Tuesday night, and Hubby has been called to go back into work at 11pm. I don’t want him to go. I’m feeling scared, unsafe. Earlier, I took Kat to Mcdonalds, and let her eat a happy meal and play in the play place. I’m too dissociated to do much else with her. We came home and snuggled. She’s in bed now, and Hubby is leaving for work.
“You really have to go?” I’m snuggled in bed, with all my pillows and blankets. I have Teddy Roosevelt Bear with me, too. He was given to me by my Grandma and Grandpa for my 4th birthday.
“I really do. I love you. I’ll see you in the morning, when you are home from Bea’s.” Hubby kisses me, and heads out the door.
I can’t settle myself, every noise sounds frightening, it’s not safe. I end up moving the pillows and blankets into the bedroom closet, curling up there. I feel insane, afterall, I am 31 years old. I shouldn’t need to hide in the closet, but I feel safe in small spaces. I stay there, hiding all night. I sleep off and on, waking for good at 4:17am.
I get to Bea’s early, just before 7:30am. It takes me over 10 minutes to leave my car. There are so many people walking by. I’m jumpy, on edge.
I walk into Bea’s office, it’s 7:42am. I sit down, look at her. Right away, tears threaten to fall. “I’m not better. I’m still not okay.” I shrug. I feel like a failure.
“No….I can see that.” Bea looks at me. “This is a lot this week.”
I nod, bury my head. I can’t do this. It’s all too much. I need to hide.
“Is it Thanksgiving? Are you upset about going, seeing your mom? Dealing with her and the family?” Bea asks me.
I don’t answer. I can’t, I’m stuck. I sit, quiet, not talking.
“I suppose we could really look at it as a choice. Maybe that would help, to see it as a choice. You are making a choice to go. You have free will, you are making a choice, even if it doesn’t feel like it…..you don’t want to go, but you are going…” Bea trails off, maybe sensing that’s not what is bothering me.
“I’m fine with thanksgiving. It’s fine. I’ll be fine,” I say. The words are slightly hollow, but convincing, too. “I’ve made peace with my choice. I’m okay with it.”
“Oh! Okay……Is it thinking about Kenny being real?” She hits it, spot on, this time.
“Yeah. That’s it. I can’t….I just can’t. It’s too much. It’s all too real now.” I curl up more. Just mentioning him makes me panic inside more.
“Are you worried about seeing him over thanksgiving?” Bea sounds a little worried. Like she is just now thinking this could be a real possibility.
“No, not this year, not this time,” I tell her. It’s true. We won’t see them this year.
“Do things….are you feeling less safe since he has started to feel more real?” She asks. She’s right again. That’s exactly it. I’m safe in my house, safe in her office. But I still need to hide. I still don’t feel safe, not in my head, not in my body, not in my world.
“I’m not safe. I don’t feel safe at all. It’s stupid. I know that.” I’m embaressed. I wish I could just act normal.
“It’s not. Trauma memories feel real, feel like they are happening right now, but somewhere, we know they are the past. This….this brought him from the past to the present. That’s going to effect how you feel safety wise.” Bea sounds like the shrink who knows what she is talking about. I believe her. I feel less crazy. “Are you having thoughts, images, feelings that keep coming, reoccurring?”
“Yeah….yes,” I say. Admitting that is hard. I hate admitting to what I call the “circle thoughts.” They make me feel crazy. Being told that they are actually a symptom of PTSD, and that I’m not crazy has helped, but I’ve spent a long time believing I was crazy for a lot of things, and the beliefs still stand strong in my mind.
“I’d like to talk about what is going on in your body, right now. I know you’re still here, this isn’t ‘gone’ body language, and I’m still here. Are you still feeling like hiding?” Bea asks.
I nod. “I still need to hide.”
We are silent for a few moments, and then she asks if I went to yoga yesterday. I groan. I tell her I freaked out, I went, I freaked out, it was awful.
“What was the pose, what was she wanting you to do?” Bea asks me.
“I don’t know….” I actually do know, but I don’t want to discuss it. It seems like too much to add right now. Plus, I don’t want to tell her I think I made Kris annoyed, because then I’ll cry.
“I’m just wondering, because I have a feeling you might feel more in control if you sat up, put your shoulders back, like one of your yoga poses, and breathed. But it has to be your idea. Because when we feel so strongly like hiding, even being told to stand up, or move can be extremely triggering.” Bea says.
I shake my head at her. I’m not moving, I can’t do it.
Because it is fairly obvious that I’m not going to talk right now, Bea talks for me. “Last time, a few things came up for us. Well, for me anyway. One, a major one, I was half joking that Kenny should be the one not going to the party, but really, that would be a way to circumvent all the rest of the worries, of hurting everyone else with the bomb. People confront their abuser for all kinds of reasons……it’s not something you would ever do lightly, without really thinking it through. But it’s not something we have ever talked about before.”
“No…no. No. No. No, no, no, no.” I’m a broken record, repeating no, over and over, shaking, terrified, I can’t think, I can’t confront him. No. No. No. She doesn’t know. She has no clue. He is powerful. He is scary. In real life. I can’t. No. No. No.
“That’s a scary thought. Yeah. I know. It is a very scary idea. Maybe you aren’t ready to think about that yet,” Bea speaks soft, and then she breathes, in and out, slow deep breathes. I follow her lead, calm down.
“We haven’t really talked about the good memories, I’m sure there are some really confusing things, maybe even missing things about him. It would be normal, natural to miss parts, or to think about memories of him that are good and wish he was that person only. A relationship like that….it’s so intense. There’s really no other relationship that is as intense. It’s like with the boyfriend, that intense relationship, but way before you were ever ready to have those feelings. It would be normal to have sexual feelings, even if you didn’t want to, about some of those memories.” Bea doesn’t believe in waiting for a client to bring things up that might be uncomfortable, she’ll always bring it up, throw it out there, try to make things less taboo, make it safe to talk about. I love her for that.
As grateful as I am to Bea for being willing to bring up these hard things, I’m not ready to even begin to think about approaching these subjects face to face. I freeze. I’m uncomfortable, I don’t even know what I think or feel. I can’t even really think about half of what she has said.
to be continued……