Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Free Up Your Mind. Then Let Me Know How You Did It.

It's (not very much) like having the jaw of a steel toothed trap clamped on my bare foot.

It's nightfall in the jungle and I'm faced with the decision to either stay still in the hope that help will come; or to wrench my foot out of the trap (thereby risk bleeding to death) and try to find my own way to help.

Either way I'll probably lose my foot.

Is it more painful to suffer the slings and arrows of my wretched attempts to express some of the incomprehensible stuff I am feeling right now, or is it better to just carry it in silence.

Either way it feels like hell.

I've been lost since the session on Monday.

Faced with her, somewhat glib sounding, recommendation that I "change", I eventually found that I couldn't even be bothered to speak.

What I had been TRYING to do in response to the 'change' suggestion, was to establish HOW exactly, i should go about doing such a thing when, I feel little more than total despair.

"It's not despair", she states. "People in despair don't have the energy to argue"

"Right", I say, simultaneously wondering if I am 'all people' and also thinking (wryly)that she clearly doesn't know that she is talking to someone who can do two and a half hour long cardio workout at the end of a working day, on 4 small tomatoes and some lettuce.

Don't tell me about energy and despair.

So. What do I do, I ask.

How can I change.

"It's not something that you DO"

(and I roll my inner eyes because this is beginning to sound like I'm asking a rather pretentious self styled mytic to tell me what I should do to find a pot of gold)

"It's about freeing up your mind"

Oh GREAT. I AM talking to one of the above. Excuse me? Did you see where my therapist went..?


Freeing up my mind.

That's what I need to do.

Free it from the rigid reign of control.

Who would have thought it were that easy?

Being a teacher, you fast learn the need to be a little creative with your questioning in order to appeal to the understanding of such a range of pupils.

In the hope of getting a more practical, directive type of response I ask,

"If I were you and you were me, what's the first thing you'd do after the session?"

(Please note, in order to "change")

Her helpful response?


Throughout the latter part of the session, that's just what I thought I might do (albeit involuntarily)if I could manage to crawl to my car, but when I did, everything felt a bit unreal and big.

I drove most of the way home, pulled up in a layby, and played a word scramble game on my phone. That's what I do if things get too much.

Chilled to the bone and blank in the pending darkness, I played game after game, absorbed in the obsessive need to beat my point score each time.

I didn't move untiil two hours later.

I'm dreading Friday.

I don't want to go back but I don't want her to think I'm being childish.

Pride probably isn't a great reason to go to therapy.

I've been desperate again today.

Alone in the house again tonight, I ate a small amount and then expelled as much as my gag reflex would allow.

In the last few hours though, I've gone and stuffed it up by eating sweets.

I can't change until I manage to change the desire to be thinner.

HOW do you change a desire THAT strong?

Answers on a postcard...


  1. HI WS

    looks like your therapist in that cottage in the woods has 'gotten under your skin' like a parasite. I wish I had answers for you - about this is good or bad or whatever...,it just is. I do think you are on the edge of a break through so hang in as best you can.
    Loving you no matter what

  2. Have you ever thought about what you'd say to yourself if you were The Woman? How about what you'd say to a woman younger than yourself who came to you with trouble similar to your own? It's probably a stupid question, but, because you seem to be very good at caring for and comforting others, it's something I wonder about.

    I'm here, thinking about you and hoping Gail is right about you being on the edge of a break through.

    Your friend,

  3. WS, in your corner. I remember last year at the trauma center. I run off freaking 4 times! I truly believed I would never change. NEVER! I did. Part happen unconsciously, part was simply freaking hard effort on a daily basis to break habits. Finding myself then in a vacuum. The old habits didnt work so well anymore, new one werent established. Made me cling to my depression cling to sheer life! What ahppens when the depression is not there anymore? Oh yes, I want to be better but please dont take this strong desire of being sick, dark and depressed aways from me. I loved and hated any moment of feeling better. Now I am afraid I would fall back into depression big time. Not very balanced yet. I know change is possible. I know it is a choice too. Wish I could hold you! Hold your hand and show you how much is in there for you. a complete LIFE.

  4. Thinking about you as you head back to the woods. I know about not wanting to go; and at the same time, so much wanting to, and for it to somehow fix everything. And the frustration that it doesn't do that. But still, we go, because we feel like there is something there for us. And there IS something there for you. Good luck today, and of course always.

  5. Gail - Yes, "under my skin" is true. So much so that I itched al week and my eczema on my hand is bad enough for me to need bandaging everyday.
    I don't know about a breakthrough. Perhaps you are right, I certainly feel on the edge.
    I'd like to think that some light is on the other side of the place I am, but I'm not sure relly. It's all very, very confusing right now.

    I've never thought about that no. But I have since I read your comment.

    I don't know what the woman thinks. She is a bit unpredictable and so I can never quite gauge her reaction. Tonight I thought she might be abrasive, butshe was totally different to the fiercely challenging woman I sat in front of on Monday.
    What would I say to someone who came to me with the problem? Well, I am faced with a young girl who IS displaying certain traits... Am I really the best person to deal with it? I don't know.
    I guess that more than anything (and because I know her what she has been through over the past 2 years, I just want to wrap her in strong arms and hold her.
    I think I would probably refer her to the ED team.
    It's a tough question.
    One thing I know I'd do is to make sure that she came to me at least once a week just to check in and let me know how she's feeling.
    We do that anyway.

    Thanks for making me think. x

  6. Hey Paula,
    Thank you so much for stopping by. I have been wondering how you're doing and am aware that not everything is fantastic for you either...
    I don't know if I am clinging to depression... Well... actually, I know I'm NOT clinging to depresssion, in fact anything but.
    The eating disorder is part of what helps to PROTECT me from the worst depression... I guess that it's THAT that I'm clinging to.
    Losing as much weight as I can helps me to focus on something. It helps to make me feel good and in control (when my weight is low). The depression and desperation becomes unbearable when I feel like I have gained weight.
    I know it sounds mad.
    I suppoe that it is the D that I am clinging to.
    I've had enough depression to last m a lifetime. I never, ever want it to come back in the way that it wasbefore.

    Hi. I'm so sorry I've been rubbish with my replies lately. Sometimes it's easier than others.
    I'm so touched that you thought of me. - Thank you.
    I relly ddn't wnt to go but was so scared she would think she'd 'got' to me that I felt I had no choice.
    Such pride.
    You asked about my photos / images.
    the ones in the sidebar are either pics I'd done or photos of me that I have messed about with in irfanview (free software).
    A lot of the pic I use are photos that I've taken but a fair few o the posts are just images that I have found on google.
    Faith, it DOES sound as though you could do wth your own blog on which to share some of the stuff tht you experience in therapy. I don't want to pressure you in ANY way but I wondered how you were feeling about that idea.
    You give so much, perhaps you should consider a place where others can give to you...?

  7. Hmmm, Soul, you present an interesting conundrum for me. I tried a blog a few weeks ago, and removed it because I felt too exposed. And then, one day, probably drunk, after a particularly moving post from you that made me think about you, and about me, in so many ways...I sent the page address to my therapist, with a couple of comments. And now - I'm afraid to start another blog for fear he will see it. Like he studies your blog everyday or anything, right, I know... I'm even constrained in what I write to you now, although I'm fighting past that at the moment. The very simple solution would be to request him not to view your site anymore, in the event that he still might. But I really don't want to have the conversation with him! I hear the questions now: What is it about your blog that draws me? What is it that I want to say to you that I don't want him to know? Etc., etc. All good questions, and all too personal, even almost two years into this process. That’s a little of the background behind my responses to you, so many of them infused with the issue of what I do and don’t say in therapy, how exquisitely uncomfortable I still am there, even as it seems like the only safe place in the world (except when I’m there), and how I feel a connection with you and some safety, or perhaps self-awareness, in the space of your blog, that I don’t want to threaten by sharing it with him. Except the times when the need to better connect with him is too overpowering. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg, of course. I’m a fairly verbal person (except in therapy); I would say way, way, way too much in my own blog.

  8. Faith,
    You really do have yourself a proper situation. I wish there was something I could say that would help... Something that would make the tension between wanting and not wanting less... tense.
    I so much understand the agony if communicating the things you most want to protect. It's almost unbearable.
    That your t reads here is... uncomfortable in some ways. Therapists aren't meant to read f***ed up peoples blogs... They are meant to take a break from all that kinda stuff when not at work...
    What intrigues me faith, is the question of what DOES draw you here... What is it that you feel such affinity with? It's something I'd like to know, as well as something ur t might be interested in.
    Please feel free to say. I know it's a huge risk. Xxx

  9. Oh, WS, first, your replies haven’t been “rubbish.” You’re allowed to not engage when you don’t feel like it, the text is still there for you to engage with later if you want to, and yet you still end up coming out of your feelings enough to interact with me and the other people here in such nice ways. I guess the blog process is on one level inherently interactive, for example, would you have continued the blog if you never received any reader comments? But it’s also a way to try to talk to yourself too, right? You have an “audience” now, but sometimes you write for other reasons, however indirectly, like your message to your therapist last week. And second, I don’t know whether or not my therapist reads your blog at all; yes, the possibility is uncomfortable, and sorry. I might take the easier way out and send an email to him about it, which may be allowed to pass without comment for a while.

    It’s inspiring to me that you are here, sharing your thoughts and feelings, saying things I haven’t been able to even dare to think sometimes, other times expressing things I have felt. In both cases it’s validating for me. Also, and you will instantly disagree, I know, based on your blog to date, but I look up to you as so much better than me. But you still talk to me! Here you are, a) better at weight loss (I know, I know…!), b) better at expressing yourself, and c) functioning in the real world. Working a real job. I’m a grad student; I’ve written exactly 23 pages in the last year, can’t get out of my one head enough to get into the other one and get work done. The moment of truth is approaching quickly enough when I won’t be able to fake it anymore and it won't be pretty, but in the meantime, I’m so aware that I’m not doing ANYTHING. So I read about you going back and forth between your inner turmoil and productivity in the real world, and wish that could be me too.

    And then there is your self-description, where you emphasize that you’ve never experienced trauma or abuse. You seem to share my sense of extreme self-disgust in this respect: there’s NO REASON!!! for me to be so adeptly dismantling the good life I had, to indulge in the thoughts of confusion, dissatisfaction, and what I have allowed them to progress to, distress and despair. I should be able to snap out of it, right?

    Thanks for being here. I hope it can in some way help you in this really difficult time you are in. I don't say "through this difficult time," because I agree with you - through to what? But if you can find a way to be a little bit ok right now, that's better.

  10. I'm struck by the number of people I've run across who claim to have "no reason" for their specific brand of craziness. I often feel that way too. I'm afraid that my reactions to my mildly dysfunctional childhood are actually overreactions - that I'm blowing things out of proportion - that I'm a wimpy, crybaby. I worry that I don't deserve to be confused or depressed because nothing that bad has ever happened to me. But, then again, maybe it doesn't take anything that bad to injure a little child.

    Okie doke - ramble's over. Time for another cup of tea. Hope you're well, WS.

    Love to you,

  11. Hey WS....I remember feeling what you descirbe....I remember wanting so desperate for something I didn't know. My dance around food, eating, throwing up, cutting,frentic excercise in the rain, in the heat...didnt' matter. All that mattered was my need to run as far as I could from me. A friend kept telling me I had the answers inside me. Where I wanted to scream. Where are they? When I read what you write....I remember. And I know that WS are a fighter and fighters will time...your time. And I really like what Paula said. And me too....I'm here in your corner. Hold tight okay. I believe in you.

  12. Hi WonderingSoul. How are you doing?

  13. Hi, I've been thinking a lot about you. I wish I had answer to how to make changes, but I stuck too. I care about you and feel your pain. Just don't give up. Standing there with you.

  14. Just a quick response to thank you guys... I'm just trying to get thru the week at the moment so deliberately avoiding reflection of any kind. I often have to do this... I call it "sitting tight".
    I do have a couple of points but theyll have to wait.
    Thanks for being here. X

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  16. popped back in...just wanted to make sure you're okay. Never stop fighting okay. Never give up. Never let anyone define you either. Your truth is what's important...In your corner...always.

  17. Faith? You removed your post?
    Should I be worried?
    And, I wanted to answer your comment about blogs being interactive cos that's an interesting one for me.
    You asked me if i'd continue to blog if nobody responded... and the answer is definitely a yes. Yes I would continue to write. For me, this was never about interaction. In fact, I had HAD tonnes of interaction on a forum which I left BECAUSE I couldn't cope with the levels of interaction, the guilt at not responding to other people's posts, the intensity of online friendships, the perceived demands... When I began blogging, I had no idea about the concept of 'followers'... I liked the idea that someone random, somewhere in the world, may be surfing the net and come across the odd post but I never realised that it was smething that yo could regularly sign up to... I didn't know how interactive it would turn out ot be.
    I DO get stressed about replying on here and about reading others' blogs enough... but not as much as I did with the forum. I guess I need to develop more of a 'don't care' attitude but some weird guilt thing always gets to me...
    Hope I'v made some sense andhope you are ok. xx

    Thank you for your kindness and your constant encouragement. I hope that you have a lovely weekend. xx

    I've had a very bad few days but head to Cornwall tomorrow and may blog from there.

  18. Hi Soul,

    You always make sense – really. Maybe that means we’re equally crazy, but most people are, you know. I removed my post because I posted it under the influence and when I checked the next morning, it turned out to be something entirely different than what I meant to say. I had ended up saying how my prescription cough syrup has been good for freeing up my mind. When I read it later, it sounded flippant, which wasn’t at all my intent. Later, after I accidentally on purpose overdosed on the cough syrup, I was even more glad I had removed the post touting its benefits. That hadn’t been the intended point; the point was to respond to the query about freeing up one’s mind. I’m ok now, after a miserable and scary 24 hours, still a bit shell-shocked, and the cough and congestion that prompted the prescription are back in full force. The train wreck hasn’t fully happened, maybe hasn’t even started yet, but was very close. Maybe it can be avoided, and I can get myself together and on track before impending deadlines determine for me how things will go.

  19. I had meant to say that I really don’t want you to feel stressed about replying to me. I’d speak for everyone else, but realize I can’t actually do that. And that if it would be a little bit of a break in the tension for you to post non-therapy related stuff, that would be wonderful. I would love to hear about everyday stuff from you, if you feel like including it. And – it might help you not dread coming back to the blog sometimes, to think that it doesn’t have to be about things that are too much to think about right then. Just an idea.

    I’ll play therapist for a moment and point out that “someone random, somewhere in the world” occasionally finding your blog is still interactive… but clearly with connotations of keeping it safely limited. The perceived demands of online friends are an interesting issue. On one hand, I think some readers who leave comments do expect follow-up. I probably have at times. On the other hand, I appreciate being able to “talk” to you, no response needed, just nice to think that someone who I identify with in many ways might also identify with me, and hear what I’m saying. I think, perhaps based on seeing how your blog has gone, I’m not brave enough to have my own, but you very kindly provide me a place to say a few things anyway, with even more limited visibility and potential for interaction, but some added safety.

    Thanks, and hugs.

  20. Faith,
    Thank you for all your input.
    I know I don't always respond, but I do always read and appreciate your thoughts about the stuff I write / about your own experience / about therapy.
    I'm struggling with leaving yesterday's post on here. I wrote whilst 'under the influence' so didn't really remember writing it. *cringe* I do that.
    Take care and... I'm so sorry to hear about the 'accidental' overdose. I'm sorry that it didn't bring you the freedom you allowed yourself to dream about (albeit a shortlived dream). I'm very sorry that it feels as though it would take something THAT drastic / desperate for you to even think about daring to share some of the inner agony.
    I DO understand, though. I understand how it is that the smile has to stay, at all costs.

    It's all the more tough for not being valid enough to experience pain, and not being worth enough to share it.

    I'd give you a hug if I could. xx