I hate Autumn

I have a habit at this time of year… a habit of dumping therapists.  When I look back over my past experiences with therapists, the end of the therapeutic relationship has usually begun in Autumn.  It usually starts out subtly, but is always aimed at undermining my confidence in their ability to guide me through the healing process.  This dumping process has started with Allison.

Ending any therapeutic relationship is just one of the things I do to disconnect from life at this time of year.  The disconnect can be pretty harsh and sudden – I deleted my FaceBook accounts, I’ve stopped going out and taking photos, I’ve been less communicative at work, I don’t comment on others blogs like I usually do, I don’t post anything here…  The list goes on.  I know that under the surface, there is a huge amount of anger driving the disconnect.  I’ve been trying to work with these emotions for the last year, and I was making progress; but things seem to be backsliding. I actively worked against the backsliding over the weekend by reconnecting a FaceBook account and forcing myself to get outside and do the gardens – there was even an odd peace experienced when mowing the lawns.  But I know that things are precarious.  The only reason I could write anything here today was because I did a Wordle exercise of free writing seemingly random words for 10 minutes.  There was a jumble of positive words such as love, dance, friends… through to words such as disconnect, hate, anger…  I know the reason for some of the words, and they are tied strongly to this time of year.  In the Southern Hemisphere we’re heading into the Rugby season; a time historically, when most of my abuse occurred.  My hope is that my awareness of these triggers will mean that I can navigate this Winter more successfully.

I read a quote recently that said it’s a lot easier to say your angry, than you’re hurt.  While I agree with the quote, I also know that there are parts of me that are both.  They have reasons to be both, very good reasons.  I now have to find ways in which to ease those powerful emotions in safe ways.  I don’t think that this year I’ll be able to distract them all away like I tried to do last year.  I don’t think it’s healthy for me to do that this year, even if it were possible.  That will just set-up more compartmentalisation, and I need to ease those compartments, not reinforce them.  I also know that I can’t have another Winter like last year…

I really do hate Autumn, but I hate Winter even more…

—————-
Now playing: Beyoncé – Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
via FoxyTunes

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29 thoughts on “I hate Autumn

  1. Yes, your Wordl is full of pain and trauma – so much that I couldn’t read all of the words. Here, we are beginning Spring and tho autumn is my favorite sites and smells, it is also the time of my abuse. Try changing things around in autumn, like do something different on special days or holidays, or shop somewhere different – somehow changing the meaning of the holiday. I’m really sorry that you have some bad months ahead.

    • Hi Ivory,

      I realised how triggering the Wordle image might be, and I’ve removed it. I wasn’t seeing it clearly until I looked at it now while in “customer service” mode at work. I’m sorry for exposing you to that.

      I’m trying to actively work against the backsliding… I did lots of work on the garden over the weekend, which considering how much social anxiety I have, was actually a big deal for me.

      New Zealand is hosting the Rugby World Cup this year. I don’t know how the system is going to handle the media overload that is going to surround the event.

      Again, I’m sorry for the image.

      Take care,
      CG

  2. Like Ivory I am sorry to hear you have difficult times ahead. It is great you are doing something to avoid the backsliding and you managed to force yourself to get out and do the gardening.

    I must admit I have been slack and haven’t taken any photos lately either. Maybe it is about time I did.

    All I can say is keep working hard and take care.

    • Hi,

      I wasn’t meaning to sound so defeatist… I know I have to change things for myself, for the better. I’ve taken steps towards this that I wasn’t able to do last year, so that is positive. I suppose I can see all the warning signs, and that has me worried.

      Also I know I hadn’t posted in awhile here, so was trying to force myself to try and interact with people on some level again. It didn’t go stunningly well, as I did put up a rather triggering wordle image… I had hoped I’d removed it before anyone saw it, but unfortunately not.

      I’m going to try take some photos this weekend… will see how I go (and what the weather does).

      Thanks and take care,
      CG

  3. CG,
    I think you’ve taken a very positive step here in realizing your patterns because until you realized your pattern you couldn’t do anything positive about it. I think I have the same tendency because I know come winter I’m not going to want to be outside in the cold and the snow so I start holing up. This year I did well until winter break at school, I had a really hard time recovering, in fact I still didn’t get my pre-winter routine back in full and that frustrates me.

    I think you are doing what you can, you’ve recognized it and you are taking small steps to continue to stay connected. Have you told your T this yet? Telling her might help her help you stay connected as well. I’ve never thought to look at the months when I have dumped T’s, I’m kinda curious myself now!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Anna,

      Thanks for the vote of confidence 🙂

      I haven’t told Allison yet, but I will this week when I see her. When I looked back over my therapist interactions, I know I’ve left them for good reasons, but I now wonder how much of those reasons were me setting the situation up for them to fail me. I’m not sure, but hopefully with this awareness, I can warn Allison and we can look at my behaviours in a different light – one therapist used to describe me as a wounded cat in a cage, where people would reach out to help me, but I saw the hand as a threat so would hiss and scratch back. I think this is a pretty accurate description of how I react, possibly how many survivors react, I don’t know.

      I’m sorry you’re not back into your pre-winter routine… I know how important routines and the familiar can be. But you must be nearing spring now?? Does that help? I often find the the increased sunshine hours helps.

      Take care,
      CG

      • Hey CG,
        I hope Allison is understanding and you two together can walk this road and see things in a new light. I know there are times when I just want to pick up and move- now that I am married and have kids, the feeling has to pass and it’s hard to stay put sometimes, but I know I must 🙂

        Spring is coming- hopefully- it’s been a VERY strange winter here to say the least! The weather and such should help, but i’m not a seasonal person- as in no matter the season I go through different things. I think I’m finally past most of the trigger anniversaries for now (they started in Oct)- I think I’m home free of those until July, but I actually have a decent T so instead of stuffing I had some inside actually trying to share what they were going through so it’s been informational for T this go around of the dates I guess.

        I guess my biggest thing right now is I can’t find a routine and feel SO buried under that I can’t dig out- too much I need to do and that is hard to deal with for me.

        • Hi Anna,

          I’ll find out tomorrow what Allison thinks of all of this. I know a couple of times she’s gotten defensive when we’ve tried to understand what she’s saying – it’s almost like in a session the switching is so fast and intense that I only get snatches of her sentences, so I often misunderstand what she is saying. She doesn’t realise how bad this snatches of time loss can be.

          I’m glad you’re heading into spring… I love the daffodils and spring flowers 🙂 It’s even better that the trigger anniversaries have mainly passed for you… really good. You can concentrate on the here and now and reconnect with life.

          It’s awesome that you could share more openly with your T! The routine will come, give yourself some time and re-establish some of those connections 🙂

          Take care,
          CG

  4. I was worried about you when you hadn’t posted for a while and now I understand why. My first thought was to ask you if you would tell Allison that you’ve started the process of “dumping” her, so-to-speak? If you can tell her your pattern, she’ll be ready and the two of you can work together so that doesn’t happen. Just my thought.

    Maybe I’m nuts but this post made me very proud of you. When I read it, I saw someone who is very much aware of past patterns and is actively working not to repeat them. You are very familiar with what you’ve done in the past to distance yourself and you caught it this time. Not only that but you want to change things this year. That’s amazing! So many people in this world repeat the same patterns over and over. I’m not talking even about mental health stuff, just life stuff. Some never realize what they’re doing, others see it but decide they don’t want to bother with it. When I read your words, it seems to me that you don’t want this to keep happening. You said that you *actively* worked against backsliding this weekend. Do you know how great that is?

    You also said: “I read a quote recently that said it’s a lot easier to say your angry, than you’re hurt. While I agree with the quote, I also know that there are parts of me that are both. They have reasons to be both, very good reasons.”

    I thought that was incredible, because you not only identified how you are feeling but you validated those feelings by saying that there are very good reasons for them to be there. That’s huge to me. Maybe it’s because I don’t do well identifying emotions and saying it’s ok etc. but when I read that…? I thought, ‘Wow, CG is really honoring those parts and those feelings.’

    You are very aware of the triggers surrounding you and to me that sounds like information and awareness that can be used to help things to go better this year. Sorry, I’m blathering now. Anyway, do you think you will tell Allison what’s going on so she can be aware of it? No?

    • Hi tai,

      Thanks 🙂

      I’ll try to discuss it with Allison on Thursday. I know that this is just a symptom of deeper issues, but it’s possibly something that isn’t so scary for the parts who are hurt and angry to work with. I don’t know, I’ll talk it over with Allison and see what she suggests.

      I think this year will be really important… it will either go really well, or stunningly badly. I’m not sure which.

      I’m not that good at identifying emotions, but I know that there is pain and anger there. Those emotions are understandable. I’m not sure how I’m going to work with them, but I’m going to do my best to try. There was an email sent to a friend which said that I wasn’t really trying to understand or connect… I need to listen to that, because in many ways it’s true. But that doesn’t mean I can’t keep on working on it all.

      You weren’t blathering… thank you for the support 🙂

      Take care,
      CG

  5. Hi CG! Sorry to hear that a season of triggers is approaching for you. All you can really do is try and try different things to see if any of them snap you out of the really rough spots? I know in winter when things are bad I go for a walk out in the icy cold…bundle up first. But that sometimes will snap me into another mode that is more tolerable. Do you have pretty foliage coming up? I would love to see some pics of that! I love foliage pics…so many different shades of beautiful warm colors. For some reason seeing that comforts me.
    I keep thinking that fighting the urge to leave Allison and hanging in with her might bring you a big turning point in therapy. Something is causing this cycle within and to be able to get passed it with the same T would be huge. Just an idea. I sometimes feel like I have stagnation periods in therapy but then I ask my T to help me find some direction and then we do. Not saying any of this is simple but we have learned that there is the other side waiting there when we challenge ourselves to get thru something.
    I am sending you good thoughts and safe hugs. I hope your ok and things will start flowing easier for you!

    • Hi Nansie,

      Sometimes going for a walk helps… but sometimes it’s another trigger. It can get really messy. I try to do controlled things which have a safe end to them – like going to take photos and timing it so that I have to be home to feed my cat at the end. I know that might sound a bit OTT and controlling, but it’s one way I try to keep safe.

      Yes, some of the trees have started to change colour 🙂 It’s been an odd season, it’s almost like on the 1st of March someone flicked a switch and we’re suddenly having colder nights and shorter days. I’m going to try and go out this weekend to take some photos… will see what happens.

      I’ll definitely talk to Allison about it all. There was an incident a couple of weeks ago with her that triggered a downward spiral, so it needs to be discussed within that context, at least.

      Thanks for the support 🙂

      Take care,
      CG

  6. Hi CG,

    Really great to see a post from you. (That’s the first thing that came to my head and I debated about posting it because I don’t want that to come off as pressure to post when you aren’t feeling up to it. Hopefully it won’t.)

    The fact that you recognize your pattern of dumping therapists around this time of year is really positive. Dissociation makes discerning those patterns incredibly difficult. Of course, once we do see them, doing something about them is an entirely different can of worms.

    Reading your description of firing therapists, deleting facebook accounts, not posting, etc., had the phrase “battening down the hatches” popping into my mind. It strikes me as a protective coping mechanism as you move into this emotionally stormy season. I hope you aren’t hard on yourself about it. This post doesn’t read like you are so I’m probably projecting my own tendencies at harsh self-criticism. But I wanted to mention how reasonable and understandable it is to want to hunker down and prepare for the onslaught.

    “I now have to find ways in which to ease those powerful emotions in safe ways.”

    Ah, yes. That is the challenge.

    I’m holding you in my thoughts as you struggle with all of this. You know, I’m entering spring here, which is typically a season of relief and lifting depression for me. So I have extra good vibes at my disposal and will happily send them your way.

    • Hi Holly,

      I’m actually going to try and force myself to post here more often over the coming months. I don’t journal, so this is my only way of keeping a reflective tool for how I’m doing… it also gives me some sort of tenuous link to the outside world.

      I think the realisation came about the pattern when I started obsessing about the rugby club that my father managed again. It happened at this time last year too, and I was able to see the pattern. I’m still not sure what I can do with that pattern, but I’m hoping that identifying it is a step in the right direction.

      I can see why you’d think of battening down the hatches when reading what I’ve been doing. I wish the motivations were that nice… but I know they aren’t. It’s about cutting everyone out so that I won’t be missed.

      My hope is that it’s not a typical winter here, and that there are more sunny days than rainy ones. That has yet to be realised in all the years I’ve lived in this place, but you never know…

      Enjoy your spring… soak up the sun and feel the warmth on your skin.

      Thanks for the vibes 🙂

      Take care,
      CG

  7. It’s important to recognize this pattern. We can only find new ways of doing things when we see the pattern in our old ways. So, that in itself is significant. You did not see this pattern with the last therapist, or at least it was way under the surface.

    I think the important thing is to know that what you are sensitive to in your therapist is very real. You, and parts of you, have every right to be sensitive. The question is what you do with that. If you cut off, then you are basically doing a sort of dissociative approach. This is where I was a couple weeks ago, so I get it. I know you know that the path out is to own the feelings of anger and hurt (both). And I know that’s easier said than done.

    Do what I did a couple weeks ago maybe? Ask inside what they want? Ask where the anger is really from (I bet it’s not really about Allison).

    I do have every confidence in you.

    • Hi Paul,

      I think with Liz, there was also a lack of skill or understanding on her part which made the situation worse. Yes, I undermined my confidence in her, and yes it all went downhill in spectacular fashion… but I don’t think that all had to do with this pattern. I still think there was a poor therapeutic fit there – or maybe I’m explaining away my bad behaviour, I don’t know.

      There was tentative reaching out this week. The issue the other week was about some YouTube clips that were created a few years ago. A very hurt one wanted Allison to see these clips as a way to express what she was feeling, but it didn’t go well. So last week I sent Allison the links to the clips on YouTube, so she could watch them at her leisure, if she wanted to. I don’t know if she will have the time, and I think the young one will look at it as a sign that she isn’t wanted if Allison doesn’t have time. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to deal with that if she hasn’t looked at them again.

      I know the anger isn’t about Allison. Like ACC, the Christchurch Earthquake, Vodafone etc. They are targets for the emotions which I can’t handle any other way. They are ways to externalise the emotions and to force an intellectual coping.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence.

      Take care,
      CG

  8. I think it is excellent that you are aware of your patterns, and I’m glad you are making attempts to reconnect.

    When reading all that you have done to disconnect, it seems as though you were going into isolation mode. Isolating is my number one “go to” move. When you say that you were cutting everyone out so that you wouldn’t be missed….well, honestly that scares me a little. I have done that as well, and if it means for you what it means for me, that worries me.
    I’m glad that you were able to experience some peace while mowing. Gardening sometimes helps me find peace. The trick for me is getting motivated enough to get out there, and just start doing it.
    I’m sorry Rugby season is a trigger for you. I do hope your awareness will help you navigate through the season, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you do backslide during this difficult time. I think taking one step forward, and two steps back can be sort of par for the course, you know?

    “I don’t think that this year I’ll be able to distract them all away like I tried to do last year. I don’t think it’s healthy for me to do that this year, even if it were possible. That will just set-up more compartmentalisation, and I need to ease those compartments, not reinforce them”.
    Wow….that is a really good point. I must admit that finding ways to distract is my number two “go to” move. I never thought about how it sets up more compartmentalisation, and yes…easing those compartments a bit should be the plan. I think I am, in a way, “codependent” on my compartments. I don’t really know how to explain that. Who becomes codependent to that way of life? I feel pretty dumb admitting that.

    Anyway, I’m glad I read your post, because that is the way I learn. For that, I thank you for courageously sharing your difficulties.

    I hope your journey through this difficult season gets easier with time. Good luck with your session with Allison. I hope she responds in the way that your system needs her to.

    I will definitely be sending you peaceful thoughts.

    –Mareeya

    • Hi Mareeya,

      The isolation isn’t good. I know that for myself and for others. It means that all our ties and reality checks that we are worthy of being here, are minimal or lost. That’s never a good thing.

      I agree that doing things often ends up being positive, but it’s the getting out there that is the tough part. I often find that with photography.

      I once described my distraction as another form of dissociation. It keeps me distracted to the point of only allowing one part to come forward. That’s not healthy in the long term. I know what you mean about being codependent on the compartments. But awareness of that being an issue is a step towards change…

      Thanks and take care,
      CG

  9. dear castor, i’m so glad i visited here today. i’ve been really withdrawing lately in my life online and off. i still see a few friends in person, and respond to emails or phone messages that seem to really require it, but overall, part of me is really pulling back. but i’m trying to just go with it and hope that people will be ok and not hurt by my distance. it’s just lately the thought of engaging and interacting with others, including reading blogs from people i care about, i just feel so tired and part of me starts to shut down when i consider it. i feel like i just don’t have the inner resources to reach out a lot right now. but i did feel like writing today, so i did post a blog, and tried to understand a bit of what i might be feeling. and wanted to at least visit a few blogger friends to see how they are and pass along positive feelings. and here you are feeling withdrawn too. thank you for sharing this. from my perspective, if what you’re going through is anything like what i am, what you’re doing, though it can be perceived as “disconnecting,” i also see it as a self-preservation act on your part. perhaps you’re pulling inside to gear up for what you go through this time of year. putting your resources where you need them most. drawing your strength to your core, instead of focusing on other people as much. i don’t know if that’s what you’re doing, but if it is, that seems rational to me. i guess as long as you don’t do anything to destroy the support or connections which might truly be safe and good for you, so that they will be there for you when you are ready to return to them. but i don’t see anything wrong with needing space, and pulling inwards. i may be off base of course. but that’s my perspective from where i’m standing.

    i’m wishing you well always, castor. sending caring thoughts your way. and wishes for you that this fall and winter will be easier on you than those past, and that you will be ok.

  10. oh ok, i just read through the above comments, so i saw what you thought of the idea that you were pulling inwards in a good way, to gather strength. and it sounds like you don’t think that’s what you’re doing. perhaps what you’re going through is instead more deeply related to trust. maybe you are testing the waters. looking to see if anyone notices or cares if you’re absent. i can relate to this. i’ve done a lot of “disappearing” to test and see if i was as invisible as i felt. or maybe parts of you believe others won’t be there for you the way you need them to be, so you’re rejecting them now before they can reject you (which part of you might believe is inevitable). if that’s it, i still see what you’re doing as a self-protective mechanism, just one that might actually be doing harm instead, if you are not actually in danger of being rejected, if the people who you are isolating from do truly care.

    no matter what is going on with you, castor. i am so glad that you have so many people who care about you here. and am glad that you are reaching out if you feel like that is more deeply what you need, even if you have some part of you trying to isolate. trying to find the true instinct underneath all the layers of fear and self-doubt can be so tough to do. but it sounds like you are trying to care for yourself and understand what’s really going on. and that’s great.

    wishing you well always~~~

    • Hi katie,

      It’s so good to “see” you 🙂 I was starting to worry about you, but was also losing track of time, so wasn’t sure if it was a long time since you’d posted or not.

      There might be a component of testing others as to my invisibility, I’m not sure. I’m usually so certain that I wouldn’t be missed, that I don’t consider it worth reality checking, it’s just a known fact/belief. Sometimes it scares me when people comment here, it goes against my need to be invisible. But then, only a couple of people know the real name behind this blog, so that protects me (others?). Sorry, I know I’m not making much sense. There’s a real effort to try and understand my motivations, but I’m not sure how to untangle them all.

      All I know, is that my disconnecting was not positive. I have to turn that around and start connecting again. I’ve done it before, so I can do it again. I know though, that each time I do it, people become a little less tolerant of it and me – which is perfectly understandable. It’s difficult work being a friend to someone like me… someone who will disconnect for no apparent reason and then make very inept attempts to reconnect.

      Thank you for the kindness katie, I do appreciate it…

      Take care and sending positive thoughts your way,
      CG

  11. So many words that i want to say, so rubbish at writing in public spaces though. So again i will just say, im here if you need me x i miss our chats!

    • (((Amy))) thank you so much for dropping by 🙂 You have no idea how much I needed to see a smiling face today. I’ll try reconnecting my real FB account so I can get a gorgeous overload via the puppies 🙂

      Take care xx

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