episode 53

I did not see Karen yesterday.  Or last Saturday.  I have an appt. for this coming Saturday.  Karen had said, “Use your skills.”  And she said that when I want to e-mail her, to call a friend instead.  Yeah, that works when I work second shift and generally only can call a friend after midnight, and my friends work during the day, so that doesn’t work at all.  I could e-mail a friend.  Ah well. 

Well, I was feeling so bad about everything, that I considered changing therapists, to the point that I actually called some lady in Conneaut.  This was the week before last.  But she got back to me and said she no longer has a license, so she is only seeing people as friends.  Even I know you can’t buy friends so I decided that is probably not a good situation for me.  

So I was having all these thoughts, obsessing, about how Karen doesn’t want to work with me anymore, doesn’t like me, thinks I should be done by now, doesn’t understand at all, and so forth, and I switched the whole mess of thoughts to using Saturday to clean my kitchen first, and then the rest of my house.  Using the Saturdays I am not there, to work in my kennels and house.  Believe it or not, that worked for the most part.  I was able to thing about my plan for cleaning, fixing, doing, whenever the thoughts of therapy came up.  Usually these appts. are in the middle of the day, so I get up like I get up for work, and rush out the door for the appt. and then afterwards I am wiped out, and don’t do mouch of anything the rest of the day.

So Saturday came.  I slept in until 3:30, procrastinated until about 5 and then spend hours working in the kennels.  I did nothing in the kitchen.  I had been excited about it not because I like cleaning, but I do like having it clean.  So, I planned to fix a few things during the week and hoped I could get started with it during the week, but that didn’t happen either.  So, yesterday, I went and got dog food and brought the baby puppy with me who hasn’t been anywhere yet, though she if five -six months old.  Good outing and I stopped at my parents’ house to let them see her too.  Then I went home and found my dining room table — Kitchen/Dining room are really like one room.  I cleaned off the table and through a lot out, and separated bills and tax stuff from trash, and found my floor.  

I did not get a dish washed, but I got it ready for a dish-washing marathon.   This is really bad, but I threw out 3.5 garbage bags of mostly trash.  My kitchen already looks so much better.  I cleaned out the cupboard and put away the new cans and jars.  I washed the top of the microwave and toaster and well, I got a lot done yesterday and I feel a lot better having done that.  

I am journaling too.  And reading.  I finished the book on Ravensbruck, but I also finished Shogun, and a few Father Koessler mysteries, and I am reading this book I absolutely hated the first time I tried to read it.  It is by a Christian Phsychologist, Dr. Anders&(), not sure of the name but it is called Healing for the Wounded Heart I think.  And now I am getting stuff out of it.  It is funny that I can read a book a year or so later and get so much more out of it.  

This one has a section on ambivalence, and how we are longing for, desiring things, love, connection, relationship, and at the same time feeling ashamed and disgusted with ourselves for having those needs/wants.  I am going back and reading again the other stuff about how our history makes us powerless, and what the effects of that are, and how it plays out.  Ambivalence was the third thing, the second was betrayal I think.  It’s funny how our brains work.  How we can read and get something totally different out of something depending where we currently are.  

Anyway, I am practicing self-care, sleeping more, taking my meds most of the time,  working on puzzle books, journaling, playing instruments, and even some coloring when the fit seizes me.  My sister says she never could figure out how coloring works to reduce stress.  I think it is the mindfulness of it.  I have this giant book, color by number, that has these tiny sections — geometrical shapes, and I have the colored pencils lined up in order, and a magnifying glass and with one hand holding the magnifying glass, the other coloring, it uses my whole mind.  

I am still mad as a hornet at Karen.  I’m trapped.  If I report that I survived the three weeks, then “see, I really don’t need to come as often.”  If I report that I struggled and became more depressed and more frantic, and more irritable, then “see, we need for you to be less dependent.”  So it sucks.  It is like I am trying to swim to the shore from way out in the ocean, and she has an innertube on a string, and every time I get close to it, she reels it in farther and yells, “Swim!!!”   I’m out there floundering wondering if she understands that I need to rest, I’m exhausted, cold, wet, half-naked, and not so sure I even want to get to the shore.   This book says depression is the place between pressing on toward change, and loss of hope.  I am there.  But cleaning in my kitchen HAS helped.  

I don’t know if I want to admit that to her though.  Because I am frustrated and angry.  Why do I find it so easy to be angry with Karen, and so hard to be angry with my brothers or mother or father or others that have more responsibility than Karen has in this?  I do believe that my pattern of getting too attached and obsessing about the therapy and the therapeutic relationship happens to distract me from working on other things.  

The thing is, folks are affected by this stuff with different symptoms.  Some become borderline or bi-polar.  Maybe they are born that way, but this stuff makes it worse.  Some become homosexual or promiscuous or avoid all sexual activity.   Some get messed up with drugs or alcohol addiction.  Many of us are overweight and often do not do the best job of taking care of ourselves.  Some have PTSD and or depression to the point where they cannot hold down a job.  Some have anger management issues, some abuse others, others end up in prison for one reason or another.  Often we have trouble with finances. 

Well, I am high-functioning, in that I can go to work everyday.  I haven’t had to be hospitalized yet.  I am not addicted to drugs or alcohol, but I am morbidly obese.  Got to love that word.  It is as ugly as incest.  Obese.  And, while I am not a hoarder in that I have no trouble attaching to meaningless things, I am a slob, and the more depressed I get, the less work I do in my house, and the worse that gets to looking the more depressed I am.  It’s a vicious spiral.  And what with losing the dogs and the long illness, and trying to work on this stuff, losing the jobs and trying not to lose this one, I’ve been really depressed, and my house has really been bad.  On top of that, I am terrible with my finances, and the house is falling down, I got screwed by my contractor, so the roof is still leaking, which is causing damage, my aeration tank motor died under warranty, but the company went belly up.  The guys came and removed it, but haven’t come to replace it yet, and I am not calling because I don’t know where the money will come from.  I am putting dog food and propane on my mom’s discover and she can’t carry me like that.  So I am out of propane, I owe my mom my ass and the ceiling is falling in.  We took woodwork down when we ran a new wire because the wire was sparking and going to burn my house down, and that has not been replaced, and it is all so over-whelming.  

The dogs too, I got most of the kennels cleaned out from winter, snow, ice, wood chips, straw, leaves from last fall.  But I have the two biggest that each have two dogs in them to do — one is half-done.  And grooming, I am behind.  Babsy needs a bath and toenails, but I am afraid to lift her into the tub because the last time I lifted her, she lost her back end for a few days.  Odie and Ramona, Cujo and Hepsi all have these Herko-type coats that are just labor intensive and if you let them get away from you…  And in the winter it is hard not to let them get away from you.  

The big symptom I have is the deep desire for connection, love, being liked, being wanted, feeling like I belong, and never being able to feel any of that because I feel ashamed or frightened of those feelings/desires/needs.  And that little bit of me that says, “Hey, this horrible thing happened, it wasn’t my fault, someone should fix it for me, be understanding, be nice to me, fix my life.”  It absolutely SUCKS that I have to do ALL of it.  Ok, I know my brothers are not going to swoop down out of no where and say, “hey we know we fucked up your life, and caused you a lot of trouble, so we’re each going to float you $500/month until you can get back together.”  But it is hard that there are no groups available yet, and that Karen wants to push me to less help.  

I don’t speak of it much, the longing for connection, for being loved, for feeling that I am loveable and likeable, is so strong, and the opposing force of not deserving that, being ashamed of wanting that, is all so hopeless that too often I think there is only one way out of it.  Sometimes having my folks and my nieces and my dogs are not enough to bring me out of these stupid thoughts.  I know, I know use my skills.  But I am floundering in that ocean, and my skills seem to be as far away as that innertube, and less helpful.  I am not going to e-mail Karen though.  She did not respond when I PMd her that I put Quinnie down.  E-mailing her just sets me up to feel even more defeated.  The act of typing things out helps, so journaling is helpful to me, but it only is real if it is read.  

Ah well, it is raining and Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.  I need to go home and feed my dogs and wash my dishes.  I will feel better once they are done.   

Join the Conversation


  1. mkyuellig

    Hey Solongago,

    Good to hear from you as always. First off, I think it’s great that you’ve identified that you can successfully distract yourself by focusing on another task. That’s a really great skill, and as you’ve been using it, it’s also helping in your home life and making your home a cleaner and less stressful place to be. If you can make a schedule and allow a certain time each week to do cleaning or other chores, it can become something to distract you, as well as something to help your general state of mind.

    I understand that it can be very frustrating to work with a therapist who feels that you should be at a certain place in your treatment, when you do not agree with them. I know it can feel like Karen doesn’t like you, or doesn’t want to see you, but I promise that is not the case. I am a therapist, and when we are in school, we learn about setting goals in treatment and when/how to plan for termination or treatment changes. This is not because we are tired of working with this client, but because therapists are supposed to be a tool that teaches you how to manage what you are struggling with. Karen wants to decrease your session frequency and your dependence on her, not because she doesn’t like you, but because she wants you to become independent, and believes that in your time together you have gained the tools to start to manage things on your own. It can be very scary when it begins, like taking the training wheels off of your bike, but trust that Karen knows you and cares about you, and everything she does is for your wellbeing. It may be difficult for you to see, but I have already seen improvements in your self care and crisis management since Karen began decreasing your session frequency. It may not feel like it, but you are in control, and you are improving.

    It is also great that you are working on your self care. Reading, doing puzzles, practicing mindfulness, taking your meds, cleaning, journaling – all of this is really awesome self care. When you first started sharing here, you didn’t know how to do these things, and now you are doing them on your own without insistence from anyone.

    I think it may be interesting for you to look into the idea of transference. Often times in therapy, the client will be experiencing an emotion directed at someone in their life, but because they are discussing it with their therapist, they direct their emotion at their therapist. This may explain in part why it is so easy for you to experience anger towards Karen, but more difficult for you to express anger towards your mother and brothers.

    I very much understand your desire for human connection. That is a very basic desire that nearly everyone has. I hope that you feel a little bit of that connection when you update us here, and read our responses. There are also facebook groups that you can join to find others that share interests, and if you are comfortable you can chat with them via facebook. Sites like meetup also offer a way to meet others that share your hobbies, and meet others in your area.

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,

    1. Solongago

      Hi Keight.

      Thank you for responding in depth to this post.

      Before returning to therapy last February, I stopped taking my medicine because I did not at that time want to live much beyond my parents. I knew this was not a good place to be, and not a good way to give up on life. I am talking about thyroid medicine, diabetes medicine, and blood pressure medicine. Losing my eyesight or feet/legs, getting an enlarged heart or stroke, and having more trouble across the board including depression is generally not a good idea. And that is what not taking my medicine is likely to do. So I got myself back into therapy after leaving therapy for 17 years. I was seeing someone called Nancy for 10 years prior to my 17 year vacation.

      Prior to going back into therapy, I felt depression, disappointment, hopelessness, fear and that is about it. No happiness, no joy, nothing positive, not a lot of pain either. In fact the disappointment and hopelessness and fear was all enmeshed in the depression and that was all I really felt. I started therapy and started on here at the same time. The IOP that I started in July and went into January, really woke up a lot of feelings and such. So I am not saying that I am no better than I was.

      I had left therapy 17 years ago because of a transference on the therapist, and an inability to get un-stuck. I did not want to repeat that so I let Karen, and Cathy (who facilitated the IOP, and Denise (who I was working with at the CRCC) know about that, so we could avoid it. In fact the first 6 or 10 weeks of therapy with Karen was bad because the previous therapist refused to see me. She did refer me to this place. But I was really hurt and thought that I must really have been a failure, even as a mental case. Total garbage.

      Denise says I have attachment issues, and if that is so, it is understandable. So I am trying to figure out how to work through this problem with Karen. I got out of the IOP, even though I felt more connected to Cathy. I trust her more, that is, I trust that she knows how to handle me better than Karen does. But I did feel I was better off with Karen because Cathy was downright dangerous to me. I had a hard time leaving the IOP as it was. And I don’t want to have this problem. I don’t want to quit with Karen and go to someone else, because I will re-do all of this preparation, and when stuff finally gets going, I will fall into the same pattern. So I want to work through it with Karen, and we have discussed this.

      Her method of working with me on it, is to strengthen her boundaries, and decrease the frequency of the sessions, without any agreement from me. So I am panicking, depressed, acting out desperately, frustrated, irritated, hurt, worried and afraid all at the same time. All this crap spins around in my head when I am trying to work with her, and sometimes I am afraid to say anything. I don’t trust that this is the best thing she can do for me.

      Worse yet, I am having some really crappy thoughts that I am not proud of. Ways to manipulate her into relenting and changing what she is doing. I AM afraid of discussing these with her because she WILL throw me into a hospital, and I WILL lose my dogs, and then I WILL lose my mind. And I don’t think that I am that bad yet. I am having some stupid thoughts, and I am not acting on them. I just want her to realize how hard this is. I’d like to get back to where it was before I talked about this. I feel so bad.

      There is a balance between respect and trust that creates a connection that is conducive to moving forward, and an unhealthy attachment that impedes the therapeutic process. Because I have this insane fear of abandonment, I get to that first place and immediately drop into the unhealthy attachment. I need time and someone who isn’t going to change how they act/react to me, who will continue to be trust-worthy. Instead, I feel punished and more afraid, I feel like I have lost most of what progress I have made. More hopeless than ever.

      She may be doing what therapy-school tells you to do with folks like me, but it isn’t working. What will happen is I will eventually quit and be worse off than before I came back. I won’t believe there is any better place, and I might not go in search of further help.

      Ah well, if you read this, let me know. Thanks.

  2. Lizzi G

    Hey Solongago,
    I know you aren’t feeling good about going so long between sessions but it does seem like you used your time really productively by cleaning your kitchen and some of the kennels. It sounds like that’s something you’ve needed to do for a while and I hope you can find some satisfaction in getting that done. I’m sorry for all the struggles you’ve faced and I hope that things make a turn for the better soon. Nobody can tell you what to do with Karen but maybe honesty would be the most helpful thing… to tell her that you did get through using your skills but that it was really difficult. That shows that you tried, but it still wasn’t easy. See what she thinks and go from there.

    Much hope,

  3. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Thank you for coming back and updating us. I’m sorry about your frustration with Karen, but it sounds like you did a wonderful job using your coping skills when you didn’t see her! That’s a really great step in the right direction. You should be proud and excited for the progress you have made. Stay strong, and remember that we are here for you!


  4. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Hey Solongago!

    It’s great the hear from you again, I’m sorry your having mixed feelings about seeing Karen but it’s great to see you are using coping skills. Cleaning and organizing has always helped me so I’m glad it helped you a bit too. Thanks for sharing with us once again, we love to hear from you. Stay strong and continue your fight!


  5. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    I’m sorry that you’re frustrated with Karen right now. It can be incredibly difficult to transition through the different phases of healing. Remember, Karen is doing a job and believes this is the best way to help, but you are in charge of your self and your care. If her methods are making you feel uncomfortable it’s totally within your rights to move on and seek out another therapist. It sounds like you’ve been able to accomplish a lot around the house. That’s great! Keep using those coping strategies, and as always feel free to post here anytime you like.

    Take care,

  6. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    Thank you for updating us. I’m sorry that you didn’t get to see Karen for a while, but the time apart was good because it got you to think. You are recovering so fast and its great. I know it is hard when people get you mad and frustrated, but remember to breath and you will be okay. You are strong.

  7. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, Solongago. Thanks for the update. It sounds like your skills are actually a lot closer! Cleaning, reading, coloring, journaling—I think it’s amazing that you are able to incorporate all these tools. You got this, even if you’re still angry. It’s okay to be angry. I totally get the frustration with not being able to get angry at the people who have hurt you. I’ve read that it’s easier to be angry at the ones we are closest to because we feel safe with them. I’m still working on directing that anger where it belongs. It’s not easy. Keep up the awesome work. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things, even if it may not feel like it yet. (Funny, I had the same reaction when I started that Wounded Heart book, but you’ve inspired me to give it another try.)

    1. Solongago

      Thank you Kelly,

      Yeah try the book again. Some of it is dry. I am still trying to get through the rest of it. It is telling me how the Biblical way is similar to the secular way of healing from this stuff, but different. Stuff about honesty and repentance and Bold love. Right at this moment, after writing that novella in response to Music’s post, I don’t feel very repentant about anything. I’ve had a rough life. In some ways I’ve made it more difficult. I chose paths that I really regret at this point, but I don’t feel repentant, I feel rebellious. Ah well, I don’t have another book in me tonight.

  8. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m so proud of you for doing so much work around the house and having multiple coping mechanisms. These things can help so much, and we can figure out what works best for us, what we like, etc.
    I think I can speak a little bit about the ambivalence. My parents invalidate my feelings sometimes. Due (partially) to this, I find it very difficult to ask for help and to trust people. I want to trust people, and I want people to help me when necessary. Yet it’s rough sometimes because I wonder if I’m being selfish by confiding in people “too much.” Sometimes I’m worried about how people will perceive me if I ask for help, and I also fear invalidation or condescension from people.
    I wanted to mention this because it may be similar for you. Please correct me if I’m wrong about this next part. Maybe during your childhood, you may have been told (directly or indirectly) that wanting connection is shameful, and now you’re feeling ambivalent. Now you want that connection, but you may have been conditioned to believe it was shameful. However, you’re not wrong for wanting connection, and you deserve to feel loved and safe.
    Thank you for sharing an update. I hope things get better with Karen and that your next session is productive. As always, we’ll be here for you if you need anything. You can do this.

    1. Solongago

      Thank you Music, it’s complicated. I am getting this from several places and I may only partially understand it, so bear with me. I was born the fourth child out of six to two sexual abuse victims, some fifty years ago. They were 17 and 19 when they got married and my dad was an alcoholic and could not read. Both were high school drop outs. My mom had 4 children age 5 and under by the time she was 25.

      When I was five months old, the birth control they put my mother on stopped the milk overnight. When the milk stopped, my mom got post-pardom depression. It lasted nine-solid-months, according to her. I remember none of that. But the lady I was working with at the rape crisis center, says that I would not have had eye contact and that caused attachment issues. But that isn’t the end of it.

      When I was 3 my mom was going to college. If she could get 3 semesters completed at Tri-C they would give her HS diploma. She and my dad owned a Television repair business, so she watched us at the shop, and worked on the business end and my dad would do the service calls. She had my sister who was two years older than me in the Lutheran School because when she was 4 days too early to get into Kindergarten by the deadline at the public schools, she had her tested and she was definitely ready but the public school wouldn’t enroll her, so my mom put her in this Lutheran School. I started in nursery there when I was 3, so Mom could take classes. That’s ok, but then they went bankrupt, had to sell the business, Mom had to quit school, lost the car, and nearly lost the house, and both had to go to work outside the home. I vaguely remember the shop, I do not remember much about this time. But I started Kindergarten when I was four and that was also when the abuse started.

      And then my mom’s younger brother was murdered. He was 25. Mom was 29 which made me 4 almost 5 when it happened. I do remember this time. Mom was so depressed. My mom had had that nasty depression where she couldn’t get out of bed after I was born, and then she got going and started school and worked in the business and got us into school and all that came crashing down, and then her brother was murdered. I remember him. He was big, over six feet. He wore a big red bandana on his head. He would swing me up on his shoulder. And then he was dead. And I didn’t understand death at all. I knew Mom was very sad. Mom would tell me that she was going to kill herself. She was very depressed. She was telling me all the time how she was going to die and what that meant. I was terrified that she would go away and be gone forever. I told her I loved her. I wanted her to tell me that she loved me. But she didn’t. It had been a game we played: I love you. I love you better. I love you better than mender splender. But Mom just told me to go away and leave her alone. I thought she hated me. I knew that without Mom, there would be nothing, I was nothing without Mom. I used to try to get Dad to play the music, because the music would make Mom dance and when Mom danced everything was right with the world. But there was nothing right with the world.

      By this point my oldest brother was beginning to abuse me. The man across the street had gotten me into his house and started to groom me as well. That did not go anywhere. I don’t know if someone told my dad and he said something to the guy. Or if one of the neighbors told him that my dad had guns. But he did stay away from me after that one occasion. Maybe he really wanted my older sister, and she was smarter than me, and more suspicious. She was two years older than me when all of the above happened and came at it from a different viewpoint. I don’t think she was unscathed. I mean my mom was practically comatose when my sister was 2. So that had to be hard. But she was always as smart as my brothers, though they were older than she. Smarter than they were, and right up there with them. So they did not, could not use her the way the used me. My brother got us out of the house and off to school, and he wore the key and let us in after school and watched us until my parents got home from work. He was 10.

      At any rate, by the time we moved out of Cleveland when I was ten, I had been used by both of my brothers, and I couldn’t go to my parents. There was no where to go. I was very needy, very lonely, very sad kid. We moved to a very small town, where everyone knows everyone, and kids go to school because that is where they see there friends. I HATED school. In Cleveland we were the neighborhood kids, there on a free scholarship, and the teachers were often as cruel if not crueler than the other kids. They encouraged the other kids to shun us and bully us. They used their paddles as well. There would be no help from anyone at the church.

      Did I say my parents became born-again Christians in the church when I was 4. It too them two years, of Norm Prahst coming over with his wife and his stomach pills to wrestle my parents away from my mother’s Jehovah Witness and my dad’s Christian Scientist religions. But then, it cliqued, and the church where we went to school was more of a home than home. My dad stopped drinking and taught himself to read and it is a really great story. He became an elder in the church and we were there all the time. But it was a different story in the school. My third grade teacher was vicious. She beat me for not having my glasses, for coming late, for not getting my home work done, and she made me do everything over and over and over until the eraser, erased the paper away. I was young for the grade, younger than my sister who got into school early. Only I wasn’t smart like she was. I had motor-skill problems, and a block when it came to telling time. And I was being sexually abused at home. And, my mom was physically abusive as well. There was to be no help from school. School was something to be endured. Not only that, when this woman would beat me, she would trapes down the hall to the fourth grade teacher and have her come out and witness it. Every day. One time I had 21 things not done, so she gave me 42 swats. She used a yard stick so though she told me it would sting, I could handle that. I turned 8 in the third grade, so I was no more than 8. She called my parents on that occasion and my father held me down and my mother gave me 20 more with her extension cord. Remember, we were in that school on a free scholarship, so they could not have us misbehaving, and my parents did not have school so they thought teachers knew stuff they didn’t.

      But I was 7 or 8 years old and I still wanted teachers to like me. I think I wanted that more than normal kids. There was nothing normal about me. I knew from kindergarten I was different. I wanted teachers to take me home and be my parents. I wanted to please them. My nursery/kindergarten teacher was scary — she had the thinking chair and a ping-pong paddle that she used. Never on me. But she hit Carrie Edge with it, for falling on a walk and skinning her knee and there was blood and she was crying and because she wouldn’t stop crying, Mrs. Clouse beat her with the ping pong paddle. I liked the first grade teacher, Mrs. Chuck. She was recently widowed. Young woman. Her husband got struck by lightning and had a camera around his neck. She brought in the clothes and showed us what Lightning could do. My second grade teacher was kind of mean and not too bright. She sent a letter home about my bad spelling and had six of maybe a dozen words misspelled. I couldn’t figure out how to tell time, I would get sick. She would have my brother take me home and he would stay with me the rest of the day.

      But the third grad teacher, Mrs. Hirsimacki was the worst. Not only did she hit me every day. If I came close to having enough of my work done to go out for recess, she would turn my desk over, so I would have to clean it up. And she had the fourth grade teacher witness how bad I was all the time. My sister told me between 3rd and 4th grade that Ms. McKlaren gives lists (of homework) too. And I didn’t want to go to school anymore. Mrs. McKlaren was a nice person though. She was especially nice to me. But I was damaged.

      After moving out here, and finding kids liked to go to school. I was out of my depth. We had public pools in the city, there was nothing out here. My brothers found that pond out on Holcomb Rd. where we could go swim. That was why I was there with my brother the next summer, when I was 11. I used to love to swim. But I didn’t swim for 30 years after that. That was my way of controlling the situation.

      I don’t think anyone ever told me it was wrong to want that connection. I had some favorite teachers in high school, and would day dream about what it would be like to be their kid. To go home from school and just do homework. That wasn’t my life. I cooked for the family. Sometimes cleaning the kitchen was my job too. Sometimes I did laundry for my job. It depended who lived at home. I was terrible at Laundry, so Mom mostly did that. She was working, so every day after school, paper route or not, I would go pick up my little brother and sister and bring them home, and then cook dinner so my folks could eat when they got home and then go to college. Mom and Dad both got their GEDs after Bobby graduated from H.S. After dinner, I watched my brother and sister until 10:30 every night when my parents got home. If I had babysitting jobs, I brought them with me. I was responsible and cheap, so I was in demand.

      I graduated H.S. and started college when I was 16. At seventeen, my sister and I opened a used book store in town, and so I worked there, and went to school full time, cooked for the family, and took care of my little brother and sister. Bobby had moved out by then, and that was when Brian went into the service. Lynn moved to Cleveland where she was going to law/MBA school. So I was the eldest at home, and the business was on my shoulders for the next five years. I also worked at factories and finished two degrees by the time I was 19. What happened to all that energy?

      Then I got messed up with therapy starting when I was 22. I think that is where I really felt shame for wanting connection, and wanting something like a parent (Thank you Harry Potter). But you see, my mother said hateful and sexual things to me. She called me a fucking bitch, a slutty pig, and a cock sucker. She called my brothers fucking pricks and mother fuckers, and bastards. She never told me that I was good, or had any quality that anyone might like. She’d sneer at my grades when I was in school. In the seventh grade I brought home all As and a B and she said, “What’s this B?” She would never read anything I wrote. She never helped me with anything to do with school. Never. Not once. My Dad helped me write 4s the way the teacher wanted them. My mom just said, “There is nothing that teacher can give you that you can’t do.” Which really is an affirmation, but it doesn’t feel that way. I went to school with a stand alone atom product made out of cardboard and hard penny-candy, and everyone else had styrafoam balls painted in pretty colors. Mine looked like a 12 year old figured it out and did it herself. The others looked professional.

      So when this therapist was saying positive stuff to me, I liked it. I thought she liked me. I thought, eh, well that’s ancient history. When I told her what I was thinking, she changed how she treated me, and that made me frantic, and depressed and filled with shame.

      And, that is why I am crazy.

      1. music2799 Day Captain

        Solongago, thank you for sharing about your life. These issues are complicated and can be hard to understand, but you seem very aware of what does make sense to you. You’ve written this so well and in an articulate way.
        That being said, I’m so sorry about what you’ve been through. You should not have had to experience the mistreatment and abuse that you did, and you’re not at fault for any of it. It sounds like you’ve had to grow up at an accelerated rate and juggle with a lot at once, and I can only imagine the stress that you had to cope with throughout your upbringing.
        I get the sense that you felt isolated for a long time during your childhood. It’s natural to want safe spaces and people to trust, and feeling isolated can lead to wanting these things even more. When the therapist changed how she treated you, it makes sense that it was difficult to cope. None of this makes you crazy – you’re dealing with the effects of everything that has happened to you. That can bring up a lot of feelings and thought patterns that can be hard to work through.
        We’ll always be here if you need anything, and you can get through this.

        1. Solongago

          Thank you. Thank you for reading that long post. Thank you for responding. I’m going through a rough patch right now. But it does help to write it down, and to hear what others think about it.

  9. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,
    I have to start with saying that you always amaze me with your own understanding of yourself and your ability to be vulnerable. I am sorry that having to reduce therapy is instigating so many frustrations and feelings for you. I completely understand the contradictory feeling of wanting to prove her wrong and run to her desperately at the same time. I think it is easier for you to be mad at Karen than at your family because she is able to make a space for you to have and work through those feelings. The people in your family who caused the hurt do not have the skills to deal with their own feelings, let alone your justified hurt and anger. I think you are also afraid to upset them too much because you fear loosing them more than you do loosing Karen.
    I also want to acknowledge the work you have done on your house…it is so hard to gather the strength to tackle big jobs, but you are doing it!! You are also taking care of yourself in the process. You are incredible!! Keep going…we are right here cheering you on and waiting to read your next update so that we can celebrate your progress with you.
    Sending you love, strength, and a big hug,

    1. Solongago

      Thank you, Roxie. I just don’t understand why we have to reduce the therapy. I will survive, yes, I will survive without it. But I won’t thrive. And it is not like I am doing this on my insurance’s dime. In fact, I am paying out of pocket. It is going through my insurance, but they have it figured out, that if I continue to go non-stop, they would have to start paying in December. For one month. But they have already had it out with Karen and someone she got them to lay off for six months. Maybe. But she agreed to some measurable goals, and one of them is to increase the time between sessions and I had no say in that. I had it figured out that I would put the money away in my HSA for this, but I am using that to pay for the IOP that I finished.

      Ah well, I feel like I am going through a dark period, with more depression and grief that at any time since I have begun this a year ago. And she thinks I should be getting better by now, so shazam!!! Let’s reduce the frequency of sessions and I will suddenly be better. I don’t get it at all. Last year I was paying this out of pocket because I did not want to involve my health insurance, partly because I did not want to have to qualify and jump through hoops. Now, even though I am the one doing all the paying, they are the one that gets to have all the say. It makes me feel powerless, and I hate feeling powerless.

      I suppose I will be talking with Karen tomorrow about all of this. It sucks that I am spending so much time on insurance when they aren’t going to pay a nickel anyway. Errrrrrgh!!!!.

  10. Deanna Volunteer

    I am SO sorry that Karen didn’t acknowledge Quinnie passing. I think you’re likable, I wonder how you are throughout the week. I know what you mean about not always taking care of ourselves and letting some things go. I went on a mad cleaning spree the past few days too and I felt better. I think that, at least for me, sometimes I don’t feel worthy of better things, people, surroundings…that’s when things slip. I’m opposite of you, when I’m really down I tend to withdraw instead of holding on tighter. Everyone is different but it’s all valid.

    Off topic, have you heard of furminator brushes? You can find them on amazon for a fraction of what they cost in pet stores. I worked for a groomer during nursing school, I used to groom a lot of German Shepard’s, they were among my favorite dogs to come in. They blow coat too don’t they? Twice a year I can pull handfuls of fur off of my chow, Mooshu.

    Also off topic, the kittens are 6 weeks old. All but 1 is eating solid food. So I’ll probably have to take the stubborn little guy to the vet. Have you had that problem with your puppies before? His sisters all just joined mom at the dish one day. I didn’t have to mix formula in with their food or anything, they just took to it. My poor little guy though, he’s still gaining weight but I worry. It’s about vet time anyway.

    Off of my tangents, I’m sorry about Karen. She doesn’t sound like my therapist, mine encourages me to come to her between appointments if I need her. A therapist I saw a few years ago kind of reminds me of Karen. She was a bit of a clock watcher. Do you have a behavioral health hospital near you? That’s where I go, outpatient. Maybe something to look into? I’m sorry I don’t know your area.

    I’m the same way with books. I love to reread because I always get something new the second, third time around. Right now I’m reading Devil in the White City, it’s about the Chicago World’s Fair and a serial killer who made it his hunting grounds.

    Are you feeling any better? If my arms were long enough I’d give you a hug from here ?

    Sending kind thoughts your way,

    1. Solongago

      Thank you. I HATE cleaning, but I do like the finished product. And when things are in disarray (like always now) it decreases my mood. I haven’t had that problem with puppies. But there is a condition in dogs called Mega-esophagus, or MegaE which is where the esophagus kind of telescopes, and it surfaces when puppies are old enough to eat solid food. Then if they are not kept upright while they eat and after they eat, they will end up throwing it all up, and usually die young due to aspiration pneumonia. Someone invented a kind of high chair for feeding that they call a Bailey Chair. I have not heard of this in cats though. I’d definitely take him to the vet.

      Yes, German Shepherds blow coat. Twice a year. They call them German Shedders. You can fill up a grocery bad at a time. I bought a furminator once, but it gave my girl dandruff. I guess I was going to town on her. I generally have a group of tools, a rake, a shedding blade (for horses), a pin brush, a comb, and I alternate. I also like to have them to the groomers at least once a year. But money tight right now, so I am the groomer, the bather, the trainer, the feeder, the poop-cleaner-upper, the contractor. Right now I made the choice between aeration tank pump motor and propane, and the aeration tank won. So I have my sister’s parakeet and guinea pig in my car and I am hoping it doesn’t get too cold in the next week for them. Still, the aeration tank is fixed.

      Yes, this is the Behavioral Wellness Center. Mostly, I shouldn’t complain. They have been pretty good with me.

      1. Deanna Volunteer

        I hope you’re feeling better. Those are tough choices, my heart goes out to you.

        My little guy still isn’t eating solid food unless I hand feed him. The lady who is going to adopt him was a vet tech before becoming a teacher. Her dad is a vet, she took a look at him and said he’s fine as long as he’s nursing. I have KMR so I may start bottle feeding him. He seems healthy, just a stubborn little guy. He will eat cat food if I put it on his paws, his lungs are clear.

        German Shedders is hilarious. I get about that much hair out of my chow, Mooshu. She just started blowing her coat. I’ve always been her everything too, I gave her a lion cut the other day. Eventually I invested in a small velocity dryer. I never thought of using a shedding blade for horses, that’s really clever. I know what you’re talking about. I thought of furminator because I worked at Petsmart in grooming back while I was in nursing school and I had these two German Shepards that would always come in and their owner requested me. One was a white Shepard, she was beautiful. I had never seen one before.

  11. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Hey Solongago!

    It’s great the hear from you again, I’m sorry your having mixed feelings about seeing Karen but it’s great to see you are using coping skills. Cleaning and organizing has always helped me so I’m glad it helped you a bit too. Thanks for sharing with us once again, we love to hear from you. Stay strong and continue your fight!


  12. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Solongago!

    Thanks for the update! It sounds like you are using really good coping skills! Cleaning and organizing always make me feel much better too. Also the reading and self-care you have been practicing are so awesome. You should be proud of yourself for doing all of these things!

    Keep up the good work,

  13. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for keeping us updated! I’m glad that you’re finding some good self-care activities to do; journaling and coloring are two great ones I’ve heard help a lot of people. There’s nothing wrong with switching therapists if you feel it is better for you; you should be with someone who makes you comfortable. Keep on staying strong <3

  14. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thanks for coming back to share. I am sorry that Karen is frustrating you, and if you think getting a new therapist would help, there’s nothing wrong with that. Glad to hear you are doing more for your self-care-keep at that when you can. Every little bit is something to be proud of.