I started drafting this about 2 hours ago. It was feeling very confused, but since typing it all out, I seem to have made some sense of it. This is what I love about writing and about blogging. It helps me to un-jumble all the chaotic thoughts and organise them a little better.
It’s Monday 27th February today and I have called in sick at work. I woke up early this morning with such a pounding headache. That and the familiar sense of sadness. I hate that feeling. It is so obvious even when you’ve only been awake for seconds and you know the likelihood is, it isn’t going anywhere for at least the rest of the day. Not a nice start to the day, or the week!
The thing is though, tomorrow happens to be “Return To Therapy” day and so I don’t think it is a huge coincidence that I feel like this. I often have a lot of physical responses to therapy stuff (read: feelings).
Tomorrow will be the first session back after 12 days. Today is day 11 (obviously) and yes, I have been counting! On the whole, I’ve done okay. Last Sunday and Monday were pretty awful, but since then I seem to have been in “adult functioning” mode and have been able to get on with life and not feel that sense of doom and panic that I had.
An hour or so ago, I re-read the post from last Monday and I cried. It felt as though it got me back in touch with those feelings again. I wonder if I am a bit regressed today. I think Little Twink is around.
All I have wanted for the last 11 days is to be back in there with her, so you would think today I would be excited and happy wouldn’t you? But no. I feel weird. I feel anxious, nervous even, and physically my head is banging so hard it’s like a door knocker!
What am I nervous about?
- Am I scared she will have changed?
- Am I scared it will all be a big anti-climax?
- Am I scared she will extend her break at the last minute?
- Am I scared of overwhelming her with all the stored up needs from the last 12 days?
- Am I scared of admitting how needy I’ve felt and telling her the real feelings I’ve had?
I think given how easily that list was to write, the answer is probably yes to all of them.
It has made me question whether this is how I felt as a child when my mum was due back from one of her latest holidays. Did I feel nervous then? I can’t remember. One thing I do remember is that she would be really “nice” for a little while and then everything would go back to normal and that seemed to hurt more than if she had stayed the same. I guess it was that bit of hope that things were different at last … and then that sense of utter devastation that nothing was different at all would hit. And it hurt like hell.
I don’t think that bit applies to therapy though, because I don’t want anything to change and she doesn’t need to be “nicer” than normal, because she isn’t like that. Maybe old habits die hard?
This cocktail of feelings is unnerving. The mixture of anticipation, excitement, panic, dread – it is horrible.
I have read on the net today that lots of people feel angry towards their T on the return to therapy. Anger for having left them alone or anger as a defense to their painful feelings of abandonment. I don’t feel angry. T has often told me that it is okay to feel angry feelings about her and that it is natural but consciously at least, I have none. Maybe unconsciously I do? Who know’s?
I have known for the last 11 days that today would bring these feelings of anxiety and nervousness, so it’s nothing I didn’t predict already. I’ve felt this way before.
I have tried to intellectualize my way out of this today and it has helped a little – I know that isn’t a good thing really, but it helps me to feel the feelings with less shame. It at least stops me from denying them completely.
For anyone who hasn’t watched The Strange Situation,who struggles with these feelings, give it a watch now, it is incredible. It models attachment styles in babies beautifully. It reminds me that a lot of these feelings are all due to my particular attachment style which is either anxious or disorganised. T says I flip between the two.
With that in mind, I can appreciate that it is transference making me feel this way today.
Because of my attachment style I experience a really high amount of distress when I am not with my caregiver (therapist). I can’t soothe myself well and I therefore stay hyper-vigilant whilst she is gone. When she returns, I remain just as fired-up because I don’t know what I am going to get. The good mother or the bad mother. I guess that does link in with my memory from childhood actually doesn’t it? How long will the niceness last? How long until I have to feel the same again? I guess that is why I have often gone back to therapy after a break with “no feelings” and nothing to discuss, because if you want to keep your caregiver good after they’ve been away, you keep any “bad” feelings away don’t you? You stay good.
That isn’t going to work tomorrow because I have a whole host of feelings ready to take to her. I guess THAT is what is making me anxious.