Nonlinear progress

When a friend asked me why i temporarily quit therapy, I said I could write an entire blog post about it and it still wouldn’t be enough. But the short answer is that it wasn’t working.

I’m not saying it didn’t work; it has actually helped immensely. But i’ve reached a plateau of sorts.

it’s really hard to explain: i want to talk, i need to talk, but i don’t want to make it into this whole thing. All i do is talk, and I’m sick of it, and I kind of just clammed up and couldn’t think of anything else to say because i constantly felt put on the spot.

and also, taking the “in some way it still has an effect on you” argument to its logical conclusion, you could be in therapy all your life. which is fine if you’re the one paying for it, but i honestly feel that there are many people in more serious need of public mental health services than i am.

I had casually considered therapy for years, always seeing it as a theoretical last resort, and with no real intention of going. i ended up there because of a crisis — the first one that i couldn’t deal with on my own.

I’m painfully aware that the crises arise as a result of my problematic personality. thus i can say with relative certainty that the next one is just around the corner (always is). But. the one that brought me here is resolved. and once that happens, i lose all motivation to work on myself.

i know im flaky to quit as soon as i have to admit that there are things i could change about myself that might make me better. but that’s not the only reason i had to take a break.

Keeping in mind that i never seriously considered therapy as a valid option (because i didnt think my issues were “serious enough”), I have actually already accomplished much more than i thought i would: I realized that they are, in fact, pretty dang serious, and they warrant numerous therapy sessions, indefinite even.

But I’m not ready to do the work just yet. I’m still coming to terms with my flaws. Maybe i shouldnt even be calling them flaws. i’m just transitioning from assuming that everything about me is inherently awful and terrible … to just seeing my personality without judging it. and assessing which parts might help me along the way and which ones not so much.

I had never seen myself as malleable before. well, easily manipulated, yes, but only by others. I lacked the self-awareness to manage my own thoughts or actions based on how they affected my life. I had never asked myself questions like, why do i behave a certain way or why i don’t do certain things that might be good for me.

idk if it’s plain ol’ stupidity, or my victim mentality: i’m so pathologically passive that I cannot conceive of the possibility that i could act instead of only being acted upon. I had no agency whatsoever, so how could i hope to ever change?

but now i have a little bit of that basic sense of agency, and it’s a lot. i’m not used to that kind of responsibility, and i feel i need to practice on things in my life, where the stakes are lower, before I can experiment on myself. it’s like a muscle you didn’t know you had, and you have to start with really basic workouts to avoid injury.

There are many more reasons I left. One of them being that I enjoy making people pity me, and my therapist refused to do that. That is a lesson in and of itself.

Plus, I suspect that intellectual conversations about my feelings while I’m drugged out of my mind aren’t gonna help when I’m going through withdrawals. Stabilizing on psych meds was hell, and I don’t expect lowering my doses to be a walk in the park, either.

The only reason I haven’t spiraled into a deeper depression interspersed with panic attacks is that my higher cognitive functions are compromised. In other words, my brain is in power saving mode. I don’t care …. but I’m going to.

and it’s going to be tough. going back to my neurotic self. anxious and overemotional. angry that i wasted ten months in a daze when i could have been making progress towards genuine change.

of course that’s not what’s happening, either… the truth is somewhere in the middle. Yes, the meds make you docile and more accepting of your present circumstances that might otherwise seem unbearable. but I still want to change, even now. I just don’t have the motivation…

Note to self: you haven’t wasted ten months. You’ve gotten to know a different version of yourself, and it’s one you can learn from.

but you’ve gotta admit that it isn’t you, exactly… hence why i don’t feel particularly compelled to invest in its well-being, if that makes sense. That part is just fine. It’s when i finally have a clear head that I’m really going to need therapy.

It must sound strange when I’m compartmentalizing like that, but it’s true: there’s only so much you can achieve in terms of insight into your mental states when the states themselves are so inhibited.

It’s the “meta”-knowledge that i’ve gained — about how i process information, how i react to stimuli, etc. — acquired in the process of analyzing my past behaviors — that’s going to help me navigate therapy. I really don’t see how pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy can be used together, at the same time (even though i know they frequently are).

I can’t wait till i’m ready though.

any ideas?

i had my first “proper” therapy session this week, and it was… eye-opening.

i was asked to think about what goals i would like to set for myself to accomplish through therapy. the more i think about it, though, the more confused i am.

how general or specific should i be? what’s a realistic goal for me to have?

the truth is, i can’t think of anything that i wouldn’t like to change about myself. and sure, i can try to consider which parts of my personality cause the most problems in my day-to-day life… except, of course, i only have limited insight, and i might not even realize what the real issues are.

good thing i have a lot of time to think this through.

themes to discuss in therapy | open for submissions lmao

LENISTWO, PASYWNOŚĆ

  • psychiczne krwawienie — paraliż w obliczu kryzysów, ospałość, skłonność do rezygnacji
  • aktywna bierność — brak zaangażowania w rozwiązywanie własnych problemów życiowych, próby uzyskania pomocy z zewnątrz, wyuczona bezradność, poczucie beznadziejności
  • health anxiety
  • and yet avoiding doctors
  • ogólne zamartwianie się

INFANTYLNA OSOBOWOŚĆ

  • splitting (rozszczepienie); sudden and dramatic shifts in my view of others; i will sometimes share intimate details early on, but if the other person doesn’t care enough / give enough / isn’t “there” enough, i will devalue them; i CAN empathize and nurture, but i expect the same thing in return
  • nie dążymy do zrównoważenia idealizacji i deprecjacji, tylko do zarzucenia osądów i skupienia się na dostosowywaniu zachowania do pożądanych / niepożądanych konsekwencji <– skuteczność — robienie tego co jest potrzebne / wymagane dla osiągnięcia celów, zamiast przejmować się tym co jest “słuszne”
  • features of NPD (DSM-5 p. 669) 1-9
  • Avoidant (p. 672) 1-7
  • Dependent (2, 3, 5, 6, 9) 4!
  • OCPD (4, 6) 2!!, 1, 8

“HOW TO ADULT”

  • practical, goal-oriented communication skills
  • become okay with being feminine
  • negative body image
  • learn self-care & moderation

WEWNĘTRZNA PUSTKA

  • tendencja do przyswajania sobie przymiotów innej osoby jako sposób zatrzymania miłości; brak tożsamości, poszukiwanie w otoczeniu wskazówek jak postępować, co myśleć i czuć, nadmierna zależność dotycząca preferencji, poglądów, opinii
  • intense fear of “abandonment” — it implies I’m “bad” ; lack of relationship / nurturing / support –> feel that I don’t exist at all; worse performance in unstructured work & school situations
  • the perception of impending separation / rejection / loss of external structure leads to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition & behavior
  • shifting goals, values, vocational aspirations, changes in opinions & plans about career, sexual identity, values, types of friends

SAMOUNIEWAŻNIENIE

  • “rodzina doskonała” (rodzice nie tolerują negatywnych emocji) –> unieważnienie lub niedostrzeganie własnych reakcji emocjonalnych, myśli, przekonań, zachowań; nie ufam sobie; niedostrzeganie –> chciałabym nauczyć się rozpoznawać i nazywać zachowania, zdarzenia, własne emocje i doświadczenia — etykiety potrzebne do komunikacji i do samokontroli
  • nadwrażliwość na krytykę i odrzucenie, niezdolność do znoszenia stresu, powstrzymywana żałoba — nadmierne kontrolowanie żalu, straty, smutku, złości, poczucia winy, wstydu, lęku, paniki; próbuję regulować emocje wydając sobie polecenia żeby nie czuć tego co aktualnie czuję — nierealistyczne wyobrażenia prowadzą do nierealistycznych standardów prowadzą do wstydu, nienawiści, złości na siebie
  • problemy z podtrzymaniem własnego punktu widzenia w obliczu krytyki lub braku zgody; “samoociosanie” — zmieniam własne doświadczenie, żeby dopasować się do innych

BECOME LESS ENTITLED

  • asertywność?
  • cognitive empathy; “reading people”
  • more realistic expectations of people, relationships, myself, & life
  • i don’t want to take advantage of people or be emotionally manipulative

RESILIENCE?

  • affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, anxiety); basic dysphoric mood often disrupted by periods of anger, panic, despair; rarely relieved by periods of well-being or satisfaction
  • chciałabym uniezależnić swój <<dobrostan>> od czynników zewnętrznych
  • wypracować dobre strategie biernej samoregulacjinauczyć się kontrolować strukturę środowiska — umowy, terminy, listy, rozkłady zajęć, PRZEBYWANIE WŚRÓD LUDZI; zrozumieć CO mi przekazują –> CRITICAL THINKING
  • i don’t want emotions to “happen to me” & i don’t want to dwell on them –> samoregulacja bierna i CZYNNA
  • difficulty controlling anger — I’m passive-aggressive when i feel attacked; self-image based on being bad or evil: caregiver seen as neglectful / withholding / uncaring / abandoning leads to sarcasm, bitterness, verbal outbursts lead to shame, guilt, feeling evil (ties back to “abandonment” implying im “bad”)
  • impulsywność; undermining self the moment a goal is about to be realized, e.g. dropping out of school just before graduation, destroying good relationships –> brak kontroli poznawczej nad jawnym zachowaniem, trudność z przełożeniem decyzji i wyborów na zgodne zachowania — no congruence between thoughts & behavior
  • pozorna kompetencjanieumiejętność generalizacji kompetencji na przyszłe nastroje i sytuacje; nieumiejętność okazywania oznak cierpienia emocjonalnego lub rozpoznania i przyznania że nie daję sobie z czymś rady
  • KONIECZNE JEST ODDZIELENIE AKTUALNEGO NASTROJU OD AKTUALNEGO ZACHOWANIA!!! <– ból i dolegliwości psychiczne są częścią życia; nie mieszać zdarzeń z moimi reakcjami na nie; nie traktować myśli i emocji jako dosłownego odzwierciedlenia rzeczywistości