Friday, May 29, 2009

Pain and Tears

I seem to have a never ending supply of tears. Why is that? It becomes especially apparent in my therapy sessions with Dr. K (or any other "therapy" sessions, formal, or informal),even if someone asks me how I am and actually wants me to tell the truth; and not say some lie like "fine.

Some people have told me they cannot go to therapy because it is too painful, or because all they ever do is cry. In some ways I look forward to therapy for these reasons.

If I don't go to therapy all my pain stays inside me and eats away at me and makes my symptoms worse. There is something comforting about knowing you can share your otherwise carefully hidden pain with someone else. It feels intensely powerful to be able to get all that pain out into the open, to toss the words that represent so much sorrow and anger and anxiety, out into the open room. To be able to share your feelings of strangeness, loneliness; "otherness" with another human being. To take a leap of trust and share anything you need to with another human being is cathartic and soul enhancing.

I sometimes think I should stop therapy. I often sit down in the chair across from Dr. X and think I have nothing to say, nothing to contribute. I sometimes feel I repeat my stories, my pain, my sadness, my struggles...over and over and over. Sometimes I sit in painful silence not knowing what to0 say, or not having the energy to say anything. Dr. X says that's okay. It is okay to sit silently in the room with him.

It seems counter intuitive. Therapy is for talking isn't it? For me there is also some kind of magical nature embedded in therapy with Dr. X. It never happened to me in therapy with anyone else. I sit across from my pdoc and often the anger, rage, anxiety and sadness quiets, dissipates, disappears. His demeanor, his patience, his attention, his acceptance and compassion seem to melt away some of my symptoms. I feel a sense of relief I rarely feel in the outside world.

I think my tears flow so freely in therapy, because I feel it is okay to let go, to cry, to not hide how I feel. I believe they also flow from feelings of inadequacy, guilt and shame that I need to address in therapy. I feel small and unworthy in front of people in authority. I cannot cry and let out those feelings in front of most authority figures. I can in front of Dr. X. He has worked hard to help me see us as equals, to help me learn not all men, not all authority figures, not all people in positions of power want to take me down, punish me, or hurt me.

I cannot believe how ingrained and generalized to almost the entire population (on some level I can see "authoritativeness" in everyone I know...everyone is better than me because I feel like such a loser for being how I am). So I cry because in situation when I am in front of other authority figures I feel scared, unworthy and afraid of punishment...I think I still unconsciously feel this way in front of Dr. X. I am so scared he will leave me, get sick of me, or think there is no point in continuing, or he will become unwell and leave.

I am so scared I will be abandoned because I am not a worthy person. This dynamic reflects my fears about others leaving me. The tears flow and flow and flow because I constantly feel afraid of rejection. My tears are defensive.

When I was little and growing up, I think I subconsciously learned that tears made my Dad stop belittling me. It stopped his teasing and torment of me. It stopped him hitting me. It decreased the pain in my life. I think my brain still makes me cry to protect me. I believe also I cry to release all the pain I experience or have experienced. Crying is a physical release for my mental pain. It feels so good to cry. It calms me.

So I hurt and I cry in therapy, but for me those are two huge reasons to keep going. I need to release all that sadness and pain. I need to share these with someone I trust and believe in. I need to know I am not alone in my struggles. I need to know that there is at least one person in this world who will support me and help me and care for me no matter what I am feeling. Maybe I will never be completely "well", but the support helps me continue to try.

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