Tag Archives: inner child

Trepidation around tomorrow’s session

This week has been awful. I’ve been triggered incessantly and having a really difficult time dealing with it. Tomorrow is my appointment with TL, and I don’t know what to expect. I have stuff I want to tell her relating to last week, but I’m not sure how much depth I want to go into. There are the body memories, and the actual memories that go with them. There’s the stuff that was triggered by talk of the different sides, there’s the neediness, and there’s the fear of trusting her with so little connection. I keep wondering if I should continue therapy since I can’t seem to keep trauma work out of sessions right now. But I also am not sure I could just quit… it’s really difficult opening up the trauma stuff then having to close it as fast as it was opened. I know I need more support around that work if I choose to go there, but she is unable to provide that. I just don’t know how to not open that stuff up again when we talk; it’s so intertwined in absolutely everything in my head (especially down here). So the question becomes, do I try to continue therapy workout touching the trauma work? Do I try to do the trauma work and hope I can cope on my own with whatever comes up? Or do I attempt to quit therapy and see what happens? (That last one scares me a lot. I’d have to have other supports in place if that were to happen, as well as a specific end date for living here)…

So I have a ton of stuff to cover in a short hour tomorrow. I’m not sure what to address first. Maybe the conversation around additional supports needs to happen again… definitely need to have the conversation about how to maintain connection and trust from session to session. I have most everything written down, I just have I get to it. I also desperately want her to look at the rest of my art journal. I don’t think the hour will be enough to get to everything I need to address :/

Honesty in treatment

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.

it’s all in my head

it is.  it’s ALL in my head, I just don’t always know how to access it.

There was a weird instance last week or the week before.  I refered to myself as “we”… not sure I’ve ever done that, because I don’t really remember clearly whether I have or have not in any real sense.  I was attempting to talk myself out of a negative thought pattern, and it just slipped “out” (all internal dialogue, so there really is no “out” in terms of it being voiced, but thoughts in my head).  I argued that “we [couldn’t] keep doing this to ourself.”  It was weird and it caught me off guard.  I back-tracked and shook it off.  I corrected my language to reflect the singular.  There is no real plural, just aspects that I don’t always connect to at any given time.  It’s all me though…

I know one time Dr C had wondered if SJ was someone else, but concluded that it was just easier for me to care about someone other than myself so I separate out that inner child.  Before SJ, there was no inner child, so I guess that’s progress right?  I still panic at the thought of a little “me”.  I don’t know why that is so uncomfortable.  If I try to see SJ as myself, I want to cry and shake and scream in terror.  There is no little me, just SJ.  And she is whomever she is.  I’m trying not to look too deep into any of that… She holds things I only have ideas about, and *we* are ok with that.  If I were to take all that on myself, I think I would crumble.  She is a container of all that I can’t look at, like a trunk, only in the form of a walking (talking?) child… It sounds weird, but it works…

More for the 2014 100 Theme Challenge

I was messing around with water colors today. I have a LOT of practice to do before I’m reasonable versed in the techniques, but I think these came out ok. The first is a “practice” piece that came out better than the one on the intended painting…
55) Comfort


The next is the painting I wanted to have the dog in… It’s still in the works, as it’s bottom-heavy.  I need to figure out what to put on the top portion to make it feel more balanced.

60) Superpowers – there’s comfort in the dog’s protection and the wings and the bear.  There’s comfort in the blackness also.  It’s a place to hide and blend in to avoid attention.  Sometimes kids need superpowers to get through the darkness, even the inner kids.


almost finished – inside out box

I think I am just about finished my box.  It has become quite crowded on the inside, with many elements to it.  I am having trouble figuring how to adequately photograph it so I can post it here.  There are a lot of things: things that move, things that are hiding, things that blend in, and things that stay still.  Most of it is done in a dark color-palate, so lighting is difficult.  Too much lighting and I get too many shadows that make things hard to see.  Too little lighting and everything blends into everything else.  Because of the “curtain” dividing the box, I have an even more difficult time angling the camera correctly.

The bats came out pretty neat (in my opinion), but are the ones causing the most trouble.  They obscure some of the other elements when I try to take the picture, and they tend to blur-out because even the slightest breeze or bump has them wiggling all over the place.  I try to show one piece, and they get in the way.  They take over the whole picture  as they distract from what it is I’m trying to focus on.  The bats in the box mimic what they are supposed to represent real life.  I think I did a better job at this than I imagined I could, even without consciously trying to make certain elements work as they do.

I’m hoping someone can point me in the right direction for getting the pics correct so I can do the full visual effect.  When I do that, I will post them in this blog with an “UPDATED: Finished Box” leader to its title.

Ooohhh… I just got another idea for the box, but it would involve another purchase. Hmm… I may have to do that. We’ll see.

speaking to SJ’s panic

I saw De today.  It was good.  She helped ease some of my fears.  She spoke to the scared little kid in me who was terrified of losing the connection with her.   She did most of the talking, but it was stuff I needed to hear (SJ busied herself coloring a minion).  I was able to ask the main questions weighing on me.  She was able to explain that a discharge for being unstable would be looked at case-by-case.  We will be playing the next few weeks by ear.  She underscored that my safety was her top concern, and she wanted me to feel comfortable asking for help as needed without the fear of immediately losing the relationship.  She was very careful not to make any promises she would not be able to keep, but she was able to promise a termination session if it came down to it.  She explained a bit better what the bounds of that decision would approximate, which gave me a bit better idea of the whole process.  She also agreed we could do more art either in the art room, or her office if the art room is not available… I found out today she has play dough in her office… We may need to break that out next session.

De also seemed relieved that I am willing to go to the IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program – 9am-1pm, three days a week for about 8 weeks) and give it a shot even though it’s not exactly what I’m looking for.  The holidays will be dicey for scheduling, and she will be away for 2 weeks between Christmas and New Year.  She was quite up-front about being relieved that I will have the added support of the program during the time she will be gone.  I kinda feel bad.  I never meant to worry her like that.

Because of our conversation, I was able to admit that the hopelessness is still very heavy.  She encouraged me to ask for whatever help I think I need. She wants me to be able to ask for inpatient if that is something I feel I need at any time.  I’m going to give this IOP a try, and see how it works out.  I hope it will provide the safety net I am so desperately seeking.  I am a bit hesitant about trusting anyone there with my hopelessness.  I have been misunderstood/over-reacted to in the past by people at IOP’s which lead to multiple involuntary hospitalizations (and that was in a state that had stricter guidelines for involuntary commitment.  here, you just have to “appear to have a mental illness” in order to be able to be involuntarily held for up to 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation.  That’s a really broad phrase open to much interpretation… SCARY!).  I worry about saying things the wrong way (as is often the case) or confessing to my hopelessness and being hospitalized because of it.  To help with those fears, I am filling out paperwork that gives my wife power to make decisions for me (and if she is unable/unwilling, my mom gets the honor) in case they declare me “incompetent to make decisions” for any length of time.  I know both L and my mom are on the same page as I in terms of my mental health treatment.  I am confident they would support any decision I ask for.  It’s scary how paranoid that makes me sound.  However, having been in battles regarding my mental/emotional competence in the past, I want to make sure all my bases are covered.  One of my greatest fears is being forced into a treatment I do not want.

First art therapy session

So, I did my first a.t. session with De today.  I think I may like it.  There will be stuff to talk about after the piece is done. It made time go by way too fast, and I didn’t feel like I said enough, but I was able to say some things I don’t think I would have said to her if “all eyes were on me” so to speak.  I can say things easier when I think someone is not totally focused on me.  It’s less intense and less scary that way. I will have to tell her that.  Then, even if the room is booked, maybe I can sketch or color or something if there’s stuff I need to talk about but can’t… I also have other creative juices flowing, so I will be working on some of that later today. I think I have an idea for the piece I’m doing there, but think I will need more time for this detailed part, so I may do it at home and bring it with me on Friday. Speaking of Friday, I was able to ask for extra support around everything we talked about as well as the increasing depression… so a measure of creative distraction is good.  I refrained from putting an element into the painting today, but maybe the courage will happen next time.
Speaking of a.t. prompts, there was an fb image that I saw.  It asked what you would look like if you looked into a mirror and saw your character instead of just your physical reflection.  I will have to work on that at some point too…

Took a break from writing this, so apologies if it comes out choppy. After walking the dogs and taking to L, I decided to sit and draw some more. Came up with a better version of what I was trying to do with De today. It’s still not finished, but it’s more of what I wanted. Not sure I want to post it just yet. I think I want to talk to her about it. I am slowly remembering how to draw (or maybe just being more lenient with myself, not really sure). I think I need to pick up drawing again on a more regular basis.

De had asked to see some of my older stuff because I had told her I was decent at drawing way back when. I don’t have any of my work down here with me, so I will have to show her the stuff off the web (I have a lot of it online at an art forum site. I’m not posting a link tho because it’s a little less anonymous than here. Also, I’m not ready to connect a lot of that work with here). I think my art had mostly been therapeutic in value, Just never formal art therapy (at least after I honed my skills). I prefer realistic stuff, so much of it was copying images or drawing objects. I used to be half-decent at portraiture. I totally envy people that can do photorealistic work. I wish I had the eye for it. I just haven’t mastered that skill yet. I can pick up on a lot of small details and transform them to paper, but I still miss a lot. I lack a lot of dimension in my work. I also often lack backgrounds (too involved. I’m usually creatively/technically spent by the time I get to the background stage). I also rarely go back to a drawing after putting my pencil down for the day. There’s a weird need to do it all in one sitting. I used to be able to crank out a portrait in 30 minutes, but there were many flaws. Looking back, I should have not tried to finish everything in one season. Also, I’m still learning to be ok with erasing. I think it changes the paper finish, and makes the new sketch texturally different than the rest. I’m noticing that with today’s drawing…

Anyway. Enough about how I used to be good. I just need to practice. Maybe it will help relieve my symptoms.

Something that came out of this drawing, I picture myself much different than I am. My inner self is skinny/fit and pretty. My true self:not so much.

I’m strangely relaxed tonight. Let’s see, what was different? I spoke honestly to De. I talked to L a bit more in depth. We walked the dogs. I’m drawing and listening to music. I’ve given myself permission to find different ways to release stress. And I asked for extra support from De… guess all that added to some relief. My thoughts are still dark, but I’m not so alone with them.

That’s enough chatter from me. Peace. (Pieces). SJ.