loved to keep out the darkness (or create a shield against it). She did some concept sketches in session today, and I think it might turn out really cool, I just have to figure out how to execute them in an interesting way… guess that’s a project for this week sometime. It won’t be done by Wednesday’s session, but maybe for next week?


6 responses to “

  • Rea

    Do I find it difficult to bring things up in therapy? Um, yes. Only EVERY SINGLE TIME ALWAYS. For me, it’s associated with shame – if I bring something up I’m “making a big deal” about it and it’s not that important anyway and she has clients with way bigger issues and she’s going to be all “seriously, is THIS what your anxiety is about?” and so unless she happens to read my mind or make a lucky guess it doesn’t get talked about.

    The little kid in you sounds very anxious and sad. Can you give her a hug and reassure her that you like and she’s worth time and resources?

    Just a couple of ideas on what helped me start sharing more in therapy – they’re kind of cheats, but baby steps. I agreed with my therapist that if something came up during the week that I wanted to talk about I could email her just something like “remind me to talk about the neighbours on Thursday” and she’d prompt me. We also agreed that every session she’d ask “What are you going to share with me this week?” and I had to tell her one thing – didn’t have to be deep or a long conversation, but I had to offer up one thing every session, and it gave me an opening if there was something I wanted to talk about. (Of course, these agreements had to take place over email because I couldn’t bring up the topic of how to bring things up…)

    Would love to see your art when it’s finished!

    • Samantha Jane

      I like the idea of an agreement to share something. I tend to feel like i’m bugging her if I text her stuff to talk about, though that has worked in the past to start a conversation. I think part of the challenge is that I don’t always need prompts to get me talking. Sometimes I can get to a space where it’s easy to share things, but other times I freeze (though there are certain things, like the csa, that I always find difficult to address… the shame component is huge for me. The now shameful it is, the harder (exponentially) it is to bring up. Sometimes it was easier with the t’s at the sexual assault counseling center because that was the expectation. With Dr C, there’s no assumed topic (though I guess it’s assumed trauma will come up from time to time)… I dunno.

      Is it weird that my little kid side wants nothing to do with me (or anyone at all most of the time. She longs for safe contact, but she doesn’t actually get much comfort from the concept of it)? Maybe she’ll get puppy hugs instead. She can deal with those… but I like the concept of reminding her she’s worthy of attention and consideration…
      (I hope this response makes sense. I’m trying to wrote it at work, and I keep having to get up to tend to the dogs. Sorry if it’s disjointed and all over the place)

      • Rea

        I’m with you on the fear of bugging your therapist and being too much hard work and etc. I explicitly requested that mine didn’t reply to any “Can we discuss this in session” emails (even though she wanted to) and that was enough of a middle ground that I felt okay about it.

        What does your therapist do when you get in that space where you freeze and there’s too much shame to bring something up? Does she usually notice what’s happening? Is there anything she says or does that is helpful?

        Nothing beats puppy hugs! No, that doesn’t seem weird at all. She probably didn’t have a lot of experience of safe contact so she doesn’t have the experience of comfort after safe contact to draw on, or she’s suspicious that contact can ever really be safe without anything bad happening, or she’s just a child who naturally is less inclined towards contact. All of those are okay. I guess maybe the message is that you care about her and you want to help her feel safe and happy?

      • Samantha Jane

        I’m not sure my t notices unless I’ve told her there’s something I want to talk about. I’m pretty good at hiding things :/

      • Rea

        That does make it hard. It sounds like it could be quite distancing or isolating for you too, to be sitting with her internally struggling and have her not notice whats going on for you. Maybe it would be helpful for her to check in with you, or at least remind you often that anything you want to talk about is okay.

      • Samantha Jane

        I never really managed to put words to that feeling, but yeah. You are right. It’s a buffer of distance… Maybe that should be something we talk about a bit too today… there’s so much stuff to talk about. :sigh:

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