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What's He Going to Do?


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I went off my Pristique a few days ago and I have an appt with my therapist tomorrow. i have been on the verge of tears all day and most of the day yesterday. I am afraid I am going t start crying at my appt. I know if I do it will be very umcomfortable. I want to know what to expect. What is the therapist going to do if I cry? Just sit there an watch? Offer me a tissue? Just be silentt? Please someone tell me what to expect. Thank you.

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Hi tobe,

It's pretty much impossible for us to predict what your therapist might do. They're as different as if they were individual people! ;-)

I've cried in therapy on a few occasions, not many. In most of those, the therapist waited supportively until I was able to continue. Many of them keep a box of Kleenex next to the client's chair, for just this reason.

Maybe the question is, what do you hope your therapist will do?

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I guess I think it would be pretty uncomfortable to sit there and cry in front of someone who just sits there and is silent. I would feel like an absolute fool. When I posted under the new members area and was talking about this, someone said that we should expect to be taken care of in therapy. Guess I just want to know, how will I be taken care of. This is a very scary thing for me. I am so full of emotions and really need to release them. I need to do it somewhere I feel safe,and, I don't really feel safe anywhere. I am scared to death of how bad it is going to feel to cry, and yet I want to be taken care of while I am doing it. Does that make any sense at all?

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Of course it makes sense, tobeornottobe.

During sessions, my therapist would sit in silence when I was crying. Sometimes he would make a familar sound or offer me a tissue, but he was always sitting with me. So I did not feel a distance, I felt his presence and our connection in the therapeutic space. I think sometimes we fight to try and make things happen when the most freeing thing of all is to just be inside of the moments. I always felt the most connected with him when we sat together in silence. Crying is about letting go and allowing your emotions. If your therapist treats you gently and respectfully during this time, it may strengthen your connection with him. Hopefully the tears will be a release and help to ease some of your tension and pain as well.

Edited by IrmaJean
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Hello, tobeornottobe,

I suppose your 1st appt is now a past, so... maybe I'm writing "in vain", but... I'd like to add my point of view and my presonal experience.

As Malign and IrmaJean described, crying in the presence of your therapist really doesn't have to be "something embarrassing" or "something to fear of". But I think there is one important difference between these (their) experiences and the one you feared so much: They described how it felt to cry during therapy with the therapist they were already familiar with, but you... feared your first crying - it means you didn't have any experince of this kind with your therapist, so you didn't know yet, how does it feel to cry in his presence. That's why I'd like to describe how I felt during my 1st crying.

It was my very 1st visit of this psychiatrist, I'd never met him before. I didn't know if he would want to treat me or he would tell me I shouldn't bother him with such stupid "problems". And I felt unable to even talk with him, so I wrote him a long letter and supposed him to read it during the visit, instead of a dialogue. But he didn't (he read it at home). I came in his "office" and almost "at the door", I started to cry. And I was crying all the 50 minutes. In the beginning, he didn't say anything, he was only waiting for what I would say. And he was looking at me in a way I felt like "being pierced by his eyes"... I felt like an idiot, that's true. He asked me "What/how are you feeling right now?" and I amost hated these questions, I wasn't able to give him a "normal" answer, I felt stupid because of absolute lack of words/ideas, ... And I was even unable to tell him that my main reason for seeing him was my "obsessive" wish to kill myslef (so he had to get to know it from my letter). ... I can't describe this entire visit, but... I have to say that my main feeling in the end was relief. And then, at home, I've written in my diary: "That's so fine to know that tears in the view of a psychiatrist are the same as fever in the view of another physician!" I felt like it's so normal to cry, that psychiatrists and psychologists are surely absolutely habituated to crying, they surely don't feel embarrassed or bad in any other way!

I can also describe my 2nd crying - it was at my 3th session, I suppose. I sit down and started to cry telling him "It's so unfair that you can't get rid of me, that now you have to withstand me and my stupid speeches, ... even if you'd like to chuck me out!" And he didn'n say anything but: "Why should I do it?" So I described him: "Because it has to be insupportable to listen to me, one can't withstand to listen to what I'm babbling..." And he said only: "Just try to do it!" And I was so surprised that I stopped crying! I asked him if I have understood him well: "You mean; try to listen to myslef?" He only slightly "nodded his approval", almost only by his eyes. It might sound strange when I decscribe it, but... it seemed very nice, kind to me.

But then, all the other cases, it was different. I was already in therapy, I had already stared to build a relationship with the therapist, to know his reactions, ... so it was like IrmaJean described.

And I'd like to add a general comment: Don't fear your feelings. Don't hate them! This is something I've already learned from some IrmaJean's and Malign's posts. And it was very important for my therapy. (It was so nice telling myself while crying (in therapy): "It's alright that I cry, it's normal, it's fine, it means I have the need to express my emotions!") You might feel embarrassed - and so what? You might feel "like a fool" - and so what? What is the result of these feelings? Will your therapist "be bad to you" :D? Surely not! What's more: They are important, you have to talk about them with the therapist, you should understand together why you fear so much in theese situations, why it's so important to you to "not to have the feeling that you behave like a fool in the presence of your therapist"! This is also a part of the therapy. (I'm not going to describe how these questions contributed to my own therapy, because... it's all so individual - it might be very different in your case, so you have to find your own reasons with your therapist.)

So, I'm going to finish this too long post by an important question: How was your session, how has it felt to cry?

Take care!

L.

P.S.: Sorry for my English... :o

Edited by LaLa3
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I was thinking more about this after reading LaLa's post and had a few additional thoughts. Sometimes I get caught up in relaying my own experiences, but everyone's experience in therapy is unique and very individual. Each feeling, thought, apprehension...means something about you. Often specific concerns may have a deeper relevance. I try and look at things symbolically.

I guess I think it would be pretty uncomfortable to sit there and cry in front of someone who just sits there and is silent. I would feel like an absolute fool.

Has there been a time during your life when you recall your feelings not having been responded to in a way which validated your expression of them?

I am scared to death of how bad it is going to feel to cry, and yet I want to be taken care of while I am doing it.

Is the bad feeling you are fearing around the crying itself or is it in his response to it?

Best of luck in your session.

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I went to my session today with all the emotions I have been feeling lately from dealing with so much stuff swirling around wildly. I told him how I have been feeling, not being able to release these terrible emotions, how I haven't been able to cry, and how the tears come, but won't come out, but just go away. I didnt' cry there either. He reitterated that I don't have to be strong while I'm there and encouraged me not to give up. He also suggested that I see my doc and tell him that I am going through therapy and everything is at the surface right now and I am having a very hard time just functioning throughout the day and see if he wants to tweek my meds. I have an appt next Thursday to do that anyway, so my therapist gave me an appt. on Monday. I think I at least released some frustration today while talking about how bad I've been feeling. My son and I share these sessions because of financial reasons, so I usually only get about 30 minutes each time. Today I felt like I could have talked a lot longer, but, oh well, I am thankful to have been able to be there at all. Thank you for all of your responses.

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This bears repeating:

And then, at home, I've written in my diary: "That's so fine to know that tears in the view of a psychiatrist are the same as fever in the view of another physician!"
(My bolding) This is so good! How'd you get to be so wise, Lala? :)
P.S.: Sorry for my English... :)

and.... pleeeeease stop apologising for your English? :D

Tobeornottobe: What did you do about the Pristiq? It may have something to do with your symptoms.

Edited by Luna-
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I was off the Pristique for about 5 days and went back on today. No sore throat. Just bodyaches, headache, a little cough and head congestion. Oh well, I guess it will pass. I would rather endure physical illness than emotional any day, but, now I have both and that really sucks! I wish there was such a thing as morphine for the soul. These last few months have been terrible. For the first time in my life, I have REALLY wondered if life is really worth living. That is a very scary thought.

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Both Efexor and Pristiq - just about the same thing - are notorious for their withdrawal syndrome and their rough startup. Some of those symptoms sound like they are due to that. Probably several things all at the same time.

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Thanks for your compliments, Luna :o:)

The comparison of tears and fever came to my mind while I was trying to understand better the whole situation during my session. I'm always quite "obsessed" by fantasies about "how it was in the view of the therapist" (what he doesn't "like" very much - he always tells me that I should not try to guess what he's thinking or feeling... And I always repeat that it's so logical that when we cannot know, we try to guess)...

I have another comparison in my diary - this one you probably wouldn't like :P (and it's (to me) more difficult to translate it...): "When a therapist gives me his hand [=I mean shaking hands when I enter his "office"], it's like when another physician gives me a clinical thermometer." (I'm not sure if it's obvious, so I explain it a bit: I mean that by having my hand in his, even for few seconds only, he already gets some information about me.)

And to the main topic: Physical symptoms linked to the therapy; I have no idea :) Or... maybe one indeead: IF it's related, it might be that you should have alleviated yourself by crying during the session, but you haven't, so it remained stuck in you and this "tension" caused some physical symptomes (?).

Edited by LaLa3
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I could also mention another situation when I wept a bit - it was different (than what has been described here), because the therapist commented on it just when the tears appeared:

I described him that recently my friend (a woman I know from this forum) had written to me how she likes my e-mails and that "I'm a very sweet person" etc.. And describing this, I had tears in my eyes, almost crying. And he smiled on me and asked me very gently: "What these little tears in your eyes mean?" And so I tried to explain it and I came to the conclusions that not only I don't consider such judgements just/well-founded (what wasn't a new info...), but also that I don't want to want that people like me - and saying this, I was crying a bit more... so he asked me why I considered it to be "wrong" to want to be liked, ... - thus this was a cry when the therapist didn't sit still waiting, but kept talking with me. As you can see, my tears opened a new way to our dialogue.

So... tears can be even useful, in many different ways :(

Edited by LaLa3
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Guest ASchwartz

Hi LaLa,

I believe that most or all of us want to be liked. The problems starts for us when we expect that we will not be liked. Don't you think that your fear is that your therapist will not like you?

Allan:)

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That would be the withdrawal syndrome of Efexor and Pristiq. I hope you didn't get the "brain zaps". I am on and off Efexor (taken off when manic and added back when nothing else works for depressions) and every time I start it, I have 2 days of extreme dizziness, nausea, vomiting and headaches - I spend those 2 days in bed. When I come off I taper V-E-R-Y slowly over about 2 months. I was taken off cold turkey after landing in hospital for mania and I had brain zaps for 4 months afterwards. They're like an electric shock sensation in your head.

Together with Seroquel it pulled me out of a very severe depression that wouldn't respond to several other drugs. It's good stuff (for me anyway) but beware the kick!

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Hmmm... I'm not sure if it's good to write here so much about me and out of the main topic(s), but, as you asked me, I'm going to answer... :)

This was a short fragment of one of my sessions, some months ago, so... it's far from being somehow "conclusive"; I mentioned it only it the context of crying, so now... to answer, I have to add some context and explanations.

- I didn't tell that I didn't wanted to be liked, but that I didn't wanted to want to be liked. It wasn't a mistake in my English :), it was true. I'm not sure if this was comprehensible, that's why I repeat it here. And to say more about it: My problem (for many years) was that I didn't understand how could someone like me and thus I tried to explain it to myslef as that they were all wrong, they didn't know me well etc.. And as I considered myself unlikeable, I considered it wrong to want somebody to like me (even that it (=when somebody liked me) was at the same time pleasant to me, of course).

- And my therapist... My own statement of my problem is this: From many sources (I've read for example The gift of therapy by Yalom), I know that every therapy should be somehow beneficial for both the patient and the therapist. And... I'm a bit "obsessed" (but not in the medical sense of the word!) by thinking of how I could be "beneficial" to him. That's one of many issues I'm writing him most often about. And yes, of course, he told me several times that it seemed to him I was trying to make him like me. Thus I wrote a lot about this, too. The main idea from what has been written is that I have no idea how should I be or what should I do to make him like me (because I don't know him, what he likes etc.), thus I cannot try to make him like me, it's all only up to him if he will or not, I can't influence it by any effort. So the only thing I can try is to be frank, open, and cooperative. And I can also mention my main belief about how could I be beneficial to him: The only thing I can do for him is to bring him a good feeling about himself - that he's so skillful that he is able to help me. (Thus I was pleased to read that even Freud considered this kind of motivation ("to please the therapist by patient's healing") a strong "tool" in therapy.)

I also mentioned (in therapy) that I would like him to like me, because I consider him as a mirror (yeah; this is also Freud, I admit ;)...) which shows me how I really am (in another way than that I can see myself on my own) and if I "show him a nice image", then it would be more probable that I could learn to like myself. But at the same time, I know I should not "cheat" and try to show him a "fake" - I only can learn to like myself by being absolutely frank to him.

I don't know if this answer has met your expectations, but... it's already too long, so I stop here, at least for the moment.

And... thank you for your question :). I hope there will be somebody who would gain something from reading about this topic...

Edited by LaLa3
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You're welcome :) I'm happy that you found something interesting in what I've written :)

So I'm going to try to explain it...

"He is like a mirror" means that... he "reflects" what he sees and hears from me, but... in a different way that I usualy see myself. He reformulates my statements, so he gives them a slightly different meaning and makes me thinking about the issues in another way. Sometimes he reacts emotionnaly to something I've just told him without any emotion and shows me by this, how could I react to it, what could I feel, and maybe sometimes it's really what I feel somewhere deep inside my soul but don't realize it. Or sometimes he corrects my assumptions about myself (for example, I feared to be hysterical, so I described him my "hysterical" reactions and he told me he didn't consider it hysterical - and he even told me that everybody has the right to react hysterically sometimes - that was so nice :)).

Well, this was about the way he can change my view on myself. But it's realted to your question. Because... when the therapist shows you that you are not "as bad as you supposed", then it's much easier to understand that people can like you. And you also can start to learn to like yourself, even with all your "negative traits" ;). I can't describe you "how that works". It's all very individual. I think we even shouldn't know too much aboot it - once I compared it to a magic (/a show of a magician): When you know the trick, the magic disappears. So... just believe the therapist and yourself - that you both are able to heal you, without learning you the trick in advance. Then, when "the magic" will be done, you probably will be able to discribe somehow "how it worked for you". (I suppose the CBT therapists now strongly disagree with me, but... I really don't suppose I'm right, it's only my subjective, laik opinion!)

And there was also this topic we discussed in the context of "liking me" (when I told him that I can accept when somebody likes me, but only if it's because of some rationnal, acceptable [-to me] reasons): The therapist asked me: "Why couldn't people like you "just so"; without rationnal reasons? Why should they have "good reasons" for it?"

Hope it helped you a bit...

And what about you? Do you also have a problem concerning "being liked"?

Edited by LaLa3
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I'm glad I'm feeling better too, thank you. Yes, I have issues with wanting to be liked. I keep thinking that after my therapy if my therapist likes me enough, he will want to be friends, even though I know that is a no no for him. I had a stepfather who didn't like me very much, a mom who I think didn't like me very much either. I did a lot of bad things in my teenage yrs and in my twenties, and I actually hate myself. I am fat, have always been fat, and I hate myself. It disgusts me. I disgust myself, therefore, I figure everyone else is disgusted by me too. It doesn't make for a very enjoyable life. I hate myself so much I want to be self destructive. I want to cut myself and hit myself. I can't tell my therapist that because I know he will have to report that to someone. Sometimes I think how nice it would be to put a huge bruise on myself that he would notice so I could feel him being compassionate to me! Isn't that crazy?

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Dear Tobeornottobe,

It's not crazy to have the urge to bruise yourself. When my sisters and I were quite young, we would in fact bruise ourselves (in ridiculous ways like dropping the freezer on a foot)for attention, we were so deprived. A lot of the feelings I had as a child surface now, and I'm unaware even that it's the child in me, until i think about the consequences of potential behavior. And that thinking part has come slowly to me, as I often act on impulse, just not knowing how to act. Also, when stressed, I may choose behaviors I've seen from others, even though they aren't within my value system. I react. Emotions. With DBT, CBT and therapy, and sometimes medications, over time, I am learning to think(once in a while) in terms of what I want in my life, and who I want to be) instead of all the negative messages to myself. Or from others. Or fear. It's my only life.

What maybe, kind of people, would you like your friends to be? What things would they like to do?

LaLa3-your description of therapy is so clear! May I copy and share just that part?

Keep writing?

We're family by experiences.:)

loves and hugs

katleen

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