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Is anyone around? I feel like I need to talk about my counselling session today.

(275 Posts)
mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 20:27:52

I don't really know if this is the 'done thing', but I still feel quite shaky about it.

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 22:31:28

yet another post that refused to 'send'. I'll try again...

Yes, she read out other bits (trivial parts) and they were all credible. I was meticulous at the time.

By the way, I was young but not a child. I was 20 (but as naive as a child)

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 22:32:08

I don't have the diary now. I left it with her to read some more before next week.

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 22:35:11

I was so ill a couple of years ago, as I was re-triggered. It has taken this long to get some good counselling, and to be able to stay above water. I just feel quite scared right now that if I discuss it, I'll get ill again. But, I have so many questions.

It would be so good to find someone else who has experienced the same or similar response as me.

One hour a week seems so little for me to be able to try to deal with it.

Sorry - I'm all over the place. And typing fast while the site seems to be working better...

Coffeenowplease Wed 09-Oct-13 22:42:53


I remember you from past threads. I dont know much about memories that are repressed. But I would have thought if the rest of your diary seems to tie in with events, this probably does too but as I say I dont know much about it.

It was fantastic you felt able to go through this with your Councillor (sp). smile

Is this nhs or private ? Hope you dont mind as I was thinking 1 hour does seem quite short so I was assuming NHS ?

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 22:55:23

No, I went private in the end. I had a string of unsuitable ones (unsuitable for me, I'm sure they were great with others) on the nhs, including at a specialist trauma centre. This lady is perfect for me at this time. I just assumed that one hour was the norm, really.

Coffeenowplease Wed 09-Oct-13 22:56:10

I dont know - have you asked her if its normal ?

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 22:56:36

coffee, which threads do you remember? There were a lot of deleted ones from 2010. Or was it ones since then. Just wondering how much you know...

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 22:57:45

I think I asked her near the beginning, and she said it was her normal. It does seem to race by though.

Coffeenowplease Wed 09-Oct-13 22:59:53

Honestly not sure - would you prefer a PM ?

HoopHopes Wed 09-Oct-13 23:00:46

I hour is normal in private, the NHS hour is usually 50 mins. My private counsellor said that it is one hour because clients need time in between sessions to process things and to stop it becoming a support/crutch rather than counselling - which made sense to me at the time anyway.

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 23:03:33

coffee, yes. But be sure not to mention 'the word'!!! If you 'know' me, you'll have gathered what it is.

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 23:09:47

I get that hoop. Just, this week I don't think I can switch off as I have been doing before. Too shaken and shocked. The diary was also full of bits of paper and other writings, all related to the incident and me trying to make sense of it (I assume).

ShoeWhore Wed 09-Oct-13 23:10:11

I agree that was really brave of you OP and it's great to hear you have a counsellor you can trust. I think your teenage self would have had a different perspective to your adult self? I imagine there might be situations that a teenager would interpret differently to an adult, for example. But that might in itself be helpful, I think? As it's the way your teenage self responded to events that has shaped the way you feel about that time now? Does that make sense?

An hour (or 50 mins to be precise) is how counsellors tend to work (private and NHS ime)

Be kind to yourself OP. I found counselling hard work and I wasn't dealing with anything so traumatic, it was all worth it though. Hope you find some answers and they bring you peace.

AintNobodyGotTimeFurThat Wed 09-Oct-13 23:12:26

Message did post.

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 23:15:19

There were a couple of moments where we both laughed at that 20 year old me! I was obsessed with detail - even to the point that I had recorded that my friend boiled some eggs for lunch. And some REALLY embarrassing conversations which now sound so juvenile!

mosp Wed 09-Oct-13 23:16:23

Aintnobody - what message are you referring to? I have written several that refused to ever post!

schnockles Thu 10-Oct-13 06:44:41

Morning mosp,
Hope you managed to get some sleep.
I don't have any experience of repressed memories, sorry.
What I will say is I suspect you know the things your 20 year old self wrote in your diary are true and pretty accurate, but you don't want to or can't process that yet. Hence the doubt. If you were meticulous in recording boiled eggs then it's likely you were the same about your trauma.
This time of reflection and thought you're having now is why counselling and therapy sessions tend to last an hour; so you can think on what's been said and start to process what happened in the last session.

(Ps. You had the spelling of counsellor right the first time. A councillor is a member of a local government council or similar, whereas a counsellor is a person who offers counsel - advice, ideas, etc.)

redredeyes Thu 10-Oct-13 07:28:22

Hi Mosp. I keep diaries. They help me process thoughts. My first diary was when I was 6 years old. It was an A4 weekly planner from my father's business. There are lots of entries like "today we did gym" and "I played with Claire and drank juice". Then one day, "Mummy punched me in the tummy". I too have wondered if I exaggerated that. Maybe she pushed me away and it wasn't my stomach she touched, for example. I've thought of HUNDREDS of possibilities over the years (she probably punched me, but not really, really hard). What I think of it is that a) whatever happened, it was important to me b) as a 6 year old, I understood it to be a punch and not a mistake c) I know with hindsight that I wasn't lying in my diary and d) I put it in context with my mother's behaviour to know that it may have been an exaggeration, but that would only be a small one and have been because I was really upset about it. So, it was an exaggeration of the fact, but a 100% honest reflection of how I felt about it in totality.

People do lie in diaries. They do, especially if they know someone might read it. Mostly though, they don't, they just get whatever it is out, for whatever reason. It is unlikely that in a meticulous phase of life that someone would write a traumatic event down in detail and lie, or even exaggerate to a point where the truth is distorted however. There would be little to gain from that.

I too went through a traumatic event at around the same age as you. I wrote it down, in detail. I sent it to a friend, however, I didn't put it in my diary. I have no idea why. I also wrote that she was to destroy the letter after reading it and tell no one. She did destroy it, but told one other close friend. I wish I'd not asked her to destroy it, because it would help a lot to know the details I've blocked out now and i no longer know her well enough to ask. I'm sure my memory has twisted parts too. That's what often happens with memory though.

I can't imagine having even my loveliest therapist read my diary, but fwiw, I think you've done a brave thing that is incredibly difficult now, but will help in the long term.

yegodsandlittlefishes Thu 10-Oct-13 09:01:18

Mosp, sorry, I tried to post more last night but the site servers were overloaded because one of the other threads went viral.

It will take time. You will get the answers, I am sure, if you want to and it it important to rest and relax and be restored between counselling sessions. This sort of thing can feel a lot like opening up an old wound. Once in that painful place we want to get to the truth right away, to come out of it and not go back. I have known that pain.

Some things to think about for another session, which might not apply to you:

One person can see things from different points of view. Sometimes these are the very lies that have currently taken hold and which stop us from moving on; they change how we see things. They can be the very thing we are afraid to name. My own experience was, in naming it in counselling at the right time, I was able to see ut for what it was. I was able to see the thing which I feared most was untrue (and not as terrible as I thought).

Also, sometimes the meanings of words can change according to how they are being read out. Is it possible that your counsellor could have misunderstood the intent of the writer, added misplaced emphasis or missed a change in the way your younger self was writing? Sometimes after talking to someone with a different perspective to myself, I would try to see things from their point of view and that would come through in my diary (but as me and only I would know it wasnt what I really believed).

You have made an incredible step forward. Allow yourself to rest.

mosp Thu 10-Oct-13 09:10:54

Thank you for your words.

All I want right now is to get it off my mind. I'm chasing my tail trying to work out whether what I wrote is accurate. It MUST be (I would have no motive to lie to myself, unless i had been denying the extent of it. But it is the other way round; the diary has gritty mortifying detail).

Her reading it out made me feel sick, shaky and humiliated sad

Another thing is: there are other details (re my feelings and my shock response at the time) that I remember clearly now, but I didn't write them down in the diary. It was like reading an impersonal account of something I'd watched in a bad film. The only part that have away my emotions was in one sentence where I wrote, "and I was ashamed because I was naked". Apart from that, it just gives horrific details coldly. Another bit read something like: "he took me to...(a place away from the crowds)". But, I remember being 'dragged' there by my arm.

Another thought: I believe I had memory gaps even by the next day (when I would have written it) and instead of recognising that, I just wrote what I did remember and filled in the gaps with what seemed to fit with my level of distress. Does that make sense?

yegodsandlittlefishes Thu 10-Oct-13 09:38:05

Yes, it does make sense. I would suggest you write down what you do remember, to talk about with your counsellor and do something else and forget about it.

Tell your counsellor about how you feel.

My last counselling session, I was talking about parenting and saying how much difference it makes to feel/believe that I am 'good enough'. She said 'and are you good enough?'

At the end we always have a couple of minutes of reflection and I said that was difficult to hear. She made it clear that she didn't mean to be questioning whether I am, in fact, a good enough mother, but was asking whether I really did believe it. I suppose I must have doubts to have felt that way, but just because I have doubts it doesn't mean I am not good enough, iyswim. Our feelings are not indicator of fact or truth in that sense.

laverneandshirl Thu 10-Oct-13 12:42:40

Mosp, it's v common to feel very detached from traumas and to be able to discuss them in a very detached cold way. It is your brain's way of protecting you from the pain and distress which it is not yet ready to deal with. So your diary sounds very normal and in some ways it's great that you were able to write things down at the time.

You are obviously feeling in a 'safer' place now to start to process the emotions and shock. Traumatic amnesia is another defense mechanism. I've found that although I can't recall absolute detail I have a clear picture of the start and end of an event and can kind of sense the middle bit without being able to recall it visually - just like your description of filling gaps to fit level of distress. The fact that the 'end' bit of the amnesia is filled with intense fear etc is your sure sign that there is a damn good reason why your brain has erased it.

And remember there is an awful lot of shit talked by psychologists and the like who say repressed memories don't exist which can make you doubt yourself. This is absolutely not the same. Your memory is not repressed - you remember the start and end being bad but not the middle. It's no different to when a footballer has a horrific injury and has no recollection of lying on the pitch waiting for help (several accounts of this) but does remember warming up for the game and getting to hospital.

hope that helps and keep going with your recovery you can get there and feel normal again.

mosp Thu 10-Oct-13 13:32:47

Thank you yego and laverne.

So, did you also experience traumatic amnesia, laverne? Did you ever get the truth back?

In a way, I find the amnesia more distressing tab the actual event! I just want to know what happened and be able to talk about it properly.

You would think that having my own words read to me would convince me that my suspicions are correct. But I just can't believe what I wrote, even though I do believe everything else that was written in the diary!

Another perturbing thing: I recall the occasion when I saw him again very clearly, and my diary backed up that memory. However, I was convinced it was at least a week or two after the initial incident. It turns out that it was the following day. sense of time is also distorted. However, in that respect I do believe my diary. I therefore cannot trust my sketchy memories.

Argh!!! Sorry, I'm just repeating myself over and over. Thank you for listening!

yegodsandlittlefishes Thu 10-Oct-13 14:05:12

Yes, I can remember similar (visiting a family member the day after a trauma).and putting dates in diary but remembering it as a couple of weeks later. Another thing that happened weeks later and I remembered it as happening on the same night. I do remember being shocked by that when I read it and the self doubt. Really though, it didnt change what really happened. I was not at fault and I can remember overwhelming self recriminations and feelinga of self loathing. I wish I had listened more to people who aaid I had done nothing wrong and I was not to blame.

mosp Thu 10-Oct-13 18:16:47

Oh goodness, the self blame is a whole other part of this mess that I need to get to the bottom of! No amount of anyone telling me I was not to blame is ever going to get through sad

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