Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Bit of Quiet Thinking Time

I have formed a buddy relationship with one of my CPE peers, and after I was back from the East Bay on Monday, we met for dinner at Eric’s, a Chinese restaurant at 27th and Church. I think we are going to try to talk on the phone at the same time every week. My life is starting to overflow with wonderful people who are doing things they really care about.

I’ve been having as many days as possible where I don’t set an alarm when I go to sleep and am starting to feel more like myself again. Quite often I am sleeping ten and a half or eleven hours. 

I have gone back to therapy as a pre-emptive measure. I know this work is going to bring a lot of stuff up that will require examination, and I also want another set of eyes looking out for secondary trauma that I might not notice. I’m seeing not the therapist I started seeing in my 20s, but the one I was seeing when I was with Carlos. She has a strong somatic focus, and our first session (yesterday) was wonderfully helpful. She put in clear context some behavior that has mystified me, and also drew a very obvious connection between that behavior and the ending of  my relationship with F. In sum, I practiced insufficient boundaries with him, and so now I’m deploying overly firm boundaries where they aren’t needed (as in not wanting to answer the simplest of questions about what I’m up to). I would never have thought of that.

She also talked about how we can feel safe, or in danger, or in such fear for our lives that we completely freeze or collapse. She sees my firm boundaries as a response to feeling endangered—which is not as good as feeling safe, but better than feeling an existential threat.

Possibly the most powerful technique in my chaplain toolkit is counting mentally to three after the other person stops speaking, to see if they have more to say. Almost always, he or she does start talking again during that time. I tried this on my mother this morning and, after three seconds, she said, as if talking to herself, “Yeah—it’s good to have this time to just think.” Funny.

I went to my dentist for a cleaning this afternoon, and then to County Hospital for our weekly training session. I haven’t started to see patients yet; I will start soon. It turned out that Clementine was out sick—I hadn’t checked my email—so I walked back home again and had time to catch up on my blog. All caught up!
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