I decided to go back to therapy. I haven’t been in therapy since seeing a psychiatrist and getting on Lexapro for the eating disorder years ago (more about that in my coming book). That was years ago. It’s now almost August of 2019. I’m not going for the ED for once in my life. Now that I feel like the ED is stable and has been for a good number of years I thought it was time to go back to therapy to get some more of my life cleaned up. I’ve always wanted to continue to grow as a person. I never want to stay stagnant. I need to work on a lot of negative feelings towards my mother (more on that relationship in my book). I need to heal, actually heal, from the break up that was so long ago. I need to forgive myself for not standing up for myself when I didn’t know how. I need to learn how to be a good mom in this new chapter of life as a working mom. I need to know how to be a good parent to my child that is suffering with an ED now. I need to grow as a person and learn to be happy in each stage of life. I need help with the new stresses of work. And I have friends that are there for me but I felt it was time to bring in a professional. I realized it was time for professional help when I started having obsessive thoughts that just wouldn’t stop. They have gotten a bit better but they come in spurts.
During my first session with my new therapist I told her about the obsessive thought patters. She told me that it’s normal to have these obsessive thoughts when we aren’t happy with something in our life. We turn to a happier time and get focused and stuck (obsessively) on that happier time. This made perfect sense to me. That was exactly what I was doing. I have been floundering a bit with the transition from being home with my kids to working full time and it hasn’t been all rainbows and roses. My mind has gone obsessively to a “happier time” in my life. Just opening up and being honest with someone and making sense of this helped to calm those obsessive thoughts down drastically.
I was in the kitchen with my husband this morning and he was asking how my therapy was going. I told him how my therapist said that I was very shut down emotionally. I reminded him how I never cry and how I just go through the motions of doing what I have to do. I mean through 10 years of a health crisis I was very task oriented and just did what I had to do in order to get by. Through our oldest daughter’s treatment I have been very non emotional and have just focused on what needs to be done. He made the remark that he was glad I wasn’t a crier but also pointed out that when I do open up it often comes out in anger. Yes, I do tend to bottle things up inside and then eventually it comes spilling out.
My therapist said that I am very like her men clients, as far as very closed up emotionally. My husband laughed and he could relate. He reminded me of when we were courting (more on that in my book coming 2020) and how hard it was to get me to open up. He said with my parents’ divorce and how I grew up being so controlled I probably learned to try to protect myself. I told him that’s what my therapist said. He was proud of himself and said he should be a therapist. However, my therapist thought that I shut down most of my emotions after a break up in college and when my eating disorder started. That made sense to me. I remember both of those events changing me as a person. I tried to think back.
Had I always been like that? I thought back to when I was younger. Did I keep a lot inside? I mean I remember feeling alone a lot when I was younger and feeling in the middle a-lot because of the divorce. I remember feeling emotions when I was in the high school/college relationship. Did I shut off after that? I remember going a really long time in college without even smiling. I know it b/c I remember the first time that I laughed again. It was the best feeling ever. I laughed so hard and couldn’t stop. I don’t know if not smiling was b/c of the break up or because of the ED. Probably both. Both changed me. I remember going through a period in college when I was crying all the time so I had emotions then…I had feelings for Matt…I remember the wonderful feelings of when we first got married and trusting him with all my heart. I still have feelings now just not very many. I know I keep a lot in. Like I said, I’m not a crier at all. I think the last time I cried was when my thyroid was off. I cried a lot then for no reason. Once that was taken care of I don’t’ really remember ever crying again.
When I was thinking about it last night I wondered if I shut down after Matt and I went through a rough patch years ago? The one where it took me years to really truly forgive and heal. Maybe even though God gave me a verse in Isiah and healed me from the deep root of bitterness I wonder if I shut down emotionally from that. That is the point that I can remember just doing what had to be done from then on out. Whatever came my way I could handle it. I didn’t’ need anyone. I grew an independent spirit. I could do it, whatever it was, myself. I grew detached emotionally from almost everyone. Matt is still my husband and my best friend but emotionally I think I have a protective distance from almost everyone. The therapist could see that. That’s the point when I decided I was ok being alone. I had been alone before, when I was younger and my parents had divorced and I couldn’t figure out where I belonged. I was alone during the ED. I could do it again. Of course really I need Matt and I love Matt and we have wonderful times together but there is that little independence in me, that little bit that says I’m going to be ok on my own and I can do it myself. I think I’m trying to protect myself from getting hurt again. Matt was who I trusted more than anyone ever, in my whole life. And if he could hurt me, then what?
Do I trust him now? Of course I do. He really is the best husband in the whole world. I never could have asked for more. He takes complete care of me and truly loves me. But my therapist is right. I have a really hard time feeling any emotions.
She asked me to think about how to care for myself emotionally.
What does that even mean? I started to think about it later that night. What do I WANT? I want to FEEL in love with my husband every day. But I don’t’ know how to make that happen. I can’t control my feelings. That’s the whole problem. I think a lot of people can probably relate to this. I know I’m not the only one out there. Matt and I go through spurts. We go through spurts of feeling really close and happy and in love and then we go through spurts of feeling like roommates, busy with the kids and just trying to get through each day. What I WANT is to FEEL happy and in love in my marriage every day. Is that possible? Idk…I’ll bring that up at my next session.
Another thing I want is to have a great relationship with each one of my kids. Sometimes I feel like I get to spend enough time with them but other times I get resentful of having to go to work every day because then I come home tired and need to decompress and then I need to go to bed b/c I’m exhausted. It’s easier to spend time with the girls because they are more talkative and want to go out and do things. The boys not so much. But then I think of all the expenses we have and they are all FOR the kids. I started to get frustrated – the two littles still need braces, my oldest starts college in one more semester, we are still paying for treatment for one of the kids, we are adding vehicles which increases car insurance (especially for the boys), Matt needs a new vehicle, I want to continue our tropical vacations …I love the tropical beaches…but my therapist said not to look at the expenses as frustrations but accept them. Accept them and look at what a good job I am doing at tackling them and taking care of them with my job. Yes, I am great at taking care of problems. I am great at problem solving. That really helped me put a positive spin on it.
Lastly, what I want is to feel purpose every day when I wake up. Work hasn’t’ been very fulfilling lately. I haven’t had enough work lately. However, I can see potential for growth and the possibility for moving up into other positions. I want to take on more work and more responsibility because that is ingrained in me. My therapist cautioned to not take on too much that I am going to be stressed because when our child comes home from treatment that will also be stressful. But I think I do really well when I have a lot of responsibility but I also have to learn how to care for myself emotionally like she said. Actually I think I replace feeling and emotions with being busy. We will have to explore that more when we meet next. For now, I will have to pick up my Bible Study and Matt and I will have to get back to Care Group at church this year.
That would be a great place to start, falling back in love with my Savior.