Am I Supposed To Be Fine Now

Sometimes I feel I am floating a little bit outside the rest of the world. But nobody notices, so maybe it’s not true? Or maybe I never connect very well, so people can’t tell the difference.

Lately in therapy E. is optimistic. She tells me how well I’m doing. But I don’t feel I am doing well. I want her to understand, so I tell her I am internally agitated but have no energy. I tell her I feel many urges to burn myself but haven’t done it. She remains optimistic.

It’s so frustrating! Of course I want hope for my future. But I also need some validation of how I am feeling in the moment. I need her to say, it’s not a straightforward path to emotional health or I see you are struggling these days. 

But perhaps I’m wallowing in the muck when I don’t need to, and she’s trying to prevent me for staying there. Maybe I am afraid of getting better or resisting?

It helps that I decided to believe the scary stories from the wounded girl. Seriously, it’s an enormous step forward. So now am I just supposed to be fine? No more anxious spiders creeping up my arms, tingling in a way that makes me want to burn them off? And if I’m not fine, am I doing something wrong?

My husband is happy that I’m home for three months. He tells me multiple times every day that he loves me. And he shows it in a million ways. He makes food for me, doesn’t press me to do more than I feel like. But he seems to think now that I have a break from work, everything is much better, or it will be better in a few more days, as I become more rested. I think about inviting him to have sex as a way to connect but I’m afraid I’ll just dissociate and feel more alone than ever.

My mother! My heart is longing for my mother, but I she’s forgotten about me. I think she has talked to me on the phone one time since April, and that was to tell me in July that my cousin’s son had committed suicide. As I wrote earlier, I told her that my depression was worse this year than in a long time. She emailed me once asking if I was taking too much Tylenol. Since then, no mention of depression in her emails. And actually, no emails for weeks. It’s like I don’t exist for her. It’s like I don’t exist.

Meanwhile, I stay home, read books, clean the house, feel disconnected but don’t want to make the effort to connect. I should probably try harder.

Maybe the Wise Woman would have something useful to say about all this, but I think she’s taking the evening off.

39 thoughts on “Am I Supposed To Be Fine Now

  1. I think therapists try to hold onto the positivity in times we can’t do it for ourselves, but I too hate when they put a positive spin on things when all I’m feeling is really dark and depressed.

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    • I think the same thing. She wants me to see my progress and hang on to hope. But I would like her to balance that with recognition of the painful moments. Otherwise, I feel like she doesn’t really see me.

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  2. Being ignored is hard. I hear your mom ignoring you and your counsellor ignoring you a little, too. Yeah, maybe she wants to keep you on the positive side. But I think that right now her behavior is just echoing what’s going on with your mom.

    I get how scared you feel. Running around life feeling like you’re operating your body on remote control isn’t fun. You begin to wonder if you’ll ever feel back in your body. I’ve been there once or twice. And yes, the urge to do something drastic, to hurt yourself so that you felt SOMETHING is strong at those times. Please remember you are feeling, all the time. It’s what’s making you disassociate in the first place. You don’t need to burn yourself or cut yourself to feel. If anything, you’re feeling too much which is why you’re shutting down a bit. That’s okay. Hear me on this: it’s okay. I don’t want to fart rainbows when you’re so down, but please try to remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with you, that this disassociation is just an overload thing. It’s scary and you’re panicking a little bit and that’s perfectly normal. Perfectly. normal.

    Your husband sounds great. I get that he’s tuned into your moods, but have you verbalized to him what’s going on with you? He seems like a solid support system. Be sure you say things to him, and don’t assume he knows everything that’s going on with you. All the best, my friend…

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    • My husband is the best. He’s never been depressed for a day in his life though (he will say that himself). He’s very even-tempered and his moods are very stable. So he wants to be sympathetic, and I really appreciate it. I shelter him sometimes though, because I know that what is going on in my head is just so WEIRD for him. I don’t want to worry/frighten him. But I know that contributes to my sense of being on my own with this.

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      • Yes, it probably is. And he probably wants to know what’s going on with you. Maybe preface it with ‘I’m way out there’ or ‘I know I’m gonna sound strange’. That helps me sometimes. It lets me say what I need to say but also acknowledges that I know it’s hard to hear. All my best to you.. xo

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  3. Q, letting yourself believe the girl is a huge step on your way to getting better. However, you are climbing a moubtain, and you have reached a bit of a level spot, maybe your therapist is letting you rest there and get used to being a woman who now believes awful stuff happened to you when you were the Girl. Or maybe, my guess is wrong. You can tell your therapist what is happening inside for you. I don’t know I about your therapist, but mine waits for me to lead us to the next level of work. She will guide me once I identify what I want to work on. Please tell her everything is not coming up roses right now. I wish I could speak to the mother stuff, but I can’t. Mother’s who ignore or hurt their kids, like mine, make absolutely no sense to me.

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    • Hi Patty, thank you. Like your therapist, E. does also wait for me to take the lead on what I need to talk about. It’s hard though, because I think you are right, I’m at a plateau and confused about where to go next. I tried asking her that one time, and she tried to paint a vision of me with a more open, creative life. What I meant though was which way to go next–and I actually know she will not point to a particular path for me.

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  4. When I think about your little girl I think about my 8-year-old and how he often feels lonely because he says no one wants to play with him. Of course my other son plays with him, the Lego stuff and their free play “war games”, but he gets offended when what he wants to play no one feels like playing at that particular moment. He needs to feel connected in that way, that someone is enthusiastic about the same things as he is, otherwise he feels lonely. So it just occurred to me that maybe la niña needs a friend her age. It’s 3am and I’m a babbling a bit, but maybe in order for the present you to be able to connect with yourself and with others la niña needs to be able to connect first. Sounds like she needs a playdate, and she can be as picky as she wants. I think it’s important that she’s not forced to play with people she doesn’t want to play with. She needs to be in control and allowed to have her own mind and make her own decisions without feeling guilty that she’s not being nice. Who cares if she’s not prim and proper. I think she’d be really happy if she has a safe space where she can say bad words and not be chastised. If she’s allowed to say that she feels like “shit” and she’s so “fucking angry” at all the people that contributed to her pain then that’s a pretty effective way of ‘draining the pus’ in the ‘recurring infection’ you have.
    I’m gonna copy and paste this in to your most recent comment because that’s what this is in response to. That’s why I wrote a post on “It’s Ok for Kids to Swear” because under these kinds of circumstances words are power and for a powerless child I’d much prefer my child to use a “bad word” to express himself than physically harm someone or himself. And the goal is just to “drain the pus”. Most adults have unhealthy and destructive ways to get the poison out because we’re taught that it’s not nice to say those things or think those things. We’re not allowed to just let our thoughts and feelings pass through like all storms do.
    This is a stream of consciousness brainstorming session for la ñina Q. I’m just thinking that if la niña Sabrosona were in a similar situation I’d have a swearing like a sailor session with her and give her lots of high 5’s and hugs and do mani’s and pedi’s and make home-made pie and cookies and let her make a mess and then help her clean it up; be with her every step of the way until she’s more independent and she really isn’t so ‘needy’. Attachment parenting, they say, is a way to provide physical, emotional and mental REASSURANCE to children so that they will be MORE independent. Trying to push them into doing things on their own too soon is likely to shut off the connection and create deep chasms where loneliness is a bottomless pit and can never seem to be filled.
    Maybe a mini project would be good, like building a doll house from scratch. Something, a gift, just for her. I’m getting drowsy now, so the brainstorming session is nearing the end, but I hope there is some sense in all these words xxx

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    • I do think the girl needs a project and a chance to play. I don’t know if she needs to swear–that would be something new for her. Seriously, I remember how I was in fifth grade and a friend had to tell me what “shit,” meant. Times have changed!
      I told E. how it felt like the girl was trashing her room, and she suggested it might be satisfying to really rip something up or break something… maybe she needs that before she can play.

      Why were you up at 3am?!?

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      • Cabezítas woke me up to sleep in his room and then I couldn’t go back to sleep. I’ve been a bit uppity on and off lately, a bit hypomanic, sorry about the babbling.
        I love the idea of crumpling or ripping paper for example once you drawn something or written a few words. Breaking something would be fun too. What kind of breakage? Like building a Lego tower and then kicking it over? Then there’s throwing a ball against a wall really hard, but that might hurt your arm. Throwing rocks in a pond or lake or other body of water would be satisfying too and with the added meditative benefits.
        Como estas hoy?

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    • I try to tell myself that it is her loss; we could have a greater closeness if she wanted. My stepfather is not an easy person, and I would think she could get a lot of support and affection from me. The truth is, it is a loss to me as well. I would just really love to have a mom who cares, who finds me interesting enough that she wants to talk to me. Ah well, I have a dear husband and loving sisters. I’m grateful for them.

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  5. I will answer that question – no, you aren’t supposed to feel or be fine now. You will probably start to feel even worse, with all this space opening up to feel your feelings and what is really going on. And I would expect that. It is really tough. Especially when having support and the space now, it seems like you should be feeling relief, right? Or at least there is that judgment. But I would be worried if you suddenly felt ‘better.’

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    • Thanks, Rachel. It’s a good reminder that feelings don’t match what you think they should be. And it’s normal, I guess, that with more time and space to think about my life, to feel more confused at least for a while.

      I need to work on accepting that my feelings in any given moment are fine, whatever they are. I don’t have to meet some expectation.

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      • Exactly – you don’t have to feel ‘better’ or ‘worse’ or be chipper if you aren’t feeling that way. Which is a lifetime practice, really. None of this just comes quickly.

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    • I said something to my husband a while ago: “I have all this time off now. I can do things I have been wanting to do. Why am I so tired? Why don’t I feel better? I am just such a drag on you.” he said, “If you could feel much better in just a couple of days, you wouldn’t have needed to take a long time off. Of course it will take a while. There’s no rush.” I feel a bit better repeating those words to myself. It’s tough at the moment. And that’s ok.

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  6. I’ve been far from fine since my fmla and really the time off is just confusing my girl and she’s spinning and just kind of trying to figure it all out. Tell your La Niña Q it’s okay not to be happy all the time. Let her color outside the lines and scribble and rip up a magazine. My little girl painted with watercolors and splattered the paint by flicking the brush. I love the idea of messy baking. And my T has been telling me about needing to reassure my girl and that she needs that from me <~~not an easy thing to do.

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  7. I’m sorry to hear E. is focusing so much on positivity. We have everyone else in our lives pushing us toward positivity–both the ones who really mean well and the ones would would just rather not deal with the hard things in us. One of the reasons to hire a therapist is that theoretically this is a person who will not flinch from the scary things, and who will willingly visit them with us. I wonder if E. is just happy for you that you have this break? But it’s not a vacation! If I remember correctly, you want to be able to focus more on your work with the girl, or to let out the anger and destruction you mention above, or…? Good luck.

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  8. I feel like I am in much the same place right now. Struggling with a therapist that seems more positive I am getting better than I feel and is determined to ignore the bumps and stumbles I am experiencing. It’s frustrating for her not to listen to what I am saying (that’s what it feels like anyway) and to feel pressured to perform “better” than I actually feel at this point. I am sending you some hugs and an understanding shoulder.

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    • Yes! You said it well, both ignoring the bumps and stumbles and feeling pressured to perform “better” than I actually feel. And it’s almost like I feel a resistance coming up, something like: no, I refuse to get better until you first recognize how bad it is. It sounds so childish…

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  9. Wow this was very powerful and I can relate. My mother has not spoken to ME since April! I think you should go slow. Not do anything that may make you disassociate. It is amazing how people just assume how you may be feeling. I say feel in the moment! It is NOT too much to ask for validation and respect. Thank you for your post.

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