I experienced a curious phenomena as I was driving back from my therapist’s last night. It is a phenomena that I’ve experienced occasionally in the past and one that I have often wondered about…
It was dark out by the time I began the drive home and driving at night, in the dark, is a different experience (at least for me) than it is during the day. Anyway with all of the fast speeds and traffic and the session I had just left on my mind I experienced a wondering of what would happen if I were seriously injured or ill in someway. All it would have taken last night was a moment’s inattention or a slight miscalculation and I would’ve run right into the jersey barriers along the middle of the highway. I have experienced this in the past where I have wondered who would care. Would it even matter? Do I even matter enough for it to effect people? Seriously, what would happen if I was not okay?
I have always equated this experience, this wondering, to a Tom Sawyer/ Huck Finn effect. For those of you who don’t know, in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Tom and Huck, through mischief, are able to view their own funeral after the town believes they have drowned in the Mississippi River. Tom and Huck who are known for being trouble makers and rascals are privileged to hear the town, Tom’s family, and the community preacher praise them and speak of them fondly. Through the novel Tom’s antics make it difficult for the reader to appreciate Tom and so it is quite a surreal juxtaposition to hear the preacher speak of Tom and Huck as if they were the town’s hopes and dreams.
What concern, if any, would I evoke? I know this kind of thinking comes from a poor sense of identity and self-esteem and a desire to be cared for. I wouldn’t
ever intentionally harm myself or make myself ill. I know enough and have enough clarity of mind to know that this would not be healthy. But I cannot help but dream of what might happen if I were ill or if someday somehow I was seriously injured.
I found the reference to a ‘Smart Heavy’ to be very interesting. Recently I have been engaged in an art project where I have been trying to depict different aspects of my internal critic. For one of these I felt compelled to draw a “heavy” inflexible, enforcer, type of figure. The title of bouncer fits really well.
For me I have the opposite problem from yours. I am far too much in the thinking part of my brain and unfamiliar or even scared of my limbic brain. I have been on anti-depressants for around 2 years and I am wondering if by weening myself off of them I might remove some of the power behind my “Bouncer.” Before I can “get better” I need to be able to address the issues that bring me pain and I am wondering if my meds are preventing or hindering me from doing so.
I also found the reference to your ‘heavy’ as acting as a protector to your other peeps to be very interesting as my therapist and I talked about something similar during my last appointment. I addressed one aspect of my critic who proclaimed to be protecting me from being hurt. She protects me from anxiety and pain but as the same time causes those feelings in me. Anyway your reference resonated with me. I think many of us have aspects of ourselves that feel the need to protect “the rest of us.”
I’m conflicted. Yesterday I was doing some reading for class and came across a section of the article assigned to us that really interested me. I wrote about my impressions in my journal but felt compelled to share my impressions with the professor. I was/ am excited by my thoughts, not that they are anything profound, and impatient to share them. We are a little behind in class and so it is unlikely that this article will be discussed next class and so I would have to wait to share my thoughts in class. I hesitate to share my thoughts with the professor immediately because of seeming overeager and teacher’s pet-like. It’s complicated because this professor recently sent out an e-mail to the class stating her concerns that the class was not doing as much of the reading as she assigned.
Another topic I read about yesterday thanks to a post on Pinterest, was metacognition. A few weeks ago this professor gave us an in class assignment that used a metacognitive technique (mind mapping) for improving thinking about ethical issues in art therapy, not that the class had a clear idea that that is what she was doing at the time. I recognized it as a different learning technique but it was not until I read about metacognition that I could really put words to it. Reading about metacognition yesterday really excited me, as if I discovered a secret of how the magic is done. That insight almost gave me a feeling of privilege. I would be interested in talking to this professor about this as well.
My motivations: I am excited by knowledge and insights. It is as if getting another piece of a puzzle. Acquiring knowledge and insights piece by piece allows me to make connections between and develop new ideas. I love learning and I want to share that excitement.
I am afraid of seeming over-eager, attention grabbing, a know-it-all. I hate that my motivations might be questioned by my professor. “Her low self-esteem spurs her to try and impress me…” blah, blah, blah…
And yet I hear my therapist’s voice saying, “Laura, what other people think about you is none of your business!”
This week my therapist asked me if I thought I had a social phobia. At the time I said, “Maybe to a degree. It is not like I have panic attacks or anything…” This morning as I was driving back from the gym I rethought that. I certainly get the “intense fear or apprehension.” My heart does pound when I get this way. But as for other symptoms I was at a loss until I remembered the occasional incidents I’ve experienced when I have gotten really really tense and have had chills. The last time this happened was at my cousin’s wedding reception and my shoulders were killing me. I was so tense I am surprised I didn’t give myself a migraine. I was up later and in a lot more company than I am used to. My schedule was off and I didn’t have my anxiety med at the time I am used to having it.
I also remember a time a number of years ago when Mom, my sister, and I were on vacation in Florida. We were swimming before dinner, I think, and I remember standing against the pool wall in the shallow end of the pool with my arms clenched tightly to my body. I remember feeling so cold even though the pool water was warm. I just stood there and couldn’t/ wouldn’t move.
I read a definition of nocturnal panic attacks (…tend to result in sufferers waking suddenly from sleep in a state of sudden fright or dread for no known reason) this morning and I remembered getting up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago filled with an unreasonable fear. I needed to go to the bathroom but I was afraid to set my feet on the floor because I felt like someone would reach out from under the bed and grab my ankles. When I made it to the bathroom I wasn’t able to get comfortable on the toilet because I was afraid something would get me from within the bowl…I had not felt that kind of fear in the middle of the night in a long long time. But of course there have been other times when I have woken up with my heart pounding but not to the same degree of fear.
Are my experiences panic attacks? I don’t know; but I feel as if what I told my therapist was not exactly true. I keep hearing my Dad’s voice trying to dissuade me from my self-diagnoses. “Come on! You’re not hurt that bad! Get up. Why are you crying?” Am I really just looking for one more thing to diagnose myself with?
We’ve been learning about transference and countertransference this week for class. Naturally I have been applying it to my relationship with my therapist as well as how they will eventually relate to myself and my clients. I have a real problem with transference as it relates to my relationship with my therapist.
I feel like transference is a weakness (for me) because I know it is something I should be aware of as being unrealistic. Being aware of it in such a way therefore means I should be able to avoid it. Instead my instincts tell me to surrender to it and to discuss it with “K” but as usual my fear holds me back. In order to discuss such embarrassing (for me) topics with her I feel as if I have to separate myself from the emotional aspects of the topics. But again that is counter-productive. But in order to “protect” myself I feel I have to remove myself in such a way. This is a really big struggle for me.
I feel I know what this person is saying. Even though our problems are different I know what it is to be lonely and to feel as if you are unable to change your circumstances. It is very difficult to overcome these, as yet unidentified, barriers to social connection, at least for me.
For me and for, I think, this other person, I have this need that wants to be filled. An aching, lonely, sometimes consuming hole, that needs filling. Food does not fill this emotional hole. Compulsive buying does not fill it either. Exercise helps me sometimes in being able to push away these feelings but they are still there.
I seek out relationships to fill this hole. People I am drawn to are the ones I am most likely to see as possibilities or as manifestations of hope. But for one reason or another (like the instances described by this fellow blogger), one should or should not, one right or wrong, one can or can not, it does not fit. The “relationship” does not work. By “doesn’t work” I mean the need is not or cannot be met. And I do not even know how it, the hole, needs to be filled. What is it that I (we) need?
For me, sometimes, it is kind of like those cop shows that tell a story about some kid who has been through some sort of trauma, like a fire, or abuse, or neglect. When the cops arrive on the scene the little kid latches onto the first officer who represents hope, familiarity, comfort, reliability, and security. That kid latches onto the officer like a monkey and has a figurative and literal death grip on the officer. Sometimes I feel like that kid and I am waiting for my life raft of hope, familiarity, comfort, reliability, and security.