Reaching Out Or Self-Soothing? 

Would reaching out to T actually help? 

I’m torn. Do I try and handle this by myself and prove to myself. and to T, that I am able to regulate myself and hold it in her absence? Will she be proud of me if I do? 

I want to give her a break – that’s what she needs. It’s why she’s taken time off. 

Yet at the same time I’m thinking that she’s always encouraged me to reach out when I need to and encouraged that I don’t go into self-sufficient mode as I always did as a child. 

I think she would rather help to regulate me than hear later that I struggled with it alone. Wouldn’t she? I don’t know. 

I don’t want to isolate myself through shame. I’m trying to fight that pattern. 

I’m okay. I’m surviving it. Like it’s painful and I’m sad and I was thrown into an emotional flashback for sure, BUT I’ve made sense of it now and I’m allowing the sad feelings to come. I’m allowing myself to cry and listen to the child part talking. I’m not falling apart. 

What could she say that would help? She would probably validate my feelings but I’ve already done that for myself (and so have some kind readers) so I don’t think I need that. 
Then there’s the issue that as I don’t know where she is, she may not read or reply to me for hours and hours and that could potentially throw me into abandonment stuff which I don’t need right now. 

She may even reply kindly but it may set off the feeling it’s “not enough” again and so perhaps I’m safer staying at a distance and handling it myself? 

Things have gone south: Emotional Flashback 

Things have gone south. 

I went to the quiz night last night with my boyfriend and his parents. The evening was pleasant until… 

3 women walk towards our table and as I look up, it’s my mother and two of her friends. 

Oh My God. 

I felt a weird panic. Shock, fear, awkwardness. I couldn’t believe she was here. This was my local and she knew I drank here sometimes and that we did this quiz with my boyfriends’s parents…. what was she doing here? And on a Wednesday night? She had never been here before my birthday. Childish I’m like “this is my place. Not your’s”. 

Everyone said hello to one another but the awkwardness was really obvious. My mother put her fake posh look and voice on and said “we came for supper”… supper??? Sorry who are you? Before I knew it, I was saying “Supper? Since when do you use that word?”. Looking back I guess that was a bit aggressive but the words had flown out of my mouth before I had processed them. She was trying to put on an act of some sort of poshness because she thinks my boyfriend’s parents are posh. 

The difference between my boyfriend’s parents and her (and her friends) was so obvious. I really wasn’t enjoying this one bit. I wasn’t prepared for it.

There were a few moments of small talk and then she and her friends left. Nothing more was said. I felt so weird… so uncomfortable…. and I’m not sure if everyone did, or if it was just me, but suddenly it felt as though there was an elephant in the room. Things weren’t being said that were being thought – I wonder if I’m wrong? 

I panicked because I’m scared (or the little me) is that she will tell them I’ve been bad – that I AM bad. Because that’s what she did to me when I was young. She always made stories up to my grandparents and told them in front of me so that they disapproved. She would phone them or my aunty or my sister’s dad or get her latest fling to tell me off. I think that young fear is still there. 

I’m a different person with her to with them. Please don’t ruin this for me…. please don’t tell them I’m bad!!  She always won the crowd – the audience, whoever was watching. How ashamed I was. 

Anyway we got on with our evening and she wasn’t mentioned again. Me and my boyfriend came home and I went straight to bed as it was late and as my head hit the pillows and I grabbed Frank, I cried. 

I didn’t know then what I was crying for and I’m not entirely sure now but I woke up for work this morning and (sorry for tmi) had a very upset tummy. I called in sick and am now in bed with a thumping headache. 

I know not everyone believes in the mind and body link, but I do and so I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this happened, that I cried and that I’m feeling crap. But I can’t put my finger on what upset me so much. 

I’ve had my mind and body book out and looked up my symptoms to see if that helped, diarrhoea mainly pointing towards not being able to hold on to something anymore, being scared shitless or feeling as though you’ve been hit in the guts. The headache points to too much time in the head and repressed feelings. 

The thing is I’ve been aware that I’ve been really overeating. I feel constantly hungry at the moment and I’ve not been caring what I’m eating or how much. And I haven’t been to the gym like I usually do. This is a huge change from previous months where I’ve been eating a certain amount of calories and exercising a lot. I put this down to the break but now I’m not so sure. It’s no surprise my stomach is chucking it all out, there’s too much!! It’s also made me think back to a time when I used to starve myself and hide my food in my bedroom bin and then get told off… no I’m doing the opposite. 

My boyfriend had to go to work and I really wanted him to stay and cuddle me. Problem is he’s scared of getting ill and so won’t come near me when I’m sick. 

I’m really in touch with this needy feeling of needing to be looked after. As I write this tears are dripping down my face. 

I wish I could expand on that a bit, but I don’t think I can. I just have this craving to be looked after and made better. I wish someone was here to give me a cuddle, let me cry on them, maybe cook me soup at lunch and make me feel loved. I need love.

I’m crying because I need love. I want love and affection and to feel looked after. Instead I’m eating food and that’s making me ill as my stomach tries to tell me “no, that’s not helping!”. Apparently the hole can’t be filled with food.

Maybe I’m a bit regressed and I’m feeling like a child that needs her mummy.

I had a dream earlier this morning that I had made my hamster a new cage up as he had wrecked his. His tube had broken and he was seconds away from escaping and his fur was matted. I bathed him, held him and fixed his cage and tubes. I mothered him. 

That’s why I’m crying isn’t it? This sucks so bad. I feel heartbroken. 

And today and I would normally see T but she’s gone and that makes it hurt even more. 

I need a mummy and she’s gone. Both in the sense that the mummy I wanted never was mine and my therapy mummy is away. I’m feeling alone and in need of being looked after like a child. That mother hole constantly getting bigger. 

I’ve just cried a whole river. Snotty, noisey crying. Wow that was horrible. 

Damn it. 

Trigger Warning: Dreams & CSA

**************************************

Please take this as a warning that this post contains thoughts and references to CSA and take this as a trigger warning. Please do not read this if you think you may be triggered from it.

************************************

 

 

Spider Dream/CSA dream link
A reader commented last night that if she had a dream like my spider one, that for her, it could be a CSA dream.  I went to sleep thinking about whether there was any possibility the spider dream could link in to any of the CSA stuff that happened to me from my mother’s boyfriend.

I fell asleep thinking about this possibility and how it could fit.. I thought surely she didn’t know that was happening and let it happen? Surely she didn’t somehow weirdly enjoy it, surely she didn’t turn a blind eye?. [I thought this based on the feelings the dream brought me which were that she wasn’t acknowledging how much pain I was in and was forcing me to eat the spiders (take the medicine) whilst she had a look on her face that she would secretly and cruelly enjoy watching me do it].

As I thought these things, something weird happened in my body. I’m not sure how to explain that. It was as if something dropped, moved? My stomach flipped or.. oh I don’t know how to explain it.  I can only liken it to heart-felt horror/stomach-flipping sickness… I’m making no sense. I dismissed it as me being stupid. Of course she didn’t. I then scolded myself for having even contemplated this.

But today I remember that this is the second dream I’ve had (admittedly in over a year I imagine) which leaves me with this feeling. In the last dream he was abusing me on the sofa (where he really did) and she had opened her bedroom door to call him to bed, but saw what was happening and closed the door again.  That dream left me feeling cold and sick. It really shook me up and I sent it to T at the time. I hadn’t thought of this for a long time until now. I need to dig that old dream out.

Now I am asking myself am I in denial? Did she? Have I touched on a truth somehow? The thought that she knew makes me want to kill her. The thought that she could possibly have known at the time and left me to deal with it alone makes me never want to see or speak to her ever again. But I have no proof of this and so I am speaking very much hypothetically I know.

And I won’t ever know anyway, will I? I will never know for sure and she will never admit it so what good would it do me to think this way?

 

Last night’s Dream
Anyway, I then had another dream last night which I detail here:

My boyfriend’s friend Tim text and said I could drive the Aldi now (this was somehow meant to signify that I was highly ranked/thought of in his opinion). He then told me by accident how he had enjoyed his afternoon at the F1 with my boyfriend. I didn’t know about the F1 and my boyfriend had pretended to go to work that day, even wearing work clothes and so he had clearly lied to me. I was furious. I later confronted my boyfriend and tricked him by asking how work was. He said it was alright and so I let rip and told him he was a liar. I was furious with him and very hurt.

Later I was at a vending machine of sorts (not food) and a load of “stuff” fell out. I can’t remember what the “stuff was”, but it was expensive. It totalled about £5,500 and I wasn’t sure whether my card had been charged for this, or whether it had come out by accident and was therefore free. I debated letting the debt accumulate on my card and paying it off anyway over a period of years (which somehow was due to not wanting to admit I couldn’t afford it to someone) but then told myself that was silly, it was over £5,000. I snuck back into a room where people were asleep and hid “the stuff” in my bed covers in the dark.  My bed was on the floor by the window. The curtains were drawn and the other people were sound asleep.

Later Tim said that I could only drive the shit car again (symbolising my low ranking) although this was unconnected with the vending machine thing).

I then heard my boss say something nasty about me and he then went into a meeting room with people and I was angry about what I had heard him say.

This dream clearly has a theme of anger and betrayal. My boyfriend betrayed me by having not told me something and having actively lied to me about it. My boss upset and angered me by saying nasty things about me behind my back.  The vending machine part is the bit that is a little…. Well, I’m not sure yet but it feels as though there is a possibility it’s related to the CSA theme. I just have this weird feeling in my gut that there is some part of it that is.. although I’m now worried I am making things up in my head?? Something about the money and the hiding in the bed that touches on the stuff that really did happen.

 

Earlier in the evening and today
Last night I thought to myself that the letter I wrote to T earlier in the day hadn’t helped with the connection, it had actually made it worse. I Googled “why are therapy breaks so hard” and was reading a few of the results when my boyfriend started to talk to me about train times and stuff for our night out tonight with his parents. I snapped at him a few times and said I didn’t care and I didn’t want to talk about it anymore and that I didn’t even want to go the stupid quiz. THEY did, not me. I then shouted to the hamster to shut up in his wheel (I never do that). I knew instantly I was misdirecting my anger.

It was totally disproportionate and uncalled for. I think I used it as an excuse to “get angry”. Perhaps my real anger was about the break or about being fed up of seeing his “perfect” family. Going to the quiz really cements the feeling of being stupid because I sit there the entire evening not knowing a single question when they are all very clever and it makes me feel like I could leave and nobody would notice or care. And I am bored.

I love his family but I don’t want to go. I don’t actually have much inclination to go anywhere at the moment. My team at work sent an invite today for drinks after work on Monday and I’ve declined (because it’s the love island final – don’t judge!) which hasn’t gone down well but I feel like I’m being childishly stubborn and am saying “tough shit, it’s what I want to do”. Colleagues are laughing at me as though they can’t quite believe I am being this honest and trying to persuade me to just come for one or two and I’m being bratty like “No. I said no”. I never do this… I am always polite enough to go even if I don’t want to and whilst I am sure that having a boundary is a healthy thing?…  I’m not bothered about how I am being perceived.  Who wants to go out drinking on a Monday night?

I just want to go home … I want to go home and being comfortable.. sit on the sofa, eat food (which I’ve been doing way too much of since the break and I can’t stop!), watch tv and sleep. I have no interest in going out for drinks or for quiz nights…  and back to the quiz night it makes me think “Jesus, we see your family all the bloody time” which is so nasty and unfair because I always enjoy it and I love his parents.. so why the nastiness? Jealousy perhaps?

 

 

Winnicott: Fear of Breakdown

Have you ever read about Winnicott’s fear of breakdown? If you haven’t, I highly recommend that you Google it and have a read. I just found a paper written by Claire Winnicott (psychoanalyst and wife of Donald Winnicott called, “Fear of breakdown: A clinical example” and I found it utterly fascinating and extremely comforting.

Below I have picked out a few of the most relevant quotes for me personally within that paper and I think that some of my fellow bloggers may find this as interesting as I have.

According to D. Winnicott, the fear of breakdown is described as “a previous early breakdown occurred at a time when the ego cannot organize against environmental failure, when dependence is a living fact. At the dependence stage environmental failure disrupts the ego defence organization and exposes the individual again to the primitive anxieties which he had, with the help of the facilitating environment, organised himself to deal with. This leads to an unthinkable state of affairs”.

 

Clare Winnicott says in her paper “In fact the word anxieties is not a strong enough word, and Winnicott lists what he calls the primitive agonies against which new defences must be constructed. This early trauma will continue to be a threat until and unless the patient is able to experience the original event now with the help of the ego supporting analyst (mother)”.  Winnicott concludes “there is no end [to the analysis] unless the bottom of the trough has been reached, unless the thing feared has been experienced”.

Clare Winnicott discusses one of her patient’s story which, in my opinion, is well worth the read. In that story she talks about the patient working through her “negative feelings with regard to dependence” – something that I struggle with in my therapy and something that I know fellow bloggers also struggle with.  I am hoping this may normalise it for you as it has for me.  She also talks about the “broken-down child” and how that part of her patient was “split off and defended against”.  Claire Winnicott says “In other words, she developed a successful false-self to deal with the situation”.  This is one of the “primitive agonies” that Winnicott described in his theory.  My thoughts as I read this section were that this explains why my T used to press me to not only consider the “self-sufficient adult” and to think about the non-logical, non-rational parts of me.  When she used to ask me where my feelings were. My false-self was certainly centre-stage.

She explains that her patient began to see her as “a mother therapist who could feed her” albeit via the power of a dream. Claire suggested to the patient that the patient saw her as having “special powers”.  I know this is something that I can relate to. My T has been placed on a pedestal and I certainly view her as being some sort of “golden healer”.  Irrationally thinking that if only I could get more access to her, that I would be healed when deep down I know that is untrue. At least it appears to be a normal part of the process.

The example discusses the patient’s use of a transitional object which is something that a lot of us going through trauma therapy have spoken about before. Another reassuring thing to read.

The patient later has a dream where she literally picks up her child self. Clare Winnicott suggested that this represented the fact that the patient “felt strong enough with my help to go back and pick up and carry that distressed child part of herself from which she had been cut off for so long. I also said it seemed that the child was now no longer frozen, but was ready to move and come alive and to be part of her grown up self”.   This was of particular interest to me at the moment because I was telling T on Tuesday that all of a sudden the “voice” of my inner child is clear, that suddenly it is very obvious that I have an adult voice and a child voice and that although they are in constant conflict, it is very much there and it didn’t used to be.  Reading this has reassured me that perhaps this is a sign I am getting stronger and am more able to “move and come alive” as Clare describes about her patient.

 

In summary of her patient Claire says “as the transference became established the patient was able to reveal to the analyst in a concrete way the nature of the early trauma which had caused the original breakdown at a time when the patient’s immature ego was not strong enough to encompass the experience. The traumatized child part of herself therefore became split off and defended against. The work of the analysis has been concerned with the gradual experiencing for the first time, with the support of the analyst, the pain and terror of the early breakdown. Over a period of years this has led to the re-discovery and reintegration of the lost child in to the patient’s present ego organization”.

 

Perhaps this may offer some explanation to anyone who is feeling frustration and anger at not being able to cry in therapy yet? Maybe the tears only follow once the psyche starts to acknowledge that lost child and lets it speak out. Some lost children will take longer than others to come out of hiding due to their own personal trauma. For me, this took over 2 years. I guess it depends on quite how long and how strong that defence was, how strong the “false-self” has become and how safe it feels now. I relate this to all of us who have longings that we are too scared to act on: I hope that we learn to push past each of our uncomfortable limits a little bit more each time our therapists respond in a caring, understanding, attuned and non-punishing or judgmental way.

The therapeutic journey seems to be more clear-cut to me having read these papers. Obviously as with any theory you will have your own opinion on it, but for me this is encouraging. It has helped to explain away and normalise the fears I have with dependency, the depth and strength of the feelings of grief and sadness (the primitive agonies), the need for a strong mother like attachment with my therapist, the use of transitional objects, the need to “hear” the child within, or the “lost child” as it is described here.  It explains that gradually over a period of potentially more years, I will re-experience the initial breakdown in small more manageable chunks and that is how I will heal.  I have even read that “This fear is characterized by feelings of falling forever” and that sums up very well the feelings I get when I am in what I call an emotional flashback, where I am triggered and regressed. Those times I have written about where I feel utterly desperate and unable to function as an adult, unable to go to work and just want to stay in bed and hide from life.

I hope this helps others the way it has helped me.

 

 

 

 

The Fairytale Ending: Amended/Revised

For anyone that read the fairytale ending, this is pretty much the same post but I have expanded on it and sent it to T ahead of tomorrow’s session. Don’t ask me where I found the courage to do that……….. aghhhhghgh.

 

Matilda and Miss Honey

The child in me has been waiting for an adult to come and save her. She has been waiting to be rescued for approximately 29 years. She wants someone to come and take the pain away. Someone to fix everything bad that has happened – to magic it away forever.

Matilda got her happy ending with Miss Honey and she wants hers.

I used to hope that adults, mainly teachers, would see that I was a good girl and would adopt me. Friends’ parents would joke that I was their adopted daughter – it was a joke to them about how regularly I spent time at their houses, but to me it was the potential beginning of my fairytale ending.

Enter T

So I find T one day many years later. At this time I am an adult in age, and in physicality, but emotionally a child. Emotionally stunted at about 6 years old. Still unknowingly craving love, affection, understanding, acceptance and warmth.  Still so desperate for that bond.  That unconditional love. I had a yearning for something but I didn’t know what it was, or how to get it. I tried to get it by moving from boyfriend to boyfriend, even at a young age. I don’t like that about myself but I understand that I just copied what my mother did – that was all I was taught to do. Clearly it didn’t work. But I didn’t need a man, I needed a mother.

I guess I picked a female T for this reason. It wouldn’t have been so easy to find my new mum in a man would it? My fantasy about therapy wasn’t only to “fix myself” but I guess I had this feeling that I could potentially find a kind adult to care for me. Someone who would listen to all of the pain and have genuine compassion… someone who, like I used to hope my teachers would, would see I needed rescuing and would rescue me. I guess in a way it was hoping someone would take pity on me.

Looking back I felt (feel?) some similarities between T and my mum in that I saw them both as powerful, authoritive and strong. I guess therefore potentially dangerous. I felt a similar unconscious sense that I had to be good, well behaved, polite, well-mannered. The alternative? Punishment.  But of what kind? I am not really sure. Abandonment and rejection perhaps.

I liked and respected T for the first two years that I saw her, but now it is more than that in ways I am not sure I have the words to explain. Just thinking about it makes me well up with tears. I’m not entirely sure why, I think I am scared sometimes by the depth of feelings I have for her and how painful the loss would be if she went away. Is it worse to lose something wonderful or to have never had it?

T has shown me and given me things that I had never seen or felt before. Patience, understanding and non-judgment – but I think the thing that sticks out most for me is attunement. I don’t even think I knew what that word meant a while ago and now it is the word I use most regularly in all of my diary entries and blogs. Attunement is key. It is so important on such a deep level. I don’t think I ever felt my mother attuned to me and what’s more, you can’t fake attunement apparently so it truly is precious.

“being or bringing into harmony; a feeling of being “at one” with another being”

I’ve written a lot about all of the ways T is amazing and how I love her – or what she gives me or represents. What I still childishly fantasise her being one day – effectively my Miss Honey.

But…. on the less lovely side of things. T’s attunement to me, her patience and everything else, have suddenly shone a beacon of light on the loss. The loss of my childhood, my innocence and my birth-right to have been loved by my “good enough” mother. A childhood that felt full instead of starved and warm instead of cold. Safe instead of dangerous,. Loved instead of hated.

All of a sudden I am feeling the stark contrast of what T offers me and what I have/had and it hurts. Like it hurts my entire being.  My soul. Everything. It hurts me in a way I don’t think can be explained.

As I write this I have this strange energy coursing through my body, like adrenaline. Maybe it’s anger. It’s mixed with sadness and prickly tears. But the tears aren’t flowing, they are forming a barrier behind my eyelids almost refusing to come out. Like they are trying to stand strong. Like a line of soldiers making a human fence.

Everything that I (very cleverly) defended myself from knowing, seeing and feeling suddenly staring me in the face with a (not so) welcome home banner. I’ve reached the truth, my truth and it makes me want to debate for a moment if I want to keep walking towards “truth” or run backwards to denial and just pretend none of it is real.  Although that isn’t possible now. I sometimes question what was harder: blaming myself for everything, for the things I didn’t have; or knowing it wasn’t my fault and knowing who’s “fault” it was… what is worse? Which is the lesser of the two evils?

Verbal Diarrhoea

The adult part of me knows this is necessary for my healing. That this “is the work” as T would say. I guess that is what enables me to stick it out and not run away. (That and the fantasy of Miss Honey of course) but child me is in pain and shock and so I guess that explains why now I am craving the fairytale more than ever. I feel so regressed so regularly in therapy and sometimes in-between sessions and the craving for T is more intense than ever before. I think that the reason I enjoy writing my blog about therapy, enjoy reading other people’s, reading therapy books, re-reading my old blogs and the comments on them, is all part of this – trying to “feel” the connection that I am craving when I am not physically there with her.. and then sometimes when I am there, the sessions go way too quickly and the loss is right there again sitting in my chest hard to ignore. So I talk fast. “Verbal diarrhoea” as my mother would say, because I have so much to say, so much to share, so much to be soothed and so little time.  And then I leave and feel so ashamed of how much I’ve talked. I should not be the centre of attention – that is for my mother and not for me. I do not deserve that. I will be punished for that – and so I punish myself.

Tuesdays/Thursday Sessions

Thursday sessions sometimes seem like they don’t give me the same feeling that Tuesday sessions do and that is annoying because it is my “ last chance” at connection until the following Tuesday and that feels like a lifetime.  I keep wondering why it is that Thursday sessions feel so different and it feels as though I go into that session more (too) adult. It feels as though I go to Tuesday night sessions way more in touch with the child me, the regressed me, the sensitive me that wants to bare her soul and be soothed – whereas Thursdays I am an adult who wants T to see how competent I am. How grown up I am and I am so bloody fed up with trying to be the grown up so why do I do that? Perhaps I don’t want T to think I am a complete lost-cause. I don’t want her to think I am pathetic and childish and immature. I want her to think to herself just sometimes when I leave that she can have a normal “adult” chat with me about normal life things and not have to feel as though she is babysitting me or teaching me how to be a normal person…. And yet even that is completely contradicted by having a childish need to be rescued so none of it makes sense. It’s like the child in me has a tantrum when I leave on Thursdays and is shouting

“Hello? What about me? Now I have ages to wait just so you could be all grown up”

I wonder whether T sees a difference between Tuesday me and Thursday me or whether this is purely internal?

 

Therapy Breaks

And then you have therapy breaks. I mean, the adult gets this – of course she does, but the child wants to shout:

“What about me? You can’t just leave me here on my own. I will die without you looking after me”

It thinks it very cruel that it is expected to fight against everything it knows to “let someone in” and to learn to trust, to learn to take down the barriers and try to stop the competent (fake) adult taking over. So it does, slowly, very slowly it does this and then it is left alone?!  WTF is that about.  You wouldn’t leave a 6 year old child at home on their own for an entire week because it would die. Unable to eat or wash or anything and it feels almost the same, but emotionally speaking. Mixed messages – confusing. “Trust me, I won’t leave you” – oh, I’ve gone away. Then there is inner-dialogue between adult and child

“T deserves a break, she needs a break to look after you properly. It is only a week [or two weeks], she will be back before you know it”

“She hates me. She wants to leave me. I’ve worn her out. She is fed up of me. She won’t think about me, she will forget me. She won’t ever come back! I don’t need her anyway. I am fine. I am grown up and mature. Watch me cope all by myself. I don’t even think I need therapy anymore”

To the people that created this therapy. Freud etc: you missed something here!

 

Adult vs Child

Adult me knows that I am an adult now and that I cannot now get all that I missed and long for. That it is too late. Adult me knows therapy will help me to accept this and move on. Adult me knows T isn’t going to become mum and make it all vanish – that she doesn’t have a magic wand and that she can’t wave it so that I am 6 again, but her daughter, and none of it would have happened. Adult me gets that in therapy T will help give me some of the things that I didn’t get that will help me. Things like a kinder internalised voice – she had already done that to an extent and she is helping me not to feel so ashamed for having needs, to feel loveable. But child me… she hasn’t quite given up the hope of being rescued yet.  I know the happy ending will still be far nicer than the story ever was…. That in comparison the ending will be nicer than it could have been…. but I have a way to go to be okay with this. Today I feel robbed and angry. Like I have a hole in my heart that is exposed to the elements and it feels like no amount of plasters or stitches or even filler can make it better. Horrible image, but it feels like it is left open and it is being chewed on by insects.

That poor little girl was and is so desperate to be loved by a mummy that she didn’t get. It makes me sick.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for what I do have – that I have found T, that I can get so much from her that I have never had – but I guess like a child it wants more of what it likes and it can’t really have much more and that seems so unfair. Knowing that T is a mum seems to make that harder because it makes me jealous that her children get her as a mum so when she has said the words “my children” I have to try hard to keep my face neutral in case she can see anything in me change. Poker face.  Luckily she can’t feel the movement inside my chest.  Plus anyway, it is obviously a one-way relationship where I can’t ask her things that I want to know and so it isn’t really the same is it? Because what I “love” is the feeling I get because you can’t love someone you don’t even know. The whole thing is so confusing.

Dream

I had a dream on Saturday night that two boys I had been intimate with in my life (not both physically) told me that I had an infection on my bottom – I looked in the mirror and it was disgusting, all scabby and disgusting. The word in the dream that jumped out was “bacterial”. I hadn’t seen it because it was behind me, on my bum and so out of my view and I felt hugely humiliated and dirty. I felt so ashamed that they had both seen it and knew it was there and that I didn’t.  I have thought about this dream a lot since and I think it is representative of the fact that people that knew me well enough “saw” I had issues, problems, gaps… but that I didn’t and how ashamed I am about that and now the “scars” of it all seem to be obvious – like the scabby rash thing in my dream.

“A hidden or invisible attack that may weaken or even destroy you” – “Feelings of inadequacy or a sense of uncleanness”

 

One thing that amazes me is quite how relentless my inner child is at not giving up that hope. I am not sure if that makes her determined or stupid but there we have it. She isn’t ready to drop that fantasy yet. Saying that, I do admire the fact that she has continued to fight and has never totally given up. I wouldn’t have blamed her.

My adult wants to make it all better for the child. To cuddle and love her better and yet the child is saying “No! not you!! – someone else!!

The thought that I can make this better for myself seems ridiculous because although half of me wants to be grown up, the other half wants to stay young because if I stay young then Miss Honey will come and if I don’t – she won’t.

 

I do not want to have to be my own mother. I don’t want to grow up (even though I already have).

The fairytale ending 

The child in me has been waiting for an adult to come and save me. 

She has been waiting to be rescued for approximately 29 years. She wants someone to come and take the pain away. Someone to fix everything bad that has happened – or possibly magic it away forever. 

Matilda (film/book) got her happy ending with Miss Honey and I wanted mine. 

I would hope that adults, mainly teachers, would see that I was a good girl and would adopt me. Friend’s parents would joke that I was their adopted daughter – it was a joke to them about how regularly I spent time at their houses, but to me  it was the potential beginning of a fairytale ending. 

Enter T

So I find T one day many years later. At this stage I am an adult in age and in physicality but emotionally a child. Emotionally stunted at about 6 years old. Still craving love, affection, understanding, acceptance and warmth. Still so desperate for that bond. That unconditional love. 

I guess I picked a female T for this reason. It wouldn’t have been so easy to find my new mum in a man would it? 

I guess I felt similarities between T and my mum in that I saw them both as powerful, authorities and strong. I guess therefore potentially dangerous. 

I liked and respected T for the first two years, but now it is more than that in ways I am not sure I have the words to explain. 

T has showed me things that I had never seen. Patience, understanding and non-judgment but I think the thing that sticks out most for me is attunement. I don’t even think I knew what that word meant a while ago. 

I’ve written a lot about all of the ways T is amazing and how I love her – or what she gives me or represents. What I still childlishly fantasise her being one day – Miss Honey. 

But.. on the less lovely side of things. T’s attunement to me, her patience and everything else have suddenly become a beacon of light on the loss. The loss of my childhood, my innocence and my birth right to have been loved by my mother. 

All of a sudden I am feeling the stark contrast of what T offers me and what I have/had and it hurts. Like it hurts my entire being, my soul. Everything. 

As I write this I have this strange energy coursing through my body, like adrenaline. Maybe anger. It’s mixed with sadness and prickly tears. 

Everything that in(very cleverly) defended myself from knowing, seeing and feeling suddenly staring me in the face with a (not so) welcome home banner. 

The adult part of me knows this is necessary for my healing. That this “is the work” as T would say. I guess that is what enables me to stick it out and not run away. That and the fantasy of Miss Honey of course 🙂 but child me is in pain and shock. 

Adult me knows that I am an adult now and that I cannot now get all that I missed and long for. That it is too late. Adult me knows therapy will help me to accept this and move on. Adult me knows T isn’t going to become mum and make it all vanish – that she won’t wave her magic wand and I will be 6 again but her daughter and non of it would have happened. Adult me gets that in therapy T will help give me some of the things that I didn’t get that will help. Things like a kinder internalised voice, she had already done that to an extent and she is helping me not to feel so ashamed for having needs, to feel loveable. 

But child me… she hasn’t quite given up the hope of being rescued yet. 
I know the happy ending will still be far nicer than the story was but I have a way to go to be okay with this. Today I feel robbed and angry. Like I have a hole in my heart that is exposed to the elements. 

That poor little girl so desperate to be loved by a mummy that she didn’t get. It makes me sick. 

Transference 

When I was 10 I went on a school trip to the Isle of White.  During the trip it was my 11th birthday.  The trip was in celebration of finishing primary school. 

On the evening of my birthday I was allowed to use my boss’s phone to call my mum. I remember phoning her outside with him that evening. He was standing with me.  She asked if I was having fun and asked me what I had done – I told her, various things like an assault course, a talent competition, fencing, quad bikes… she oooh’d and aww’d appropriately (but fake) and then I had to hang up. And then I cried.  

In my head, going home would be warm and welcoming and comforting. It would be safe. There would be affection and genuine conversation, attention, attunement and all the nice things. 

That obviously wasn’t the case, but I guess the hope was so strong and so I would cry from wishing I was home with her and not far away. 

The reality of being home was very different to the fantasy. Just like the reality of being at T’s is very different to the fantasy. 

Now that I understand things differently, perhaps I was crying for the closeness I knew I didn’t have. Perhaps it was grief. Or maybe I was just in denial. 
Taking that story and thinking about the here and now… here I am about to go away for a holiday – over my birthday…. and I am crying that I will miss being separated from my T. 

I wrote how I wish I could have warmth and comforting things like a blanket, like a cup of tea… that we would have (genuine) chats and closeness. Basically that she would love me. 

Sounds like a bit of a repeat doesn’t it? Transference. 

I guess that the emotions I felt on Thursday after our last session were a bit of a repeat of that memory: I even spoke about wishing I could see her on my birthday. It is me feeling the same things as I did when I was that 10 year old girl. Just 19 years later. 

19 years. 19 years and I am still drowning in the same pain. That’s quite incredible. 

As far as I understand transference, it’s the redirection of feelings for a significant person (mother) onto the therapist. It’s a repeat of a childhood experience. 

Apparently transference is helpful because it teaches us (me and T) the issues that need to be healed. I just don’t really understand HOW. I understand it will give T an insight into the things I’m thinking or feeling…. and I understand having a kind witness would be helpful but I don’t see how it can actually “heal” these wants and needs. 

I said to my boyfriend earlier “do you think T will text me on my birthday?” And he said no…. he asked has she ever before and I said no. It seemed like he wanted to say “obviously not, she’s just your therapist, not your friend/family”…. yet it feels so different to that for me.  

That’s the painful thing. I hate the fact that I’m so desperate for T’s love and to her and everyone else, that looks rather pathetic. It’s like being in love with someone who has put you in the friend zone and yet you stay there hoping one day things might be different. Maybe just for me, just this one, T will break the rules and will take me under her wing and invite me into her life. 

Of course I know this isn’t going to happen but I hope nevertheless. 

It’s hugely painful and shameful being an adult who is so desperate for a mother. 

Am I being nosy?

Last night’s session

I was as desperate to see T last night as I was nervous.  I had emailed her on Monday evening to tell her what had happened with work and the doctors etc.  She had said we would talk about it when I saw her and so hence the nerves. Saying that, I was glad that T already knew what was going on and that I didn’t have to walk in there and tell her.

She asked me how I was feeling and I said I was feeling okay… I don’t think I was actually looking at her though.. it all felt very awkward.  T said “I don’t think you are okay actually” and then we spoke in detail about what work had said and what the doctor had said.  She said that I didn’t need antidepressants because I wasn’t depressed.  She said I was in fact “coming out of depression and beginning to feel” probably for the first time.

I liked those words. Those words felt far more promising and hopeful than being told I was in fact, depressed.

T went on to say that antidepressants would block me from feeling the things that I very clearly need to feel. I told her that was my worry also but the doctor had said it wouldn’t interfere.  She asked me if I had got the pills and I said no, I hadn’t bothered because I didn’t want to take them.

We spoke at length about work and how they have handled this. I told her that I felt like a fraud yesterday because although on Monday I was in a mess, yesterday I got up early and went to the gym, went food shopping etc and felt fine.  I said that now I am signed off work for a week and it felt wrong and insincere.  T said I didn’t need to be signed off work but that everyone just wanted a quick fix. Work expects me to be “better”, the doctor gives pills that essentially fake that feeling – she said how very frustrating it is that nobody has a real understanding about these things.  She told me that I wasn’t depressed nor mentally unwell, I was just struggling a bit with processing the trauma and I was becoming quite regressed at times like that. I agreed.

I told T that my team coordinator had suggested my T wrote a letter to them to tell them what they should expect from me, what I was dealing with etc. T said she wouldn’t write a letter but she would speak to someone on the phone if I wanted her to. She said she wouldn’t discuss specifics about my therapy but would explain that sometimes I just need a bit of space to be able to cry and that working from home every now and again was helping with that because I was still able to do my job but didn’t have to spend the day crying on the train or in the office. I told her that is exactly how I felt but now they had taken that away from me.  T started to say a few of the things she would say on the phone to my HR department and she sounded FIESTYYYYYYY!!! I liked it. She clearly would not be taking any shit.  She sounded fiercely protective of me, I liked it. I also thought I would not want to get on the wrong side of her LOL! She said she would tell them that the way there were treating me was absolutely disgusting (amongst other things).

I told T that I liked being able to send her the hard stuff before seeing her because I always worry that she will react and I will see the reaction on her face.  T said she thought a lot of this came down to feeling ashamed which is part of the reason she thought I locked myself away.  I admitted that I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t handling things well and that I felt I should be able to deal with it better. T told me that I couldn’t because I was never taught how.  She said I was never given the tools to self-soothe and said that anyone with a childhood like mine would feel exactly the same way.

Moving on we spoke about my actual feelings during the crying.

I hate this bit because I still can’t express myself. T asked me what it was I needed when I was feeling like this and I told her I didn’t know.  I told her I had no conscious thoughts and that was very frustrating.  She asked me whether I felt that I needed her? I felt mean saying no, but said I genuinely, seriously did not have the answer.  I didn’t know. It all just felt very hopeless and huge and as I had said in my email to her the day before, as though the sadness and pain would never end.

She said that she had been a little worried that my crying wasn’t providing any relief.  I said I wasn’t really sure.

She said that it was okay to feel I needed her in those moments and that she wanted to know what my fantasies were.  I said again, I just didn’t know.  T said that perhaps it was an idea for us to check in by phone to see if she could help to ground me a little.. this wasn’t something I had ever thought about. It wasn’t something I had even fantasied could be an option. I don’t know if she meant a quick few minutes to ground me or a proper paid for session and I didn’t ask.  I said that perhaps it would hep but that during these times, I can’t even speak because I am crying so much.

T said that what she worried about was that during these episodes I was kind of experiencing a repeat.  I wasn’t really sure what she meant at the time but we later discussed this a bit more and basically when I was a child, I spent 99% of my time in my bedroom. I guess it was my safe place (that and the fact that I wasn’t actually allowed in the lounge because of “adult time” pfftt!!).  Anyway, I used to have extreme OCD and even eat my dinner in my bedroom.  T was concerned that I was repeating this by locking myself at home on my own on days I felt that low and suffering alone rather than trying with someone who could help me a little. I guess that was what I was used to.

I said that this was true, I did like to lock myself away. I liked to draw the curtains and hide under a blanket. I rarely shower and I never put on make up. She said that this was what she worried about. That I wasn’t able to ground myself or be comforted by anyone and that if I wasn’t sure I was getting any relief from these crying episodes, perhaps I was almost re traumatising myself.

T said that she had been thinking about me and I admitted that when she says that, I guess I still struggled to really believe it.  She said she had been questioning whether to send me a text to tell me she was thinking of me but she wasn’t sure what to do because she said then the one time she doesn’t text, it could feel as though she isn’t understanding my pain. I agreed with her because I know myself well enough to know I would feel very hurt if she text at certain times and not others, especially if I perceived them as equally painful.  I do like that she even thought about this though. I also thought that the check-in calls were a nice suggestion because I felt I already took up enough of her time.

At some point in the session T asked me whether there was anything else perhaps that I had written about on my blog and not shared with her. I said no. I said honestly there is nothing else. I then questioned myself.. was that true? I think so.  The problem with that question however was that it made my inner critic say “see, even T doesn’t know what you are making such a fuss about!”.  It also said that clearly this isn’t “normal” for other people and has made me feel like I am exaggerating or doing something wrong.

I then told her that I had a dream about her the other day where she was Jewish. I said that there really wasn’t much to the dream at all but that she was Jewish and had a large photograph of her mother behind a desk who was also Jewish.  T asked me what being Jewish meant to me and I said not a lot really.. I said I had been asking myself the same question but hadn’t been able to come up with much.  I said I had Googled it and couldn’t find anything that rang any bell.  I added that the reason I knew she was Jewish was because in the dream she had this hugely exaggerated Jewish nose (I know this reads very as hugely stereotypical and isn’t meant as offensive!) I said I had looked up the word nose and the only thing I could come up with was “being nosy”.  T asked her being nosy or me and I said me.  At this stage I kinda figured out that the nosy dream could have been about the blog post I wrote the other day called “What I was really saying was” … shit. I have since debated sending it to her/reading it to her tomorrow but I feel too nervous.

Anyway, when I woke up this morning I remembered that last night I had dreamt I had a new therapist and this therapist was saying the exact same things as T – the same words and the same phrases.  In the dream I was really hurt and shocked because it meant that nothing had been authentic with T –  it had all just been textbook stuff. I don’t think this consciously about T but I can only assume that subconsciously I am worried about that somehow.. I haven’t thought too much about this yet but I will give it a bit more thought. I might share that with her tomorrow.

Lastly T asked me how I was feeling about not having therapy next week (I am going to be on holiday).  I told T that stupidly, I hadn’t really figured that out until a couple of hours ago. I had been thinking of her next break as mid July and it had only just occurred to me.  She said whether it was me or her going away, the break may still be just as difficult.

I think I am going to re-read that blog about what I was really asking her and see if I can somehow muster up the courage to let her see it… agh I’m just not sure I am ready yet.  We will see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling like a fraud

Yesterday I was working from home because I felt so down. I couldn’t stop crying and was just generally a bit depressed.  As the day went on I thought that I needed to take a few days out and so I emailed my team coordinator and asked if it was an option to take a few days unpaid leave or to work from home a few more days.

About 3 hours went by without an answer. Eventually the phone rang and it was work.  In a nutshell they said that if my mental health was that bad, I shouldn’t be working from home at all and that going forwards, the agreement we had that I could do this now and again when I couldn’t face being at work – was no longer an option.

She then said that I had been using my annual leave for days like this too and that I would not be allowed to do this either… apparently annual leave should be used for fun and not for depression…

I’m not sure when exactly but I ended up crying so much that I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk at all and was more or less hyperventilating! It was pretty embarassing because she kept saying “hello?” “are you there?”… aghgh cringe.

She told me that I should go to the doctors, get signed off work for a while and get antidepressants if I wanted to take them. I said I didn’t.

I went to the doctors, I got signed off work for 2 weeks, was given a prescription for antidepressants, sleeping pills and a form to get a blood test.  Apparently the blood test was for lots of things but one of them was to check my thyroid… he said depression can be a sign of thyroid problems.

Then my actual line manager called… he didn’t have much to say. I told him what the doctor had said and he was pretty quiet the other end of the phone… he didn’t feel particularly supportive.

I then sent T an email telling her what was going on and I said that it felt as though this pain and the tears would never stop. That it felt never-ending.  She replied and we said we would talk tonight at my session…

Turning to today, the feelings have vanished. I feel like it all happened to someone else. I am aware that this probably means I have dissociated and I know there is a high chance it will all come flooding back at T’s tonight… maybe? but it’s left me feeling like a fraud. I feel like I’ve made some big song and dance … like I’ve made a load of drama …. I thought to myself maybe I am just a lazy (insert word of choice) who will do anything for a few days off work…… T says not to attack myself which I guess I am doing when I think those thoughts.

Oh meh. I don’t know where this blog is going or what the point is exactly in me writing it. I was hoping I was going to uncover something unconscious but that doesn’t feel as though it’s happening.

The problem is that no two days are the same in my head at the moment. I am glad for some time off but I don’t want to feel like a fraud. I am worried about all the drama I have caused and I’m not sure whether any of this was really necessary or not… the doctor said I was mild to moderately depressed but not severely because I hadn’t thought about ending my life. I know that many people have it much worse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotional Flashback/Depression 

Today is not a good day. It’s Monday 5th June and I am working from home because I asked for the day off but there were already too many people off and so this is the compromise. It’s good because it means I can hide away at home and not have to see anyone but it means I can’t sleep all day which is what I was hoping to do.

I think I’m having an emotional flashback or something. It started yesterday evening, I was in the kitchen preparing today’s lunch and chopping up all my fruit and salad as I’ve been on a diet for the last two weeks. I started to feel irritated because the salad looked rubbish and I thought I needed to get some food shopping in. I then realised we had nothing healthy in for dinner and I thought I would ask my boyfriend to pop down the shop and get some chicken and salmon etc but he didn’t want to go and I was in my pjs so I didn’t want to either.

It is so over the top but I just felt the anger taking over. I just wanted to get some healthy food in for dinner and I couldn’t – I know, very immature but there we have it.

With that, I started snapping at my boyfriend and feeling very annoyed. I realised I was starving. Having lived on only salad for two weeks had taken its toll and I was feeling very fed up. All we had in the freezer was some breaded cod fillets and chips and when I logged them in my calorie counting app, they were high (obviously) and that made it worse. I ended up laying on the sofa and sobbing. I was crying disproportionately to the whole situation and as I cried, I felt this energy coursing through my body – proper anger.. so much of it, it was making my body tense and hot and tingly.

My boyfriend came and hugged me and told me he thought this diet business was now ridiculous and said I needed to eat something and stop this strictness – he said it was making me miserable.

Fast-forward an hour or so and we sat down to watch the Manchester concert for the victims of the terrorist attack a few weeks ago and I cried continuously throughout as I imagine did lots of other people – nothing surprising about that, it was incredibly emotional after all. But it felt like a deeper sadness. It is hard to explain what I mean by that.

I didn’t sleep last night. I was in bed for about 5 hours in total but I had lots of dreams and woke up a lot. Often when this happens I convince myself I can hear noises downstairs and freak myself out which happened last night. I can’t remember any real detail of the dreams although I remember being hidden in a toilet with a baby hiding from something awful (like a terrorist attack) and when I came out, these ladies told me that a baby had died in that cubicle once and I was horrified…. until they all started laughing and told me they were joking and I felt hideously embarrassed.

I got up for work, felt awful. Sick, tired, upset and decided to ask for the day off. My boyfriend came in to where I was getting ready and I told him and he looked at me disappointingly and asked me what was wrong. I told him that I felt very sad and he kinda looked annoyed. He asked what was the reason for me being so upset and I said I wasn’t sure and he looked fed up. That made me burst into tears again. The look of disappointment felt so cutting. So painful and raw. He came back a while later and gave me a cuddle – I then sobbed like a child all over him. He didn’t have a top on and I just wanted to lay on his bare skin for ages (but I couldn’t). I felt such a sadness I don’t have the words to explain. I told him that him looking disappointed with me had hurt and he told me I “wasn’t his daughter”. He was laughing, not in a cruel way but laughing nonetheless.

He left for work about two hours ago, I’ve since cried about 10 times. I feel physically sick, very tired and weak.

I don’t know what is going on but it is bloody horrible. It feels like depression. There is so much sadness and pain. The London terrorist attacks are a large part of this I am sure, but I think there is more. I did see my mother this weekend – and my father (separately) and think perhaps that has triggered something. Nothing happened, she was okay but I wonder if is to do with that somehow. I have thought that I’m aware there is no emotional connection between us, it is very “friendship” kind of level…. surface level? There isn’t a genuine, deep and loving closeness if that makes sense? I don’t know what I am trying to say.

My boyfriend has text suggesting I do some gardening like that’s the answer to my problems and my boss just emailed telling me to “think about the good things in my life”. 

I know I can’t expect anyone to understand but it’s painful when they don’t. I feel so powerless. I’ve thought about going to the GP and asking to be signed off work but even that doesn’t feel like it will help, not really… I want this feeling to go.