So, we have a new therapist… Let’s call her Allison. We’ve had two therapeutic sessions with her, and one introductory session to see if there was a possibility that we could work together. I’ve been studiously avoiding talking about her here, I think because I’m scared of jinxing the relationship. Here’s a quick run-down of what’s happened so far…
We were switching like crazy, a revolving door of different ones checking her out and asking different things that we knew had been issues in the past.
M asked about what happens to her clients when she goes away – this I know is because we tend to (for want of a better term) “fall apart” over Christmas. One previous therapist asked us to contact her if this should happen, and another had no provisions in place for a crisis over this time. I don’t think either approach is helpful for us, as we feel like an imposition contacting a therapist out of hours – especially during their Christmas holidays; and the lack of support led to a downward spiral that ended up with us going into respite care. Allison assured us that, if we wanted, she has another therapist who will see her clients while she is on holiday.
W asked about religion. This is a huge issue for her, as she sees herself as inherently evil and gets very triggered by the concept of religion. Allison was open about believing in living a spiritual life. While this did raise flags for W, it wasn’t a show stopper. What was interesting, is that Allison mentioned that those who are brought up within a strict religious environment, often exhibit significant signs of abuse. This was mentioned in the context of my father, who was raised within a strict religious doctrine. So, it was about putting life experiences into context, not meant as a comparison or justification.
The other big question was, “are you going to cope with us?” There are huge trust issues with therapists. I can honestly say that each of the therapists I’ve seen in the past have tried to help us, and wanted to see us live a full life, free of many of the debilitating symptoms we currently experience. But for various reasons – their approach to DID, a lack of skills, or being out of their depth, it hasn’t worked out. After the rupture from Liz, all the feelings of being too difficult, too much and being a trouble maker came up again. Allison mentioned that she was one of the top therapists in our small city. This rankled M a little, as she saw it as boasting. But, I understand that Allison was trying to reassure us.
So, after much internal discussion, it was decided that we’d keep seeing Allison.
This was mainly taken up with housekeeping type of information – brief talk about what symptoms we wanted to address first, what other support systems we have, and how we are coping. It was a difficult session, where at one point, W was nearly sucked into a flashback. What was interesting, was Allison’s reaction to the near flashback… she asked us to look at her in the face. Now, we don’t look therapists in the face – yes, this may be considered rude by some people, but we can’t bring ourselves to raise our eyes above their boots. During work, we can do eye contact no problem, so it’s just within the therapeutic relationship. Allison kept on about us looking her in the face – to prove that our reaction to the near flashback didn’t upset her, or cause her any distress. We had to switch to M in order for this to happen, but we managed it! And yes, it did help. She sat there very calmly and greeted M as if everything was fine. Hmmm… so maybe she can cope with minor crazy… let’s see about major crazy…
At this session, we discussed having fortnightly sessions, due to monetary constraints. Since then, we’ve realised that the crazy making between sessions is too much for us to cope with, so have gone back to weekly sessions. Who needs money for food anyway 🙂
This was a really difficult session. It came off the back of Mother’s Day (those of you with the password to the protected posts will see the two word feeling that some of us have towards the day), and our up-coming birthday. It was predominantly Sophie and B throughout the session, until Mother’s Day came up. Then woohoo… lets step on the crazy freight train. The desire to self injure went through the roof… Allison was particularly interested in the ways the self-injury was manifesting and who was potentially holding the needs and desires to hurt. She talked about the anger we hold as pertaining to the mother… and then “flick”, Aimee came forward.
Suddenly it was all bright and breezy, talking about the calender on the wall that hadn’t been flipped over for the new month, the old heater that was in the corner of the room and other diversionary tactics. Allison welcomed Aimee, which was a huge relief (her type of diversion had been discouraged with some therapists). They were chatting along nicely, until Allison, as part of the normal conversation, said the word “shadows”. This meant an immediate hiding by Aimee… she is absolutely terrified by shadows. Shadows within our internal house represent evil, danger and the angry ones. So Allison’s innocent comment caused a trigger switch to a stuttering teen. We hate it when we stutter. It’s usually only in therapy, and it’s just awful. Of course, the more we try not to, the worse it gets. The stutterer explained what had happened, and assured Allison that in no way was she to blame – she had no idea that such an innocent word could have such devastating effects.
Overall, we’re not sure about Allison. She is good with the silences… both allowing the silence, and bringing our attention to what is happening during the silence. She’s good at slowing us down, and getting us to try and notice things. But, we still think we’ll be too much for her. This is not because we’re the “worst” case of DID or anything, it’s just a mix of the old messages from the childhood, being re-enforced by actions of therapists who were out of their depth.
So, we’re still fence sitting. She has shown the most promise of the therapists we’ve seen so far… But, it’s hard to judge things accurately because we are so dissociated from life.
If anyone has had the “joy” of a comment from us over the last week or so, it’s probably been bordering on rude, pompous or left field. We really shouldn’t comment when we’re so dissociated. We again had a comment not published on a therapists site, this time because of our side-ways hostility. That’s a classic sign that we’re not communicating internally, and M is running parts of the show without input from the calming influences of B and Sophie. I’m not sure what will get us back on track…