Today is already a struggle. I’m not in a good place attachment-wise and I’ve not had feelings like this for quite some time. Or rather I have, but they’ve felt very separate from the therapeutic relationship. Today I feel very unsettled over therapy, attachment, the future, my relationship with K, and other things. It’s such a difficult place to be. I’m trying to work out what the actual problem is, or problems I should probably say as there are a number of things going on and combining to leave everyone feeling pretty disturbed today. It’s not a disturbance on the level I used to experience basically all the time after therapy, but it’s not easy and I am so tired and need to start work but haven’t managed that yet.
There are some very big themes coming up for my system as a whole right now, difficulties around separation and need and growing up, and what this means for a DID system. There are difficulties around shame when we share good news and successes and later feel over-exposed and disgusting. There are difficulties around food. And there are difficulties around realising how separate K and I really are which, ironically, come when good and exciting things happen in my life like the house move and thoughts over getting a dog – when good things are happening in my real life it really underlines that K and I are separate people and that outside the therapy room our lives don’t intertwine (not in a practical sense at least, I am aware that it is her support and encouragement that means I am making this move many years before I thought I would be able to). I know she is hugely excited about my house move, we’ve talked at great length about the possibilities around getting a dog, she is very involved in the changes, but she will still never see my new house. She will never pop round for tea and sit in the garden, or come round for dinner and to watch a film. The, sometimes harsh, reality of the therapeutic relationship hurts a lot less now I am (usually) able to take in what I get from it instead of lamenting over what it isn’t, but it still stings and I think to a certain extent it always will.
So these big themes are all causing a huge amount of inner turmoil – despite adult me being relatively stable last week, parts were in quite a lot of distress and the session yesterday was very fragmented with parts coming in and out and a lot of distress in the parts’ book which K reads every week. We did work with some parts and K has asked Phoebe (15) to find and bring a special stone with her next week and for other parts to write down people who have seen good in us. It wasn’t a bad session at all, just very full and incredibly fragmented and it really reminded me that I do have DID and that holding everyone is fucking hard work – it is something I do well so much of the time now without thinking about it a huge amount, but it is still incredibly hard having a whole bunch of needy children and stroppy, hurting teens and young adults inside! Sessions like that always leave us unsettled, which is inevitable I guess. All of the big themes need writing about and making sense of and working through, but now doesn’t feel a good time as I need to start work in a minute. So I will start with some other things which, though less intense, are still very unsettling with regards the future of my therapy.
There are some practicalities which are bothering me, namely about when my therapy session is. At the moment my session is Mondays from 4 till 5.30. I get home at 6 and until October last year I was then going to choir. I’ve been in my choir for a long time – it was the first thing I did when I began my recovery from CFS/fibromyalgia in September 2012 and I love it. I did take a break for about 10 months until March last year because it was proving too hard fitting everything in when I had two therapy sessions a week, but it is something I love and it was so nice to go back and to realise it was still there and the same as when I had stopped 10 months before. Although there were times I went and felt very wobbly after therapy, particularly around the time of K’s news she was taking this year off (which obviously didn’t end up happening), it has also been a stabilising force and it is one of the few places where I really feel I belong. We quite often get the giggles there as well, and it is where I met my new friend Sue who I feel a really strong connection with. It is also part of my life from ‘before therapy’ and it helped last summer to remember I am bigger than my relationship with K and I had a life before I knew her and there are so many parts of me that she knows nothing of (apart from what I tell her obviously). I wouldn’t want to meet up with friends after therapy because I would find it hard to keep boundaries and so on, but choir is a good mix as it is with people but there is not much time for chatting.
Until last night I hadn’t been since the end of October because I missed a couple in a row and realised I wouldn’t know the songs well enough to perform at Christmas so I decided to go back in January. And also I was very much enjoying coming home and being in my ‘therapy cocoon’ – this was such a new experience for me, leaving therapy and feeling better instead of worse, and I really loved it. And I missed the first three weeks this year for various reasons so went for the first time last night. The problem is that I felt really unsettled after therapy yesterday for the first time in quite a long time – I was planning to self-harm and so I went to choir to distract. It worked, but then when I got home at 9.30 I still needed to unpick what was going on for me and the parts, and why. I think this is one of the key differences between my therapy now and my therapy until last year – I am able to process it and unpick it myself. Not only able to – I need to. I used to get home and just feel a great big glob of confusing mess inside me. I had no idea what I was feeling or why and so I didn’t ever try and process either the session or the therapeutic journey afterwards. I wasn’t able to and it was just a matter of holding on tightly until things settled a little. Sometimes (often) insights came to me (weeks) later, and often parts would write in our parts’ journal, but there was no way for me to untangle what was going on emotionally. Last night I really needed to do this, and I did do it to a certain extent – but it was very late. I had a lovely chat with my friend which really helped me a lot because I was able to work out what was going on and how it was all linked together, and she validated it all. It definitely helped calm me. The problem is I ended up going to bed very late and today I feel tired and groggy and unsettled. I needed to write out what was going on last night as I made sense of it and I was too tired in the end to do that. I’m beginning to really need quiet time after therapy and so I wonder if choir is incompatible with that, and this makes me sad.
My therapy sessions cost £70 for the 90 minutes so I guess my question is – what do I do to ensure I am getting the most of my sessions? I do not want to stop choir, but I think I might need to for a while. When we move in a couple of months Nina will not be sleeping at my Dad’s during the week anymore (she’s slept there one night a week since she was two and a half so this is a big change). So firstly I think maybe I should make the most of the next 2 or 3 months of having some space after therapy as this will soon end and Nina will be home when I get back from therapy. And secondly I’m not sure she would be okay being left until 9.30 on a week night yet, and even if I could get someone to babysit each week (not my Dad as he doesn’t have a car), I hate having a babysitter during the week as they like to chat when I get home and I just want to defrag and go to bed!
I am also worried about how it will be to be back with Nina after therapy every week – will it give me time to decompress and process what has happened in a way that ensures I am making the most of my time there? In the past if I had to be with her after therapy it was just a matter of survival, but then after therapy was always so awful that it was always just about surviving until the next session anyway. As I wrote above- things are very different now. I have thought about asking K if we can change days, but Nina swims Tuesday-Thursday evenings and so the only other time I could do is after work on Fridays (which might be better as Nina will sleep at my Dad’s every other Friday when we move) and I’m not sure K would either want or be able to work then. Not every week at least – we do meet Fridays occasionally. I don’t want to ask her because it is so triggering discussing any change and it always reinforces that it is her job to spend time with us.
I guess it may involve making a clear plan with Nina about what happens when I get home on Monday evenings – we eat dinner together and then I go to my study or room for a couple of hours to be by myself. I’m not usually upset when I get home now, it’s more a case of needing to spend time being with how I am feeling and settling myself and the parts. I think Nina would understand this (and to be honest she usually goes to her room now anyway) and it would be okay – it may even help in some ways as I sometimes enter a freeze state after therapy and find it hard to eat or move much really. Having to interact and make dinner might help shift things internally. On the other hand, I know K and I need to go deeper into #themotherwound at some points this year, and that time when it all hit when I got home in December was horrific. Whilst I don’t think it would have hit like that if Nina was home, I don’t think that is necessarily a good thing either, and I don’t want my sessions to shift and not be what I need because I am needing to go straight back to parenting afterwards. I know my sessions when Nina is home for whatever reason are different and it’s a lot of money to be spending if I’m not getting what I need.
So, these are the practical concerns. I’ll try and untangle the much deeper stuff that is going on either this evening or later in the week. It’s all stuff I need to take to K and it’s hard – we’ve not really needed to talk about our relationship for a while and I think it is going to mean young parts facing some uncomfortable truths around the changes in therapy as we become stronger and more individuated and less dependent on K. I guess in some ways we need some reassurance that our relationship is still strong and real even though we need her less. It is hard for young parts to sense the changes and still feel so very little and not ready to move away from her.