“Not okay”

She knows, the moment I walk in, that I am not okay. Bea is patient though, and she lets me set my bag down, remove my shoes, curl up in my space on the couch. I busy myself with retying my hair into a ponytail as I mumble hello. The curls are out of control this morning, because I never did brush my hair after my shower yesterday.

Bea responds to my greeting, and then it seems to me that she jumps right in. Maybe we sat in silence for a minute, or more. I’m not sure. I arrived dissociated, and the entire session is fuzzy, blurry. “I was thinking about emails. I was glad to get them this weekend.”

I cover my face. Why not? I’m already a mess. What difference does it make? I don’t say anything, just cover my face, and I feel my body curl into itself more and more.

Even not watching her, I can sense Bea looking at me, wondering. “What’s coming up for you today?” She asks me.

I shake my head, I want to tell her. I’m frozen. The words won’t come. I can’t.

“One of my professors used to ask who showed up today?” Bea tells me, and the way she says it, I know it wasn’t about the professor taking attendance. “Alice, who showed up today?”

I can answer in my head. A scared little girl who needs to hide. A girl who was frozen and struggled to leave her house, and then struggled again to leave her car. I can’t say it, though. I’m afraid of sounding too dramatic, sounding stupid.

“It looks like someone very wary showed up today.”

I shrug. Wary. Yeah. But more scared. I turn my head, away from her. I don’t want to look at Bea’s face when I talk, I don’t want to see in her eyes that I’m being silly. “My mom called.” It’s all I can manage to get out. The words stop, freeze.

“Oh. Mmm-Hmmmm. Did you talk about Thanksgiving?” Bea seems a little lost. Like she can’t quite figure out how I have arrived at her office, already dissociated, already upset, already not okay. The fact that I talked to my mom might explain some of it.

I shake my head. No. “There’s a party.” The words sound empty, hollow, even to my ears.

“In December?” Bea asks. She has to be confused, wondering why I’m having such a hard time talking about nothing, and yet, she sounds like she is having a normal conversation.

“The sixth. A Saturday.” I answer almost without thinking.

“Oh! That’s the weekend after this one, then.” She tells me. I think I nod my head. I mean to say yes, to agree, but I don’t manage to get words out. “It’s interesting to me that we are talking about the weekend of the sixth, and not thanksgiving anymore.”

I still don’t manage to respond. I’m really stuck, frozen, and I can’t get words out. The birds that are always trying to make their nest in the air conditioner are back, carrying on a racket. Bea asks me if I can hear them, she’s trying to keep me here today. “Yeah.” I get the word out, quiet.

There’s a pause, and then Bea moves over to the window, and knocks at the birds. “Hey, birds! Quiet down in there. You’re interrupting us!”

I smile, but don’t say anything. I’m back, or at least more present, anyway.

“Will you go to the party?”

I don’t answer that. I don’t know. I pull my knees into my chest tighter, and curl up smaller. “It’s my mom’s party. She and her friends, they throw it together.”

“Ahhhh. I think I see…will his mom be there?” She asks the question, and she sounds understanding, like it all makes sense now.

I freeze. Of course she will be there. She helps throw the party. But that’s not the issue. Even though I’m not looking at her, I scrunch my eyes up tight, and I force myself to say it. The words come out a whisper. “He’ll be there.”

“I should filter this. I’m telling myself to filter it. You can’t go.” Bea breathes out, sighs. She sounds serious, like she means it.

I shake my head. And the tears fall. Now that the horrible thing I’ve held in since yesterday is out, I finally let go a little and start to cry. “I have to. My mom……”

“This time you are the one in control, you do have a choice. He doesn’t get to be the one in control, or the one with the power now. That’s you. You never have to be around him again, unless you make that choice. This time it’s about you.”

I shake my head. Bea isn’t getting it. She doesn’t understand. I can’t stop crying long enough to talk, though. The relief of having someone know, having someone understand how scary the idea of him being at this party, the relief of that is overwhelming. I force myself to move a little, but then I end up scrunching closer to the back of the couch, so I’m not sure moving was helpful, after all. “I feel so stupid. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“No, oh no. No apologies here. There is nothing to be sorry for. You won’t apologize to me.” Bea is adamant that there are no sorrys here. I both love and hate this rule. “Why do you feel stupid? From where I sit, you have nothing to feel stupid for.”

“I….I….” whispering, haltingly, the words find their way out. “I didn’t know. I’m scared……….of him now. He……it’s real.” I sob some more, I can’t contain myself. I’m struggling to hold myself together. I feel like a crazy person. I didn’t know. I didn’t think of him as real, as someone here and now. He was the past. The very scary, confusing past, but the past.

I imagine Bea is looking at me, drinking her tea, sitting calmly. She waits a few moments, gives me room to cry. “All of this, it made him very real. He hasn’t felt real, not even to me, because of how we talk about him, deal with him. This made him real.”

“Yeah…yes. I’m afraid. I think…….” I breathe out, slowly, try to focus, pay attention. I’m fighting to stay present. “I hid yesterday.” I feel crazy. I need Bea to know, to understand how crazy I am acting. She knows I have to be able to function as a mom to Kat. I trust her to know if I’m too far gone.

“I would have hid, too!” Bea says, right away, the first thing out of her mouth.

“Are you?……I mean….really?” I can’t put words together coherently for some reason. In my head, I’m asking her if she really would have hidden, or if she is just being nice. I’m afraid she is saying that, being placating– the way people do with the crazy girl.

“No, I mean it. I would have gone and hid. Some part of you, the child part of you for sure, really doesn’t feel safe. The fear is real, it’s still in you. Think about it. It makes perfect sense. You body still feels it, look at you, you can see it, your body is feeling the fear now, after all these years having that fear locked up, defended against, you’re finally feeling it.” Bea explains her viewpoint to me, and I believe her. She would have hidden.

She’s also right. My body is tense, curled in fear, shaking. “I’m scared,” I say, “All of me.”

Bea let out a small laugh, a smile. It’s kind, though. “Yes, of course. Not just your body, all of you is scared. Your head, your emotions, and your body. All of you.” After a moment, she asks me if my mom told me HE was going to be there. “I wonder….if she knows, maybe has a sense that things are different, that you are working through things. Did she tell you straight out? How did that come up?”

“No…they went out to dinner with his parents the other night. And my mom called yesterday, she was really excited because Jackie is driving in for the party. She thought I would be really happy to see her because I haven’t seen her for a while. And Jackie never really comes home like that. So it’s like a big deal.” I trail off again. Dissociating.

“And then she told you HE would be there, too?” Bea asks, bringing me back to the present before I can dissociate too much.

“Oh, I asked if Mandy and Kenny would be there, too? It made sense to ask,” I say, “She said yes..I don’t remember the rest of the conversation. Or getting off the phone. Or anything really. I just hid.” I’m starting to go away, again. I’m scared.

“So Jackie doesn’t come home much?”

“No. She doesn’t like to come back home.” I say.

“Is she married? What does she do?” Bea asks. She is intensely curious about Jackie.

“She’s married. She got married…um….3 years ago, I think. She lives in (bigger city near my hometown). She doesn’t want kids….she is really into her career, she does some graphic design type thing for advertising firms. She’s really good at what she does.” I don’t know a lot about her life now. We grew up together, until I separated us, purposefully staying away.

“Hmmmm. That’s interesting. She doesn’t want kids, and she never comes back to her hometown. She stays away. Did she have problems growing up? Therapy?” Bea asks.

“I don’t know. In high school there were rumors about her being too skinny, anorexic, needing help. But I don’t know. I was too involved in my own stuff.” My head is down between my knees, I’m remembering how I cared about Jackie, but I had to stay away. It was safer.

“You weren’t friends then?” Bea asks.

“No. We stopped being friends….after elementary school. Maybe…it was my fault. We were friends when our families were together. But I was mean…..mean to her…..I didn’t really mean it!!” I feel so guilty over that now. It was easier to be mean to Jackie to allow myself to put distance between me and that family.

Bea hears the guilt, the regret in my voice. “Girls that age are mean, mean for no reason. I remember being mean for no reason other than being mean. You had a good reason. It was to protect yourself.”

I cry a little. Someone understands, someone understands and isn’t judging me.

“What were the parents like?” Bea asks me. We’ve never really talked about this, about HIM, or his family like this. It makes him more real. But he’s real now. So, it doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe that’s why she is asking.

“I don’t know. His dad was loud. Well….I don’t know, just loud and emotional compared to mine. But then, maybe that just makes him normal.” I say the last bit in a dry sarcastic voice.

Bea laughs, “Well, yes, your Dad is withdrawn and closed down to his emotions, really quiet. So,that’s hard to compare. What about the mom? Were they strict?”

“I liked the Dad. The mom, she was the scary one. Prim and proper. I don’t know. They were strict about Kenny and Jackie being home, not being in trouble. At home, they didn’t have a lot of rules, but they had to be home, at school, at church, I don’t know. Because Mandy was a wild child. So they were strict with the other two.” I explain it, as best I can.

“Wild how?”

“I don’t know. She just was. Never home. In trouble. I don’t know. I was little. But that’s what people said.” I shrug. I have no idea. I’m still remembering, experiencing this from the perspective of a child. It’s the only perspective I have right now.

“Was Kenny ever in trouble? Yelled at a lot? Punished? Do you remember or know?” Bea asks. It’s like trying to solve a mystery, a puzzle that it part of my life.

“Noooo,” I say it slowly, trying to remember, to think. “He was good. Helpful. A good boy. That’s what they said, thought.”

“So, we have Mandy the wild child, Kenny the good and helpful boy, and Jackie….hmmmm.” Bea says. She sounds like she is thinking out loud. This session seems to different. She is being careful what she says, but she isn’t hiding her thought process. I’m talking more, too. We aren’t hiding Kenny anymore; he’s a real person, now.

“You think…….do you think that…..I mean, Jackie…you think Jackie?” I can’t ask the question, say the words. I’m scared to put the thought out there.

“I don’t know. I just think it’s curious. She never comes home. She doesn’t want to come home. I wonder what made Mandy wild? What’s the story? And then Kenny….being good and helpful, to make up for the ugly, awful things he was doing?” Bea explains. And, looking at it that way, it is curious. What was really going on, that I didn’t see because I was a kid; a scared little kid?

I don’t know….I hope not. But it makes sense, it fits. I can’t ask her, I’ll never really know. “Do you think he feels guilty?”

“Well….on some level. He knows it was wrong. Guilt, I don’t know. We’ve never really talked about him like this..you’ve never thought about things like this, have you?” I shake my head. No, I’ve never thought this way. My heart is pounding, I feel a little frozen. Kenny, feeling bad. I don’t understand it. Could he actually feel bad? “I’m not sure it’s helpful right now, in light of you needing to make everyone around you feel okay and not hurting. His guilty feelings, or stress about you is nothing compared to how you feel, and they don’t really matter. Your feelings matter.”

I don’t know what to say. She sounds protective again. When did Bea become so protective of me? Has she always been like this, and I’m only noticing it now because I’m willing to accept it? “He’s married. Her name is Jen. She’s nice.” I say. He’s married. Normal. He looks so normal now.

“You said he has kids?” Bea sounds tentative.

“Yeah. One, a boy. Cameron.”

I hear her breathe out slowly. “What does he do?”

I freeze. I know. I can’t tell her. It might….I don’t know. It’s not safe, I don’t think. He’s too powerful.

“Do you know what he does?”

I nod. I can’t speak.

“Does he work with kids?” Bea asks. Of course. She has to ask. After my last memory shared with her, the revelation that he was still hurting me when he was older, an adult, she needs to know.

I think about it, really think. To the best of my knowledge, no, he isn’t around kids. I shake my head, no, he doesn’t work with kids.

“Okay. Okay, good. If he was a teacher, something like that, I would be really worried,” Bea tells me.

He’s not a teacher. I still can’t tell her what he does. It’s not okay, not safe to tell what he does. “I’m afraid,” I whisper. I’m breathing in the way of borderline panic attack, and I know I need to get that under control.

“Yeah, it is scary. Let’s try to do some deep breathing. Like yoga. Okay?” Bea says. We breathe for a minute.

“I haven’t been here since yesterday.” I’m so ashamed to admit this. I hate that I have been dissociated for almost a full day.

“I can imagine. You had to go away. Your mom called, and that was safest. Right? To go away?” Bea says.

“Yeah. So scared. I…I just….it’s too much.”

“I know. It made things real. That is a lot. It’s very scary, and to feel you have no choices between going and seeing him or staying here and hurting your mom….that’s helpless and scary. It’s overwhelming.” Bea understands, she does get it.

And then, we change subject, but I’m not sure when or how. I’m too dissociated today to keep track of what is happening.

“Did you maybe want to go over your email? There were a few things I wanted to touch on, if that’s okay.” Bea is referring to my email about the memory I had in session Thursday. We had emailed back and forth Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Don’t read it out loud!” I think I almost shout this at her, I feel like I shout it, anyway. I don’t want to hear my words read aloud right now. It’s more than I can bear.

“No, no. I wouldn’t do that, not right now. I don’t want to traumatize you further, you’re raw and undefended right now. There were just some things I wanted to talk about with you. And I wanted to tell you that I think emailing is really, really helpful for you. I like when you email, especially after a session like Thursday because I think it helps you process everything. In session, it was more your feeling-self, and there aren’t words. But when you go home, and you write, you work really hard to put it into words. But I think when you write, you still access the feeling part of you. Your writing..it’s beautiful, descriptive…..it’s like reading a novel. It’s really, really good.”

“Okay, we can talk about it.” I agree, quietly. Inside, I’m trying to process what she has just said. She likes my writing? She thinks my emails are like reading a novel? It’s like receiving a compliment from someone who sees me, really sees me. I can’t take it all in right now, everything is hurting too much, but wow.

“You asked, ‘why didn’t I yell?’ You were frozen, terrified. Almost trained to be compliant to him at that point. And the freeze response…..well, I think it’s worth saying, talking about, just how strong that response it. That’s why. It wasn’t anything about you being bad, or not wanting to yell. You couldn’t yell.” Bea sounds so sure of herself, of what happened.

“My mom…….” I close my eyes, and fight back tears, “…..she was there. Right outside. I don’t understand. No one knew.”

“It was awful. That kind of helplessness. It was awful. Terrible.” Bea kind of murmurs it to me, soft, gentle.

“Why didn’t she know? She should have known!!” The words force themselves out. I’m angry again, in some ways. “Am I crazy to think that?”

“No. She should have known. After the underwear incident, she should have seen,” Bea agrees with me. That is enough to bring my tears out. I’m not alone, not crazy.

“I should have felt safe enough to tell my own mother,” I whisper it. This is one of my worst, most secret thoughts about my mom. “Even before the underwear incident. I should have felt safe enough to tell.”

“Yes. You should have. I wonder if you did? When you were younger, when you were much littler, in the beginning?”

I stop, and think. I have more childhood memories than I had before therapy, but I don’t have a memory of telling my mom anything. “No. I didn’t tell her. Well. I don’t remember. Do kids tell? I mean….would it be usual, normal for a little kid to tell?”

Bea pauses. I think she is weighing what she is going to say, this time. “Well, often times, a kid might tell, and it’s ignored. If a kid doesn’t have the language to use to tell what is really happening, and the adults don’t want to think about such awful things, they can dismiss it, easily.” She sighs. “You could have told your mom, and if she dismissed it, you could have blocked it out, to keep the good image, a safe image of your mom.”

I want to argue. I want to say people don’t just forget something like that, block it out, but I know how much I have blocked out. Crap. It could be true. I have no way to know.

“On the other hand, if he threatened you, threatened to hurt your mom, your family, or made you believe you were part of it, and would be in trouble if you told. Those things can stop a child from telling. It’s really impossible to know.”

I freeze as she says this. In an instant, I’m gone. “My first thought when she said he would be there was that he would know I told. That I would be in trouble. And I got scared.”

“Wow. Wow.” Far away, Bea sounds shocked, amazed. “That speaks to how strong those feelings are, how deep those beliefs go.”

“I can’t go.” I panic as I say this. It will kill my mom if I don’t go to her party.

“That was my first thought. That you can’t go. That you need to be safe.”

“My mom. My mom is too fragile. More fragile. Holiday time makes her worse. So much worse. I have to to go. I can’t go.” My mind is circling around and around. I can’t think straight. Nothing makes sense. I’m too terrified to think through this fog in my head. I only know I can not go and see him, yet I can not hurt my mother by not going.

“Alice, it’s not your job to keep her happy. She is a grown up, responsible for herself. She has your Dad to support her. She’s not your job. You are your job right now.”

“She’s already hurt because I’m not staying long over Thanksgiving. And my dad is worthless when it comes to emotional support,” I say. I sound angry, I feel like I’m fighting Bea over this. I don’t want to go, but I need her to understand.

“I think it goes back to when will anything be enough for your mom?” Bea asks me. It’s a hard question, one that we have been over many times.

“Never. Nothing is ever perfect enough. Nothing is ever enough. But everything hurts her.” I say, sad. I’m sad for the fact that I’ll never be perfect enough to make her happy, sad that she needs that, sad for the loss of a relationship between us.

“Yes, nothing is ever going to be enough. Everything might hurt because she isn’t understanding why you have pulled away. But it’s necessary for you. You need to worry about your feelings. Yourself. You can always call and say you are sick. Maybe Kat can get the flu. That would be the least hurtful thing to tell her, the day of the party, someone gets sick.” Bea suggests. She’s right. It’s a good idea.

I nod. “Maybe. I just know I can’t go.”

“Yeah, I know. Can I read something to you? From your email?”

I’m scared, but I trust Bea, so I nod my head.

“Okay. ‘I want to stay home, have a nice quiet simple meal with Ryan and Claire. Be thankful with them, for the relationship the three of us have. That’s what I really want to do right now.’ You see, you did figure out what you wanted. Even if it’s not something you feel you can do, you did figure out what you want, how you want to spend Thanksgiving.” Bea sounds like she is smiling. “This is beautiful, too, by the way. It’s a beautiful way to spend Thanksgiving.”

“Maybe next year.” I say, embarrassed.

“Yes. Next year, you could be in a place to do what you want. What about this year? What will be good about going?”

“Bea, don’t CBT me.” Annoyed, I roll my eyes, she can’t see me, but she can hear it in my voice.

She chuckles at me. Bea likes it when I’m annoyed and feisty. “Well, it’s true. If you can change your thoughts, go into this with adventure, and excitement, then it can be a better, safer, less triggering experience.”

“Ugh. Yeah. I know. I know.” I hate CBT. It’s bad memories, of when I was a teen in therapy for eating disorder treatment. I snap the words out at Bea before I can stop myself. It’s like I’m 15 again, with a bad attitude.

“Yes, I know you know. But we all need a reminder, once in a while. I know this stuff, I’ve studied it, and I need a reminder to use it for my own life.” She says it gently.

“Okay, I get it.” I’m sorry. I feel bad for snapping, for my attitude when she is trying to help me. “I’m not all down and sad all the time. You just get the worst of it because I don’t talk about the happy stuff in here.”

“Ah, yes, no one comes to therapy to talk about happy things.” I can hear the smile in Bea’s voice. “So, what is good about Thanksgiving?”

I think. My two cousins I like seeing won’t be there this year. I don’t like the long drive. It’s boring and Kat is not good in the car that long. “My Aunt Judy might be there. I love seeing her. My moms one cousin raises and breeds dashunds, and he will bring the new puppies with him.” I’m feeling relaxed talking about these things.

“Okay, good. So you’ll go to Thanksgiving to see your mom, and it won’t be really awful.”

I don’t comment on the food. “It will be okay. It’s not like he’s at family stuff. I should be thankful for that, I suppose.”

“Well…..maybe the party has just changed your perspective on Family holidays and other Family things?”

I nod, slowly. It’s changed everything. “I…..he….the party……….” I’m frozen again, struggling to speak, tense in my body. He’s real. This isn’t going to be a onetime situation. It will happen again. At some point, it will happen without advance warning.

“The freeze response……I wanted to talk about that today. The book, ‘The body keeps the score’, a lot of what the author talks about, he seems to make it sound like some techniques take very few sessions to work, and I don’t think that is a true thing….but there is a lot of good stuff in there. We’re learning that the freeze response….you and I, we haven’t talked about how kids work through it, they play through it, different scenarios. We’re learning that it’s best for adults to do the same.” Bea pauses there, letting me absorb what she’s saying.

“Okay.” I’m uncertain, what is she suggesting I do?

“How is your imagination? Can you imagine what would have happened if you had yelled? Or someone had interrupted?” Bea asks.

I can’t think. I don’t know. All I can think is I would be in trouble. I would be in so much trouble. I can feel myself drifting, going away. I shake my head, curl into myself, hug my knees. “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

“Okay, that’s okay. This might be too hard right now. I asked about imagination because a lot of survivors have trouble with imagination. The imagination kind of gets stuck. Can you think who would walk by, or who would hear if you had been able to yell?” Bea is kind, calm. She’s Bea.

I nod. I don’t feel very grown up right now. “One of the moms.”

“Okay, good. So one of the moms might have just walked by, right as he showed up on the back porch, not really noticed or chosen to pay attention to what was going on, and sent you back outside to the pool to play? Could that have happened?” Bea asks.

I can agree that it could happen, but I can’t see it. It doesn’t seem like a real option. “Maybe,” I tell her.

“There are so many options. Maybe someone walks by and sees what is happening. Really sees, and stops it. Can you imagine that?” She asks me.

I shake my head. I can’t. “Everything would be different.” I whisper it. I can’t even begin to think of all the ways my life would be different, to see all the ways I would be different.

“Yes,” Bea agrees, and she sounds sad for me, “everything would be different for you. Even this party would be different because things would have been reconciled with him before now, so you would be going to the party.”

That idea sits between us for a while. I can’t wrap my head around it. It is too much. Finally Bea says, “What if Kenny’s mom caught him? What would have happened?”

I shake my head. I don’t know. I’m frozen, I’m thinking prim and proper Mrs. Smith would be horrified. Disgusted with me. I don’t know. I can’t answer. I’m too dissociated again.

“I want to take you out of it, okay? What would happen between Kenny and his mom?”

“I dunno. She might be mad?” I’m questioning, not even sure if I’ve said this out loud.

“Yes, mad. I’m sure. I can picture a mom, prim and proper, catching her son, and telling the dad to deal with it. Did Kenny’s dad yell at him a lot?”

“No…yes….I don’t know. He was loud. Emotional. I don’t know.” I shake my head. I can’t do this. I’m too confused.

Bea changes the subject, or maybe I am just too gone to notice that we have been talking about something else for a while. “Have you given anymore thought to telling Hubby about who?”

“No. I can’t. No.” I’m afraid. The carefully worded statement, “sexually abused by a male babysitter” is true, but it barely tells the story.

“I just….I really think the one thing you are missing is having someone who knows, and understands, who can hold you and comfort you and really understand how much comforting you need.” She tells me.

“If I told him….I mean, he’s thinking babysitter. That makes it sound like someone who is……” I trail off, not sure how to explain what I’m trying to say.

“Someone who isn’t really in your life. Once a month, maybe. Not someone who was around and really a part of life, around while you were growing up like Kenny was.” Bea picks up my thought, forms the words for me.

“Yeah. Right now, it’s not so awful in his mind…if I tell hubby, he will know…” I don’t say it out loud. If I tell Hubby who, he will realize how often things happened, and he’ll know how damaged and broken I am. And he will be angry. “He’ll be angry. Angry at my parents, at HIM, at everyone.” I sigh, I can’t do it. I can’t handle it.

“Yes, he will be angry. I’m thinking to myself, filter…filter…but my first thought is ‘He’ll kill him’.” Bea says.

“He would. He would want to.” I shake my head. “I can’t. I can’t handle anyone else’s anger and upset and big stuff right now. I’m to broken.”

“You aren’t broken. You are just raw, you are dealing with a lot. But not broken. And I agree, maybe best to wait. To tell Hubby when you aren’t so raw and undefended.” Bea says gently.

Again, some how we’ve changed subjects. We are talking about different therapies, the subject has switched, and I have forgotten how, or when. We are discussing EMDR therapy. Bea has brought it up once, in passing. She’s saying now that she has a friend who practices EMDR and could come to her office for me.

“No. No, no.” I’m shaking my head, no. I don’t think so. No. Why is she trying to get rid of me? I don’t understand.

“Alice? I don’t think EMDR can fix anything in a few sessions, or that it is something to be used alone, without talk therapy. It could be helpful for us, though,” Bea says.

“No. Why? Why would you want me to go?” I don’t understand. I’m confused.

“Not go. I would have Jan come here. I would be here. If there are memories that are too stuck, too easy for you to fall too deep into, and we can’t talk about them to process them, the EMDR might help,with those specific memories, so that you can talk about them.” Bea is speaking calm, slow. She seem to know she has scared me.

I raise my head, and peek at her. I’m scared. “No.”

Bea looks at me, just understanding on her face, but she knows there is more I need to say.

Finally, I get the words out, feeling like a terrified little kid. “Please don’t bring anyone here. Please no.” And then I hide my face.

She nod at me, and when she talks, all I hear is compassion, “Okay. It wouldn’t feel safe here, then, would it?”

“No. Not now. Maybe one day. Not now.” I say.

“Okay. Maybe with the yoga, you really are becoming more grounded,and having more dual awareness. We may not need anything else.” She says.

I nod. I notice it, too.

“Even today, you might not remember things from today perfectly, or feel like you were ‘here’, but I think you were a lot more grounded than you would have been a few months ago. You have managed to keep bringing yourself back here.” Bea sounds glad, proud.

“Yeah. I didn’t go all the way away, today,” I tell her, smiling. I’m proud. I’ve managed to stay present enough to talk to her, and yesterday I was present enough to know what I was doing, and check in on Kat and the nanny.

“Let’s see how grounded we can get you before you leave, okay?” Bea asks me. She talks, and helps me ground myself. She tells me to email her, even if she can’t reply right away, or send an in depth reply, she says sending emails is perfectly okay, she likes getting them from me, and it really is okay to send them. She tells me to go to yoga tomorrow, and that she will see me Wednesday.

When I leave, I feel less alone. I’m still spacey, still gone, but I’m not alone.

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12 thoughts on ““Not okay”

  1. EMDR..interesting. Can that help even many years after trauma?

    Boy, I get not wanting another person. Raymond wanted his wife to join us because of the way my body was quite frozen. She knew movement exercises or something. His idea scared me so much I had a nightmare about it. So he decided not to and tried instead to help me with movement. Relief.
    It was plenty hard enough, and took long enough, to learn to trust him to the extent that I did without adding anyone to the mix.

    All this is so raw and so hard.

    I still feel protective of you and want to walk in front of you with a bull horn and tell them all what he did and not allow anyone near you.

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    • Hi Grace. πŸ™‚ EMDR is supposed to be able to help regardless of how long ago the trauma took place, however, it is so far, anyway, known to be better for single instance traumatic events. That’s why Bea was thinking certain memories that are just too much for me, EMDR could really help. However, it is very controversial; there a lot of EMDR therapists out there who claim you don’t even need to talk about the trauma to heal, just EMDR sessions can fix it….process it, help the brain store it correctly. Bea believes that it’s not really true, that we need to share and have another head and see us to help us heal. I don’t know. I think I agree with her, because I feel better when I know she understands, and I’m not alone.

      Adding someone else is so scary…thank you for getting it. I’m glad it’s not just me. I feel like adding yoga was adding someone else, in a way. Even though she doesn’t really know much of anything. I still see Kris every week, and she knows enough.

      It is so hard right now. 😦

      I’m about to let you, Bea! and anyone else call my mom, steal me away, and not give me back until they fix it. Ugh. If only life were so simple. Thank you. It’s nice to feel protected, even if it’s not really possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, so much in one session. Yes…I think you were more grounded than you know. You were able to all about K! Huge step. So much better than sitting on the floor during session unable to focus on anything<~~~me.

    I guess we're both spacey this week. But be proud, you did great. Soon you will be talking about it without terror. But I so get walking into therapy not as a grown woman but as a traumatized child afraid she will get in trouble.

    Nice telling your story. Way to go Alice.

    Like

    • I’m a serious space cadet this week. I need to get it together before I have to drive across the state to thanksgiving! I’ve felt like a traumarized, frightened 10 year old for 3 days now. It’s not done much for my house hold chores, wifely duties, mommy duties…ugh. I’ve been hiding or panicking, or trying to fake okay.

      We are going to make it through this week. I swear it, we will. ❀
      Thank you…I'm not sure I did great, but I talked. πŸ™‚ xx

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      • You did more than good! Ha, better than sitting on the floor in panic & silence trying to pretend as if you ate fine. LoL, what was I thinking!?

        It’s crazy how the body can still feel the fear all these years later.

        We are so staying home for Thanksgiving. No mom, no visiting, no anything. Luckily i work from 9-8 tomorrow and 8-6 on Friday. I wont have time to think….at least until saturday. And i should have yoga on sunday which has been a true blessing

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      • I’m glad you are staying home, and doing the right thing for you. πŸ™‚

        Yoga seriously has helped me so much. I don’t want to admit it, but Bea was right. Yoga is good. πŸ™‚

        I’ve been in the “sit in silence and panic inside and pretend everything is fine” place many times. Um…my first appointment with Bea? After I had been bringing Kat to see her for months? I freaked, silent panic attack, I was gone, frozen, couldn’t talk. It was behind horrible. I know all about the silent panicked place.

        We are going to get through this. xx

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  3. I felt like I was on the couch with you. And I was waiting for Bea to respond. I can see how the holidays would be so traumatic for you. I’m with Bea though, I really hope you can avoid the get together. How awful for you to manage this on your own. But although you said you disassociated through much of the session you did extremely well. You actually talked a lot and faced a lot. That’s tough going. You know Alice, I think we’re doing this.

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    • I think we are, Penny, I think we are. I’m not going to the party. Bea was so serious, “no way can you go,” and she is right. I can’t. I’m managing to be dissociated and present at the same time….dual awareness, Bea calls it. So, kinda not here, but aware that I’m “not here” and able to fight to bring myself back enough to pay attention to what is going on. I feel like there was more that happened in the session, I was there for 2 1/2 hours (way over my time, thank goodness she has no one on Monday mornings but me), but I forgot it. Oh well. I remembered enough. We are healing. I’m proud of us. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dual awareness – thats interesting, i do that a lot, but i didnt know what it was. Brains are some tricky shit πŸ˜‰ we need to remind each other i think. Its gonna get bumpy! – of the healing that is, not the dual awareness!

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      • Yes….we sure do! I feel like I have a wonderful mini support group on blogging land. ❀ And I'm so thankful for it.

        The fact you have dual awareness is really, really good. If you can use it when going through trauma memories, it can help you stay in the present, and feel safer. The idea is that you can keep one foot on the past (trauma memory), and one foot in the present (safety). It does help, whe you can do it. I really struggle with this, because my dissociating happens so easily and quickly. Also, I struggle with it because I am disconnected from my body, and so I'm not grounded in any way, shape, or form. But, I'm learning.

        Liked by 1 person

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