Defense and boundaries 

The rest of the week after Monday’s slightly odd session, I avoided thinking about much of anything. When I did stop for a minute and dig a little deeper, I thought about boundaries. I thought about how boundaries growing up in my family were very skewed. I never heard the word no. Seriously, my parents never said no to me. I think it was partly they sucked at setting boundaries, but also I knew what I could ask for and what wasn’t okay to ask for. I knew all the unspoken rules and nuances from a very young age. And I followed all the rules, because I didn’t want to be left. I don’t understand, how my parents could have such solid strict boundaries when it came to keeping out emotions and negative stuff and then have no boundaries in other ways. 

I realized that, for me, this idea Bea had when we had our most recent rupture, that we could disagree and still be on the same side was new to me. I hadn’t experienced that before. Where were the boundaries my parents were supposed to have to help me become myself? Where were boundaries that taught me it was okay to say no? Where were the boundaries that helped me learn where I ended and where others began? 

Therapy brought up discussion about which of the five F defenses do I default to. I didn’t know. It came up as Bea and I were discussing my behavior of running from Kay, and Bea wondered aloud which defense I used most. As we talked, she said she thought I used friendship/attachment cry the most. 

I laughed. Inside, I grimaced. “Nope. No way.”

“You don’t like to think that attachment is your defense. It is scary to think that,” Bea said.

I shook my head. “Yeah….but I don’t think that’s it.” The thing is, with Bea, it might be. But I have worked really hard to go against my instinct to run away from her. I want to heal. I want to grow and be healthier. I also know what *normal* looks like, and it’s not normal to run out of a therapy session or to run away from a new friend just because they have said or done something that was triggering. I say as much to Bea. 

“That makes sense. You can walk out here, if you need to. That is okay.” Bea says. She suggests that I might think about this defense stuff and boundaries and relationships this week. And so I do. 

I think and read a lot, and I decide that flight is my defense. The more I read about the five F’s the more I was sure flight is my primary defense. 

Flight is any means the individual uses to put space between themselves and the threat. It may involve sprinting away from the perceived danger, but is more likely exhibited as backing away or, particularly in children, as hiding. Avoidance is the go-to symptom of a flight response to uncomfortable feelings. Whether it be out of anxiety or acute stress, these are the people who are harder to connect with for many good reasons. They are the ones who try desperately to avoid any sort of intimacy or vulnerable moment with others by keeping many interactions at some surface level because that feels safest. Flight types appear as if their starter button is stuck in the “on” position. They are obsessively and compulsively driven by the unconscious belief that perfection will make them safe and loveable. As children, flight types respond to their family trauma somewhere along a hyperactive continuum that stretches between the extremes of the driven “A” student and the ADHD dropout running amok. They relentlessly flee the inner pain of their abandonment and lack of attachment with the symbolic flight of constant busyness. When the obsessive/compulsive flight type is not doing, she is worrying and planning about doing.
Going by that, even my dissociation is a type of flight. At first glance, it seems as if it is possibly a freeze response, but dissociation is my way of avoiding uncomfortable, scary situations. For me, it is all about going far away. It is about leaving and avoiding. I share this with Bea, and she finds it very interesting. She also agrees with me.  

The other interesting thing I found was a description of how these defenses work in a *normal* person. 

Walker (n.d.) outlines four basic defenses that most people use in life, but which in CPTSD become fixated and maladaptive due to ongoing trauma. These include the Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn and a number of hybrid types. 

When the Fight response is healthy an individual will have solid boundaries and the ability to be assertive when need be, whereas in CPTSD the person will become overly reactive and aggressive towards others.  

With a healthy Flight response, the individual is able to recognize when a situation or person is dangerous and withdraw or disengage whereas those with CPTSD will tend to isolate themselves socially to avoid threat. 

A healthy use of the Freeze response ensures that a person who is in a situation where further action will exacerbate things, stops and reassesses.  

And finally a Fawn response ensures that the individual listens and compromises with others, while someone with CPTSD will adopt a people pleasing approach to avoid conflict. 

I stayed pretty much on the surface, and In this more analytical mode. I think it felt safer, in some ways, just in case Bea wasn’t actually back. 

Sleep, sleep, and more sleep

Ever since we worked through this last rupture and began to deal with the falling apart, out of control mess that was December me, we have been very focused on sleep. It started when I emailed Bea, telling her I felt a bit more like I had been able to put all the crap away, maybe into a suitcase, and it wasn’t gone, but it wasn’t really with me, either, and I could open the suitcase when I was journaling or in her office and so I was okay during the day, that the bad thing was at night, I couldn’t keep the suitcase shut, it just pops open and I have no control over it, so I can’t sleep because I have to keep the suitcase shut and stop anyone who might open it. 

So, 4 sessions ago, on a Monday, Bea asked, “Can we talk about sleep? Because I think we could do some work around this, maybe see if we can’t make it not so scary to go to bed.”

I nodded, sure, okay. “I guess so. We can try.” I wasn’t sure I really believed we could *fix* my sleep, but I was willing to try. 

“Can you talk about what your bedtime routine is like? Do you have a routine? Or even what your evenings usually look like?” She asked. 

I shrugged, and proceeded to describe how Kat has quiet time, watching a show and snuggling with me. After that, usually around 8, she gets her pajamas on, brushes teeth and we put anything in her room that needs to be there, like pacifier (yes, my 6 year old still uses a pacifier, please don’t judge me. She needs it, it is a sensory thing associated with her autism, and we are working on not using it any longer, but by nighttime, she needs it), or her iPad to plug in, or her current favorite stuffed animal. Then we put on a short yoga video, do a bed time meditation, and then I tuck her into bed, sing a song, do one more bedtime mediation, put on her audio book, and kiss her goodnight. By this time, it’s usually 9:00pm. I clean up, pack lunches, do whatever needs doing. And then I start to find things to do in order to put off going to bed. And then when I go to my bedroom, I won’t lay down, and I won’t turn out the lights. I will sit up, in a brightly lit room, and avoid bed and falling asleep. 

“So then what happens when you do try to fall asleep?” She wanted to know. 

I shrugged. I didn’t have a great answer. “I don’t try. I try not to. I don’t know. I can’t lay down. I mean, I can’t like, lay down and try to fall asleep. I just stay sitting up. And read. Or listen to a book. Or watch a movie. And I fight falling asleep. Until I can’t anymore. Then I just……I don’t know. I guess then I finally fall asleep.” 

“Do you feel less safe when you lay down?” I remember her asking this gently, trying hard not to upset me. 

I nodded my head at first, and then told her, “It just….it triggers things. Pictures. Feelings. I don’t know. It is triggering to lay down right now.” 

She mentioned that I lay down when I do yoga, but I shook my head. I may twist myself into pigeon, and then take the form of sleepy pigeon, or do an up dog as I move through sun salutations, but never do I lay down on my back. I just skip those asanas in class and take a different pose, and at home, my flows just avoid it. Savasana is done in child’s pose, and it took me a long time to even feel somewhat okay with child’s pose. I used to take savasana sitting up, in hero pose, so child’s pose is improvement of a sort. I tried to explain this to Bea, but my words got twisted up, and it didn’t make sense when I spoke out loud. So I simply said I didn’t know. 

Three sessions ago, on a Wednesday, Bea asked me if I felt okay continuing to talk about sleep, or if there was anything else I wanted to discuss. I didn’t have anything else, sleep and flashbacks and nightmares had become my new normal and I was fine with talking about and trying to mitigate the flashbacks and terrifying dreams. 

I’d written to Bea on Tuesday, upset that I never got the chance to be *normal*. I said that all I ever remember was being afraid of the dark, of wanting to hide under blankets or in my closet, of being afraid to sleep. I said all I remember is having bad dreams and being scared and alone. I said it was like that now, when I go to bed. 

“When you go to bed, and you fall asleep, or lie down and have a flashback, what is that like?” She asked me, after reading back over my email. 

“I…..Its like I can’t move. I get trapped there.” I told her. 

“Do you feel frozen?” Bea suggested, and she wasn’t wrong to suggest that, because frozen tends to be a common state for me. 

“No, not like that…..like……a child, afraid to get out of their bed in the middle of the night. More like, because it’s night so it’s sort of scary, but also, my mother had rules about getting up and getting out of bed. Until I was 5, she had to come get me out of bed in the mornings, because she had drilled that rule into me so well.” I explained as well as I could. 

Bea hesitated then, but she eventually asked me if it was the same when Kenny would put me to bed. 

I remember feeling extremely foggy, and not wanting to feel anything while I talked. “No..I…he would put me to bed and sometimes, right away…..he’d, well, you know, rub my back, sing a song, I don’t know…..and then….he’d stay in my room and bad things would happen.” As much as I didn’t want to feel anything, fear and shame and disgust still lurked around the edges of feeling. 

Bea murmured something validating and understanding and it seems it was the exact right thing to say, because I continued on with the story. “Sometimes though, he would put me to bed and then leave. And he might come back. And he might not. And I never knew. I couldn’t know. So I just stayed awake and waited. And waited. And I was trapped and stuck and couldn’t do anything!” I remember sort of shouting the last sentence at her, but Bea never gets upset by that type of thing. 

“That was hard,” she told me, “Really scary and really hard. Worse in someways, to just be waiting, not knowing.”

I nodded. Exactly. And then, in a very tiny voice, I said to her, “I wanted and didn’t want him to come back. It’s confusing.” I felt so much shame when I told her that.

There wasn’t any judgement in her voice, though. “Of course you did. That’s what we talk about, how bodies respond, and how these things can get very complicated, because our bodies are made to feel good.” 

I remember physically shrinking away from her words. “I’m disgusting.” I whispered. 

“No, I don’t think so. Not at all. Bodies reacting, that’s part of the confusing part, but it’s also part of that touch being too much for a little girl. You never should have been touched in that way when you were little. You were a child. You weren’t disgusting, you weren’t bad. That is all on him. And that’s when you went away, right? You went away because it was too much, too confusing to handle?”

I nodded, I agreed with her. She continued then, when I didn’t say anything, “You protected yourself in the best way you could. That little girl was very smart, and very brave.” 

I shrugged, and I felt even blurrier. “I went far away to the place in my head. That was different than here not here.” 

“Yes,” Bea asked, “Did you create a place you could go and feel safe? Did you have a place you imagined?” 

I remembered sort of day dreaming as I tried to fall asleep, but I don’t share that. They were always dreams of my Sunday school teacher or regular school teacher or my favorite aunt taking me home and letting me live with them. I desperately wanted to live in a place with no secrets. Instead, I opted to share something else. “Maybe a place from my book…..”

“Ahhh, yes. Books were very important to you, weren’t they?” Bea remembered. I learned to read really early, before school, even, so by first and second grade, I was reading chapter books. “Was there a certain book you pictured places from?” 

“Maybe the secret garden?” It came out as a question, but I had meant it a statement. It was just difficult to share that part of my story. I’d never before shared how I used the garden Mary finds and creates to feel safe. It made me feel vulnerable, like Bea could see through me and see all my secrets. 

“Oh, that is a good one. I didn’t read the book, but I imagine the garden was beautiful.” 

I didn’t respond right away, and then I told her, “You should read it, it is a really good book. It was one of my favorites, I read it all the time.” 

We discussed the storyline, but I didn’t remember much of it. It’s hard to recall facts, when the last time I read the book I was probably 10 or 11. 

“What does the garden look like, when you picture it?” Bea had wanted to know. 

At first, it felt too embarrassing to say anything. I cant explain why. I just get embarrassed when asked to share things from my imagination. I finally described how the garden is a secret, so no one can find it or even knows about it, and then I described the weeping willow tree with a bench under it, and how I liked the tree because it sort of hides a person who sits on the bench, and I shared how there are purple flowers on vines that climb every where (morning glories, Bea supplied the name) and pink roses, and other flowers, too, lavender, and ones I don’t know the name of. 

Bea told me it sounded wonderful and very safe. “I think this book could be a resource for you. Maybe you could read some before bed, see if it can help?” 

Before we ended therapy that day, Bea carefully broached the subject of trying some SP around my sleep issues. She told me she felt like SP was the perfect thing for the sleep troubles, because they were so much more than a memory, the sleep issues are happening right now, in my present day life, and they involve feelings and thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. She was very careful in the way she suggested it, making sure to stress that SP was just an option, not something we had to do. I agreed to think about it. 

During my session, I had shrugged off her suggestion of reading The Secret Garden at the time, but when I got home that night, I found a copy of the book on kindle with the audible companion, and downloaded it. I’ve been listening to the story at night, when I am trying to fall asleep. So far, it’s not helped, but it’s only been three nights that I have tried it. 

Short update 

Okay, a quick update on this last week or so. I’m working on a more detailed post, but for now I have this…….I wanted to thank everyone who reached out to me and supported me. I spend December and the first week of January feeling so trapped, confused, and just utterly alone. Having my online friends really made a difference. It gave me the feeling I wasn’t alone, and that I had a place to go to feel safe. I’m doing this new thing, where I say thank you instead of I’m sorry. So, thank you all for being supportive in a really emotional time for me, and thank you for understanding when I don’t have the energy to leave comments or write my own posts. You all are very I important to me, and I wish for everyone of you to find safety and happiness. 

Okay, enough sappiness. Onto the update— it’s a quick list of what Bea and I have talked through and agreed on since last week Thursday:

1) Bea did not know I felt as bad, overwhelmed, and not safe as I was feeling the last month, and Bea would have been there if I had told her

2) Bea really do know when I am being “perfect” and am not okay, but I need to know explicitly that she is aware of this so we are going to see if it is helpful next time if she lets me know that she is aware I’m not “perfect”

3) I need to be more honest about the story I am telling myself in the moment (like when I am thinking Bea doesn’t want to deal with me so she is talking about other supports)

4) I need to work on being comfortable with collaboration. 

5) Bea is capable and not overwhelmed in dealing with my messy craziness, and she is going to try not to underestimate how important knowing she is there and I’m not alone is— it means a lot 

6) We agreed that transference happens in all relationships, and that it is a “lens” or template of how to do relationships. It is not bad, and talking about it can help to stop or break unhealthy/unproductive relationship patterns (maybe things that helped me in childhood or teen years, but are no longer serving me)

7) Bea can go to the thinky place AND still care/be supportive of me AND Bea can shift between the thinky place and the feeling place. She will give me a choice about hearing a thinky thought or needing her to stay with the feelings and I will work on not shutting down when she shifts to the thinky place so that I can see it’s okay and that she will go back to the feelings. 

8) We talked about the therapy relationships I had as a teen, and it’s clear that a there is stuff from past therapists that is triggering me when we try to discuss this relationship 

9) That hard truth about Kenny and not being able to do anything is painful. It literally hurts, a can’t breathe, can’t think, black hole of nothingness that I can’t find a way out of. It’s heartbreak, grief, panic. Helplessness, frustration, fear. 

10) I’m going to be brave and try new things, with reasonable rules in place so I can feel in control and safe. 

11) I thought more about it, and yes, it was very hard to lose Robin (old therapist in highschool/community college– I was 15 q. But, me being me, I never allowed for any sort of ending or goodbyes or discussion about it. We both knew that I was leaving for college in the fall, and I remember she tried to talk to me about it, something about really processing the goodbye, or loss, or I don’t know, and so I just never went back after that. And no one cared, really, because I was “fixed” so my parents didn’t care. And if was easier to just not go back than to say goodbye when I left for college. I guess I sort of suck at good byes. 

Everything is fine and I am numb and gone, gone, gone 

I’m unsure as to what happened today. Bea said or did something and she triggered the perfect part to take over. Ms. Perfect has written an email for Bea. It’s taking everything in me not to send it and quit. I’m posting the email below, hoping that maybe someone can help me know what to do. I’m numb and experiencing some depersonalization and derealization but all the emotion of the last month finally sent me to that in a bubble place. 

Dear Bea, 
I’m fine now. Everything is okay. Nothing is wrong, and I have it all under control. I need to make a plan, set a schedule, but everything is very much okay. You don’t need to worry anymore. I won’t be so needy anymore, I don’t need you now. I realize that last week was a lot; I was really needy and it had to be very obnoxious. I’m sorry about that. I won’t bother you again. I realize it was wrong of me to put you in a position of having to be the sole support. It is not fair to put that all on you. I understand where you are coming from, wanting me to tell others and get support from them. It is out of the question to tell anyone in my family, or to tell my husband. The family won’t believe me, and the one person who might, it is not fair to put them in that position. It is not a choice I am making, it is simply a fact, the way things are. I didn’t set up the rules or how they work, but I do follow them. One of the rules is that no one talks about serious things, emotions, or deep things. I don’t need or want them to know, anyway. I’m fine on my own. I do not need a support system, because I am not a victim and there is nothing wrong. I’m done digging around the past. It’s all locked back up, and I’m okay again. 

I couldn’t stop it (11/30/16)

I walk into therapy, and right away, as I’m getting settled, I talk about Kat and school and our first Girl Scout meeting. I’m desperately trying to pretend away this sense of dread, and feeling of panic I have. I tell Bea how amazing Kat is doing, and great is was to see her interacting socially with girls she had never met before. I tell her how it was, being the troop leader. I’ve never done anything like that before, but I had a blast. 
Thankfully, I have a co-leader, who seems very comfortable when it comes to dealing with the parents. That was the one thing I was unsure about— I don’t ever feel comfortable taking a position of authority or being the “expert” over my peers. Mostly because I often feel like a 5 year or a teen, I don’t feel as if my peers are really my peers. I’m much more comfortable with kids; the little girl part of me connects with them really well. 

Today Bea won’t let me spend the entire session talking about surface stuff. I’d sent a series of emails Monday and Tuesday, and had spent the last 36 hours in a hypervigilant, panicky feeling state. 

“Okay, I’m going to find your email and just read through it really quick to get back in that headspace.” Bea transitions us to talking through the email I had sent the day before.

“Sorry….I’m sorry.” I mumble, covering my face with my hands. 

“Why sorry? Nothing to be sorry about. Needing that transition time, that’s why we have 90 minute sessions. We have time built in.” It’s no big deal, she’s saying. 

“Because I won’t stop talking.” I bury my face, mortified.

“No that’s not it at all! We have the time because that time is important for building safety, for helping you feel safe enough to drop some of those defenses you need to get through your day to day life.” She corrects me and sounds firm, as if she wants to make sure I don’t start thinking badly of myself for needing that extra time. 
Bea begins to go through my email, reading it to herself, and responding as she reads. 

“I wondered– as I was saying that about the feeling impatient, annoyed— in the back of my mind, I wondered how that was sounding to you. I wasn’t talking about you, I have never felt that towards you. I do check in with myself, see how I am feeling, but it never has come up with you. Even at times when you are stuck, or avoiding things, it’s so obvious to me why you would be stuck or why your defenses would be needed at those times. You work hard in therapy and this is hard stuff. You can’t stay raw and open all the time. It would be way too much. I was talking more about people….it’s maybe people who……. they are in therapy because they know something is wrong, but maybe aren’t even sure what, and they are so defended, there is no getting through the walls they have built up, when I check in with myself and notice I am feeling impatient or annoyed with that person, then I know that maybe it is time to push against some of those walls, to challenge some of those defenses.”

“Okay.” 

“This is interesting. You say you didn’t notice anything, that there is nothing to notice, but then you noticed a whole bunch!” 

I think, maybe it’s that I have this idea that anything I’m noticing isn’t ‘right’ it isn’t what you are supposed to notice and get out of this exercise. 

“Even right away, when you are saying how you just kept thinking that it’s no big deal……..just a phone or a coffee cup you are thinking about picking up, those are your defenses, the it’s no big deal, this is silly. That is you using your mind to distract yourself.”

We talk about how reaching out is very, very hard for me. 

“And here you are looking at this reaching and touching from hubby’s point of view. When he grabs your hand, or puts an arm around you, how triggering is that? Is it triggering like distract yourself, or triggering like heart pounding, or triggering like go away?”

“I don’t know.” It comes out automatically. 

“I’m just wondering because knowing how triggering it is will help us to know where we might want to start with this, or what things we might want to try.” 

I sigh. “It’s……maybe it depends.” 

We sit in silence for a bit, and Bea finally asks if I can say more about that. She wonders what is it like when hubby holds my hand at the doctors office. “Maybe that isn’t so scary. You’ve had good touches in your life, too, so maybe that is a time when you remember your mom or dad holding your hand and comforting you at the doctors office. Do you have other times you can remember good touch, like cuddling with your mom?”

“No…..my parents aren’t touchy feely. My mom thinks it’s weird that I would snuggle up with Kat to watch movies or let her sleep in my bed. She’s good with babies, really little kids, being cuddly, but not so much with anything else.” 

“So maybe there isn’t a lot of memory there. What happens when hubby holds your hand? What is going on then?”

“It….if we are like, out walking and he grabs my hand, it’s just….I just distract myself. It’s not a big deal. But if like….I’m at the counter cooking and he comes up and hugs me or thinks he will run my shoulders it’s like……triggered in my head. Heart racing….like want to run away…..but of course I can’t do that. So I go away instead.” 

“So maybe when you are out for a walk, and hubby holds your hand you can notice how you are safe. And other times you could use the four steps to freedom— reminding yourself you are safe, that this is a reaction from a long time ago, that you are having a flashback, that sort of thing? Or maybe it’s too triggering to even do that. It’s just some things to play around with. To see what you notice, what helps or doesn’t help.” 

We talk about couples therapy and how that could have been helpful, and how hubby just hasn’t bothered to call and schedule and how I had asked twice so I’m done begging him to do things to help our marriage be better. 

“Okay, here you are talking about sending the email to me. You noticed you physically pulled back from the iPad and it was making you have that anxious sick feeling and that you had to go away to press send. You really feel very vulnerable reaching out. It’s hard for you to reach out.”

I nod. 

“But then you did reach out. You were able to send me the email.” She says.

“Yes. I just….have to pretend it doesn’t matter to me.” The interesting thing is, I have a great imagination, and can pretend away a lot of stuff. 

“I’m glad you sent it. I know it’s hard to reach out. Interesting that words are needed to feel not alone, that having no words means alone, when for so long you kept this secret and had no words. It’s a little confusing to me. I wonder if it means that in the last few years you have learned that using words and telling your story means someone can hear and understand? That it means someone can be there for you and that you have learned telling your story and being heard feels less alone to you?” Bea asks.  

“No……it’s like……words for anything. It’s like I need words to connect at all…..like hubby would be happy and feel connected if we were sitting next to each other watching a movie or each doing our own thing, but next to each other and that is like…..nothing to me. I need to talk.” I try to explain, but I’m not sure I’m doing a good enough job of making sense. 

“Ohhhhh….okay. I hear that from a lot of women. I think that is pretty normal.”

“Well…..it’s like a simple example I could think of. Like even when I was a kid, I needed to talk, I needed to talk and be heard. I would talk about anything and get in trouble for talking too much.” I say, trying to clarify it more. 

“Yes, okay, so talking was how you connected. It’s not trauma relayed, it’s attachment based, it’s how you feel secure in the world, by being heard.”

I nod. 

“So, I’m thinking attachment, and what are other ways we can communicate and connect? What are ways I see kids connect? Touch is one of the more obvious ones, I guess. But then I also see kids, they look up to see if their attachment person is paying attention. Some kids will act out, to get seen.” 

“That was never me,” I say. 

“No, I wouldn’t think so. Some kids go the other way, and might be very clever or very well behaved, to get noticed that way.” 

I nod. Maybe me. That’s more me than anything else. 

“All of the ways we use to get our attachment needs met as kids, well, I’d imagine they would be similar when we are adults. So, when you are needing words, maybe we can try other ways to connect, you can ask yourself how else you can get your needs met, or what it is you are needing that you aren’t getting because you have no words.” 

My first thought is that there is nothing if I don’t have words. Even though Bea has literally just listed out several other ways, that belief is so automatic I have to remind myself that she has listed out other ways. 

“The more I think about just how vital words can be, how they really can keep an anxious kid feeling connected, how much having words is an inherent part of who you are, the idea that you held that secret for so long is even more horrible. It’s no wonder everything bombarded you when you broke that silence.” 

I don’t say anything, but I think that maybe she does get it, my need for words. I’ve been upset and feeling overwhelmed for weeks, but it’s all come to a point where I can barely handle it. These last two weeks I’ve just wanted Bea to fix it. The little girl has been very much in control, and she has been wanting a grown up to make it better, to make all the hurt stop, to just fix it. I know, rationally, that Bea can’t just fix it, but that doesn’t stop me from being frustrated with myself for having no words, and with Bea for not being able to make it all better. I have this urge to just scream at her *Just help me. Help me.*

“Am I right that there is a lot going on internally, so much so that it is very overwhelming feeling, and it’s more than usually is going on, that there just aren’t words to go with what is happening?” She asks. 

I nod my head, just a little. 

“Okay. Can we try to define what type of things are going on internally? Feelings? Images? Emotions? Thoughts?” 
As Bea speaks, I let go of the breath I had been holding. She is trying to help me. She’s not abandoning me, leaving me alone in this. It’s not Bea on the outside, waiting for me to have words and connect with her, she is right here with me, trying to help me find the words I so desperately need.  “I don’t know.” 

“No words can be communication, too. If I was having lot of stuff going on internally but had no words, to me that would mean the things happening were too horrible, too scary, maybe too overwhelming, too sad, to put into words. Could having no words mean something for you?” 

I shrug. Maybe. I don’t know. 

“Try to focus on those feelings, if you can. See if anything comes up, if we can categorize these things,” Bea encourages. 

As we have been talking– or rather as Bea has been reading my words and talking– all the internal chaos has been stirred up, and I’ve gone from sitting upright, to curled up, knees bent princess style, my head down, resting on my arms. I try to sit with all the feelings, and I try to check in, to see if I can’t categorize this mess. 

After a while, I think, ‘it’s all of it.’ It’s emotions so strong I can’t sit with them, and so it’s hard to name them. It’s pictures, and thoughts, and I can hear his voice. I can feel things in my body. I want to tell Bea, to say that it’s all of it all rolled up together in a big giant bowling ball that is going to knock me down. I’m not sure if I manage to tell her anything at all. I’m really far away, so far away that I don’t even realize how far I’ve gone until much, much later. 

I’m crying and shaking my head, and it’s hard to breathe. 

“You’re really closed off. You really need to feel safe and protected right now.” Bea comments. “I wonder….when kids build walls, they build them for different reasons. Sometimes to keep something scary out, and sometimes to keep things in. I wonder which one your wall is for?”

I could build the tallest, biggest wall, and it still wouldn’t keep him out. I try and try, but nothing stops him. “It doesn’t matter,” I say. The words are disjointed, out of context, although they make sense in a way. 

“What doesn’t matter?” Bea asks softly.

Maybe I’m trying to keep the horror in my head inside. Maybe my walls are for keeping this awful stuff inside. Nobody needs to hear these things, or know them. Maybe my walls are to keep everyone out. People can’t hurt you if they can’t get inside the wall. Maybe my wall is to keep the little girl as safe as she can be. Maybe there is no such thing as safe. Maybe there never was. Maybe none of it matters. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants and there is nothing I can do to stop it or change it. 

“What is ‘It’?” Bea questions gently. I’d forgotten she was there, and her voice makes me jump.

“Nothing. Nothing. There is nothing I can do. I’m doing everything wrong and it doesn’t matter.” I blurt the thoughts out before I can stop myself. 

Bea might be talking, I’m not sure. She might be asking me what it is that I can do nothing about, or she might be reassuring me I’m not doing anything wrong; she might be telling me that it is an old belief. 

Her voice breaks through the fog in my head eventually. “You are really needing to feel safe and protected, to be far away. Are you far away in a safe space? I can see how tight you are holding onto everything, to keep yourself safe.” 

“No! It’s not a nice place. It’s not a nice place at all,” and I begin to cry. 

“It’s not a nice place. It doesn’t feel good to be where you are,” she echoes. “Can you focus on your hands, on the fists they have made? They are holding on really, really tight.” 

I don’t say anything, but I’m listening. It doesn’t truly matter what Bea is saying, her voice equals safety to me, and it’s like having a rope to grasp onto. 

“Can relax some of the tension in your arms and shoulders? You are holding on so tight. I wonder what would happen if you just let go a little bit?” 

I shake my head. “Can’t.” 

“Because your frozen or because it doesn’t feel safe?” 

I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m really frozen in the way I usually am, but everything in me is screaming that I can’t let go, I can’t move, it’s not okay. Finally I whisper, “It’s not okay.”

“What about making things even tighter? Sometimes that can be a way to get some movement back, too. To go with what is already happening.” 

“No,” I say, and I sound like a stubborn toddler.

“Okay. That’s okay,” she is speaking in that soothing voice, the one I use with Kat when she is really hurt and upset. “Can you stay with the feeling in your shoulders? See if anything comes up or if your arms or hands want to do anything? Maybe an image or a thought will come up.” 

If I weren’t so far away, I’d probably be annoyed that Bea was bring SP into this, but as it stands, I’m not upset with her at all. (And a day later, I’m still okay with it. Having no words and being so far away, SP was maybe the only tool that was going to be of any use. And Bea felt like Bea, not like a shrink, which made all the difference.) So, I tried to pay attention to how my shoulders, arms and hands felt. I was surprised to feel my hands in fits, and how tensed up and locked my shoulders and arms were. I hadn’t noticed. 

“I can’t do this, I can not do this. I can’t do anything. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.” I’m whispering, talking fast, my voice blurred by tears and punctuated by gasps. 

“That begs the question, why?” 

“Why?” I’m incredulous. Shouldn’t she know? Isn’t it obvious? “Why doesn’t it matter?”

“Yes,” she responds simply. Or maybe she says more, and the words don’t register because I’m lost in this maze in my head and I can’t find my way out and he is going to come and there is nothing I am do, it doesn’t matter.

“Because! Because I can’t do anything to change it or stop it! I can’t stop it!” Oh my God, I can’t breathe, nothing is okay, there is no such thing as safe, why isn’t my mom here, I wish my mom would come save me, no one cares, I’m all alone, he is going to hurt me, oh my God, please just make it all stop. 

“You can’t stop it,” she says carefully, and then adds firmly, “You couldn’t stop it THEN. This is now. You are safe now. You survived and you are safe.” 

“No! Stop it! I’m not safe. I’m not okay. He’s just going to do whatever he wants. He can do whatever he wants and it doesn’t matter what I do, there is no such thing as keeping the scary out, he can do whatever he wants! I can’t do anything. It doesn’t matter. He is going to do whatever he wants and I can’t stop it!” I practically scream the words at Bea. Why isn’t she getting this? Why doesn’t she see? I’m terrified and he’s going to hurt me and she is not getting it and I’m so mad at her right now, if she would just get it, she could fix it, she could stop it. Why isn’t she getting it? Why won’t she stop it? 

“Yes! Yes! You found words!” Bea shouts back, but her voice is…..well, happy isn’t the right word, exactly…..maybe excited or proud? “You are safe and you have a voice! And you aren’t alone. You did it! You did it and you are safe. You’re safe now. It was awful, and scary and nothing you should have had to live through, but you did live through it, you survived and you are okay. You are here, in my office, with me, and you aren’t alone.” 

Bea’s voice somehow registers enough that I know it’s okay to let go and melt down, and so I do. I curl into the smallest ball I can manage, and sob. I’m shaking and crying, and I feel wildly out of control, and very, very young and very, very afraid. “He does what he wants and he’s hurting me and it doesn’t matter I can’t hide and I can’t stop him and I can’t do anything at all.” 

“It’s over now. You are safe. You’re safe now. You aren’t alone, and you have words, and I am here. You are safe now. It’s all over. It’s not happening now, no matter how much it feels like it is.” Her voice is a quiet comfort, soft and gentle. “Can I move my chair closer to you?” 

“Why? Why?” I feel as though I almost shriek the words. I’m freaked out. Why does she want to be near me? What does she want? 

“So you aren’t alone, so that I’m not so far away. It’s totally your choice. I just want you to know I am here.” She’s matter-of-fact about it, and I believe her that she just wanted to make sure I don’t feel alone. 

“O-okay,” I say, and my voice is shaky. I’m still crying, and hyperventilating off and on, trying to catch my breath.

Bea moves her chair next to me, and the moment I feel her nearer, I have this urge to sort of shout, ‘don’t touch me!’ My filter is still enough in place that I check myself, and hold the words in. A moment after the urge passes, I realize it’s silly. Bea has never just touched me, or sat nearer to me, without asking. Even at times when she has maybe thought holding my hand would help me feel less alone, she has only offered, and let me know that if I ever ask her to do so, she will hold my hand. 
I start to feel as though I’ve let go of a horrible, awful secret, like my biggest fear has been revealed, and the world didn’t end. My tears slow, and I manage to catch my breath. Bea talks softly, about nothing, just soothing words, letting me know I’m not alone, giving me that verbal connection I need in order to feel safe in the world. 

“I’m scared,” I whisper. 

“I know,” she says. “That was very scary to let go of.”

“I’m so, so scared.” 

“I know. It’s a really scary thing, to feel how little control you had. It’s very, very scary.” 

“I didn’t want it to be true,” I confide. 

“You really didn’t want it to be true. It was really important to you that it wasn’t true, it was so hard, and so scary to let go of the idea that it was just a fun game. I know how badly you didn’t want it to be true. I wish for you it wasn’t true.” Her voice sounds sad, I hear tears in it. Her tears somehow make mine more acceptable; it’s okay to be full grief over this, it’s emotional and it’s a lot. 

Eventually she gently tells me I need to come back to the room, that I’ve gone really deep into things, and it’s time to come back. She reminds me of my busy day, and talks about what she sees in the room. When she has the sense I’m back here, or at least in that here but not here place, where I can function, she says, “I’m going to move my chair back, so I’m not in your face when you sit up.” 

When I do sit up, I can’t look at her, and I wonder about what she had said earlier, how looking a child will look at their parents to see if they are looking at the child, to get attachment needs met. I wonder then, why looking at Bea and having her look back at me feels like being ripped open, like everything in me is being spread out for her to see. I stare at the floor, slipping on my shoes and grabbing my bag. I heard the downstairs door a few minutes ago, which means Bea’s next appointment is here. 

“This was a lot. I want to make sure you feel safe, that you know you are safe and not alone.” Bea says. 

I nod. “I’m fine,” I say. I’m always fine. 

“I wish we had a little more time; my ten o’clock is here,” she confirms what I had already been thinking. She doesn’t want me to leave here and not be safe, but she doesn’t sound scared or panicked, just caring. “If you need to talk more, you can email or call. Okay?” 

I nod. Fine, okay. I’m fine. 

“This is a day for self care. Be gentle with yourself today, okay? Go get a coffee, relax. If you want you can sit out in the other room, as long as you need, okay?” 

“Okay. I’m okay.” 

“I’ll see you later today, okay? With Kat,” she reminds me. 

“I’ll see you later,” I echo, as I walk out the door. I’ve managed not to look at her at all, and in a fog, I walk to my car. 
Wednesdays are busy. It’s not a bad day to have tough things come out in therapy, because after i leave Bea’s, I have non-stop distractions until I bring Kat back for therapy. Then I can hide in Bea’s waiting room, back in h safe space, knowing she is right there, and begin to sort through the crap that came out during my morning session. 

Terrible week

It’s been a terrible week, last week and this week. 

I’ve written posts, and not posted them. I’m in a really bad headspace, of not wanting to communicate, not wanting to connect, not wanting to talk to anyone, and then feeling so horribly, terribly alone. 

Really, this started after the wedding. Well, I mean, I held it together for a few weeks, but when October hit, there was just too much to deal with. My birthday, the new schedule (it’s wonderful that Kat has a new school, but I’m still dealing with the new schedule and trying to find a happy medium type of scheduling or planning), my grandpa, past suicide attempts and the memories of the why, the whole underwear memory, leaving the boyfriend, finding out I was pregnant.

 And then going into November, it doesn’t get better. There are memories of having an abortion, the wreck I became afterward, Bea turning shrinky, the realization that I had no control as a child, and of course, this entire election mess. To top that off, I have been dealing with sinus crud since October (the usual), migraines from stress/anxiety/flashbacks (does anyone else get migraines after particularly bad flashbacks?) and that sinus crap turned into a full blow infection I couldn’t get rid of and then I ended up with an earache. 

And let me tell you, this earache business is no joke. I know exactly why babies and kids scream and cry. It’s like having a friggin’ migraine in your ear. I can’t even. And those homeopathic earache drops they make? Those a a joke. Seriously. They don’t do a thing, except add to the pressure in your ear and make your ear feel like you need to clean it out, except you can’t because you have an ear ache and it hurts like nothing else, and sticking a q-tip in your ear when it hurts like this is a dumb idea. Inprofun doesn’t help either. It’s a racket. And my ear hurts. 

I called my doctor on Friday, and her office only had opening with a male physician. I declined the appointment, stating the time wouldn’t work, and hubby took me to urgent care later that day. It was awful. At least the doctor was female. But she kept asking me if I had damaged my ear, of I had caused trauma to my ear, of I had shoved a q-tip on my ear and damaged it. I kept saying no, and she kept asking. It was like she was accusing me of lying. It was so upsetting. I mean, I clean my ears after a shower or bath with q-tips sometimes, but I think I would remember if I hurt my ear! Right? 
The pain started in the middle of the night of Thursday ,that itchy something is in my ear uncomfortable feeling. Friday morning, at 6:00am, it had turned into a constant dull pain, that achy throbbing kimd of pain, like a headache, and it was punctuated by sharp pain, and this feeling of my ear being stuffed with cotton or water, clogged somehow. So I’m pretty sure it’s not something I did. She eventually said it could be that the sinus infection spread and that it was possible the sinus stuff was putting pressure or had created a middle ear infection. She said all she could see was some dried blood and some pus. She prescribed antibiotics after fighting with me about amoxicillin. She wanted to give me the Amox, and I said no because it gives me a terrible rash, and the rash only gets worse each day I’m on it, to the point my doctor had to treat with a steroid shot the last time someone prescribed Amox. She kept telling that was a side effect, not an allergy, and that the rash does not mean it shouldn’t be prescribed. Eventually she wrote a script for z-pack and I was on my way. I wanted to cry. I felt like I’d been verbally attacked. And after 4 days of z-pack, my ear still hurts. I called my regular doctor’s office, and made an appointment for Thursday. My doctor is out of town this week, so I’m seeing the female nurse practitioner. Of course now I’m afraid she is going to accuse me of hurting my own ear, too, and yell at me. Ugh. I’m hoping my ear gets better before then because I really don’t want to have to go to the doctor again. I have a lot of anxiety about this right now. 

Between all of that, the grown up Alice is struggling to stay present. The little girl has been ruling things. And she likes to hide, to stay cut off from people. Well, she wants people around, but she is afraid to ask. She is afraid to say she needs anyone. She’s terrified of reaching out, needing something, and finding no one there. She can’t do it. And so here I am, holding onto posts I wrote over a week ago, reading blogs and writing comments that I then delete instead of sending, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Either there is nothing wrong with me, or everything is wrong with me. 
(I wrote this on Monday. Since then, I have been back to urgent care, this time with a different doctor. She looked at my ear and said it was a really severe infection and prescribed stronger antibiotics with ear drop antibiotics too. The doctor warned if it wasn’t better by Wednesday to go to the hospital because I will need IV antibiotics. She was concerned about the infection going into the bone. This doctor, and the nurses, were really kind and compassionate. I was crying and upset and I know the little girl was running things but they treated me very kind and were really gentle. I got a shot for pain so I could sleep that night, which helped a lot. Now it’s Wednesday and my ear still hurts quite a bit, but it is better than Monday. I’m not sure if ‘better by Wednesday’ meant no more pain or just better than it felt on Monday. At the moment I’m planning to take Kat to school and to go to therapy. After that, I’ll see.) 

Catch up

This hasn’t been a super easy time for me, with my brothers wedding coming up……so, I’m trying to catch up..I have been reading posts and thinking of everyone. Xx💟

Last Wednesday. I barely remember last Wednesday. What I do remember is being really shut down and only able to give Bea this crazy long journal thing I had written. She read it, and tried to respond, but I just couldn’t even connect. Everytime she tried to comment on something I had written, I could not even remember feeling those feelings. She was angry that couples shrink #1 had shut me down and not allowed me to talk. She had to take a minute, to just breathe. In all this time, out of all the horrible things I have told her, she has never needed a break. She told me, “I’m just really mad right now. Of course, she can practice therapy anyway she likes, but she really had no right to tell you that you weren’t as healed as you think you are, and maybe for her good therapy only happened face to face, that is very old school, and that is fine, but that is not how you work, it is not where you are at. I’m just feel very protective of my client right now. I want to call her and tell her she really hurt you, and tell her how hard it was for you to make that phone call and that it was not okay for her to take away your voice!” Bea was so very, very much on my side over the whole thing. It was really awesome. She still wanted me to call and talk to couples shrink #2; she did agree with me when I said it would feel even harder now, and she said I could remember that if I felt couples shrink #2 was willing to listen and I liked her, but I could not get the words out, then Bea would call and talk to her for me– she would be my backup. I agreed to this plan, and after I left her office, I called and left a message for shrink #2.

Monday. Another decidedly not present session with Bea. I started off by talking about the Kat and school and who knows what nonsense, as I often do. 

Bea wasn’t having it that day. “Alice. I want us to talk about you. We need to process whatever needs processing. I know stuff is coming up.” 

“What did you want to talk about?” I asked her, sounding all teacher like and in control. 

“I don’t have an agenda. I want to start where ever you are at. That’s where we start. I’m going to be quiet for a few moments and see if anything comes up for you.” Bea almost always warns me when she is being quiet like that because long stretches of silence freak me out and make me feel like I’m doing something wrong. So the warning is helpful. 

“I….nothing really. We went shopping for hubby’s shirt and tie for the wedding. He didn’t have one to go with my dress.” I told her. I remember feeling annoyed and like I wanted to leave, just get up and walk out because therapy was really a waste of my time. 

“So you chose a dress?” 

“Yeah, do you want to see it?” And of course Bea had said yes, so I got my phone out and pulled up a picture of my dress. As I did that, we talked about how my mom and I had been sending pictures back and forth daily for weeks, of dresses. The thing is, I’m not in the wedding, but my mother is insisting that hubby, Kat and I blend with the wedding colors for the pictures. The wedding colors are navy and grey. Two colors I am not fond of. But it’s not my wedding. So, my mom and I send pictures back and forth for weeks. I’d send her navy and grey dresses she would find things wrong with them. Then, she’d become frustrated and tell me to choose “whatever suited my style.” And, well, I ended up doing just that. I chose what suited my style. We will blend very nicely with the wedding colors, and we won’t be mistaken for part of the wedding party. And I will be me. 

I held out my phone, and Bea took it. She looked at the dress and smiled. “I love it. It’s beautiful! It’s perfect! And it’s pink! It’s so you! Does your mom know you chose a pink dress?” 

I answer, something snarky coming out of my mouth. But basically, yeah she knows. I sent her a year with a picture of the dress. She has chosen not to respond. Bea doesn’t give up though, she is just too happy over this dress. “Really, Alice. I feel like this whole wedding has felt out of your control, and this dress is you, having a voice, being you.” 

I smiled at that, because maybe it was true. The pink dress is me being me. 

********TRIGGER WARNING************

I don’t even know what for really, just like for everything and for feeling really bad, and for bad coping skills and maybe talking about the abuse and just feeling awful in general. This is just a shortened version of the really long journal thing I have to Bea to read in session, and then she had asked me to email it to her because she wanted to write to me since I wasn’t very present at all. Bea has read all of this, we discussed it in session and she emailed me to,discuss it further. So nobody needs to be worried. 
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It’s fall, and I’m in this “everyone hates me, all I do is screw up. No one gets it, I’m all alone, I’m the worst person on the world” feelings. I’m not sure it’s just fall that is triggering these feelings, although I know from past experience that it has been in the fall that I feel very alone and like no one is getting me. The last two falls have seen me do this with Bea, no matter what she says or does, I feel like she doesn’t t get it, like she’s not here, like she doesn’t care. I am determined to figure out what set off this reaction this time. And I’m also sitting here crying and feeling like a drama queen. Like I’m making this big deal out of nothing and acting like a crazy person. Because all the things that I can think of, the stuff I can pinpoint, is well, small. It’s nothing to be upset about. What is wrong with me? Why do I act like this? 

First, let’s start with therapy. I have somehow taken things she has said since she got back from this last trip, and twisted those things to mean….I don’t know, a basic message of she does not really want to deal with me. But then, maybe I didn’t twist them. Maybe that is what she meant. I don’t know. The grounded, healthy, grown up part of me says it is things I have twisted. The little girl part, the teenager, and that very protective part, they all say no, didn’t twist anything, she meant this. My head is spinning and I can’t think straight and everything is confused

Then there is the coupes therapist who did not call back and has now sent me to this freakout of she hates me, she thinks I’m annoying, needy and crazy and now she has not called back so if we don’t connect tomorrow or Tuesday then I’m screwed because the appointment is Wednesday, and I really was planning to tell hubby about the appointments tomorrow, but now I can’t because I’m not even sure she is safe and okay because she never called me back. And of course all the fears around the idea that she think I’m the crazy one and I can not be that raw in front of hubby and couples therapy is going to emotionally kill me and the only way I thought I might survive was if Bea was in my corner but she feels really really gone all of a sudden. 

And maybe I am crazy because on Wednesday when I left I felt okay and supported and like she got it, and now, just over 24 hours later, I feel like she does not get it, wants me to go far far away and like I am just all alone. 

Okay, hubby. Hubby has sent me into this massive crazy loop of feelings. 

—-I don’t think I can hold this feeling of being not in control and when I think about it or really it all just hits me, even if I don’t want to think about it. I’m just hit with too many feelings and images and body feelings all 3 mixed up together and it’s terrifying because it’s through this sort of view of lens of having no control,and no one to help and being all alone and not safe and really truly there was no one to tell. 

—-the wedding is in 16 days. I have 3 therapy sessions left. I can’t do this. There is too much. 

—I feel very scared and very alone and very not okay right now. I had said I felt like I was on this ledge and it wouldn’t take much to knock me off if. I fell off the ledge earlier today. 

— is this that feeling I think I identified last fall as always in the fall, I feel like I am alone and no one gets it and no one is really there and if they really knew me then they would leave? Is this that like seasonal reoccurring for feelings as memories? 

I can’t do this. Any of this. Therapy is ruining everything. I can’t do this. I can’t deal with my own freakouts around stupid nonsense, why do I expect Bea to? Oh my god, I am so stupid and needy and stupid and annoying and ugh

I can’t do this. I can’t do to that wedding. No. I can’t see him. Because if he smiles at me or acts like things are okay, I am going to smile back and inside I will hate myself and want to die. And if he does not acknowledge me I will feel like he doesn’t care. Except he doesn’t care. I already know this. I figured that out because everything is flipped. And that makes me want to curl into a ball and die. And the fact I feel like that about him, also makes me want to die. 

Why is it that as soon as I feel safe enough to really trust that Bea is here and will come back and won’t just get rid of me because I’m mad or have some thing disgusting awful thing to share, and so I put out these really vulnerable feelings and she just ignores them? It’s this pattern with me. It always happens. I feel a little safe, put out some big scary something and then no acknowledgement at all. Because I’m too needy and too much of a drama queen and I need too much and i just drain people until they have nothing left, because I am too much. So I should not be surprised. I kept telling Bea she would leave and get rid of me and she would quit one day because I need too much. Kay quit me. If my anyway friend, the person who was like a sister to me, quit me, then what does that say about me? And if my parents knew the real me, they would quit me for sure. Because oh my god, I’m such a freaking mess. They would hate it, I would be such a failure in their eyes. And hubby doesn’t really want to be present with me or learn to be so he can help me contain this mess that is my head, he has had two years and has done nothing. and he just wants me fixed anyway, and I screw up everything with Kat and am probably damaging her and it’s probably my fault she has autism, either the eating disorders, or the infertility drugs, or the fact I was not even connected to my body even a little bit for like the first 4 years of her life or the way I space out and am just not here, or how I yell at her as if I am just another child and it’s all unpredictable and not okay and that damages kids, people say so everyday. 

I’m so sorry I can’t be enough. I’m really, really sorry. I try and try and just can’t be even almost good enough. Hubby deserves a normal wife. One that doesn’t ask for more than he can give and who is just happy with him saying I love you and who can be touched and hugged and hold hands and kiss. He deserves normal. He got stuck with me. Kat deserves a mom who is always consistent and who behaves like a mom and not a child and who doesn’t yell and who always makes space for her feelings and who validates her and who is calm and who is present and here and not hiding and just trying to get through the day. My parents deserved a daughter who was so much better than me. I should have gone to college, done what they wanted, not flunked out the first time, been a good daughter. I should behave the way they need me too, instead of pushing them and being snarky. I’m just so sorry. 

I’m staring at a bottle of sleeping pills. I’m wondering if it’s enough. I’m afraid to die, mostly because I believe I’m going to hell. But I don’t want to be here either. This all hurts too much, I just want to disappear and go away, and I almost don’t care what the consequences for disappearing are. 

I should write that I’m okay, that I’ll always be okay that everything is okay. But really? I’m not feeling okay. I’m not feeling okay at all. I’m fact everything in my whole life feels very, very not okay. And I am so tired of being okay and being fine even when I’m not okay and nothing is fine

Alice,

I would love to really address this writing in detail–part of me would love to spend all day on it, but another part realizes that I would compromise my own needs by doing that–so I just want to address two things that felt really important.

One is that a few times recently you’ve mentioned the urge to die, as in taking pills. I haven’t been ignoring that, just so you know. I understand the level of emotional pain that goes into feeling that way. I also know that with trauma we can have parts planning our death while other parts can be planning what to make for dinner. It’s bizarre that way! But that doesn’t mean we don’t take the parts that want to die seriously. They are in extreme pain. Be sure to remember that if the urges are getting too serious you need to seek help. Either talking to someone like Reagan or Hubby, or to me of course. Also knowing that you should go to the ER if you can’t keep yourself safe. It’s important that you keep bringing up these feelings.

The other thing is the complexity of the Kenny/wedding situation. Somehow you have to suspend judgement of yourself for any thoughts/wishes/feelings you might have. Realize that all your parts are activated by this and it’s very complex. If you can tap into the observer part and just monitor yourself without judgement that would be the best possible scenario.
Make sense?

I know that fall is your tough season, or at least it has been since we’ve been working together. We’ll get through it!