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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate. Writing because

Resolved Question:

Hi Kate. Writing because I'm at my sleep study, awake after a nightmare, and I just want to go home. This started out badly, as the tech has a trainee - a male. My file says "female tech only" all over it. I had to tell her that if they had to come in my room, he could not. He is a nice guy, but he is a guy, and he happens to be in his 20s and tall with dark hair .... Too close to home.

I had a nightmare and he didn't come in, but she didn't help things. I don't feel like explaining, but I just want to go home. But apparently it's too early ...

Talk to you later.


Okay ... Updating this. I fell back asleep and made it through the rest of the night fine and I am home. Very tired and a headache, but fine. Good news is that they said I didn't move much during rem sleep. They could tell when I had a nightmare because my brain activity was off the charts, but she said I seemed to tense up a lot and hold my breath then hyperventilate, but wasn't flailing around or anything. So it looks like the meds are working at the current dosage, whih is good, because any more clonazapam makes me feel really bad in the mornings. We will see what dr krakow says, but it looks good and if so, I won't have to do another sleep study for 6 mos to a year. That would be good, because I was pretty unhappy last night. In any event, I will not have her as my tech again - and I might say something to Dr. Krakow if the opportunity rises, because she apparently is the head tech now. She just handles things immaturely and without much sensitivity. And I don't think that's good, especially because they specialize in nightmares and PTSD issues. and she is training people.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi Shay,

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.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX thanks for moving my post. It really was a separate question, and I don't want to get booted from my subscription.

I am having some alone time right now. P went to church for PT practice before 8 and church doesn't start till 10:30. So I have just been hanging out for a little bit crying a little. I was really panicked last night and an mad at myself about it this morning. But I know if that guy would have awakened me from a nightmare or would have come in right after, it might have freaked me out. I sometimes get freaked out when p wakes me up. And it was hard enough for me to figure out where I was when I woke up from the nightmare. He didn't look like the mean one in the face, but he was like 6'5" with dark short hair, like the mean one. I can't see more than outlines without my glasses or contacts anyway. I hate being this way. I know I overreacted in my feelings. I didn't feel as safe as I did the first 2 times.

I am just feeling bad and feeling bad for feeling this bad. I feel like such a wimp. Plus, I think it's amplified because I am so tired. I only slept a total of about 4 hours or less. I was so glad to come home and see p and the dogs! I know - that's childish. But it's true. I started tearing up when I turned on our street and had to gather myself before pulling in the garage.

Thanks for saying I'm normal. It sure doesn't feel like it. I understand that it may be a normal way to react to an abnormal situation (you therapists live that phrase, don't you? :) ). But it still is not normal. I used to take pride in standing out and being different. I am getting some of that back, in other areas. More like how I was before. Didn notice I had lost it until I started to regain some of it recently. But I want to be totally normal. The same as soneone to whom this didn't happen. I know everyone has something they have to deal with. But I want tI have deal with it. Thank you for reminding me I won't feel this way forever. I worry sometimes, since it has lasted much longer than I expected. I don't want to be like this. It's not me.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Kate: Also - I think you are totally right about my not being able to gauge my feelings and depending on others' reactions. Since Linda and you know most, I look to you guys. P knows a lot. Nobody else does. I can't trust the reactions of people who don't know everything, because I think of they knew everything they would react differently, an even with the little info they have, they may just be reacting as thy think they should so thy don't hurt my feelings. And that is why I worried about you and Linda. Your job is not to make me feel worse or I blame, so I was suspicious of what you say. I trust it more now because you have both been consistent and I know, by Linda's expression an that she has cried with me that she is being genuine. But it is very hard for me to gauge - you are right. The fact that my ingrained feelings contradict what you and Linda say, and the fact that the reaction from the first friend I told an from my parents was totally different, I think plays into it.

I just now get why Linda wanted me to tell certain people to see their reactions. Makes sense now. Of course, telling c kind of back-fired a little at first but not ultimately. Telling Debra was definitely a God thing.

So .... Now that we have established I trust you. I have asked you honestly what you thought about my fault, an I believe you. Can you tell me what you felt/thought free you tea my story and after I told you other things?

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi Shay,

I understand that there is a new policy of one question one accept. You might need to contact the moderators for further explanation. I can answer you on the new thread and transfer you new questions there for you.