I just left S’ office for my second therapy session this week and somehow, I just feel empty.
I can’t shake the feeling of deep loneliness and neediness that I currently have deep inside of me. I’m not sure why I feel this way.
Today we talked about my refusal to get better. I admitted it to him that every time I start feeling like I’m going to be better, a part of me shuts it down. I can’t identify this part, I told him. I know that it’s not any of the parts that I already have characterized so far. I told him that this part of me is what I would describe the Dark Side to be – it’s evil and it lurks.
It reminds me of Venom, the character from the Marvel comic Spider-Man. Venom is a symbiote that takes over its hosts and turns them evil and I feel like this is what this part is like. I used to think that this part was the critical Mother but I am beginning to think that it’s a separate part altogether. I want to use the word ‘entity’ to describe it because it feels extremely foreign and something I cannot relate to.
As much as I’d hate to admit it, I still do relate to the angry teen. This though, seems to be something else altogether. S mused that maybe this is just another part of me that I am still very much unable to identify and so therefore, unable to relate to. I told him that this seem to be the part that influences all the other parts to want to be violent, to self-harm, to kill myself, to hate, to be spiteful and to continue to be negative.
I told S, “When I say I don’t want to be better, I don’t mean that all of me wants that. There’s just one part of me that doesn’t want to be better. And I don’t know what part that is. I know now that it’s not the teenager. As angry as the teenager is, she does want me to be better. She wants to be better… This part feels different…”
“Maybe this part of you feels left out. Maybe this part feels like now that you’re starting to reintegrate with the teenager, that it feels like you’ve left them out…”
“Left out… Yeah! It does seem like it. It does feel like they feel left out. Like they’re throwing a temper tantrum. ‘No! It can’t be this easy for them to reintegrate! THIS CANNOT HAPPEN! NO!’ is what I hear…”
“Well, the next time you have the thought that everything’s futile, that you don’t want to feel better, I want you to confront it and try to name it. ‘Who are you? What do you want from me? Why don’t you want me to be better?’ See if you can identify it… I think it’s important for us to give it a name. It seems like this part needs to come into the conversation too…” S said.
S then told me that he was actually very confused up until today that I would still come in from week to week feeling really low and really bad. He said, “Actually I’ve been confused because I’d think to myself, ‘Well that was a good session’, you’d leave feeling better and stable but then come back feeling really bad again the next session… But now that you said that you don’t want to get better, it makes more sense…”
So I told him that while I’m in session with him, I am working with him and I’m being “good”. But as soon as I leave the session, the part of me that doesn’t want to get better starts to whisper things to me – things like, ‘Life is futile’, ‘This sucks… Why bother going on?’, ‘Fight S, keep fighting him. You don’t want to be better’, ‘Being better sucks because it means that you don’t get to see S anymore’.
“This might be a stretch… But what if you don’t want to feel better because somehow you feel like this means that you can’t come here to talk to me anymore if you do?” S asked.
It hit me that that might be one of the reasons. I told him that the teen needs S, that his attention matters to her and that she craves it. She is dependent on him and wants to keep seeing him. So if she’s better, then she won’t be able to see him anymore, right?
“Also, I know you’ve told me that you never could feel like you could come in here to talk unless you had a ‘real’ reason to. I remember you telling me that maybe that’s why you self-harm. To show me that this is serious. That you have a real valid reason to be here…”
Isn’t that messed up? I believe he has found a part of the reason why I don’t want to be better. He told me that he’s worried about me. Worried that these thoughts keep intruding and blocking my path to recovery.
On a more positive note, earlier in the session, I had talked about how whenever I feel angry towards people, I tend to just assume guilt for myself. That it’s all my fault. This time, S noted, that when I talked about the same thing, that I also included the fact that I’m angry/frustrated and that though I still assumed guilt, that what I said sounded more integrated.
“This time, as you talked, you sounded different to me. I don’t know if you noticed it yourself or not, but this time, instead of just saying how bad you feel and how guilty you feel, you were also able to say that in addition to feeling that, you also feel angry at the person for not making you heard and for not trying to understand your side of things… I see that as a very good sign that you’re beginning to feel the anger. It seems like you’re beginning to let the teen in…” S said.
S tells me that I am making progress, again reminding me today. That may be so, but at the moment, I feel burdened. I walked out of CAPS and stared at the parking garage for a really long time. For a split second, I had a real desire to go up to the top floor.
Writing all these conflicting thoughts down have definitely helped. I will have to come back to this later as I have a tutoring session now. At the moment, I think I’ll be distracted enough to be okay for the next couple of hours.
Oh, tomorrow is my one year anniversary for attending therapy. I got S a $10 Starbucks gift card because I noticed that he’d been drinking Starbucks lately. He laughed as I gave it to him, telling me that I didn’t have to get him things but that he appreciated it and would put it to good use. That felt good at least, as I left feeling a lot more empty than I would have hoped to be.