Vacation before and after  

The session before Bea went on vacation was painful. I really don’t remember anything about it, other than Bea noticing right away that I wasn’t present at all, and my telling her (as I hid under my blanket) that it hurt too much to be present right now. She had said the session before that I could take something from her office to use as a transitional object, and I had sort of laughed it off. That last session though, she asked if I wanted to take some thing, and I nodded yes. The little girl really wanted a stuffed animal or something, something comforting so I could feel like Bea was there. The grown up part of me couldn’t even go there. Eventually, Bea and I settled on me taking her favorite pen, the one she keeps in her purse to always have with her. 

While she was gone, I kept a notebook and used her pen to write in it. I wrote a lot about attachment stuff, and tried very hard to make sense of and understand the attachment issues I had been experiencing. I also spent a lot of time filling the pages crying about her leaving, and my fears she wouldn’t come back or my worries that she was not going to be herself when she came back. I wrote that I hated her for making me trust her and then leaving me. It was a very long 8 days. The beginning was harder, it hurt more, but as the week went on, I could feel myself distancing from Bea and not really caring if she came back or not. I shut down those deeper places in myself, and stayed a bit more on the surface. That was almost a welcome relief. Of course, when Thursday rolled around, I was anxious all over again. 

Thursday’s session felt like a bit of a waste. I gave Bea the notebook I had kept while she was away. I saw that she was back. I didn’t feel like we connected, though. I felt very off, and was almost sad that I hadn’t cancelled. Sometimes it feels better to not reach out or show up at all, then to show up and not feel connected to. It felt a lot like Bea and I were in the same book, but on separate pages. I just didn’t feel that emotional connection. She was there, though, and she did show up, and when I was lost and had no words, she talked and I listened. It was really surface feeling, although we did talk a bit about relationships and attachment. I cant fully remember the session to be honest; I was pretty disconnected and fuzzy feeling. It was one definitely a *finding our rhythm after a break* type of session. 
Bea didn’t get a chance to go through and read my notebook, so she took it home to read. 

Don’t be shrinky

Monday morning. Halloween. I didn’t sleep much last night. I get up at 5:30, get myself ready and then wake Kat. We drive to school in silence, me downing coffee and Kat chugging hot chocolate. We arrive early, and so I sit in the backseat with Kat, coloring a picture and checking my emails, my facebook, my wordpress. The transition into school is smooth and easy. Kat says goodbye without a problem, and I head back out to the car to drive to therapy.

I arrive on time, and am happy to see that Bea has brought her dog with her. I haven’t been able to bring Hagrid with me because of the new schedule, and I miss having him to cuddle during hard sessions. I stop on the stairs to pet Astrid. 

“Good morning.” Bea walks out of her office to see whats going on in the stairway. 

I look up at her, and smile. “Astrid came right to me, to say hi.” 

We walk into Bea’s office together, and Bea nods. “She remembers you.” 

I get settled into my spot on the couch, and Bea sits down in her black chair that is on the blue rug. Astrid lays down on the rug by Bea’s feet. 

We talk about Kat, and how she was the last session, and Bea says that last session was the first time she felt like she wasn’t seeing anything that needed working through. “She was calm and centered and really positive. She seemed much more contained and happy. I think this move to a different school has really made a difference.” 

I agree, and our conversation slowly shifts to talking about me. 

“I never did get to ask about your birthday on Monday, and if you did anything,” Bea says. 

“We didn’t do a lot. Hubby had the day off, so he set up my ariel yoga trapeze, and later we all went to dinner at Olive Garden. We kept it simple and low key. We were all tired from the weekend.” I smile as I’m telling her this, because it was a good day. “I practiced Yoga that afternoon, and then watched a movie, so I got a lot of me time.” 

“That sounds really nice. I’m glad you had a good birthday.” 

“My Grandma called on Monday, and we were having a really good talk until Harley interrupted. It’s like he can’t stand not being the center of attention.” I sigh. 

“It sure sounds like it. It sounds like he has a big personality and likes to be noticed and enjoys telling dirty jokes and using innuendos to get attention.” 

“She’s a different person with him. She never used to put up with anything, if she didn’t like something she just changed it. She didn’t let people walk over her. And I know, every relationship is different, her marriage to my grandpa is different than what she has with Harley, but she’s not herself. I don’t know.” I shake my head. 

“I was wondering where you learned that it is okay to change things, and that you can do some thing to make things different than they are. You’ve taught Kat that, and it’s obvious that she has really internalized that. You should be proud that you taught her to hold that power. It’s a real credit to you. I wondered who taught you that.” 

“Probably my grandma.” I smile a little, thinking of how strong she is. 

“Did she talk about your grandpa, or no because Harley was there?” Bea asks. 

“She talked about him. She told me the story of my being born. Grandpa used to tell it. He got there before my grandma, and when she got to the hospital, he was holding me and he turned to her and said, ‘Look at my birthday present.’ And he always called me a gift after that.” Bea murmurs an “awe” and I continue, “He was the first person to hold me, you know, after my mom and dad.” 

Bea smiles. “Does that idea, knowing that, does it feel safe?” She is leaned back in her chair, and she looks peaceful. “I ask because it just seems fitting that he was the third person to hold you, because of your bond. It feels right that he was there from the very beginning. He made you feel safe from the get-go.” 

I nod, slowly. “It makes me sad, too. More sad today. Some days I feel better, and can be happier with the memories, other days I am sad and I cry.” 

“Yeah, it can feel very sad.” 

I don’t remember what we discussed next, but I know I said something about not sleeping well last night. 

“Speaking of not sleeping well, that reminds me that we were going to talk about your dream……” She speaks softly, and isn’t pushing, but it is a prompt for me to talk about the dream, or to tell her I don’t want to talk about it. 

“I tried to write it……but it’s just so….I mean, it’s not real, it’s so crazy and out there and it’s just a silly stupid dream.” At this point, even though I feel a little bit like I am no longer tethered to the earth, I’m still sitting up right, still looking at Bea. 

She seems to struggle with something, some internal debate. Finally she says, “I’ve been at SP (sensorimotor processing) training for the last three days. I’m….I feel like I want to ask a question, or make a contact statement that is a little more towards the SP side of things.” 

I go very still and very quiet. I’m not gone, but I’m in that sort of frozen alert state, waiting to see if the dangerous things are going to happen and if I should go far away. 

Bea pauses, and maybe she is waiting to see if I have anything to say. When I don’t say anything, she says, “Maybe it would be helpful for you to know what an SP sessions usually looks like, what happens, how things go. It might be less scary if you know what to expect.” 

I think I shrug, maybe not. Thinking back on it now, I notice that my reaction was almost simultaneous. As soon as Bea began to describe what happens in an SP session, I thought *I don’t want to talk about this* and at the same time the thought was entering my mind, I went far away. 

Bea describes an SP session to me. 

She says that sessions begin by just talking, I think she calls it cognitive awareness. “This is usually how we begin our sessions, just you and talking about normal everyday things. Then if something comes up, I encourage you to stay with it. Like right now, I could say *going a little farther away*. It’s called a contact statement. It lets you know I’m listening and that I see you, that I’m tuned in.” 

She’s not wrong, I am going farther away, I don’t want to talk about this. I don’t want Bea to change. If she changes too much, I’ll have to leave because it won’t be okay. And that hurts. I can’t take it anymore, and I pull my legs to my chest and wrap my arms around my knees. I bury my face in my knees, and let the tears fall. I hide because I don’t want to be seen like this. I don’t want her to know how upset I am, because I can not bear to talk about it with her right now. 

Bea says “I like SP because SP looks at trauma reactions as just normal behavior, for the situations. It’s very nonpathologizimg, it’s like ‘oh of course you do xyz or feel abc, because this happened.’ It’s very non-judgemental. It makes it safe to explore feelings or reactions in that way.” 

I feel like she just pulled the rug out from under me. Hasn’t she always been like this? Hasn’t she always behaved as if the cutting and the eating disordered behaviors, and the wanting to disappear and the hiding and the dissociation and all of it were normal for me? She’s the first person in my life who explained all of it as a normal reaction to trauma and made me believe I wasn’t crazy. And if she is saying that she likes SP because of all this, then maybe she wasn’t feeling as non-judgmental or non-pathologizinf as I felt she was being. Maybe her experience in her head was different than how she acted towards me. “I thought you were…..always like that anyway. Before this.” The words come out, slowly, like molasses being poured from a big jar. 

“You did?” She is surprised, maybe. Her voice sounds surprised. Maybe she didn’t know that was how I experienced her reactions. Which would make sense if what was in her head wasn’t congruent with her outward expression. “Maybe I’m talking more about my experience, as the client in this training…..I hadn’t really broken it down. But yes, I think I’m talking more about my experience as client.” 

I hear what she is saying, but her voice is sort of muffled, as if her words are coming through thick cotton. I know that means I am really far away now. “I don’t like SP.” I whisper my words, and it sounds more like the snarky teen or the angry little girl talking, than me. 

 “That’s okay. I’m glad you can tell me that. It’s good that you can say so.”

I am so far away, that I have lost track of the point, so I ask “Why are we talking about this, again?” Even to my own ears, my voice sounds young and confused. 

She says it’s because she hasn’t changed as a person, but the classes and training may change the way she practices therapy and that she wanted to bring it into the room, because she knew any subtle small changes that she makes, even if she is not aware of it, not intentionally changing anything, I will be aware of it, and that is scary for me. 

“Okay.” That’s all I say. It’s all I can say. 

I spent a lot of time during this conversation just thinking “I should quit. I should just quit. I can’t do this. Why is she bringing this up? It’s not okay. This doesn’t feel okay. I should quit now. Because I can’t do SP, and she is going to turn into an SP therapist.” The fact I was thinking like this scares me. I don’t often think about quitting, and when I do, it usually has more to do with me being angry with Bea or trying to avoid feeling hurt. This….this feels different. It feels like I signed up with one therapist, and now I’m getting an SP therapist. Two years ago, I never would have signed up with a body based therapist, because body stuff scares me. While I’m a little further along than I was with that stuff because of yoga, it still scares me, and I’m not sure but I think I would actively avoid any SP or body therapies if I were looking for a new shrink. 

The whole way she described an SP session sounded so very….clinical to me. It seemed very much this one size fits all formula, super structured. It felt like okay, now you are making a “contact statement” because this formula tells you to, NOT because you can see I am having trouble finding my words and you want to let me know you get what I’m trying to say. I do not like this whole thing at all. 

I stayed curled into myself, hiding my face, tears running down my cheeks. 

Bea says that she isn’t trying to be shrinky, that she feels very present and grounded and this SP stuff is to help her be a better therapist. That’s when I realize it is the fact that SP feels very shrinky to me and I’m terrified I’m going to lose Bea, that she will be shrinky. “Please don’t turn shrinky,” I say. 

“I won’t. I don’t want to be shrinky. Shrinky is detached, and that is something I could never be with you.” 

We sit. And I cry. “Just please don’t be shrinky, okay?” 

“Okay. I won’t.”

To be continued……………

******I’m not sure where this leaves me. While I did end up opening up some, (which I will wrote about in my next post) I sort of just pushed the SP stuff aside. As I’m writing this, I’m sorting our my feelings around all the SP stuff and Bea changing and therapy. It’s left me feeling very unsettled. I have this urge to cry, and hide in my closet. I don’t want to lose Bea, but I feel like I might. 

Deeper down the rabbit hole part 5 (she’s home)

Somehow I made it through until Wednesday morning. At 3:00am, I ended up emailing Bea. I wrote to her that I was afraid she was assuming I was okay because she had not gotten any emails from me, but actually, I wasn’t okay, nothing was okay. I needed her to know that the little girl was feeling unseen, and triggered and needed to be seen. I needed her to know I was struggling with believing she was back, really truly back, before I even set foot in her office. I gritted my teeth, wrote the email, detached and numbed myself out enough to send it.  

It wasn’t until I was in my car, driving to her office, I felt so anxious I thought I might throw up. Walking into the little house that Bea’s office is in, I feel massive amounts of apprehension. I’m so worried she is going to be mad at me for walking out. This past week, I’ve been able to pretend it didn’t happen, detach from it all, and now it all comes rushing back to me. 

I walk in with my head down, unable to look at Bea. She’s sitting in her chair. “Hi?” I whisper. 

“Hey,” she says easily, smiling up at me. 

I nod my head at her, but I can’t get words out. I sit on my spot on the sofa, throwing my coral orange colored bag down next to me. It is holding all my writing from this week. 

“So,” Bea says slowly. “I got your email, I’m glad to have gotten it. I wasn’t thinking that you were okay. I was checking my email, watching for any mail from you. And I did wonder how you were. Because things were left really not settled. So I was worried about you, and I did think about you. But I won’t usually email people. Because if I had emailed you when I was feeling worried and was wondering about how you were… just, it might have been more about my needs, and not yours. I just, I think contact needs to come from you, not be initiated from me. Of course, you know, it’s not to say I won’t email or be the first to contact, I just think therapists really need to let their clients initiate contact. But I really never thought things were okay. And I was thinking and worrying about you and hoping you were okay.” Everything she says is said in a gentle way, in this caring and careful way. 

“How was your vacation?” I ask her, smiling. It’s as if she hasn’t said a word at all about me not feeling okay at all. Miss Perfect— this part of me is so determined to pretend things are okay and normal and fine and to smile and behave within the realm of the social niceties I grew up with.

Bea plays along for a minute. She’s says she had a good time, and tells me a quick silly story about her trip. Then, she is back to business. “I wondered if you wanted to start by looking at your journals or anything you had written this week, or if there was something else you wanted to start with.” 

“I….I just…….I don’t know.” I sigh. I dig my journal and loose sheets of paper out of my bag. 

“Alice, I want to make sure that the little girl knows she is being seen today, that she isn’t alone. So whatever you need today, okay? I’m here.” Bea says softly. 

I shake my head. “I don’t know. I don’t know what I need.” In truth, I’m not sure I trust her enough in this moment. If she’s not back, and I hand over everything I wrote and felt and struggled with this week…..well, it won’t end well for me.

“I’m back. I’m here. I feel very here and very present and I just want to follow your lead.” Bea says firmly.

I sit there for a while. I’m holding my journal tight in my arms, and I’m unsure if I can hand it over. Finally, I whisper, very softly and cautiously, “Are you really back?” 

“I am. I’m really back.” She says. She sounds present and here. 

I’m still unsure, and so we sit in silence again, until in a small voice, I ask, “Are you sure?” 

“Yes. I’m very sure. I’m here.” She says seriously. 

I stretch my arm out, holding out the loose leaf papers and then my journal when she had taken the papers. 

Bea begins to read, and I bury my face in my knees. I can’t look at her. I’m too afraid, too ashamed. 

“Mmmhmmm. Yeah, everything is flipped. There is a lot of shame, but the little girl did nothing wrong,” she says as she reads, commenting on my words. “The teen was protecting the little girl, I think. The teen wasn’t sure I could be trusted to be present when I was gone, and so she took care of the little girl. That’s okay. I can see what the teen wouldn’t trust me, why that would be hard to think of trusting me again.” And then, “I know you won’t like this, but I’m sort of dancing in my chair right now, that you could hate me. I’m glad you had a place to put those very bad feelings. You were mad. And that’s okay. I’m glad you could hate me, that you could,let yourself hate me. That’s a good thing, as strange as that might sound.” She really is sounding okay, upbeat…..not in this way that she isn’t taking my feelings seriously, but that she is actually seeing it as a good thing I could hate her. Bea reads through pages and pages of writing, some of what I have already posted in part 1, 2, 3. She acknowledges how badly I was feeling, and how the little girl was really running things and how it feels to be fighting with hubby. 

In all honesty, most of the session after that point is pretty blurry. A lot of it was focused on the little girl, and shame and bad, scared feelings. We will have to talk through it all again, when I’m more present, but until then what I do know is Bea was quite adamant the little girl was not to blame. She was understanding and sympathetic to the confusion and fear and revulsion I had been feeling. She acknowledged that things feel very out of control and told me it was okay, and understandable. 

And then, I get the feeling I just couldn’t continue having this conversation, and the adult me took over things. From that point forward, we talk about hubby and our fight. 

“We just keep circling…..ugh. It’s like the same fight, over and over.” 

“I know. I know it really feels that way. Do you think that there is anyway to talk to him about this? I know that’s not what you want to hear, and I am on your side, but I feel like in order to be on your side, I have to push a little.” Bea says. 

“I can’t. I don’t know. Anything I say, I’ll just be accused of putting words in his mouth, or he won’t listen anyway or who knows what else?” I snap back at her. 

“Okay. What if we stepped back and tried to draw out what happens between you?” She asks. “So you can show him, say that you identified what keeps happening?” 

“No. No-no.” I mumble. I’m too not here, and I don’t want to be more present than I am. 

Bea attempts a few more times to get me to act, to try something, to get a bit more here. And I refuse. I just can’t. 

“Have you given more thought to couples therapy?” Bea asks me. 

I shake my head. “I’m afraid. And I don’t…I just…I’m afraid.” 

“I think that if you found someone who understood trauma and who is comfortable working with couples, it could be a really helpful thing.” She says. I know it’s coming from a place of caring and wanting to help, but I’m annoyed. 

“Just stop. Stop it. I can’t do therapy with him! Didn’t you see that whole list of why I don’t trust him?” 

Bea nods. “I did. And I believe that those are all valid reasons to feel vulnerable and afraid to trust. But you know that in relationships if we don’t give people chance, if we don’t test those things that feel unsafe, it’s really hard to find trust and safety. We have to give people a chance.” 

“I don’t wanna talk about this. About relationships. I’ll think on it,” I say. 

Bea nods. “Okay.” 

We wrap things up rather awkwardly, but it’s okay. Nothing feels resolved or fixed, but it’s okay. Bea is back. She’s home. And she’s really back. Like really, truly, back. So, I’m not upset. I feel okay. Things are okay now. It’s okay. Bea is home.  

Birthday processing

Bea is back from vacation, and I am sitting in her office. I’m not sure I want to be here at all, but we emailed the entire time she was gone, and I am feeling better enough about things that I came to therapy today. It’s a start, anyways. I have gone from feeling, ‘I hate this and am quitting Bea’ to ‘I don’t like the idea of this, but I’ll work with her on it.’ 

“So tell me what has happened this week?” Bea asks me. Even though we have emailed almost everyday, we were talking about the sensorimotor therapy and my feelings around it, not all that has been going on. 

“Well, I had my birthday and my parents came,” I tell her. 

“That’s right. How was that?” 

I sigh. There is so much I want to say about it all, and yet, I don’t even know where to begin. “It was okay. We…it was okay.” I blink away some tears, just thinking about it. 

“Well, you said your mom was very real when you talked about your grandpa,” she prompts. I had emailed that much. I needed someone who would understand the significance to know. Bea looks calm, and normal. She’s in her chair, holding her favorite to go cup with tea in it, and is looking at me intently, as if she really wants to know. 

“Yeah…we just talked. Cried. She didn’t try to distract me by saying he is in heaven, or would want us to be happy.”

“Who brought him up? You or her?” 

“I did. It was when we cut the cake,” I say, and then I interject with–“speaking of which, I brought you a piece.” 

“Yum. I can’t wait to try it,” she says. 

I continue with the story, explaining how we put a candle in the cake for my grandpa. “Then we talked about him for a few minutes.” 

“What about your Dad?” 

“He was listening. Not really talking. But not shutting me down either.” I shrug. It’s weird. Really weird. I don’t know. Its new and different and uncomfortable. And then I blurt out one of those things that has been bothering me, that I don’t want to talk about but that I just need to say. “My mom ate a piece of cake.” 

“Have you ever seen her eat birthday cake?”

I shake my head. “Not that I remember. Not unless….she was…well, you know.” 

“That must have felt a little strange.” Bea says slowly, carefully. 
“It’s…I don’t know. She doesn’t have any diet pills, tea…nothing for….they are all gone.” I whisper. I don’t know what to make of this. 

“It sounds like she is really trying to get this under control.” Bea says. “Can I assume you didn’t get a too small sweater for your birthday this year?” 

I sigh, and feel sad, remembering the sweater gift and all the pain that caused. “She got me a coloring book. She says she colors in therapy. I don’t know.” 

“A lot of people color in therapy. I have a lot of teenagers who do. And others, too. Is it one of those grown up coloring books?” She asks. 

I nod. Its a book of mandalas. 

“Did she get you colored pencils or anything to go with it?” 

I shake my head. “Crayons. The big box of all the colors. It’s what I always had when I was a kid. And when they weren’t sharp anymore, I would beg for a new box.” 

“Did she seem….regretful? Sad? Anything, when she gave you your present?” Bea leans toward me, takes a drink of her tea. She is trying to figure out the puzzle of my mother. 

“Honestly, I don’t know. I wasn’t….I just don’t know.” 

“Well, when you first said coloring book, I was thinking that those coloring books are everywhere now, even though it feels like something more to me. Then when you said she got you crayons, I thought it sounded like a mother with regrets, wishing she could change the past.” She doesn’t hesitate to be honest with me, tell me what she is thinking. 

“Maybe. I don’t know. She got me this bracelet, too. She has a matching one. She wrote this whole thing…in my card about the heart charm to remind me she loves me no matter what and is always here.” I can say this without crying because I have stepped back, taken the feelings away. 

“So her gifts to you really are all about connecting.” 

“Maybe it’s too late.” I say softly. I feel sad, saying it. But it is what I feel.

“Or maybe you just need time to trust this connection she is asking for.” 

“Well maybe I don’t want to connect.” I say, a snotty tone under my words, anger blurring the edges of them. 

“And yet you are still wearing the bracelet.” Bea observes. 

“Or someone put it on my wrist and I can’t unclip the clasp one handed.” My words are flippant, meant to prove I don’t want this connection with my mom. Whether I am trying to prove it to myself or to Bea, I am not sure. 

“I have a feeling if you wanted it off, you’d have found a way to get it off.” Bea pushes back, in much the same way Kay might, not allowing me to lie to myself. 

“I just….it feels too late! Why now? She can not just change things and have them be all fine and connected after not being here. It’s not fair.”  

“No, no it’s not fair. It sucks. She should have been there then. And we can look and see that she was young, dealing with loss of her mom, maybe abused, but none of that really matters. It doesn’t change the feelings. It’s not fair. And it feels like too late.” Bea gets it. She gets there is this giant disconnect between my heart and my head. We’d emailed about that disconnect feeling in general, and she had said she got it that last session. But listening to her, I am struck by the fact that she really does get it. 

“I…hubby…when mom gave me the coloring book, he said he was going to make me take it on our thanksgiving road trip, to keep me occupied, being silly you know?” The words rush out. They are the beginning of the story of the drama mess of my bday. 

Bea nods at me. 

I curl my legs up, and hugging my knees, I look at her. “My dad, jokingly, but sort of serious, said I wasn’t allowed to color in his car anymore, and then warned him to be careful not to hit any bumps while driving. Apparently, I used to get very upset about my pictures getting messed up and not being perfect.” The words are super speed, emotions buried. I’m just telling a story, nothing more. 

“Mmhmmm. What did hubby say?” 

“I don’t think anything. I said…I said…” and I suddenly can not leave emotion out of it any longer, and I hide my face. 

“What did you say?” Bea asks, after waiting a bit for me to continue. 

“I said that I had no choice but to be perfect.” The words feel once again as though they weigh a ton. It felt as though I had dropped a bomb that day. The silence that followed had been deafening. 

“You did need to be perfect growing up. A part of you must have felt safe enough to say it. What did your dad do?” Bea is calm, and quiet. I’m struck how if someone were to hear her tone, they would never know my whole world is blowing up. 

“I…I don’t know. Nothing? My mom…all my attention was on my mom. She said….she said it was her fault.” 

“That had to feel so validating. To hear her agree with their need for you to be perfect,” Bea says softly. 

“I don’t know. I still don’t. I….I told Kat to show nanna her new coloring book app, and said I had to pee. And I went to the bathroom.” 

“It was a lot. How did you sound, when you said it?” We both know she means when I said the part about having to be perfect. 

“Like bratty teenage me. I don’t know.” I’m ashamed of how I sounded. 

“Ahhh. That makes sense. You had to be feeling some anger, some hurt, that hubby and your dad were joking about something so hurtful to you. Something that has been front and center in therapy and is still painful.” 

“I just hid on the bathroom and….I couldn’t….it was too much…so I just…” I stop myself from speaking before I say something I will regret. I had cut that day, hiding in the bathroom. Calmed myself down, got back in control. 

“You just what?” Bea prompts me. Maybe she knows there is something there, or maybe shw just wants to keep me talking about it all.  

“I just hid,” I say sadly; both because of why I was hiding and because I am too afraid to finish that sentence for real. 

“Okay,” she says. “Did your mom bring it up again when you came out?” 

I shake my head. “No. She asked if I was okay, later. But she let it drop.” 

“Maybe she sensed you weren’t ready to have that conversation.” 

“I’m just worried I screwed up by saying what I said. Hurt her. Messed things up for her.” I’ve been taking care of her feelings for so long, I am afraid to stop completely. 

“She has a therapist now. She will take it to therapy. Her therapist can hold that for her and contain her feelings about it. The therapist can support her. You don’t have to protect her anymore. She has a therapist to help her now,” Bea tells me. I realize, in some part of myself, Bea is right. 

“I just feel like I screw everything up.” The tears come now, huge sobs that I can’t stop. I have been holding them in for two weeks now, and even more has built up. Plus, I still feel like 14 year old me; like nothing I do is good enough, like I am a failure, like I ruin everything, like all I do is hurt people, like everyone would be better off without me. 

Bea says something, and I cry more. I told her nothing felt okay, that I will never be good enough. 

Softly, Bea murmurs, “Those old messages are just so deep.” 

I cry and cry. “It’s too much,” I tell her, and proceed to list out everything that is wrong with me and that I have screwed up and how I will probably screw up today. “And I just…I can’t. All I do is screw up. I told myself that I wasn’t going to do this here.” 

“It’s okay to do this here.” She reassures me, but she doesn’t get it. I don’t like this panic attack, can’t breathe Alice. I do not like others to see her. 

“Can you make it stop hurting? Please tell me how to make it stop,” I sob. 

“Well…I think this is one of those things. The only way out is through.” Bea sounds saddened by having to say that. 

“I can’t do it.”

“You can. You are,” she says firmly. 

Eventually I get control of myself. Bea lets me leave, but I suspect it is only because I am going to go pick up Kat and bring her back for a session.