If I could freeze my heart…….

Bea had class this past weekend; the last of her sensorimotor classes. I’d emailed her, and she had emailed back. I didn’t send a reply back, although I did write all weekend, and had brought my writing with me. 

“How was class?” I greet her when I walk in. 

“I want to tell you about my class and what we talked about this weekend. So much of it seemed like it would be very relevant for us and our work. We talk about top down and bottom up approaches, and sensorimotor therapy has dealt with mostly bottom up, but this time we talked about things that were more top down and then working with sensory stuff. It might be more helpful for you. But before I tell you about that, I want to hear how you are. I thought I might hear more from you this weekend, and I’m wondering how it was?” Bea starts the day off by focusing right on me. 

“Ugh. It was…I don’t know. Just…I mean…..we went to my parents.” I shrug. I want to cry and tell her hard the weekend was, but I just can’t. I feel off, weird, strange. I don’t know. 

“How was it?” She asks me. 

“I didn’t…ugh. I did write back. I just didn’t send it. But I did write this weekend.” I pull my iPad out of my bag. I don’t make a move to hand it to her, just hold it in my hands and stare at it. 

“Did you want me to read it?” She’s looking at me, I don’t know what this look is. Maybe, I don’t know, like she can’t figure out what I’m doing, or what is going on in my head. I wonder if she knows I’m here-not here, in this strange space of confusion. 

I nod, and hand the iPad over to her. She takes it and she starts reading it. 

“Oh…I’m sorry, so sorry that your mom couldn’t do what you needed. That has to hurt, be difficult.” Bea says. 

I cover my face. “I can’t talk about that right now.” 

“Okay,” she says. “This….it is so scary and confusing when the okay part has to share space with the not okay part. It makes it really hard and very triggering when you have to do things like talk to the doctor about what happened.”

“I can’t. I don’t know. I don’t want to deal with this. I can’t. I can’t write anything.” 

“Well, that’s okay. It’s not surprising.” She pauses and looks at me. “Maybe now would be a good time to talk about what we learned in class this weekend.”

“Okay. That’s fine.” I shrug. I don’t care. I want something from her, I’m needing something, but I don’t know what it is. I only know I don’t feel like things are okay right now. 

“We talked about parts, and ways to look at the parts. It’s things we have talked about and acknowledged, but I like very much how the instructor broke it down. It’s the same as we have talked about before. That when trauma happens, it causes a split. It causes a part of you to stay okay, and go on functioning and a split of part become the not okay part. Some people have a lot of split off parts, some have one or two. And it’s all a spectrum; one end being a person who is mostly all okay, and the other being parts that are very separate, like DID. You’ve heard of DID?” 

I nod. “Yes. Of course.” I’m curled up, knees to my chest. I’m hiding my face, randomly peeking at her, unsure of where I stand, and what I want. 

“You aren’t DID, but you so have parts that can be fairly distinct and easy to identify. I think, as we work through things, and acknowledge the different parts and what they want or need, things will feel more integrated and that healthy adult part, the truly okay part, will be able to run the ship more often.” Bea explains. It’s similar to what she had said in her email, but maybe more of an explanation. I don’t know. 

“Okay.” I mumble. Bea hands me a sheet of paper. It’s a chart, a diagram of parts and how trauma splits things. 

“I like this chart. I wanted to share it with you. It’s not actually from the training, but it’s similar to how the instructor broke things down. What it’s saying is that the split of trauma causes different parts, and they all have a function. Like we might end up with a flight part or a fight part. We can end up with an attachment cry part, a freeze part, a submitting part.” Bea is speaking very causally, like we are having a regular conversation, but I feel like I’ve entered the twilight zone. This is the most present– and I’m not exactly here– I’ve ever been when she has been discussing parts. 

I keep reading the sheet, over and over, searching for something that I can’t find. I pull some paper and pen out of my bag, start copying the chart. 

“Can you think of what part might be activated when you are skipping meals, not eating, or binging and purging?” I groan, cover my face with my hands, and Bea’s voice sounds like she has a smile in her voice when she says, “Yes, I said it. I used the words.” 

I point to the flight part on the paper, unable to even use my words right then. 

Bea nods. “Yes, the flight part. Any eating disorder behavior, really any addictive behavior, is flight.” She describes what flight might look like, the client who is fidgety, on edge, can’t settle down, is ready to jump up and run at a moment’s notice. I think of all the times I feel like that internally, but manage to be calm, or shut down outwardly. 

She asks about the other parts, asks what I think about this language, the way it’s laid out. 

“I don’t know. I just….I need to think.” It take so long to even get that out. I’m unsure how I feel. I don’t want to talk about this. Everything feels off, disjointed, confusing. I want Bea to fix it. I don’t want to talk theory, or logistics, or concrete things. I want connection. I just don’t know how to get that. 

“You need time to digest it. It’s hard to wrap your head around when you see it all laid out like that.” Bea says. Her words feel wrong. I don’t need time to think, or to digest this. It’s a conversation we have had before, just not one I’ve managed to be present for before this. Why is she acting like this is brand new? I’m confused. I feel like I’ve missed something. 

I’m done today. I don’t want to talk or think anymore, and I don’t want to sit here and feel like I need something but don’t know what it is I want. I shut down anymore attempts Bea makes to talk with me. I just can’t deal today. Before I leave, I tell her that I will try to write a letter to the doctor. Bea smiles at me, and says she thinks it’s a good idea. 

I leave feeling empty and off and like I don’t want to think about this. I’m sad and alone and I really just want someone to make things better. By the time I get to my car, I’ve shit down, closed off my feelings and made myself numb. Maybe, if I try hard enough, I can manage to freeze my heart. That sounds good. A heart so frozen, with so many walls of ice built up around if that no one can hurt me, that it’s impossible for my heart to feel broken. 

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16 thoughts on “If I could freeze my heart…….

  1. I hate these sessions – when you need something but you’re not quite sure what it is, or you can’t articulate it, and you leave feeling worse than when you came and if she can’t make it better or doesn’t understand then it seems like nobody will. So hard. Do you think maybe it was triggering when she opened by saying she thinks it will be good to do more sensorimotor stuff without acknowledging that it’s been hard in the past?

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    • I don’t know. I’m at a loss as to what I want or need from her. I don’t know what keeps happening. I think I came in triggered. I don’t know.

      Thank you for getting this. It’s exactly this– if Bea can’t understand or make it better then it feels so heartbreaking because it’s as if no one can. Xx

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  2. Sirena says:

    Like Elsa from Frozen? She wanted to freeze everything out and stay in a beautiful ice walled castle.
    I’m sorry you didn’t get the connection you needed. It seems like Bea comes back from these courses so full of excitement and ideas that she misses the simple nuances of what you’re needing in the moment. There’s another chance to get it next time, but it’s pretty crappy right now when you need it and can’t access it, isn’t it?

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    • Yes! Exactly like Elsa. Maybe I should be embarrassed but I really identified with Elsa– cartoon or not, I understand why she built her ice castle and hid.

      It is really crappy when things don’t match up like I’m needing them to. It’s a good reminder that just because we didn’t connect this time, it doesn’t mean she is gone– there is another chance to get it right next time. Thank you. Xx

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      • Sirena says:

        I identified with her too. I think a lot of people did. ” Let it go, let it go….” omg singing that song now lol

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      • I think so, too. It’s the idea of having to be the perfect girl and never let them see….and then her letting it go. I don’t know. Kat and I sing that song all the time. 🙂

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  3. Meh this is the worst. I hate leaving sessions with a sense that my therapist wasn’t attuned or connected to me. I’m very intrigued about this sheet she showed you though and I wish I could see it. Sounds interesting.

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  4. One way I see it as Bea looks at you as a colleague rather than a client because you possess that kind of wisdom. In that respect it is a testament to your capabilities and resources.
    But I feel such a loss for you at the same time, because you are paying for input from a therapist not discussing how to treat a client, and in that respect your needs were not met.

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    • Yes…at times she does discuss things with me like a colleague. I don’t know if it’s a testament to anything about me, but I like to learn, research, and understand the concrete things and how this stuff works. If she didn’t talk to me about it, I would be upset. But I think you are right, at times it does mess things up. I don’t know. I can’t want it both ways, but I do. 🙁 I’m thankful you get it, see it. Xx

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  5. When my therapist starts talking all “technique” and “theory” and I am in the little girl mode, it feels the same way to me – I feel confused and totally abandoned and so incredibly sad. Bereft even. The little part says “don’t you see me? Why are you talking to this adult version?” I’m sorry Alice, it is so tough to feel this way after a session and have to wait for the next in person visit to really reconnect.

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    • Yes! I have been much more in teen and little girl mode the last few weeks. But I don’t want to be needy and sad and won’t ask her to acknowledge those parts, I just need her to see me. Ugh. I don’t know. Thank you for seeing the little girl. Xx

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  6. It sounds like you were really shut down after therapy. I often feel that way. Therapy can be so draining. Wanting needing something and not knowing what that something is is a horrible feeling. Sending many hugs. XX

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    • Therapy is really draining. It’s hard because I need it, and would be a mess without Bea, but it’s also emotionally exhausting. I hate wanting and needing something but not knowing what it it; it’s just this feeling I don’t have words for. I still have a little of that feeling left, but it’s getting better, since last session and emailing Bea this weekend. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

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