Therapy (152) Pt II

It feels like there could be a lot of parts to this one…heck we could probably turn it into a book between the two of us.  I’m only in my mid twenties, I’m young, and I’ve no doubt got decades of on and off therapy ahead of me, but I want to start this post off with remembering a bit about where this therapy stuff started.

So I come from the kind of family where the idea of therapy and talking to someone is entirely ridiculous. The silly phrase that actually pops into my head on a pretty regular basis about this and stuff like this is from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where Vernon Dudley’s sister in the film says good. i wont have this namby pamby wishy washy nonsense about not beating people who deserve it. It just sums up entirely how my parents are about emotions and feelings and talking about them – basically, you don’t. That’s for weaklings, for pathetic people, people to be mocked. I won’t have this namby pamby wishy washy nonsense about talking about feelings. And so of course the idea of therapy was totally ridiculous to me.

But I went to university…I felt isolated by the fact that I never wanted to have sex and I was terrified of relationships, as well as simply men a lot of the time. One of my housemates was talking to me about a friend on her course who was struggling with anorexia and was seeing a counsellor at the uni about it. And that kind of sparked the idea in my head. I think I was already on a forum just before that (I didn’t get on well there – it wasn’t where I met pocketcanadian), and I had read about plenty of people being in therapy, I just had never thought that maybe I could even have that.

So I looked into it, and I started with emailing a woman called B. It was too terrifying to see somebody face to face. It started by having to fill out a questionnaire to assess me – hilariously looking at it now her response was the good news is your risk factors registered as zero and your functioning was well within the range we’d want it to be! Hmmm, don’t think I was completely honest in that first questionnaire. She asked me to tell her a little bit about what I wanted us to work on and I said okay, so when I was about 7-8 I was sexually abused on and off for a year or two. I’ve always considered that I’d gotten over it but I can never seem to get into a relationship with someone – it’s like I just automatically say no even if I want to. [a little bit about how I had read about counselling in a book and just thought I’d try it]. I think that’s about it. Thanks, pocketbrit

It seems comical to me now rereading that. Oh well i was sexually abused (and make it out to be shorter than it was) but I don’t know what my problem is, think that’s about it. cheers, bye. *eyeroll*. B emailed me back, told me I was brave and asked me to share some more. I built up trust with her, aided by the fact that it was behind a screen and not face to face. Rereading the emails now I feel a mixture of sadness at how I was struggling but not wanting to admit it, pride that I gave it a go and found the courage to reach out and begin to speak about these things, and also a bit ashamed of how young I sound. It was a good few years ago now, but I sound so young and naive, and then that brings me back around to sad, because I was so sure I was making a big deal out of nothing, so sure I didn’t deserve this woman’s time. She didn’t have any experience in trauma, she was a counsellor rather than a therapist, but she listened, and she was gentle and kind. She was exactly the introduction into it that I needed.  There was a bit she wrote that I used to reread a lot – you are not the problem here, all families are systems and yours hasn’t worked for you. While I’m sure your parents did the best they could at the time and this is in no way meant as a criticism of them, something made them consciously or unconsciously turn a blind eye and it is in that darkness that abuse happens. You are not in the dark anymore, nor should it follow you around like a shadow. I don’t know why but I felt her and I believed her, and I hung onto it like an anchor at the time. She suggested we meet in person and I did, and then she mentioned that the head of counselling did EMDR and that she wondered if I would be able to give it a go, the extra scary part being that he was a man (though a kind and gentle small Irishman, as she put it). I freaked out and said no, and then came around to the idea.

Seeing A for EMDR was terrifying. I’m proud of myself for going and trying. I don’t think it really helped – I refused to tell him any details to begin, and was only just beginning to open up and trust him as our time was coming to an end. But I began to really like him. She was right, he was gentle and kind, and quite fatherly. He didn’t push me but also wasn’t scared or shocked when I did tell him bits. He was steady, never wavered. What seeing him really did was build up my confidence. He really tried to impress on me that I should make sure that if I went to therapy in the future I saw a trauma specialist. That’s what he was, a senior accredited with personal interest in trauma. I kind of wish I could have carried on seeing him, but I wasn’t living there anymore, and even if I was I wouldn’t have been able to pay for it.

So then I didn’t see anyone for a bit. But I went back to uni (a different city) to do a postgrad, and looked up their wellbeing services. I started seeing a young woman there – no counselling or therapy experience, but a fun woman, a good listener that I just really liked. She was a good listener and kind, even though I was a pain in the arse and spent most of my time staring at the clock not knowing what to say. Sometimes we would draw or play gamed, not even really talk. She was not helpful for the trauma, but very helpful for the loneliness, for having somebody.

And then we come to sonja and today. And I’m going to leave that for Therapy Pt III I think – that’s more than enough nonsense from me for tonight…

Back to the Blog

Neither pocketcanadian nor I have been consistently here in forever. We keep saying to each other how we do actually want to finish these daily words, but for me at least, finding the energy to write about some of these words is difficult – knowing how much there is to say, and wanting to do it justice. I’m going to try to make a commitment to myself to come back here and write again, finish these words off. (And the terrible reality is that I actually have 202 words of the 365 still to do – I didn’t even manage to do half of them.) But rather than an unseen word a day, I’ll just be choosing between the words, whichever I feel like writing about that day. And it won’t be one a day…I’m going to aim for one a week as a minimum, and hope that there are more than that some weeks.

So I hope we haven’t lost the couple of people that actually read our words, though it would be understandable if we had. Any of you out there and reading this, thank you – I hope you’re doing okay, xo.

Therapy pt 1

Dear sonja

As much as I wish I could write all good things, what I’m feeling right now is all of the bad. And to be clear, by bad, I mean absolutely fucking terrible. I oscillate between wishing you were dead (and yes, I know how awful that makes me), and wishing you would take me in as your own and welcome me back with open arms and hugs and ample words of reassurance.

You see I don’t understand any of it. I don’t understand how it happened, I don’t understand how it’s okay for you to have done that, I don’t understand what I did wrong, I don’t understand why you abandoned me and I really don’t understand why you are treating me like I’m some dangerous criminal.

Do you know that I’ve been making a scarf that I started knitting for you? Do you know that I’ve had a design idea for a necklace to make you going around and around in my head for months, that I intended to make and give to you for christmas? I don’t know where this all went wrong. I really don’t know where this all went wrong.

I like to think that you’re nothing to me, that you never were anything to me. That I never needed you and never cared for you. That I couldn’t care less about your dog that used to cuddle me on your sofa, or your cat that I got to know as a kitten. I need to pretend that you are nothing to me. That I don’t care whether you still exist, whether you are still practicing, what your kid is up to, whether you ever think of me.

I don’t understand. I don’t understand how despite knowing my core wounds, all the attachment shit, you could do what you did. I don’t understand how you abandoned me. And worse, I don’t understand how you treated me as though I was a criminal, refusing final sessions, refusing to have any more contact with me.

You made me feel like I was the worst of the worst. Like I should be put down. Like I didn’t deserve to call myself a human. That I used and abused people. That I am just like him.

I am not like him. I am nothing like him. Whether I was too much for you because of your own wounds, or whether I was too much for you because of my stuff, because of being little and upset and needy, I don’t know. But I am not an abuser. I am not like him. And I cannot begin to tell you the damage you have caused by treating me like I’m even worse than the rapist that I came to you because of in the first place.

I want to be dead. I am struggling every single day with the will to stay alive. I just wish that when I went to bed at night, I would never wake up in the morning.

I hate you. I know that is childish and harsh and likely cruel to say, but I hate you. I hate what you have done to me. I hate the pain you have caused me, knowing exactly how it would. I hate how I mean nothing to you. I hate how you can simply erase me from your life, but I can never erase you from mine.

I feel worthless. Even the one person that I pay to be there for me abandons me and treats me like the disgusting whore I have grown up being told that I am.

I have nobody. Nobody at all. Not even somebody that I pay to be by my side.

Why bother living?

Fuck all of it,

Pocketbrit.

four hundred & somethingy-something

**trigger warning for angry, somewhat crass references to child sexual abuse**

tonight, i went through all the blog posts that i didn’t write over this past year.

all the words we carefully chose, sitting, lonely. the huge spreads of days i didn’t write, all the dates, all the half-written posts that continue to sit, waiting to be completed.

and i felt this crazy huge swell of grief.

scrolling through all those words, all those dates, all those months, it was like looking at scratches on a wall in a prison cell. it made me feel so sad, not in the least remembering some of the major, life-shifting goings-on that happened during those days.

i hit a major, major impasse with my t. like major. like nearly six months of not seeing her, not seeing anyone, feeling completely alone. of being suicidal, of pinching myself so hard that i was covered in bruises, of very seriously considering checking myself in to hospital to keep safe. of shoving everyone in my life away, including pocketbrit. i doubted everything. that any of the abuse happened. that it mattered remotely to anyone, including me.

i received a note in the mail from my dad in may, his version of an apology. for “any indecent act” he did in my childhood. a two-liner, a bomb he dropped into my life after (blissful) months of no contact, never to be referred to again. he doesn’t even know i got it. no one has asked and i still haven’t acknowledged receiving it. i mean honestly, what is the point?! don’t get me wrong, i panicked and shook and dissociated about it for days…and then i got angry, so fucking angry. how dare he. how dare he treat it so casually, how dare he “apologize” to me and ask forgiveness in two lines, in a fucking note?! plus, to which indecent act was he referring? rubbing me and sticking his fingers in me when i was three and four and five, and then listening to me masturbate? or did he mean when he got me to jack him off? did he mean the confusing relationship where he would come to me at night and whisper how disgusting i was as he did things to my small body and then get up in the morning and teach school and then come home to coach my soccer team? all of it feels pretty fucking indecent to me. all of it. i want to scream, suddenly, thinking of this again. i’m pressing my fists hard into my eyes to keep in the tears, i’m so tired of crying.

huge roadblocks in my marriage. frightening moments in parenting a child with a likely mental health diagnosis in her future, trying to support her whilst feeling entirely decimated. health scares of all sorts. really, really big blowups with pocketbrit, desperately sad and angry ones where horrible words were said and retracted, where scars were healed and new ones laid, alternately. surgeries of family and friends. persistent and unrelenting back pain. stupid job with stupid long hours, repeat ad infinitum – and containing the worst of my mental health crises during vacation/time off. euthanizing our beloved elderly cat at home, burying him in the backyard, and the ensuing and horrible grief of his absence. a new feline family member added, a few months after. the joy she brings.

and, finally, after much discussion and planning and waiting, meeting sweetest pocketbrit. hugging her for real. hearing her laugh with my kiddo, in my house. cooking and drinking and teasing and hiking and doughnut-eating and napping and canoeing and movie-watching and loving littles. it’s only been four weeks since she was here but it feels like a dream. except, it happened, i have the pictures to prove it, and the glow in my heart when i remember her, when i remember how we were both exactly who the other thought we were, and the comfort in that. the security in that. the longevity in that.

because we created this blog to keep close to each other, to connect. and the thing is, for all of the days that we didn’t write here, we did connect. every single day, we did: via text, email, silly photos, phone, or video call. every single one of the days that we didn’t write here, we connected. sometimes less, sometimes more. sometimes angrily or defensively or with shame. when we were little and when we were more grown up. but every day.

that’s something to be proud of, too.

so, yeah, we’re going to figure out this blog. because i love the idea of it, i love the outlet of it. we are both treading water pretty mightily at the moment, and daily survival is a bit higher on the list than the blog, but we will work it out. i hope the two people who read the blog with any regularity will still be here, though if not, that’s okay too, it’s always been for us, here, at the sea.

Huge (365)

This was a huge task we undertook in trying to do this blog, every single day for 365 days. And safe to say we haven’t completed it, not even close, but we also haven’t failed… Not in my opinion at least.

We thought we could do it because we said that we wouldn’t have to write much at all if we didn’t want to or couldn’t that day… A simple “I can’t do this one today, sorry folks”, or a one liner about the word of the day. No big obligation for a long or interesting post… Just a response. Any response.

I think we overlooked something pretty vital in that… Pocketcanadians and my nature. We don’t tend to do things feebly. We don’t want to give short meaningless responses to words that aren’t meaningless to us. And I’m actually saying this without checking it with her, but I think (maybe, pc?) that the same goes for her.

There’s something about a word coming up and feeling unable to write all of the things that are floating around in your head, and then not wanting to write a rubbish couple-of-sentences response, because then it feels like you’re passing that word by. There are words on here that are so difficult… Family members, grief, attachment, therapy… Not to mention to seemingly innocuous ones for each of us (persistent, for myself springs to mind. I once got very upset with pocketcanadian for using this word to describe me).

I want to finish all of these words. And I want to properly respond to all of the ones that invoke a reaction in me. I don’t want to pass a word by with a sarcastic or silly comment because I couldn’t handle it that day.

And I know that pocketcanadian wants to finish these words too.

So, I don’t know how it will look right now… Whether we’ll manage to reshuffle the words we haven’t done and again have it as a surprise word… Maybe this time as a word a week rather than a word a day. Or maybe we’ll just do it as and when we can and forget about coordinating our responses.

I don’t know what its going to look like, but I know that neither of us are done with these words just yet, even though we’ve been entirely rubbish at them the last several months. It was a huge task, a word a day, and I’m still proud of what we made with this space, that anybody at all followed us and sometimes read along. (thank you all of you who did that). And I’m ready for another year of trying to write things out of my head and into this space…