I'm glad to hear the sleep study went well, except for the tech who gave you trouble. I hope they do pull her off your next study. It's not good at all to deal with someone who makes you feel like she isn't sensitive to your needs.
I moved your last question over so I could continue the thread:
Okay. I just wondered if that was part of the shame and embarrassment I feel. Because I usually maintain eye contact with people to whom I am speaking. I was thinking how different it is when I'm in therapy. Linda probably really isn't just staring at me. It just feels like it because I wonder how she is reacting to what I am telling her and my expression of emotions, and what she is thinking because of it. It is different for me, and so I probably am too concerned with what she thinks about that stuff. And I can see that she probably is looking at me when I'm upset solely because I am upset. Also, I think she watches more closely after that whole EMDR session when she had no clue I was having a flashback and dissociating. And we have discussed it. I told her that I sometimes can't stand being in there with her, because of what she knows. She has offered to turn around with her back to me while I tell her stuff, which would make things more awkward. She got to where she would sit kind of off to the side when I was telling the stuff. But their new offices are done and her office is so much smaller than her old one and the ones she was in temporarily. She's right there now. It does help me sometimes to see the expression on her face every once in a while. And if she never looked at me at all, I might think she wasn't listening or wasn't interested or was reaffirming that I am horrible because of what I am telling her.
I don't know why I was thinking about all this. I just was. I wonder if I became able to look her in the eye when discussing these things, if that would be an indication that my shame is gone or lessened. ??
Kate, how screwed up am I? I thought I was so normal, but none of this seems normal. I am so up and down and I am not used to having a general feeling of sadness or just feeling bad day after day. Don't you think this has gone on for an awful long time? Way too long? I've been in therapy for almost a year now, much of the year, I've been going twice a week. Am I just stuck in a situation where I am perpetuating my own victimhood and feeling sorry for myself? Please be honest with me, because if it is a matter of me having a bad attitude, I can remedy that, if I know. I can't believe how much trouble I'm having dealing with this. I mean, I made it through being torn up inside and out, my arms and legs being almost black because of them kneeling on them, bleeding for weeks ... And was able to recover without pain meds or medical help, and even hide it from everyone. But I can't handle this emotional stuff. One of the links you gave me had a quote from a woman saying that emotional pain flat out hurt worse than physical pain. I think that is true, although it seems that shouldn't be the way it is. What do you think?
I know you told me before to "sit with" my feelings. Is that still what I should do? Even when I am feeling more and more regularly down? Will it help me work through this, or is it self-perpetuating? Am I making myself unhappy??
I hope your sleep study went well and they found something that can help you. I can understand your feelings about having a male tech in there with you. The last thing you want is to be sleeping, and vulnerable, with a young male in the room.
I understand that there is a new policy on here of one question, one accept so I'm posting this on the new thread for you.
It could be that you are sensitive to Linda looking at you because of the shame you are feeling. You have mentioned that you worry about what others think of you after you tell them your story. Linda particularly knows a lot and sees you face to face. What you feel seems to be a reflection of the shame you feel about yourself. Putting your feelings onto Linda is a way to gauge what type of reaction you should have to yourself by what reaction she has to your situation.
When you were young, you had no way to figure out how you should feel because when you did feel anything, you were told to repress it. Because of that, you never learned how to judge your own emotions against others and their reactions and get a sense of yourself from it. Now that you have all of these strong emotions coming out, it may feel overwhelming, especially since you do not have the tools to know how to gauge what you feel. So Linda and others who know your story become the measurements by which you figure out your feelings, just like it should have been when you were young.
But Shay, there is nothing wrong with that. You were not taught what you needed to know about how to handle feelings. This is not your fault. You are dealing with some heavy duty emotions without a way to figure it all out. And there is nothing wrong with you. You are reacting normally to a very bad situation and you are just trying to find your way.
You are not taking too long in therapy. The trauma you suffered was intense, physically and emotionally. Add that to the neglect you suffered as a child, and it gives you a lot to work on, no matter who you are. Emotions are complicated, more so than most people realize. Changing ingrained thought patterns and behaviors takes a while. And you are doing a good job at this. You are expecting a lot of yourself. And a lot of these expectations probably come from your childhood. You were expected to deal with situations without feeling. And the implication was that you were a big baby if you could not handle that. So no, you are not feeling sorry for yourself. You are dealing with this normally. It probably just does not feel normal to you because you were taught differently.
The emotional pain can be harder than the physical pain. You don't have to do anything for the physical pain to heal. But the emotional pain hurts inside, not easily remedied by medicine or time. You have to face it and feel it in order to let it go.
At this point, accepting your feelings instead of sitting with them is probably more helpful for you. Telling yourself that it is ok to have these feelings. Tune out the old messages and make new ones for yourself.
It is ok that you are feeling down. It is part of the normal range of emotions that you should be feeling when dealing with something so traumatizing. You cannot expect to face shame, guilt and nightmares with happiness or even neutral feelings. You are going to feel sad. But you will not feel this way forever. Because you will work through this. You are not making yourself unhappy, the trauma is. And that can be worked through.