Today I wanted to note because good days need to be held onto with both hands. They need to be valued, they need to be held, they need to appreciated and referred back to. Either by way of a written note like this, or by hearing it relayed back by people you care about. Because when you are in the storm, it is so hard to remember terra firma.
The things I have observed is that I am mostly present. I converse with the people around me. I’m not drifting, I’m interacting. It’s such a small thing, but a spontaneous smile, idle, natural chatter, in the moment, it’s life. My soul is awakening. The difference between existing and being.
Of course, like anyone that weathers these brutal storms, I am cautious, because there is always the eye of the storm. And I must be careful. Not negative about progress, not doubting myself, but just taking a moment to breathe the air that I can finally be part of. To feel, to taste, to participate for the briefest of moments. To not be forced to move, to not be on autopilot. To not drift through days.
I did see my therapist today. Something happened in the waiting room. I saw a woman there, she was crying. I felt immediately anxious. In the space of concerns I was considering, do I ask if she is ok? What if she panics and jumps through a window? What if I scare her away? Should I stay quiet? Should I wait somewhere else? Should I summon help from the office discreetly? As I ventured more into the waiting room she was holding her wrist. Was she injured? Had she hurt herself? The kettle had just boiled, was she burnt, did she need medical attention? Now of course, in ANY other place I would instinctively react and offer help. But remember this is a place where people get therapy, it’s confidential. Who knows want the etiquette is! I felt very sad for her and very useless. I could see by the way she bowed her head and gathered her stuff she was very awkward. Don’t worry, my thought process was nano seconds, I wasn’t stood there gawping at her trying to work out what to do! She obviously wasn’t anticipating anyone coming into the waiting room. She was anxious to get out of there. I decided to head to the office as she was scuttling out and mention that someone looked distressed and potentially with a minor injury. They obviously knew the client and were able to catch up with her much to my relief. As my therapist came to check on me, I found myself feeling like a rabbit caught in headlights, spilling coffee everywhere. I felt so socially awkward, almost childlike. Inept. Clumsy. Unprepared. It seems other people can express their emotions, cry and grieve, but I cannot. I could never cry like that woman. In public nor in therapy. She was visually indicating her distress. Mine is internal. Aside from obviously spilling coffee!
The session was relatively relaxed. Relief on both sides that I was making progress with my mood and energy. Less two dimensional than previous sessions. Although it’s frustrating because I do want progress quickly. I want to be rid of these demons, get these memories and all these shadows of pain out of my body. My therapist was curious about my experience in the waiting room. How can someone so clearly independent, assertive and usually so vibrant and friendly seem so off balance when greeted with someone so emotional. She feels that it’s because deep down I have so much grief, so much sadness that simply when confronted with someone that exhibits that emotion I simply struggle and need to bury my own. It’s both a survival instinct and a learnt behaviour. My parents didn’t believe in expressing emotion at all. Emotion is a weakness to them.
It is so hard to tap into the depth of reservoir of what truly makes me the person I am. There are so many barriers, so many layers, so much distrust, so much protection. Years of pain, anguish, silent suffering, un cried tears, muted screams, fear that was never consoled, nightmares that were never placated, simple, uncomplicated affection that was given. No appropriate affection that was given.
It has taken months for Anne to establish this rapport with me. Sometimes she breaks through. Sometimes she doesn’t. I work very hard with her. Even when my mind pushes hard against her. Today she used the word, ‘shame’ and I disassociated for a lot of the session. We have identified a huge trigger word for me. And I guess I have learnt another Achilles heal.
So today, yes, therapy was hard. But I did it. I’m committed to my therapy.
And yes, I consider today a good day because I’ve had energy, because I’ve engaged. Because I’ve been present. Now I need these periods to add up. I need these times to become days. To become weeks, to become months.
And if a bad day follows, I need to hold onto days like this.