Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 365517

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If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?

Posted by Poet on July 12, 2004, at 23:11:34

I feel stuck. That I have the same issues that I did two years ago, before I was in therapy or on meds.

My T says she sees progress even when I don't. That I'm frustrated about how slow it is and how hard it is. Maybe I'm just jealous of a friend who was in therapy for a few months and feels better, lots better. So her quick progress makes me think I'm stuck forever in one place?

How do you measure your progress in therapy?

Poet

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?

Posted by daisym on July 13, 2004, at 0:26:36

In reply to If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?, posted by Poet on July 12, 2004, at 23:11:34

Hard question! We visited the "it is taking too long" lament today in fact.

I think my Therapist would measure progress by looking at my ability to be honest with him, especially about my feelings. He would say that trust takes a long time for some of us to build and building that is progress. He frequently tells me that the enormity of what one is dealing with dictates how long it takes to get through it. And most importantly, he tells me that since I exiled my feelings for such a long time, taking a year or 2 (or 4 or 5) to allow them back, understand them and integrate them, is not unreasonable.

I think it also depends on your goals too. My goal for my son was that he didn't feel anxious about most things. His T's goal was that he handled his anxiety about most things. At almost 13 he is very aware of his anxiety and does manage it most of the time. But he still feels it. This is still progress!

Remember, baby steps still get you where you are going. Listen to your Therapist when she lists what she sees. Allow yourself to believe her. Don't impede the progress you are making by wishing for MORE, BETTER, FASTER progress. (Ok, I can't do this either but it sounds good.)

I'm sorry you are struggling with this. As an overachiever, I can really relate. I just wish I had the answer for you.

Take good care.
Daisy

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on July 13, 2004, at 7:43:20

In reply to If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?, posted by Poet on July 12, 2004, at 23:11:34

Poet, it is really hard to see changes within yourself from therapy. I suppose because you live with yourself day in and day out. It's like never really noticing a slow weight loss of a friend you see every day. Last year I lost 40 pounds and none of my co-workers or close friends really noticed, until one day it was as if someone was looking at me with new eyes and couldn't believe the weight loss.

Your T is trained to moniter your progress. I suppose it all comes down to trust. If you trust your T, then I would trust his/her assessment of your progress. Many times I found it very hard to believe I was making progress and felt just as stuck as you. But you continue to work hard and push through. PLus, I trust my T implicitly so I chose to believe what he was telling me was true. And I think it is scary in a way making progress and changing. So I think many times we may unconsciously sabotage ourselves by saying we're making no headway when we really are. I know that has been a problem for me. Change is frightening.

Can you write down your "symptoms" from 2 years ago and see if you have any improvement in that area? By symptoms I mean mainly physical. Maybe that would be a good place to start?

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am? Poet

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 8:28:13

In reply to If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?, posted by Poet on July 12, 2004, at 23:11:34

I think Miss Honeychurch is right. It's hard to see our own progress. I might think "I'm not getting better. I'm still having meltdowns." and then someone who knows me might say "You're doing so much better. Your meltdowns are coming much less often, and you're recovering much quicker." And it comes as a genuine surprise to me.

My therapist is one person you can use as an external check on your progress. There may be some others you can trust as well?

The other thing is that when we start medications and therapy, we might still feel lousy, but it might be a different kind of lousy. The medications might cause side effects we never had to deal with before. The therapy might stir up things that have laid silent.

I think feeling lousy in a different way than we felt lousy before is progress. Which sounds odd, but hear me out. Our old lousy feelings and poor ways of coping are deeply entrenched. If medications and therapy disrupt our old patterns and cause some new patterns that feel just as bad, we don't feel like we're making progress but we are. Because the new problems aren't as deeply entrenched and can be more easily changed.

And sometimes change is just slow. My own change is glacial, but it does happen.

Do you still feel bad in the same way you used to feel bad? Do people around you think you've changed? Have you changed a bit, but not as much as you like? Or is everything exactly the same as it was? In either case, it's definitely something to discuss with your therapist.

Good luck, Poet.

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am? Poet

Posted by gardenergirl on July 13, 2004, at 11:07:54

In reply to If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?, posted by Poet on July 12, 2004, at 23:11:34

Poet,
I struggle with the same issue. I am always wanting to know how I can "fix" something? What can I "do" about it? etc. My T is very good at redirecting me back to the process. I'm back in a depressive episode right now. It feels a lot like I haven't gotten better at all, but there was a definite trigger for this. I suppose that a year ago, I (and my T) might not have been able to identify that trigger. I don't think I would be bouncing back already.

It still feels really crappy, and last week I whined that I was right back where I started. It feels that way. It feels that bad. But at the same time, it IS different somehow, and I'm more able to handle it.

But I agree with Daisy, overachievers are impatient with themselves! And actually, now that I think about it, my T and I never talk about progress. Hmmmmm. Maybe he doesn't want to reinforce that part of me that is so sensitive to being evaluated???

Take care, and very good to see you on the boards!
gg

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I daisym

Posted by Poet on July 13, 2004, at 14:44:58

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?, posted by daisym on July 13, 2004, at 0:26:36

Daisy,

I have got to get it into my head that even though I want MORE, BETTER, FASTER progress, baby steps will get me there, too.

I never thought about how long it takes to get those feelings I pushed out, back in. I spent forty some years messing myself up, I shouldn't expect it to all be better in a few years. But I want it to...

Thanks for your help.

Poet

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I Miss Honeychurch

Posted by Poet on July 13, 2004, at 15:03:31

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am?, posted by Miss Honeychurch on July 13, 2004, at 7:43:20

Miss Honey,

I like the idea of writing down what I was feeling two years ago when I finally got up the courage to see a therapist.

I do have trust issues, but I trust my therapist more than anyone else, so I have no logical reason not to believe I've made progress.

<<I think many times we may unconsciously sabotage ourselves by saying we're making no headway when we really are. I know that has been a problem for me. Change is frightening.

I agree. I think the part of me that sees myself as a complete failure, doesn't allow the part of me that is making progress to see it. It's like I tell myself, you can't be better, you're a failure, remember?

Thanks for helping.

Poet

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I Dinah

Posted by Poet on July 13, 2004, at 15:23:49

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am? Poet, posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 8:28:13

Hi Dinah,

<< Do you still feel bad in the same way you used to feel bad? Do people around you think you've changed? Have you changed a bit, but not as much as you like? Or is everything exactly the same as it was? In either case, it's definitely something to discuss with your therapist.

It's hard to say if I still feel bad in the same way, I think for some things I do, but others I don't. I've come to accept that I left my last job for my own emotional well-being, but still feel like a career failure. I guess it's still feeling bad, but not the same way, I didn't fail at the last job, it failed me!

I should believe my therapist that I've made progress. Pdoc said I'm in partial remission from depression, and I've only seen him three times so he must have seen some change for the better, too.
And it's not just due to meds, as he's talking about increasing them in a few weeks. My friend who had quick success in therapy says she sees changes, too. I must just not be able to see it.

I will talk to my therapist about why I feel stuck.

Thanks for the help, I never thought about that feeling lousy before therapy is different than during. Very valid.

Poet

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I gardenergirl

Posted by Poet on July 13, 2004, at 15:30:02

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I am? Poet, posted by gardenergirl on July 13, 2004, at 11:07:54

Hi GG,

I've been lurking, not posting. To be honest I felt that I had nothing of use to say. Sometimes I wish I could reach into my skull and yank out the negative tape that plays over and over. That would be so much quicker than talking about it over and over.

My therapist only talked about progress because I told her that I didn't see any, so maybe your therapist won't mention it unless you do?

I just have to try to stop being an overachiever (ha) and count those baby steps. One, two, three, tumble, one, two, three, stumble.

Maybe we should get the Perfect Therapy Patients Club going again? We could have an Overachievers subgroup.

Poet

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I Poet

Posted by Pfinstegg on July 15, 2004, at 23:55:37

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I gardenergirl, posted by Poet on July 13, 2004, at 15:30:02

Right now, my own therapy is very painful and seems SO slow, so I don't know if I could do another Perfect Patients' Club. I could do one on Struggling, Imperfect Patients, though!. I just need a little company and encouragement.

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I

Posted by gardenergirl on July 16, 2004, at 7:29:54

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I gardenergirl, posted by Poet on July 13, 2004, at 15:30:02

Sounds like an important support group. I'm sure that will be the topic of my session today. I seem to be getting anxious about therapy. The last two Thursdays, even though on Wed. I was feeling like things were getting better and looking up, I've woken up feeling sick. Like I was getting a summer cold or sinus infection or something. I have sessions on Friday. Hmmmmmm. Lord, if I am getting anxious about therapy and doing it right, that's scary. Kind of annoying, since I relied on therapy to deal with that very issue in other aspects of my life.

So it's probably okay that this is happening as it gives us an immediate moment to process it. And my T is someone who will be reliable, consistent, and non-judgemental. So, corrective emotional experience on the horizon? God, I hope so.

Otherwise, I'm going to continue worrying that maybe I'm worse off than I think I am. I hate that feeling.

Wanna schedule a play date? I almost bought a coloring book and crayons the the other day, but I wasn't sure how I could 'splain it to my hubby.

gg

 

New club: S.I.P. Signing up charter members Pfinstegg

Posted by gardenergirl on July 16, 2004, at 7:34:12

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I Poet, posted by Pfinstegg on July 15, 2004, at 23:55:37

Struggling, imperfect patients? Sounds like it will be a big group...

You know, I used to notice a couple of my clients who seemed to be invested in being the "good" client all the time. I used to wish that at least once they would go off on me or at least disagree, or tell me I was full of it. And here I am doing the same thing. I'll have to keep reminding myself of that. That my T is probably okay and perhaps would see it as progres if I "screwed up" in therapy.

Sigh, it's so darned complicated, isn't it?

gg

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I gardenergirl

Posted by Pfinstegg on July 16, 2004, at 10:08:33

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I, posted by gardenergirl on July 16, 2004, at 7:29:54

I always felt like I had to be *perfect* in therapy until just recently. Now, the young girl self-state has come more to the fore- as a result, I'm much less articulate and hopeful, and a lot more lonely, fearful and angry. It's miserable, except for one thing: my T. feel it's a sign I'm stronger enough to allow this part to be there in the sessions. Are you experiencing something similiar?

I'm just about to go away to the mountains with my husband to escape the heat here and do some hiking, but I'll be back by Monday as a charter member of the SIPC!

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I Pfinstegg

Posted by gardenergirl on July 16, 2004, at 10:20:05

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I gardenergirl, posted by Pfinstegg on July 16, 2004, at 10:08:33

> I always felt like I had to be *perfect* in therapy until just recently. Now, the young girl self-state has come more to the fore- as a result, I'm much less articulate and hopeful, and a lot more lonely, fearful and angry. It's miserable, except for one thing: my T. feel it's a sign I'm stronger enough to allow this part to be there in the sessions. Are you experiencing something similiar?

Yeah, that's pretty much it. And I hate feeling needy, fearful, etc. I haven't hit angry yet. Now that will be a breakthrough...(anger = bad is an entrenched message I hold).
>
> I'm just about to go away to the mountains with my husband to escape the heat here and do some hiking, but I'll be back by Monday as a charter member of the SIPC!

Sounds lovely! Have a wonderful time.

gg

 

Re: Left Inner Child With T gardenergirl

Posted by Poet on July 16, 2004, at 15:57:42

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I, posted by gardenergirl on July 16, 2004, at 7:29:54

I told my T that I've had it with my inner children fighting all the time, and that she had to take one of them off my hands. Darn it, she took four year old me, leaving me stuck with Demon Child who is 14.

So, assuming I remember to take Little Me back next Friday, maybe she and your Inner Child can play in the afternoon? Depending on what time your session is, mine's at 11 a.m. central time.

So crayons and coloring books and maybe some treats?

I'm going to my husband's family reunion this weekend (HELP!) so I won't be checking for messages until Sunday night.

Poet

 

Re: Left Inner Child With T

Posted by gardenergirl on July 16, 2004, at 21:18:17

In reply to Re: Left Inner Child With T gardenergirl, posted by Poet on July 16, 2004, at 15:57:42

My session is right after yours...1:00 Eastern time. Sorry you are left with the demon child. I remember being that way at 14, and 15, and 16, etc. But sounds next week sounds good. I've got some cookie dough in the fridge I can make.

You know all the family reunions my husband and I have attended have been my family's. Of course his family is tiny so that makes it kind of a waste to hold a special "reunion." But I hope he doesn't have a similar response to you...LOL. Of course when it comes to my dad's side of the family, I have the same reaction, too.

Take care and have an unexpectedly fun time.

gg

 

Re: Left Inner Child With T

Posted by shadows721 on July 19, 2004, at 1:28:10

In reply to Re: Left Inner Child With T gardenergirl, posted by Poet on July 16, 2004, at 15:57:42

Poet,

Please, don't take me wrong on this. Please don't call the 14 y/o a Demon. This is a child that is really in pain. Ask her what she wants to be called. Ask her why she is wanting from you? Work with her as you would any 14 y/o. Don't label her. She will act out her label. Maybe she wants to make more decisions about getting out of the house or what she can wear. A 14 y/o can be a lot of fun. Listen to her. Love her. She is an innocent 14 y/o starving for love and attention.

 

Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I

Posted by shadows721 on July 19, 2004, at 1:34:25

In reply to Re: If I'm Making Progress Why Don't I Feel Like I, posted by gardenergirl on July 16, 2004, at 7:29:54

GG,

I have colored posters all over my room. I have stuffed animals all over too. I have toy soldiers guarding my computer. My hubby has learned to live with it. I will not let anyone stand in the way of taking care of my internal littles. So, go ahead and let them play. I feel that an adult that can't play is just plain boring.

 

Re: Left Inner Child With T shadows721

Posted by Poet on July 19, 2004, at 14:28:25

In reply to Re: Left Inner Child With T, posted by shadows721 on July 19, 2004, at 1:28:10

She's probably not a demon, but the 14 year old part of me is hard to deal with. It's the part of me that resists all help, but I'll try to be nicer to her.

Poet

 

Re: Left Inner Child With T

Posted by shadows721 on July 19, 2004, at 15:30:57

In reply to Re: Left Inner Child With T shadows721, posted by Poet on July 19, 2004, at 14:28:25

I know what you are talking about, Poet. Mine calms down when she gets to get out and wear her clothes, makeup, and see her movies. She just wants to do what other teens want to do. She wants to have fun. She thinks that I am an ole stick in the mud and needs to loosen up on things like the loud music issue. Gosh, I have grown into an ole stick. Hmmm.


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