I’ve been MIA this week. I intended to write, I wanted to write, but it’s really hard to put words down on paper, or even more so speak them, when you are stuck in your own head. I’ve written before about the room in my head, the one I retreat to when the world gets to be too much, when I can’t handle anything more, and the very idea of functioning is beyond comprehension. Well, that’s where I have been, hiding behind the thick curtains, closing out the window to the world.
After Thursday’s session a week and a half ago, I emailed Bea. I told her I felt like I needed to deal with the “r word.” I said I wasn’t so much okay, that I could feel myself sliding quickly into the not okay realm. I said that I was tired, and having nightmares, and struggling with all of this a whole lot more than I ever let on. Of course, I didn’t spell out how badly I have actually been feeling, because my outsides portray me as okay and capable and I still can not completely betray that image, that facade of perfection. We emailed through the weekend.
Bea has been bringing up things that hit so hard it is like being run over by a pack of wild elephants. When I emailed and said I thought I needed to face the “r word” and that it happened to me, she replied in a way that is unusual for her, but made me think. “I think one thing that is really, really hard about this is to try to comprehend just how horrible this really was. In many cases we see things online in the news that read like this: 19-Year-Old Man Arrested for Raping 8-Year-Old Neighbor Girl: Police Say Abuse Was Ongoing. Can you wrap your head around the fact that the girl in this headline could have been you if someone had found out? We read these things and we are appalled–who is that monster and what went wrong to cause him to do something so deviant? We expect the victim to get help and justice to be served. That never happened for you. Your secret and all of its pain was borne by you and you alone all these years.”
I mean, whoa. That’s crazy. How does a person wrap their head around the idea that they could have been that newspaper headline? And what else might that story have said? Would it have included my beliefs that I caused this? Bea says if somehow that little girl had spoken to the reporter, and told her version of the story, the public would have been even more outraged that an innocent child blamed herself; that they would have done whatever they could to help her see it wasn’t her fault and no one on earth blamed her. Is that true? Is that really what would have happened? Or would that child be marked forever as a child whore? I don’t know anymore. My mind feels so fractured right now, everything is split, and it’s too easy to see all sides.
Bea writes, “I can imagine it fueling a tremendous rage that, even if you don’t feel it yet, you will have to deal with at some point. How could it not be there? Society does not condone this in any way, yet it happened to you and it went unrecognized. It took away much of your joy of childhood and your teen years. Though it has also helped make you the kind, compassionate person you are today, it took much from you and you’ve been powerless and without a voice to speak out for yourself for too long.”
I’m not angry, not like that. I yell and scream to avoid hurt, to keep people away. But I don’t have this giant rage inside me. I truly don’t. We talked about this via email, and Bea pointed out that my eating behaviors and cutting are a form of rage against the self; rage turned inward. I tried to remember, did I feel full of rage the first time I purged, or cut or starved? I don’t think so. She says even with rage turned inward, there should be outward rage as well. But there isn’t. And that is when she wondered if Kat’s out of nowhere rages are actually her acting out my rage. And well, once the concept of rage being split of from me, yet Kat somehow feeling it and acting it out, on a purely unconscious level, was explained to me, I had to admit there might be something to that theory.
By Monday’s session, I had a 5 page list of things to talk about, that relate to the dreaded “r word” and my Miss Perfect face on. I don’t remember much of that session, to be really honest, except that we talked a lot about feelings, and about the “r word” in general. Why is it so awful? Why does that one thing make it seem like everything else has changed? Why didn’t I know what had happened, when Bea knew early on? (This one is because I described something in a very child-like way, and because Bea works with kids, she was able to recognize exactly what I was describing.)
Tuesday and Wednesday, Miss Perfect was in control and I was hiding out in my head, going through the motions of my life. Sometimes, that’s just simpler. I prepared for, and sat through a team meeting for Kat’s therapists, cleaned the house, made dinner, did the grocery shopping and interacted with my family. Anyone watching me would have said I was fine– more than fine. If they could see into my head, however, they would have thought about locking me up and throwing away the key.
I saw Bea on Thursday, and I was pretty messy. As much as I wanted to cry and tell her how screwed up my head felt, and how I had been hiding and acting okay, I didn’t. I pretended to be fine, and aimed to talk about nothing type things. Somewhere inside me, I knew I would be upset at myself for making chit chat and wasting my session, but I couldn’t stop myself from acting like everything was fine and perfect.
Somehow, I told Bea I had taken a nap the other day and was so mad at myself for doing so. She tried to get me to see this as self care, she tried to get me to accept that it’s okay to have a nap when I never sleep, she tried to get me to see the positive that I had slept and no nightmares. All I could see was that I had slept, during the day, when I should have been doing something. We moved on, talking about the “r-word” and who was to blame, what had caused it…..I think she drew a parallel between Kenny and my college boyfriend. I don’t remember. Somehow, though, I was telling her how I had turned the college boyfriend mean, and I was sobbing about it, unable to breathe, panicking over it. And then she said yet another sentence that has stuck with me these last few days, “And a person who could turn someone that mean doesn’t deserve to have a nap, or get a break, or be less than perfect.”
I don’t remember the end of my session, only that it took me a long time to stop crying and to calm down, and that Bea told me she didn’t mean to poke something so raw, or open a box of hurt when she talked about the boyfriend. I knew that. I know she never does anything to make someone hurt.
These thoughts and ideas she is adding into our emails and sessions, though, I don’t know what to think of them. A lot of them are so painful to try to think about, and to wrap my head around. It’s complicated. But I have a lot to think about these days.