The first thing :part one

I’m sitting on the sofa, criss cross applesauce, in Bea’s office. Hagrid is laying next me, tuckered out from our 7 am walk. I’ve told Bea how we moved Kat’s room upstairs and how the downstairs is one giant playroom now. We’ve talked about how I spent all weekend organizing and cleaning, and how Kat seems much happier with her room being upstairs. Now, I’m sitting, staring at the floor, silent and unsure of myself. 
“I wondered how the weekend was going to be for you, after Thursday. It was the first time in a long time we’ve dug down deeper, and I wondered if you were going to be able to be grounded or not. But it sounds like you had a productive and present weekend,” Bea says. 
I stare at the floor, my eyes going back and forth, looking but not really seeing. I feel so nauseous, I know what I need to bring up. I just don’t know how to, or if I can. “I….usually….cleaning like that is a distraction. But….it’s like auto-pilot….not really thinking at all.” I stop, try to to breathe. “I…it wasn’t like normal this time…..I was thinking a lot.” It’s all I can get out for now. I’m not trying to be cryptic, I’m just so uncomfortable with this topic I can’t say more than that.
“What were you thinking about?” Bea asks. 
I shake my head. The answer is in my head, but it’s hard to actually put the words out there, into that space between Bea and I. I’m tempted to say ‘stuff’, but the answer feels like sassy teenager, and I’m not feeling sassy. I feel scared, alone, nauseous, nervous. But not sassy. “Something that makes me anxious,” I finally answer. 
Bea waits, maybe to give me space to say more, maybe thinking of a response. “Something that makes you anxious. Do you want to say anymore about it?” Her voice is kind, curious, gentle. If I had asked that question, it would have been full of irritation and maybe even anger. But Bea is accepting of my inability to say much at a time, even if she doesn’t know what this is.
I shake my head. “I can’t. I just…I wish…I’m scared.” The words are a whisper. Maybe quieter than a whisper. 
“It’s been a long time since you’ve been in this place of digging and searching for words. It is scary to think about putting things out there. Is this something we’ve talked about before?”
Hagrid kisses my hands, head-butts me until I scoop him up and hold him for a minute. He always seems to have this sense of where I am, and he usually intervenes before I get too far away. I feel like it takes me a really long time to answer her question. “I don’t know,” I finally say. “I think so. Sort of.” It’s so confusing. Bea has talked about it. I don’t talk about it. I’ve always refused to talk about it. I don’t know. 
“Have we talked about it a lot?” Bea tries a different angle. 
I shake my head at her. “I just….I don’t know. I really don’t even know how to answer that.” 
“Can you tell me if this is the past or the present?” 
“I don’t know how to answer that, either,” I answer her honestly. 
“Okay, that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with just talking about talking about it. Talking about the feelings talking about it brings up. Talking about why it’s so scary to say it,” Bea says. She sounds so reasonable, so kind. And I’m hating myself, because I think she is probably thinking this is a memory, something to do with my trauma history, and it’s not a memory. I feel like a liar, like I am misleading her.  
“I don’t know why I am so scared. I don’t know,” I tell her. 
“Maybe this is one of those things that goes in the ‘let Bea help make sense of it’ category,” she suggests. I know she means it, because she has been saying things like that from the beginning of my therapy with her; that our job is to make sense of things together. 
I shake my head. “I’m afraid. I’m just really afraid…..but I think…..I think I should talk about this.” 
“It’s so hard, isn’t it? When we have been thinking and putting things into coherent thoughts in our minds, but it’s almost like we don’t think in words sometimes because it’s so hard for us to find words to say.”
I take a deep breath. Take another. “I…I…have the words. This time, I have the words.” I whisper this confession; it takes longer than it should for me to get the words out. 
“Okay. This isn’t one of those wordless times. That’s good,” Bea says softly. 
“I’m…I’m afraid to say the words. Because once they are out there, I can’t take them back.” 
“Maybe we can reframe this. Maybe we can look at this as if once the words are out there, they are a lump of clay, waiting for us to form them and make sense of them.” I like what Bea says; I like the idea that the words aren’t the be all end all. But I don’t know if she’s right. 
“I imagine this feels like starting over, again, in some ways. Maybe you have to figure out how to trust me again, how to feel safe opening up again. It’s a hard space to be in.” Bea adds. A little bit of the fear I feel lessens as she speaks; she gets it, she has once again somehow seen a lot of my fears.
“I wrote something.” I blurt the words out, quietly, as quickly as possible. 
“Maybe we should start there, then?” Bea asks me. 
I find it hard to respond, but eventually I whisper, “I don’t know.” I’m in that heart racing, panicked, stomach upset, migraine inducing, wanting to run away and hide but too frozen to do that place of anxiety. That place where it feels like these feelings won’t ever end, that they will go on and on forever, and you will be swallowed whole by them, until there is nothing left except anxiety. 
“Tell me, why do you think that you should talk about this?” Bea asks me. She is usually the first to point out to me that ‘should’ is one of those clue words that means I’m judging myself in some way or another, but she lets it slide this time. 
I don’t want to explain. I don’t really know how to explain, exactly. Partly, I think I should talk about it because I believe if Bea was in my head, she would be pushing me to talk. “I….well…it’s that…I mean…..if I don’t……I don’t think………I don’t think I can talk about anything else until I talk about this.” 
“So this is the first thing, then. Okay.” She says this matter of factly, simply. 
I nod, and then I slowly pull out my iPad mini and open the letter I wrote to her this morning (or last night, however you want to look at it). I stare it for several minutes, internally debating if I can really do this. “How about you read this, not out loud, and then we can not talk about it?”
“Yes, ok. We can do that. But not talking doesn’t help you very much,” Bea points out.
“You can talk then. I don’t know. I just..I’m scared.”
“We can leave the talking open ended, okay? You can see, decide after I read it.” Bea says.
I nod. I’m tempted to ask if I can leave after she reads it, but my session is only about 1/2 over. I hand her my iPad, and bury my face in my knees, curling into the smallest ball I possibly can. 
To be continued in another post……..

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