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Last group session for the summer

August 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I volunteered to speak first. We kind of have to do a wrap up of the summer therapy sessions.
Let’s see what were my objectives when I started this group therapy for the summer. Errr… I very probably said that I would like to open up, to be able to talk about myself without feeling bad or ridiculed, pulled down and that I would like to get some self-esteem (yeah, still this self-esteem issue).

I succeeded in talking about myself to a small group. I told them things nobody knew but my mother and my father. It was difficult to pronounce those words. Very difficult but I did. I did what I thought I would never never never be able to do. :-D And most surprisingly – and that, I still don’t understand it – I feel okay when I am around these people despite the fact that they know what I’m most ashamed of. I thought I would despise them for life and wish them bad but no. You know what? I don’t even try to hide. I’m normal. I can’t believe it.   O.o
It’s been a while since somebody’s comment has hurt my feelings. I can’t remember when was the last time it happened. I noticed that what I tend to do is to expose my situation in such a way that it’s difficult for others to make suggestions (to help me). ^.^ I’m crafty. It reveals that I’m still scared of critics. But! I made progress too in this field! During this last group therapy, everybody made a comment about me except one therapist and I really really really wanted to know what he was thinking, what were his advices for me. Therefore, when the session was almost done, I asked for his feed-back. A girl pinched herself – she couldn’t believe I *asked* for a feed-back. It shows that I begin to consider them as not always bad but as useful tips to help me in my recovery.

Their advices:

  • keep on the good work
  • review the labels I use such as: avoidant (in other words, I shouldn’t consider myself as suffering from AvPD), self-esteem, hope, etc.
  • ask myself the right questions >.<   so easy to do, you have no idea! ;_;
  • find what can make me happy

What I learned about myself: that I’m determined and (for some things) I don’t give up. I’ve been working hard to make my life better, even thought there are periods of calm. I move forward, I move forward.

He shouldn’t have…

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

… kept it for himself. The therapist who told me that he hasn’t diagnosed that I was suffering from AvPD.
This guy, I don’t expect anything from him. To be honest, most of the time, I think I’d be a better therapist than him. I remember that once he asked me if I was perfectionist. I’m everything but perfectionist. I know oooh too well, that I can’t reach perfection, actually my goal is to just to reach the “acceptable” level. He made a wrong assumption. It can happen to everybody. And that’s what he did again suggesting that I don’t suffer from AvPD. This guy is smart. It’s when I feel confident and certain about something that he tries to destabilize me and make me doubt.

The thing is that I’d gladly take a test to check whether I have AvPD or not. Because I know I have this disorder. I spent the first individual therapy sessions quoting to the therapist the book about AvPD and this almost word for word. And this, **before** I discovered about AvPD. I talked about things very specific about AvPD too – it wasn’t vague at all – I talked about “avoiding” people, I talked extremely briefly about my imaginary worlds, about the …. well, you know. lol I’m not “just shy”. No, no. — Yesterday, when I went horse back riding, there were people who were shyer than me; I mingled with the others pretty well. I did well. ^.^  It’s a strange feeling. It’s like I pretend to be ok, to be normal among normal people and most of the times it works but inside of me, I know I’m not like them.
Here’s my interpretation of the situation: the therapists think that I use the AvPD as a pretext to limit my expectations, my progress, and everything else. AvPD is in no way a barrier to my progress. On the contrary, it helps me a lot to know on what I have to work on. As I wrote in a previous post, there are “avoidants” who are married with kids and who have a great job! There are, of course, different level of tolerance but that’s precisely what I have to change. I’ll stay avoidant all my life but if I keep on working hard, I can make it more liveable.

There’s one more thing. I can’t believe I never thought about it before. I can’t believe the therapist didn’t tell me that before either. These (AvPD) symptoms were mostly noticeable when I was suffering from severe clinical depression, when I thought about killing myself. In other words, when I wasn’t myself, I developed a lot symptoms that can be compared to those of AvPD. I haven’t stopped making progress since I started therapy and taking my medications. My therapist also told me that what I consider as AvPD symptoms don’t come from me but from my environment. I spent my childhood alone, with no friends, I discovered that my father’s parents were alive when I was 12, I saw my grand-parents twice a year, we received guests at home twice a year….that’s how I was raised. Isolated. In contact with a limited number of people. That’s how I am. That’s why it’s difficult for me to get out and be around people.
I don’t buy it. No. This isolation during my youth, well, as it is said in The book about AvPD, it is a triggering element of this disorder. …. but the depression made it worse; no doubt about it.

Group session/AvPD-shyness

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Last Wednesday, I finally said to the members of my group therapy what I’ve been keeping for myself. It wasn’t easy at all – I cried a little but not as much as I thought I would cry. I felt bad and under scrutiny during the entire session. When the session was over, I kind of tried to hide my breast. I was ashamed. I felt bad for the following hour and then poufff…vanished! As if nothing has ever happened, as if I didn’t tell them my secrets. All this vanished! I thought about this today – on my way to the meeting – how I would feel, how I would face them against now they know. To my great surprise, I didn’t think about it At All. It was a normal meeting – I didn’t feel especially ashamed, I didn’t feel like hiding. I was more in the state of mind: “If you don’t like me, if you don’t want to see me, you can leave. I don’t care. Actually, it would be better for both of us, if you could leave”. My reaction really really surprises me. I thought I would be very uncomfortable around them or threatened. It wasn’t the case at all. I don’t get it, to tell you the truth. I don’t understand how I could be that “cool” after having given weapons and ammunitions to destroy me to the members of the group. I don’t get it. I feared soooo much their animosity.
That’s a HUGE progress! It also shows me that what I think of people is wrong. >.< but it’s part of the process.

Also, the therapist made comments to each of us. It’s only now that he makes me doubt about things I considered as certain and this for months. For instance, he told me that he never diagnosed that I was suffering from Avoidant Personality Disorder. Actually, he told me that he thinks I’m just shy. O.o
He let me say, and this for weeks and weeks, that I am suffering from AvPD to finally tell me now that I may be wrong/right. He thinks I use it as an excuse, as a defense mechanism. In THE book about AvPD, there may be 2 or 3 sentences that don’t correspond to my situation, beside those 2, 3 sentences, all the sentences of the 296 pages of the book are about Me. It’s my biography!! To this, my therapy answered: “yes, and there’s this great book, The Bible, where I can see myself..”. -_-  I don’t *want* to have AvPD but since I know I have this AvPD, all makes sense. Why I do this or that, what is my logic… it all makes sense.
What if he was right????????? What would it change for me?

Ashamed

August 5, 2010 3 comments

Yesterday, during our group therapy session, I finally opened up. I did it my way, though. I first warned the people in the small (^.^) group that once I spoke out, I’d hate them every single second. No matter what they do, whether they speak or not, I’d hate them all – a way for me to attack and hurt people before they attack me who feel extremely vulnerable, ridiculed, ashamed of myself, etc, etc. I then asked them if it was okay with them. The 2 therapists were: “Of course, no problem!” They were impatient to hear what I was keeping for myself.
So I told them that I feel like a little girl with my flat chest (no breast at all), my acne, and with no knowledge of what a “boyfriend” is. I finished by “and now, I hate you all”. I know that deep inside them they were laughing at me – it’s so easy to pull people down. Then 2 participants told me that they felt hurt when I made the assumption that they would use what they know about me to hurt me. That was my goal: to hurt them. I succeeded. They also said that none of them had negative thoughts about me or find it funny or a good opportunity to make fun of me. One member understood that I expected them and wanted them to make me feel bad and take advantage of the situation just to prove that I was right about them. Why? Because I don’t have much to hang on to and if what I believe in is wrong, then, I collapse. They say that they’d prefer me to believe in nothing than in false and negative things.
My main objective was to open up to people – I couldn’t have done it without protecting me, I’m sorry for them, but that was unthinkable. I did it. I never imagined I could do it. But I did. I can’t say that I feel relieved. Far from it. But I moved forwards. At my pace. One therapist told me that he was in awe of me because even though I push back everything people try to give me (hints that I have self esteem), I keep on coming to the therapy sessions. They asked me why I keep on coming back – why do I keep on coming to these sessions whereas I seem to be completely deaf and hermetic to all the positive vibes, suggestions and comments they make about me. Why? It must help me somehow. It must work. Imperceptibly, there’s something going on. The therapist also said that I test the water a lot before making a move. Oh and one of the therapist also nodded and winked to reassure me during the session, like “good job. you’re doing fine”.

Mea Culpa

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I haven’t shown signs of life for more than a month – I plead guilty.
It was probably a phase in my life where I didn’t feel like writting at all.
So, what’s up since my last post?

  • I spent four days in Las Vegas – alone, of course. I took an helicopter to go down the Grand Canyon, I took a picture with 2 ‘Elvis’ and I won 20$.
  • I installed Skype on my laptop, so now, I can talk to and see my parents everyday. Awesome! lol
  • I finally bought a copy of THE book about AvPD:  Distancing: Avoidant Personality Disorder, Revised and Expanded by Kantor. I call it “my biography”. You find in this book my deepest and most secret thoughts, how I act, react, think and why. You read this book – you know me more than anybody else. Oooh Scaryyy!

Okay, I do have the feeling that I’m on a stand-by mode, that I’ve stopped making progress. One thing is certain: I’m less paranoid. I do stuff without caring about what others may think but, as I read in the second great book about AvPD written by Kantor, it makes me feel very uncomfortable and especially mean. Yes, mean. I’ll try to find the passage where Kantor mentions this little problem.

What else? I go to meditation sessions every week, I also go to group therapy sesssion every week.In a nutshell, they tell me that I’m too demanding, that I expect too much from myself and that I have self-esteem. They also say that I still don’t give a chance to people to know me (what I hear: “give a chance to people to hurt me”).
To shake up things I plan to tell them my deepest secrets/shame. I kind of rehearse at home and there’s no way I can do that without crying. Just writing this brings tears in my eyes.
Did I forget something?