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Problems with expression
February 24, 2001
10:01 am
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Citra
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Hi

I'm a 20-year-old female and I just started going back to counseling for depression after stopping 4 or 5 years ago. I really like my counselor and he's a great guy to talk to but I'm having problems expressing what I'm truly feeling or what I think is going on. I see him weekly on either Thursdays or Fridays. At the beginning of the week or directly the day after my last session, I start thinking of things that I want to talk about at the next upcoming session. So, what I want to talk about is on my mind the entire week until the session, but when I get there I can't put it all together as nicely as it seemed to flow in my head. So, at the end of the session I am temporarily uplifted but anywhere from 5 mintues to 2 days later I feel like I haven't really reached the issue. I can find it when I'm just thinking by myself but when I get there my mind becomes empty or I feel empty and like there was nothing really wrong in the first place. But it all comes back later. I try to write the stuff down so that I can have it to reference when I'm in my sessions but that never even comes out as nicely sounding as it does in my head. I feel like if this keeps up all I will ever do watch the outer crust of my depression flake away but the deep issues will never get tasted. Even now things, to me, aren't coming out as clearly and concise as they were when I was thinking about posting this thread a few minutes ago. Are there any suggestions for getting the entire loaf out and on the table instead of just the crust and crums of it?

Thanks

February 24, 2001
4:06 pm
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cloud
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Citra, first I want to thank you for posting that thread. While reading your story, I felt I was reading my own. I am also 20/female and going through that "not being able to get the entire loaf out". Before reading that you have tried writing what you want to say, I was going to suggest just that.
I have talked about "not being able to talk" with my counselor and she told me to write it so that when I come I will have that to look back on. But I have also found that it doesn't come out on paper the way I have it in my head.
Do you find it hard to express your feelings to everyone or just your counselor? Do you completely trust your counselor?
I know with me, sometimes, I was just not able to talk about anything and in order to be able to make any kind of progress in therapy, I had to be on a medication for depression, just so that I could open up. Just so that I could talk.
Maybe in time, after talking with your counselor for a while, you will be able to say everything that you need to say. Maybe you're just not ready right now?

February 24, 2001
7:06 pm
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Alena
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Citra, you mention that your counselor is a man, could that be your problem with communicating? Just a thought. I'm just wondering if maybe what you want to say is somehow being hindered because you don't really want to tell a man?

The other thoughtI had was, since you only see him once a week, why not use your inability to "cut to the chase" as a sort of a goal? Think about and write down your feelings all week, as they come to your head, in a notebook a "journal", just try to pretend that you are just talking to yourself. Not to a therapist. Maybe the words will flow easier.

Good luck, I think you're pretty intuned to realize you're having a problem getting to the real crux of the matter.

February 24, 2001
11:30 pm
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Citra
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Cloud- Maybe I'm not ready to express it. I feel ready but maybe that's because I'm so impatient. I've carried the depression and the other stuff beyond depression for so long that I am impatient to find a solution. I just want it to be all over because it's starting to mess up the positive things in my life. As far as being able to trust my counselor, I do. My counselor feels like my friend. But I do have a hard time expressing my feelings to him and others but I think that's probably because I didn't have a strong support group when things started happening and I ended up internalizing everything and I became my own counselor. Unfortunately, I was the worst possible counselor anyone could possibly have. I convinced myself that I was worthless and I blamed myself for everything bad that ever happened even if I was completely unconnected with it. I told myself I was being foolish and that I should just get over it and that I was weak because I couldn't and a freak because I couldn't. I was basically my own anti-cheerleader. I think I will try writing it out again. I used to have a good handle on words and maybe this will inspire me to get that handle again. Thanks

Alena- An interesting observation on the man part but actually Ed is quite different than most men that I know. He seems capable of understanding feelings and stuff like that. He's easier to talk to than any of the other people I've tried and they were all women. He doesn't make me feel stupid when I cry, like a psychiatrist I went to did. I shared something with her that was very upsetting that I had never shared with anyone before and all she did was stare blankly at me like I was some sort of freakshow. I do like the idea of pretending that I am talking to myself. That tactic might actually work. Thanks

February 26, 2001
11:31 am
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cloud
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Citra, does your therapist know that you are having trouble expressing all of your feelings? One thing that came to my mind while reading your message is that you have given us a lot of information right here. What if you printed exactly what you have typed on this message board and give it to your counselor to read??? (Because your previous messages seem to have clear feelings attached to them.) Therapy takes time and expecting it to work like magic will probably just make you feel worse when it doesn't. Give this time.

February 28, 2001
11:57 am
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Ladeska
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Trust your own instincts here. You're not ready yet and there are good reasons for that. Sometimes, we assume that we should be at a point - others have set for us. Part of our depression can be from - living life that way all the time. You need to spend time acknowledging "you" and your own inner signals. You probably don't trust him completely yet and "that's okay". That's - your speed - of doing things and it's fine. Give yourself a hug about this and go - in time, in time..... People who have experienced verbal abuse growing up - seem to really have a problem in this area. And if it was a man that did it then, and your counselor is a man - there might be a bit of a hang-up here regarding that. Your self esteem is probably badly bruised and just like a physical bruising - it takes a while for that to heal. And we need to acknowledge that as well. We don't have to run the 100 yrd. dash just because everyone else says we should or because from the outside - we look fine to them. But, again - this comes from you - listening to you. Your greatest counseling will come - from inside "you". You have the answers already - you just don't trust your own thinking yet. We are alot smarter than we think we are - we've just been taught alot of times - to not trust our own thinking. So, really tune into yourself and things will get more peaceful inside and you'll be able to knit things together better in time. Alot of times, too - our emotional age may not be up with our chronological age, especially if something traumatic happened to us in childhood and shut us down and set us back. So, one might be 20, but really 14 emotionally. And that can make for one very scared, confused person - trying to walk around and take care of business in a 20 yr. old body. Again, the key is acknowledging you and looking the root problem - where did the bruising come from - is a beginning point.

February 28, 2001
1:09 pm
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Cici
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I have this problem, too, but I don't think the cause is not being ready to share. I jsut have a hard time articulating myself when around other people. It has to do with stimulus strength. And fear of success. If I don't have this problem any more, how will I define myself? ha ha

Any way, I told my therapist about this. She suggested that I keep a journal, where I jot down ideas to bring to session every week. I can bring in articles I researched on my problems. She enjoys reading the material I bring and we always talk about it at the next session and why I felt it was applicable to me.

The journal helps me to organize my thoughts. It also helps me be an active figure in my recovery. I WANT to get better, so I won't have to keep going to therapy for the rest of my life!! ha ha.

Any way, it's just a thought. It has really helped me. I've been to 2 therapists and 2 psychiatrists in my life, and this therapist has been the most helpful because of the journal.

February 28, 2001
2:43 pm
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Ladeska
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I almost forgot to say that a good book to read is "People of the Lie" by Dr. Scott Peck. Is a real eye opener as far as what we can brush shoulders with and not even realize it. We end up being victims of some very clever brainwashing and manipulation that we as young people just aren't savvy enough to understand yet. And, we can't conceive that people can be so thoroughly vile and narcissistic. But, they can. We end up then thinking - it's all us and that's their mission. To project onto us - what they hate in themselves. They start feeling guilty about their own stuff and they reach out to their pet voodoo doll that represents themselves - and they stick it. Thus, you react to the guilt and to the pain and they get off with their temporary fix from their own guilt. You effectively "wear it" because you've been conditioned to from an early age and on and on the cycle goes. You'd be surprised what people may have dumped onto you that doesn't belong in your circle - at all. But, we are "bad" if we have any boundaries or if we say No. Not true. Another good book is "Boundaries" by Townsend and Cloud. Like I said before - there are good solid reasons why you are left with this depression and this feeling of something not being right. Something isn't right and it's not about you being crazy or anything of the kind. So, keep turning up rocks, sweetheart - you'll find the truth - if you will just steadily learn how to trust you and believe in you - more and more each day.

February 28, 2001
7:55 pm
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Citra
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Thanks Cloud and Ladeska. Your words have really helped. Since this posting I have made a break through on partial cause of my problems. It has lessened the pressure on my shoulders a bit but I know there are still more things to get through. But having made the discovery I made, I feel a lot more hopeful about one day coming to grips with everything.

March 1, 2001
4:09 pm
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lazydazy
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I have this exact same problem. This has also been going on for about 3 years. I've been trying to figure it out and it has alot to do with post-traumatic stress syndrome, stress anxiety. The times when I can express myself clearly are few and far between. I feel it has alot to do with alot of emotions and thoughts that are built up in layers and havent been shedded yet. There is so much going on in my mind, that it races and I cant get it out. And I get nervous when i try to express my feelings to other people cause Im afraid ill sound stupid, and it wont come out right. Or because im just searching for the right thing to say at the time and not what Im feeling. Sometimes, i just feel like my mind is in slow motion. Ive had problems where I talked to a counselor and what they get from what I said is not the real problem at all but there is something else of more importance I need to share but dont know how. I need to go back to counseling regularly and try to solve this...i also think the time that I've waited to get REAL help has made things worse and increased the layers of problems. The journal thing seems to work and i need to bring this into counseling.Does it really help to clear things up if you go on medication?

March 1, 2001
7:33 pm
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Citra
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Medication can help but it's not the full answer. It can also be difficult to find the right one. I have been through 4 of them and each one I did what you're not supposed to do. When I didn't see it working or anything, I stopped abruptly. That's because I got impatient. I am back on one now. It helps me from going in to the deep deep depressions but it doesn't save me from everything. It's not making me feel any better at this very moment but I'm hoping that's just because I am rather tired.

March 2, 2001
2:37 pm
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Ladeska
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Citra and LazyDay,

With expression, sometimes it's a simple thing of your inner child not knowing whether or not to talk to the grown-up that you are. Things come out more in feelings than anything else. I think it's a trust thing. I know it sounds strange to think of yourself as two different entities, but it helps. If you think like a child does, they can't always come out with it. And sometimes, we have "frozen emotions" that don't come out until years later. When they do, and we don't have words for them - we don't understand, nothing makes sense, we think we are nuts. Well, we stuff things, especially things that are over our heads as far as us being able to understand fully what has happened at the time.

Sometimes, we have to earn our little girl's trust. And she may talk to us in "code" just to test us, giving us fleeting glimpses of things, strange dreams, etc. That's why it's so important to journal. Eventually, you'll get enough information to piece the puzzle together. And when you write, you are giving validation to all these pieces - that they are real, that they mean something and that you trust the little one you used to be - to tell the truth.

It all seems like madness, but it isn't. And yes meds can help to a point. But, so many times it's more of a thing of numbing you out and that's not necessarily helpful. However, the right meds, for a temporary time - can help you deal better.

When our self esteem is badly bruised - we don't think we have a right to our feelings, much less anything else that might come up. We've been trained somewhere along the lines to live for others, to accept their thoughts as how we should see things. It's hard to dispel that over night. It doesn't happen over night. We have to be gentle with ourselves and see the bruising inside and acknowledge that it will take time to heal. The more you heal and the more self esteem you get back - the more things will match up and come to you. Your original feeling child - needs to heal and you need to listen attentively as this happens and see what she tells you along the way.

March 4, 2001
2:26 pm
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cloud
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Citra, I'm so glad you have made a breakthrough. That's enough to give you a little confindece, right? I too have made a breakthrough this past week in therapy. I can only hope for better times now.

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