Sometimes I can be a little bit dense and the penny really takes its time to drop. But better late than never!
During my inpatient stay 2018, we had this really great art therapist. He was spot on all the time.
Once he said to a fellow patient: ” You are responsible for everything you DO, and for everything you DO NOT DO.”
This stuck with me. I realised I tried to get away with a lot of things, that I was very quick in finding an explaniation or an excuse.
This has really changed, and it feels good to hold myself accountable. Sometimes I’m too good at this, because I often try to explain the behavior and mistakes of others with what I did or didn’t do.
A few days ago, I finally understood the other side of this coin. Yes, I’m responsible for everything I do or do not do. But the others are responsible for everything they do or do not do as well. This was very liberating realization.
An example: There was a birthday in the family, I sent a text message. I could see the message had been read, but I didn’t get an answer. This would have really driven me nuts, I would have spend hours asking myself what I’d done wrong. This time I just mentally shrugged my shoulders – it was out of my hands anyway, and the other person had to decide for herself what she was doing or not doing. Handing responsibility over to those who really have to carry it.
By the way: Everything is fine, I got an response, just a few days later, and we had a nice chat. The important thing is I found a good way to deal with this situation. I will not stop holding myself accountable for my actions, but I will be mindful to bear just my part of responsibility.
I have spent the last weeks contemplating if and how I will continue group therapy. It wasn’t an easy decision, therapy places are rare, and it will affect my future.
Eventually I terminated therapy. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, I talked it through with group and the therapist several times. There were many things to consider after all.
This process started months ago when I made a similar decision about ending OT. On one hand I’ve been in therapy for so long I almost can’t remember life without it. On the other hand I’m at a point where I am tired of therapy and not able to take it in any more. This became very obvious when there was a longer break, and I didn’t miss a thing. In the last group meeting there was a new patient, she was so full of emotions and energy. I’m lacking both.
I don’t think I am miraculously cured, and I’m very aware of the fact my problems won’t just disappear. But I won’t do therapy half-hearted. This doesn’t help me, and there are others who are more motivated and waiting for a therapy place.
I am very thankful for everything I learned in therapy, and for all the wonderful people who helped me. But sometimes it’s time to walk a different path. So here’s to new beginnings.
Recently I finished OT. But I continue group analytic therapy.
OT often didn’t push me anymore, on the other hand analytic group is sometimes almost too much. I know this kind of group therapy from my inpatient treatments, but then I could talk to the staff later if I felt overwhelmed. Now, in an outpatient setting, I’m mostly on my own. Our therapist offers single sessions, but of course we have to wait for a free slot.
I’m an empathic person, I feel the pain of the other patients. I’d like to help them instantly, but that’s not possible. All I can do is listen and help them unburdening their soul a little bit.
Analytic psychotherapy is – compared to behavioral therapy, for instance – a long process, it doesn’t work quickly. Patience is none of my virtues. I’d like to overcome my own problems NOW, but there’s no shortcut. Often I come home from therapy and feel very frustrated.
I asked my therapist in our last individual session if it makes sense for me to continue. He said that I’m still at the beginning (I started group mid January, but soon after that came the big Corona-break), and that this kind of group therapy is expected to last for years. He thinks therapy will help me a great deal with my problems, he advised me just to go on with it and keep an open mind for everything that will come my way.
Sigh… So I’ll do my very best to meet the others tomorrow morning. Let’s hope I will get at least a little bit wiser. Slow and steady wins this race!
Because of the Corona-situation, group therapy has been cancelled until further notice. Our therapist offers single video calls to keep in touch. At first I didn’t feel comfortable with it, would I be able to get it right?
Turned out there was nothing to worry about. It’s quite simple, you just need a PC/notebook/tablet/smartphone with camera and microphone. I logged in and waited in a virtual waiting room until my therapist started the session.
Our therapist has lots of experience with video calls and was very confident and cool, and I just needed to follow his lead. Soon it was like we really were sitting in a room together.
He asked if I ever had buried my disere to have children in a symbolic way (no, I didn’t). He asked what the child’s name would have been (our favorite name for a girl was Amanda: Starts with an A like my husband’s name and is latin, like my name). We quickly came up with the idea to bury a pacifier chain with this name. I am not ready for this yet, but I like this, despite all the pain. My therapist encouraged me to wait until the time is right and not to rush it. But I can’t get this out of my head, and I am sure I will follow through with it.
The video call lasted 50 minutes, like a normal single therapy session. After that I had enough to think about. Wednesday afternoon we will have our next video call. This time I know what it will be like and will be more relaxed.
It seems I have too many appointments on Thursdays: Group Therapy in the morning, OT relaxation group in the afternoon. Both appointments can’t be rescheduled, both are good for me. But two sessions on one day are too much. The decision is clear: Even without relaxation group, I have two OT-sessions every week, group therapy is only once a week.
Typical me: At first I thought I would be able to do both. As so many times before I had to admit I had bitten off more than I could chew. Well, at least I realise those things quicker now than I did in the past. But I am disappointed by myself anyway.
I don’t like to leave relaxation group. It was good to have this me-time once a week. I knew the people, and I felt at ease and safe with them. Group therapy is more demanding and brings me out of my comfort zone. But maybe this challenge is exactly what I need now and will help me grow. I need a gentle shove sometimes.
But I will always be thankful for this one and a half year in relaxation group. It brought me more tools for my personal tool box, and this is priceless.
Starting outpatient therapy right after my inpatient treatment wasn’t possible. Free places are hard to find. I have so many wonderful people around me, I’ll manage, but without support this situation can become difficult. This first time following the therapy is so important, new patterns have to be established. I know I am not alone with this, there is something wrong with the health system. This week I had another two preliminary talks concerning group therapy, but I still I don’t have a place. It was a stressful time, and I was glad OT had been cancelled.
Friday I visited my former fellow patients on the ward (every Friday afternoon coffee and cakes are served, and visitors are allowed). It was good to meet those wonderful people again, and I was included like I never had been away. A good time was had by all. But it was good to come home as well: Right now I don’t need inpatient therapy.
Next week there will be no preliminary talks. I will have to organize prescriptions at my GP and the pain clinic and pick up my new passport.
It’s not easy to get a place in a therapy group. My therapist provided me with contact information before I was released from the ward, but of course it’s up to me to do something about it. I was lucky, there is a place available in two groups. So this week the preliminary talks with the therapists started.
It was hard to go through all my problems twice more. And there are no psychoanalytic therapy groups nearby, and travelling was stressful as well. The therapists insist on at least three preliminary talks, so I will have to go through this again.
Our windows were cleaned on Thursday, and I visited my parents on Friday. I had not much time to myself this week, and this added to my already high stress level.
I very much appreciated that my therapist from the ward called me yesterday to ask how I was doing, like she said she would. There was no need to do this, I am technically not her patient anymore. She offered me that I can call anytime if there are problems. That’s good to know, but I hope I don’t need it.
Yesterday evening I was very tired (I can tell the difference, it had nothing to do with depression). After walking the dogs I fell asleep on the couch and just went on to bed a few hours later.
This morning I still felt tired. Today is one of these misty, dark winter days. I just take it easy.
Next week is also full of appointments. There will be more preliminary talks, and on Friday I will talk to my old therapist. I am relieved OT has been cancelled next week.
I just hope everything goes well and I can continue therapy soon.
Today I drew this picture in creative therapy, in which I am standing at a wall. With wide spread arms I try to hold the wall in place. I am afraid to let go, because the wall will crush me if it breaks down.
The wall, that are the many small and big things life put in my way.
Therapist: How did you get there? Did somebody tell you to do so, or did you go there because you wanted to?
Me: Life put me there! I didn’t go there because I wanted to.
Therapist: *smirks* That’s good to hear!
Nontheless turning around and leaving the wall is difficult. If it’s not my task to hold the wall in place, what else should I be doing?
While I am accompanied by many demons when I am outside, there is only one of them with me when I am inside. But this is the worst one: Self-hatred.
He is very persistent, and he knows how he can torture me the best. He follows me around all day long, and often at night as well.
Today in therapy we tried visualisation. I was told to imagine the demon in my head and to talk to him. I realized that there are things I like I like about this demon as well. He is absolutely reliable, he doesn’t change his rules. But I also think he judges me to harshly. My life wasn’t always like this, and I was able to keep up with the “normal world” for nearly four decades, despite my psychological and physical issues.
I was told to push the demon away from me, and at the end of the session he wasn’t black anymore, rather grey.
That doesn’t change the fact that I still suffer from this demon. But maybe I have a say in some things!
One of the most important things I learned in therapy is being honest. To myself, and to others.
To make life easier for others and for me I often used white lies. When somebody said things like “What about doing xxx sometimes”, my answer would be “yes “.
Sometimes I would get away with it, sometimes not. And then things would become ugly. „You said, you would go with us?!“ Disappointment and a bad atmosphere would follow those discussions. Not to forget the bad feeling I had from the first discussion until this moment.
Honesty does not prevent me from diappointment or a bad mood, but the atmosphere stays clear. But honesty shows I am taking the other – and myself – seriously.
This week was an example how I have changed, and I was a little bit proud how I handled things. On Christmas the In-Laws suggested we have a good time together instead of buying presents. I pointed out immedeately that I don’t plan so far ahead in my present condition, and that there is the possibility I can’t join them. When things got real this week I made it clear from the beginning I won’t go.
My MIL is a little pissed at me, she likes family time. I can live with this.
My husband understands my reasons, but he is sad I don’t go with them. That’s awful. But I am the only one responsible for my mental health. And if I am stressed and overstrained, no one is happy.