Back to normal (ish).

As usual, I can sort of get there, and it sort of all comes at once. At least I can get there. Perhaps I can’t connect my emotions together immediately like a “normal” person, but I can figure them out eventually. Phew.

One of the things I realised last night after I posted was…well. I imagined being that vulnerable, having to say certain things, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope with them, coming out of my mouth and being real and in the room, and not being responded to in the way my child self needs, and in my fantasy/daydream thing I began to need to hurt myself. And then it came to me: hurting myself was a self-soothing strategy. Again with the knowing vs. feeling stuff. I know it, duh, of course I do. I’ve been reading about it since I was a teenager. But it was the first time that I really understood that that was often what it meant for me. And that made me feel sad for myself, that one of the only ways I know to calm myself down when I am that distressed, is to hurt myself. That it still comes back to that when it all gets too much. God. That’s pretty heavy. I haven’t self-harmed for probably over 10 years now, but it is still my ultimate go-to in my head.

Then today, I was thinking again about the vulnerability and about the not being able to go there. Well, I can’t because of my history. There was no being vulnerable, because nobody could hold it. I get told time and again that she is safe, both implicitly (through her still being there and being steady) and explicitly, and that she can contain whatever I bring. But I can’t let her, because even though it has been a long time now, it is not long compared to what went down before, when I tried and it went wrong, or got abandoned, or got it thrown back at me, or used against me. I still do not have that safe blueprint for allowing someone else to be with me when I am like that, in a safe way, because I have never experienced it. Not really. So no wonder I can’t go there. I am filled with that sense of, not exactly relief, but understanding I guess. I can’t go there and it’s ok. I don’t have to go there. (I do, but I don’t have to push it, and I don’t have to go there just yet). The problem is because I want to, I want to be able to trust so much, to let go, so much. I want to lean into it and have someone (metaphorically) hold me through it, because I never had that. But I can’t trust to that extent yet, so I will just have to talk about it until I do feel safe enough to do so. Perhaps she can tolerate it, but I can’t. I can’t, it is too much.

The weird thing is that I went through almost this exact same thing in the summer. The same understanding and compassion towards myself. Giving myself space instead of beating myself up for not moving faster. Realising that I can’t go anywhere near it when I’m triggered, because at that point I’m in it, and it’s only when I’m out of it that I can deal with it. But when I’m triggered is when I need the closeness and the being held the most, so it becomes like some sort of farcical, bitter circle: when I need it the most, I can’t have it, because I cannot bear it, I can only bear it when I am strong enough not to need it that much. When I am an adult, and not a child. But the child is still there even when I am adult me, so perhaps it is helping, but it is slow, very very slow progress. But I know it’s progress because although I feel sick with anxiety about my session tonight, and don’t even know where to start, I know that I can do it and that I can let her try and help me through it, even if I have to keep her at arm’s length (a phrase which I find sort of laughable considering she is always sitting slightly more than arm’s length away from me…).


I don’t know how to be vulnerable.


I don’t know what to write. Or even why I’m writing. But I need to write, because inside there is a lot going on. I don’t know what is going on, though, hence the needing to write. Perhaps writing will help me figure it out.

I feel as though I have pinged straight back into some sort of child mode again, and that is – I wanted to say distressing, but that’s not really the word. What are the words? So many. Disappointing is one of them. Two steps forward and twenty five back, is what it feels like. When I had that moment, recently, of knowing that I needed more sessions, and that absolute conviction that I knew I had to have the stability to work on all this, I felt so adult. I put them in place and told my therapist that I needed them and she said what a big step it was. I guess it was. Now I am not even sure what I am working on. I mean, I know, I know. It’s all the mum stuff, the attachment stuff. I am so much better now in all areas of my life and am able to mostly assert myself and look after myself etc etc. However, that is still a massive sticking point. It is my sticking point. I was so ready and courageous and had my big girl pants on and everything. And now I can’t do it. And I know why, because I am triggered into a more child-like place and my adult feels like it has disappeared. Me. I feel like I have disappeared. I know that I haven’t, but when I feel like this, with a tornado whirling inside me, it is difficult to feel that ‘I’ am still here. I know this is trauma, this is what trauma does, but in the main there are no more flashbacks and there is barely any dissociation. I am more and more present, and so much more stable now. But I am still cut off from these feelings, and they are so scary. Because I sort of don’t know what they are, and I try to access them and either panic or can’t get there, or get there but can only go so far. I am so scared, I am so scared, I don’t know how to deal with this.

There is a break coming up and I find breaks incredibly difficult. Partly because of what they bring up, but also the history of the breaks, and how I have felt during them. I know that this one will be different, because I have Christmas off and it will be the first Christmas in however many years where I won’t be working, or have an assignment to do. Which is pretty amazing, really. But there have been breaks where I have broken, really. Where I have spent a good amount of time trying not to kill myself (even though I knew I wouldn’t – I wish I could explain it but I can’t, it was like having a suicidal toddler and having to continually yank on the reins).

What am I writing. What am I doing. Why is this so hard? I feel blank and yet full to the brim, and I cannot differentiate between the feelings. Sensations. My stomach is where the action is. I feel both tight and empty. I am not right. I am not me. I am many other versions of me. That is what it feels like. Which still is me, but not the me that I feel that I am, the proper me, the in control me, the real me, these are all spectres of me and I feel cheated that ‘I’ am being obscured by these other mes, that they are distracting me, not letting me forge ahead like I should be and just dealing with this shit.

Because it is shit. I remember her saying, so long ago, that I had too much too young, and I did. Or too little, really. Both. Hence the feelings of being too much and not enough, always. Not always. Sometimes. Less now, but when it feels like this it feels like always.

I am in agony and I don’t know why. I feel my throat closing up again just writing, so I know this is traumatic. I am trying to be gentle with myself and I am so much better at that now (if I wasn’t after almost 6 years of therapy I’d be a bit worried I guess) but it is still hard. I feel like I should have this, like I should have my back and yet I don’t. I do, but I also can’t cope with so much, so it feels like I abandon myself. It is hard to feel that I abandon myself, but sometimes I have to I guess, just to stay alive, just to function. But I have been abandoned so much already and that is why this is so bad, why this hurts so much. Because also when I abandon myself, I can’t let anyone else in either.

I am crying now. I had this thought, earlier, and I can’t quite remember it – I keep having these moments of great insight and then they disappear almost as instantly as they come, like glimpses of scenery from a fast-moving vehicle. But it was something along the lines of – I am the only one who can make this better now. I am the only one who can help me. Oh, of course she can help me, she helps me a lot. But I guess what I mean, what I felt, is that I am the only one that can be there, that can really be there for all of this. My mum should have been there and wasn’t. I have no substitute, I can have a sort of parental substitute through therapy, helping me learn how to be and how to treat myself, but I am the only one that can really be there with me through all this. I can have someone kind, caring and skilled to help me navigate it and be a witness to it, but only I can journey it.

And therein lies the main problem. I cannot cope with that, still. I don’t want that to be the case. The parts of me that are clamouring now, I know even though I can’t quite get there, that there is rage and desperation and anguish that I can’t have what I needed. What I need. I need it – I need it so much. I feel as though I am bursting with the need. I know that I am enough, though, that I will have to be, because I am ultimately all there is. But I don’t want to be. I want a saviour. I want to go back in time. I want a proper mum, and a proper family, one that can be attuned to me and be there for me and not abuse me and use me for their own needs. I want my needs to come first. And I am the only one, now, who can put my needs first. But it’s painful. It means fighting against the parts of myself that want someone else to do it, that can’t quite believe that I can’t ever get what I missed out on. It means fighting against my family, when they unconsciously put their needs onto me time and time again and I have to extricate myself or push against them in ways that sometimes hurt them, and therefore me. I have to fight against myself as I am now, because I am tired, I am tired and I am sad and I am scared, I am so sad, I am so, SO fucking sad, I wish I could explain how sad, but I feel so bleak because I am all I have and I know that I will be enough, that I already am enough, but I am so tired of fighting. I am tired and yet in order to get to where I want to be, where I need to be, in order to get what I need and what I deserve, I need to fight. I just don’t feel like I have any fight left. I am sad, and tired and want a mum that I can never have. My throat is almost all closed up now. This is too much, it is too much, I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to look at what I need to without dying, because I feel like I am dying just approaching it.

The grief is so immense and it just keeps coming and as soon as I am in the room the fortress re-emerges and I cannot even go there. The only way I can get here, be here is on my own, but that is part of the problem. There is an Angel Olsen lyric that really resonates with me regarding therapy: “whenever you’re beside me, a part of me is dying”. I don’t know how to be that vulnerable. I think about what it looks like, what it might look like, but I don’t know what it would feel like, because I can’t go there, because even trying is too painful. I don’t know what it would feel like to actually let someone be with me when I am feeling like this, when I am desperate and desolate and lost and feeling broken. Someone that I push all of that need onto, how can I let them in when the part of me that needs a mum is dying because they can’t be it, nobody can be it and I can feel myself curling up and dying every single time I even try and go near it. I don’t know if this makes sense, I don’t want to go back and re-read it, but I needed to write it. I need to write so that it won’t be inside me anymore and I won’t be alone with it, because I will have got it out so that I can be there with it, instead of it festering inside, unheard. How am I supposed to do this in therapy when I can only get there with music and being alone and candles and dark, and time, how am I supposed to get there in a brightly lit room where I am with someone else where we are essentially shoving me, parts of me, under a giant microscope? I don’t know how to do it. I just don’t. I know that I do good work, that we do, together, that we are working on this whether I can get ‘there’ or not. But I want to be vulnerable and I just can’t be. It hurts too much, it is too much to have someone else there with me. To have her there with me while I basically die. To have someone there while I am dying and not rescuing me, not helping me, just fucking sitting there and being there with me, because there is no rescue, there is just this. How am I supposed to be ok with this? How can I be ok with it?

I keep having the little voice coming up inside me, saying, “I don’t know what I have done to deserve this.” And I know it was nothing. I have done nothing. It was just bad luck, bad timing. I didn’t get what I needed. But that is the hardest to cope with, because it means I missed out, that I don’t get it. I can’t get it. It’s gone, disappeared. It never existed, for me, it was never a real thing. So now I have a substitute that sometimes confuses me and that I want to grasp onto, try so hard to hold onto, but is really just a hologram. It’s not real. I know the relationship is real, but it’s not real in the way that I want it to be. And I feel so messed up inside, so fucked up, and it doesn’t really matter whether it was my fault or not. If it was my fault I could change it, and I can’t. I still feel myself trying. Those moments where I know without a doubt that if I looked a certain way, behaved a certain way, that I would get it. I know it’s not real but it is so potent when it happens, it feels within reach and then it disappears again. I just have me. I am enough, as I am. But what I had wasn’t enough, it fell so short of enough, and the loss of that, what I didn’t get, is so deep that I feel like I am never going to get ‘better’, that I will never get over this, because I feel like this cavernous wound is just going to get bigger and bigger and devour me altogether. Right now I am all wound, and the pain is unbelievable.