I (Julia) went to session today. For a lot of reasons, really. We met a new shrink yesterday and I did most of the talking. I knew the therapist would want a recap of how that went, so I thought it would be easier for me to answer that question. Also, I cut myself last night and I knew Andi would tell her. It seemed like that would be better coming directly from me. Plus I haven’t fronted for long periods of time in a while so I also thought it was about due time that I step up and give Andi a break.
But, man, I remember why I don’t host anymore! Just getting through a one-hour therapy session was exhausting! Within two minutes I was all fidgety because I was trying to just sit in the chair like a normal person instead of on the floor, where I prefer to be. I told her this and she asked me why it was weird to sit on the floor. I guess it’s not, but most people probably just sit in the chair. The chair itself is a cue to what’s normal. She agreed, but said that perhaps sitting in the floor is unusual or unexpected, but that doesn’t make it weird. I told her she was obsessed with normalizing everything. She countered and said that perhaps I am obsessed with pathologizing everything. Touché.
Halfway into it, I looked at the clock and yelled out, “Oh my god! It’s only been 30 minutes!” and she looked pretty not impressed by that statement. I explained that it’s very hard being in therapy and that I was also super tired. I was worried that I would switch to someone even more difficult and then she’d be stuck with them. She asked me what was hard about being in therapy and I said it wasn’t so much therapy as the having to be calm and normal for an entire hour. I was very nervous that I would do something to cause a switch or flashback. It’s very tiring to constantly have to be on alert for incoming messages from Parts. Plus, when you’re fronting, nothing you do is ever right because it always ends up pissing someone off.
I told her the shrink was fine. I’ll probably write about that more in a separate post (once I come up with a clever blog pseudonym) but he was fine. She asked a lot of questions and I made her laugh a lot because I can be funny when I’m not being a raging bitch. I told her that the first thing he asked was if he could speak with her, which was weird. She said she thought it was good because he was being transparent and demonstrating a willingness to collaborate with her. I mean, yes, but I wasn’t expecting that. So I said, “Okay, maybe it wasn’t weird but just unexpected. But also – I don’t always mean something is bad when I say it’s weird. So, you know, sorry if my vocabulary is not sophisticated enough for you.” But she said “weird” is fine and I should use the words that feel true to me and she will be more mindful that weird can mean a lot of different things, which I thought was nice.
Then we were done talking about the doctor and I told her I had two things we could talk about next. I said I’d present them to her and she could choose one, but then I said she probably wouldn’t choose and she’d ask me which felt more important to me to discuss. I said, “So…we can either talk about how I cut myself last night or how we had a dream that you sexually assaulted us in this very office.”
She said, “Those are two very important things and I want to hear about both of them, but you can start with whatever feels most important to get to right now.” I laughed because that’s almost exactly what I said she would say and then I told her that and I said, “I could pre-transcribe these sessions!” as a joke but she got offended. I was like, “Why are you offended? It was just a joke because you said what I said you’d say” and she said that it seemed like a contemptuous statement. So then I didn’t want to talk about either thing because who wants to open up to someone who thinks you’re a contemptuous jerk?
But I didn’t want to just sit there so I told her that I wasn’t being contemptuous and that actually I was wicked frustrated because it seems like the very things that I use to try to connect with her are the things that upset her. She said that was VERY important information to have and now that I’d said that, she could maybe see what I was talking about. I still felt weird so I didn’t want to talk about the dream, but we talked about some other important stuff like the cutting. I said it’s just what I do when it’s too loud and the Others are being assholes and also because I hate myself.
I told her people often think I hate everyone else, but I don’t. I don’t hold that kind of anger. I hold self-loathing. She asked me if there’s anything I like about myself and I tried, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything. She said that she likes how brave I am because it takes a lot of courage to hold onto all of that self-loathing. It was uncomfortable. Then I remembered that when Zooey made me go to the Trauma Center, I felt different. I said that when I was there, I felt like there was maybe a chance I could be different and feel better. She said we could do some work with that stuff (meaning DBT), but I was like “Uh. No. Now all of that just reminds me of that fucking bitch” and she said, “Alright. Maybe not now then.”
Then we talked a little more what my job is in the System and how pissed I am that Andi thinks we’re all lying even though I understand why she needs to think that right now. She asked me what advice I would give Andi for helping her deal with the new memories. I said I wasn’t sure because I have never been good at emotion regulation, but that I would tell her she is not alone and I’ve got her back. The therapist said that was a very compassionate statement and she noticed I can be very protective of Andi and I was like, “Well yeah. I love her. And of course I protect her. That’s my job.” Then I said I know it’s hard for Andi, but it’s also important that she knows what happened. The therapist asked me why and I explained that things will never calm down inside if she doesn’t.
I know Andi feels like the odd one out. Because there are basically two teams and she’s not on either one of them. She’s the mediator: the offical, the umpire, the referee, whatever metaphor suits your fancy. So she can’t be on a team and that sucks, but that’s her job. I think when she sees that better, she won’t be so upset all the time. She needs to be the one that unites everyone else.
She’s the Chosen One and she needs to choose this Hero’s Journey or else it just ain’t happening.
Then time was up and I was putting our folder back in our bag and I saw Anna’s stuffed animal so I said, “I wasn’t sure I would get through this hour alone, so I brought Anna’s puppy in case she switched out and started freaking out. I thought maybe the puppy would help to calm her down if you got stuck with her like that.” She said that was thoughtful of me, but that she never feels like she’s “stuck” with Anna or any of us and she hopes to talk to me again soon. I just said, “K, cool. Peace out!” which made her laugh as I walked out the door.