Not  hiding anymore 

I honestly don’t know where to start. I’ve been away from really sitting down to write for so long that typing on the screen of the iPad feels foreign. I have this feeling, like I keep trying to get my life together, so I can live a full, whole life, but then I always drop the ball some how, and I never quite get to the point of having my life truly “together”. Maybe, just maybe, this is what life really is, maybe this messiness and mistakes and confusion and emotions and feelings and ups and downs is LIFE. I’m not striving for perfect anymore. Perfect…..well, perfect does not exist, can not exist, in my world. But I still want….structure, maybe. Yes, structure, that is a good way of putting it. I need a routine, some structure, some constants in my life. 

Things have been okay, and not okay, and really good. Bea is okay. We are okay. I’ve noticed in myself that even when I worry about her being upset or leaving or whatever, I trust her enough to bring it up to her and talk about it (okay, I write, she talks. But still, it’s progress). Hubby is, well, okay. We are at this sort of standstill. Things between us are very surfacey, but not fake, not exactly. I refuse to give up the realness I’ve discovered within myself, I refuse to shut off my feelings or be quiet just because it would make his life simpler. I do allow him to keep our relationship on the surface, and that’s been okay. I’m able to enjoy small things like a boat ride, or a family cookout, or a walk through the local nature center. I can simply be present during those things and enjoy them with hubby. So hubby and I, we work again, for now. Kat is great, she’s amazing. I’m so full of love and pride in her every time I look at her. Lest this post b gain to sound like a cheesy fake Christmas letter written by my mother in law, let me add that Kat has also become extremely annoying because she is going through a phase of perseverating on repeating herself and wanting me to acknowledge what she is saying even though she has just said it 50 times already in that two minute time period. Small things set her off lately, and I’m hoping it’s because of the end of the school year chaos. All the end of the year stuff is great fun, but it’s also stressful for her. I’m ready for school to be over. I have a fun summer planned for her, and I’m excited for that. 

Mother’s Day, and the week or so leading up to it, was rough. I didn’t go see my mom, and hubby and I kept things low key with a nature walk and boat ride. I’ve been having dreams that are very memory like, and they all involve me telling my mother something about a secret game I share with Kenny, and she ignores my words completely. At first, I refused to entertain the thought of the dream as real, but then as it continued to show up, night after night, for weeks on end, and the other parts of the dream are things I know are real, well……..it’s real. I sort of, indirectly, told my mother, and while I didn’t say what the game was, and I was acting snotty, she still should have questioned what I was telling her. But she didn’t, she simply sent me off to play because she was ‘all played out today’. That happened. I told, and no one heard. I told and my mother didn’t hear. 

(I wrote Bea a note in my notebook during this time, and I felt like it was a lot of growth for me….I wrote to her that I was so pissed off my mother couldn’t be what I needed then, that she didn’t hear me, that she didn’t protect me, and that I knew how lucky I was to have a therapist who did hear me, who did see me, who likes me for me and not miss perfect. I said I knew what a gift it was to have a therapist who didn’t break when I was mad, who could deal with me and my messiness, and who is willing to show her own feelings and be protective of the little girl and me, even if it’s just telling me she is having protective feelings that she can’t act on, or what she would like to do in her perfect world. I told her I wasn’t negating all of that, but I was so angry my mother couldn’t do that, be that for me, then or now. And then, when Bea read it, and acknowledged it, I let her talk about what I’d written. And she got what I was saying. And it was okay.)

So. There’s been a lot of grief, and anger, hurt and rage, tears and harsh words stuck in my throat. A lot of confusion, and grappling with this idea of being full of anger and rage at my mother for not being what I needed is okay, that I am allowed to be mad at her. And I haven’t wanted to think about those things, or to feel them, to even acknowledge the feelings and thoughts. It hurts. So I haven’t been writing, not here, not privately, not even in my notebook to Bea. I’ve fallen into old patterns of avoidance; eating disordered behavior, self injury, zoning out with book after book, trying to control everything, plan everything, and hiding in movies and TV shows. Anything so I don’t have to think, to feel. But that’s not me. It’s not who I am anymore. Hiding so much, shoving so much down and trying to lock it away doesn’t feel good. It feels terrible. So, I’m going to start writing again. It might be messier than my typical posts, it might be dissociative and disjointed, but I’m done hiding from myself. 

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy & Sleep

Wednesday night was a rough night, and on Thursday night, when I felt myself begin to get anxious, and struggle to think, I emailed Bea. I told her I was just checking she was there, and she responded quickly, that yes, she was there. We ended up discussing the bad night, and she suggested that one option to try to get some relief from all of this uncomfortably somatic stuff would be to try SP. I responded with a maybe, and Monday morning when I arrived at Bea’s office, I felt okay with this idea of trying SP. 

After a brief discussion with Bea double checking that I felt okay with doing SP, she asked me to talk about what I do to get ready for bed. 

“I don’t know. I just…well you know. Didn’t we talk about this already?” I ask her. 

“Yes, we did, last week. I thought that might be a good starting place, though, so you can get into the headspace of what is is like for you at night.” She explained. 

“Okay,” I nodded, and then I took her through Kat’s bedtime routine and how I put off going to bed. 

And then it all fell apart. She asked me to stop telling the story of getting ready for bed and to check in with what was coming up now. Adult me was okay with that, maybe even a little bit curious about this whole process of SP. The little girl through, she was hurt. She had thought she was going to get to talk about the flashbacks and nightmares, the memories and feelings that keep coming up. She wasn’t even sure she could tell it, but she had thought that was the idea behind discussing bedtime. From that point forward, I struggled to be present, to talk to Bea, to even hear her. I vacillated between wanting to try to follow the rules of SP, and just trying not to cry because my feelings were hurt. Bea remarked that she could tell I was having trouble staying present, and she talked about what kinds of words might describe things we notice when we check in. She also shared that I might not notice or be able to label anything, and that was okay. At some point, she suggested that maybe the work today was trying to stay here and sit with whatever was coming up.

I’m pretty sure a decent chunk of time went by, with me not talking. Maybe a half hour, maybe more. This used to be the norm in my sessions, but now I talk, or try to talk, or give Bea my not book. I don’t usually flat out stop communicating. I remember Bea asking me if I could feel what I feel at night time, at bedtime, or of it was more that I know what I feel at bedtime, so I was thinking about it, but those feelings weren’t present at this moment. I shrugged. I was too far away to feel anything. She persisted, though, and I eventually snapped at her that I had to go far away so that I wouldn’t have to feel like that again. I didn’t want to feel those scary feelings, and as long as I could stop them, I would. 

Bea seemed pleased with this information, and shared that she felt that information was important. I might have discussed this with her, more, I’m not sure. I honestly don’t remember much of that session. Towards the end, she asked me what I had thought, how the session had felt for me. I shrugged, unable to speak. Bea said she felt like we had gotten some important information. She talked about now this is a typical SP session, how the beginning of it works. She explained we would typically discuss what was happening in the present moment, what was coming up, and then there would be an experiment to help process what had come up, or some kind of resourcing, or whatever and those things were typically some sort of movement. 

I remember telling her that I wasn’t sure, I didn’t know, that I needed to sort my thoughts. She said okay, and gave me space, and I rushed to pack my things and leave. I didn’t want to be there anymore. 

It took me until Tuesday late afternoon to fully sort my thoughts, and even then, they weren’t extremely coherent or well organized. 

Bea,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of thought sorting. I wanted to email yesterday or earlier today, but I just didn’t have things sorted enough in my own mind to put ideas and thoughts into sentences and onto paper. I’m honestly still not sure I have anything sorted. I did a lot of writing in my notebook, and a took a few walks with no music and no audiobook– just my own thoughts. Which I don’t really do lately. I more or less try to avoid thoughts and feelings as much as possible these days. 

Anyway. There’s so many parts with so many different feelings around SP that it’s overwhelming and confusing and I end up unsure what I really think or feel, almost as if there are too many conflicting thoughts and feelings for any of them to be “real” or “right” or “true”. It’s really hard to sort that out, and to try to make sense of any of of it. 

I can see where talking about going to bed, and the feelings or thoughts that go with that, and then stopping talking about that and seeing what is happening right then, right in the moment during therapy and talking about that present moment makes sense. I can see where it might help, or at least where it won’t hurt, or make things worse. But that is all grown up, logical Alice. If I am logical about it, it makes sense, it’s a good idea, it could be very helpful. (And, having an ah-ha! moment…..maybe, because SP only makes sense to me in this very cognitive, logical way, maybe that is partly why I always believe you to be more in the thinking part of your brain and not feeling…..) The thing is though, feeling wise……intuitively wise…..I don’t know what word I’m looking for….I just, I know in my head that SP is a good thing, but the rest of me, everything in me is screaming “No way. Just no. This is not an okay thing, I do not like this. Just no. No.” 

Maybe it’s because I spend so much time working to not feel the things SP asks you to let in (small piece of those feelings, or not, it’s still feelings I work so hard to avoid and now I’m supposed to let them in. Do you get how absolutely terrifying that is?), or maybe it’s because my automatic defense is to go far away, and with SP I’m not supposed to go so far. I mean, that’s really just SP butting right up against the very thing that makes me feel safe. 

Maybe it’s because the little girl feels disconnected from you anytime SP is brought up. I wrote a lot from her perspective, because it really does seem to be the little girl who isn’t okay with SP. There’s a teen part in the mix too, but I’m not sure where she stands. Maybe she doesn’t know. I do think she is there to keep the little girl safe. I think she’s still angry about things changing? I don’t know. ugh. 

So. I’m not sure where that leaves us. Because grown up me is willing to try SP, and wants it to work because I am tired. I’m tired like I need to sleep, but I’m also tired like tired of being scared every night, tired of panic attacks before bed, tired of nightmares and pictures in my head that play on a loop and feelings I can’t get rid of. I’m tired of all of it. Of course, body stuff scares me, and it does make me want to go far away, because I don’t want feel those things, but I want to try. I don’t want to give up after the first *real* try. But clearly, the little girl is not on the same page. She wants nothing to do with SP or body stuff. Nothing at all. Everything in her is saying not okay, not happening. 

So where does that leave me? Because I’m conflicted and confused and while I’ve at least separated things out a bit, it’s really all twisted up inside me, and I feel like I can’t make sense of it, like I don’t have a clue as to what I want. Ugh. This is really frustrating for me. Normally, I’d probably try to push the little girl’s thoughts aside and just follow what the grown up me thinks, because that’s what seems “right, or appropriate” or something, but we agreed I was going to try to speak up before things fall apart like they did in December, so I’m trying that. But it is a very vulnerable and nerve wracking feeling to do so. 

Okay. I think that’s all. I really have this urge to apologize for being difficult and frustrating, so instead I’m going to say thank you for understanding my craziness and putting up with me being difficult; I know you are only offering SP to help me, and I do appreciate that. 

Alice 

Alice, 

I think we need to address the little girl’s perspective tomorrow. That seems like a good place to start. I also wonder what it feels like to have the narrative cut off when we try SP? Because it’s all process and “what’s happening right now,” and it ignores the story being told on purpose. The story is just the access point to the “right now.” Being cut off from the story seems like it could bring a sense of abandonment, so I’m curious if you have any sense of that.

It sure didn’t feel thinky to me Monday–I was really caught up in the process and trying to find a way to help you stay present and access stuff. And your explanation about going away when you started to feel the caffeinated feeling was just perfect! That’s exactly what we’re looking for.

We’ll talk tomorrow!

Bea

Wednesday before the wedding 

Session from Wednesday September 14. I cut the writing short because it is being posted so late, but I think it’s okay. Anyway…..the Wednesday before my brother’s wedding……

Today. Wednesday. It’s 7:35am, and I don’t want to sit in the parking lot outside Bea’s office drinking coffee and checking emails anymore. I can’t think enough to form a coherent reply anyway. I get out of the car, grab coffee and my purse and head up to her office. I am 10 minutes early but I don’t think Bea will be upset with me. And if she is finishing up her own emails, or vacuuming or whatever else she likes to do in the morning (yes, we have discussed our morning routines), I’m fine with waiting. I just want to be in her office, where I feel safe, and where maybe, just maybe, this manager part can let go a little and let me run things for an hour or so. I have so much I need to get out. 

Bea smiles when I walk in. “Hi,” she says. 

“Hi,” I say, “It feels like fall today.” And my voice is clear and strong and if you didn’t know me, you might believe everything is perfectly fine. The manager or Miss Perfect is running the ship right now, or maybe they are running it together. And they are both very good at their jobs. I think the manager doesn’t care as much about things being perfect as Miss Perfect does, and the manager also is less concerned about holding feelings in than with just not letting them exist to begin with. The manager keeps everything running fine and things looking normal when I am in public, or when people are coming over, ext. That’s different than Miss Perfect, because she will do things perfectly even if no one will ever know about it. The manager could care less if I spend all day in bed zoning out, as long as no feelings are coming out and I’m not breaking down. Miss perfect would see spending the day in bed as a waste, a failure, and would never allow it. 

Anyway. I answer and I sound fine. But Bea knows me really well by now, and she isn’t fooled. So she nods and says, “I made sure that we have until 9:30 today, so we have plenty of time to talk about anything you want to or need to talk about.” The last few weeks, she has had to schedule someone at 9:00, which is unusual because my appointments go from 8 until 9:30. But with school schedules and Bea’s trainings and vacations messing things up, she has needed to put someone into that time spot, but she had explained that to me and had promised it would be back to normal in October and we had been meeting at 7:45am, so I was really okay with that. But it was really nice of her to make sure we had until our normal time, and this gave me extra time because we had been starting 15 minutes early on Wednesdays to compensate for ending 1/2 hour early. 

I nod. Okay. I’m not sure what she wants me to say. I feel like I should talk but I’m at a loss. Nothing seems like the right thing to say. I end up telling her about Kat’s doctor appointment and how that went horribly wrong, but it was sort of good because hubby had taken her so he saw that I wasn’t just crazy and that I do things a certain way with Kat for a reason. Talking about hubby reminds Bea about the couples therapist. 

“I forgot to ask on Monday, did you talk to shrink#2?” (And yes, we really do call her shrink#2) 

I nod. “Yeah, actually, I had called her on Wednesday like we talked about, and then she called back, um…..Thursday night, I think it was, and I couldn’t really get it because hubby was home. So I called her back Friday morning, and she called back Monday after I had left here– I was on my way home from here, actually.” 

“So, when is the appointment with her? Or is there an appointment with her?” Bea’s voice is curious, and it has that tone to it that says she really wants to know. 

“In October. We go in October. The 6th, or something like that. It’s a Thursday. She might end up being able to do Mondays, and then maybe we could get in sooner. But for now, that’s when we have it set. So, yeah…….” My voice trails off. I’m unsure what to say from there. 

“Were you able to talk to her?” Bea sits forward a bit, leaning towards me. “I’m guessing you must have gotten something worked out, or you wouldn’t have an appointment still scheduled.”

“Yeah. So I um, well. You know, I had to change the appointment because hubby’s work schedule changed. So we did that first. And then I said that I would like to talk to her if she had a few minutes because I felt like there were things she should know before I walked into a session, things I need her to know, and I had talked with you, and you thought I needed to have a voice and advocate for myself and this was a really perfect time for me to practice that, but you had helped me write out what I wanted to say, so I was just going to read it if that was okay, and that I had the other therapist tell me I wasn’t allowed to talk over the phone so it was going f to be twice as hard to say any of this because I was feeling even more scared.”

“And what did she say?” Bea prompts me when I stop talking and drift off into space. 

“Oh, she said that she very much wanted to hear what I had to say, and it sounded like it was really important information. And I just really couldn’t get the words out, so,I said I was just going to read what was written if that was okay, and I apologized and said I wasn’t as much as a space cadet as I sounded. But I guess maybe I am sometimes……but anyway, she said I was doing great and I wasn’t being a space cadet at all. So I read the thing to her.” 

Bea’s whole face breaks out into this huge smile. “Alice! That huge! You read all of that, the trigger list and everything to her?” 

“Yeah.” I shrug. 

“I think it can be really hard to read things we write, even harder than talking, it can feel really exposing. That is amazing. I’m really proud of you. You did really good.” 

I shake my head at Bea. “No. Because reading something over the phone, I wasn’t even there at all. It’s the face to face reading that is vulnerable or having to find words. But reading off a page over the phone? That’s easy.” 

“How did she seem to feel about the dissociation and the triggers?” Bea asks me. I think she is feeling protective again. 

“She seemed okay, like that was all fine and normal in her world. She seemed like, yeah, okay, it’s okay that you don’t have words sometimes. I had said, remember it said that sometimes I can be really dissociative but am good at faking being present even though I’m not here at all? (Bea nods) Well, she asked what if she asked me if I was far away during a session, would I be able to answer? And I was like ‘I don’t know.’ I don’t know. That didn’t seem to bother her. I told her that hubby doesn’t know like anything, that I’ve kept him out of the loop. And she seemed to get that, I mean like how that happens. I don’t know.” 

“Did she ask anything else?” Bea questions. 

I shrug. “I’m not sure…..I wasn’t really there. I’m not really here. I don’t know.” 

“Yeah, I’m not surprised. I think you needed to be far away enough to call shrink#2 to feel safe, but also I think you’ve started to be far away just as a way of being for right now, until this weekend is past.” Bea tells me. 

“Yeah. I think that started last week.” I say, and I’m far away enough it’s not a big deal to be admitting that, and Bea nods, agreeing with me. 

I’m not sure who speaks next or what is said, but I end up folding my arms across the pillow of I’m leaning against, and burying my face in them. “I’m so far away,” I say to Bea and I’m crying.

“Being in the far away doesn’t always feel good,” she says. 

I cry for a while. Maybe a little while, maybe a longer while. I not sure. Time doesn’t really move the same here. But then I choke out, “I don’t want to be here anymore.” The tears come harder now. 

“Here-here, or the far away here?” Bea clarifies what I mean. I realize, or rather, the part in charge of editing everything realizes that Bea is probably trying to figure out if I am meaning ‘I don’t want to be here’ in the same way as ‘I just want to disappear’, or any of my other euphemisms for suicide or if I just mean that I simply don’t like being in the far away because being so disconnected is hard. I’m kicking myself for trusting her and for giving her unedited writings with how bad I feel at times in them, because now she has to clarify what I meant, and I hate that, I really do. I don’t want her worrying about me like that. Or wondering. Or anything else. But Im honest when I say, “Mostly the far away here.”

“Can you come and go from the far away? So you can get a break from being there? Or are you pretty much just there now?” 

“I’m stuck in the far away. I can’t come and go. It’s not safe to go. All the feelings are on the other side of the far away. No. I don’t want to be here, but I don’t want to be there either.” I can’t stop crying. I hate crying like this. 

“You are safe now,” Bea says to me quietly. 

“I don’t feel safe.” I tell her. 

“No, I know. Your body doesn’t feel safe because it feels like the past is now, and your head, your head thinks the past and the present are scary, and not safe, so your head doesn’t feel safe. So being in the far away, it is a defense to keep you safe. Even if it feel uncomfortable.” 

“I feel like nothing is real.” 

Bea says something soothing and encouraging, and so I continue talking, “It’s like….nothing is real, and I’m stuck in the far away, and I’m not going to be able to come back……I just…never mind.” I can’t even pick my head up to look at her. I feel like such an idiot. 

Bea gets it though. “It’s hard, when you are in the far away, to remember that there are things that are real and waiting for you, or to remember that something besides the far away exists.” 

I nod. “Yeah. I keep telling myself that I have a real life to come back to, but it…..I just…..I feel like I’m going to get trapped there and I just…..my real life feels made up. Like there’s just no way I had that life.” I sniffle, and fight back more tears, but they come anyway and I sob and sob.

“You do, you absolutely have a real life to come back to. It’s hard to hold onto that when things feel so not real, though, I know. But you will come back and go to yoga, and go to school meetings, and yell the IEP team, and walk Hagrid, and hang out at your beach, and you’ll get your sewing stuff out. You are going to come back to your real life.” Bea says the last bit with this extra firmness in her voice. 

I nod, trying to agree. “Okay. I’ll try to remember.” 

“If you need a reminder, you can always text me.” She says. And then I remember. On Monday, she said that yes I was going back to my hometown and that yes I was going to have to see HIM, but that things weren’t the same anymore, and I was safe and it wasn’t a secret anymore and I could text her, or call her this weekend if I needed a reminder of that. 

“That’s annoying,” I tell her. 

“What is?” She asks, sounding genuinely confused and as if she can’t figure out where our conversation is being picked up from. 

“Me. Texting you. I don’t want to annoy you. I’m afraid I will annoy you. You will be annoyed and like, ugh if I am too needy and then….it’s just not good.” I shake my head. I don’t want to have this conversation.

“Oh, no. It’s not annoying. If I was going to be annoyed by something I wouldn’t offer it. It’s okay. I want you to have support this weekend. I think that you, and the little girl, and maybe other parts too, could really use some extra support this weekend. You aren’t alone now, right? That’s the point, why you told me the secret, so you didn’t have to be alone. And you aren’t alone. So, text. Or email. Or call. Or don’t if you don’t need to, but I’m not expecting you to just paste a smile on your face and be okay and if at some point, you want to talk to someone, or not be alone with it, or you need a reminder of your real life, or that this is not a secret, then, you text me okay? Because it’s not annoying and you aren’t needy and I’m not going anywhere. Okay?” 

I sniffle. “Okay.” And I sorta believe her. At least enough that I let myself remember and count on being able to text Bea if I need to. 

“I do want you to know that if I could keep him from going, or make it okay for you not to go, I would. Because I don’t think it’s okay to send you back to this situation or to allow you to feel so retraumatized. But this is where you are at, and that is okay. I do want to find some things to give you some power back though, okay? Can we do that?” 

“Okay…..” I am hesitant because I don’t know what she means, and I’m a little afraid she is going to mean some sensorimotor therapy thing because she use got back from a training this weekend, and I just can’t do that right now. 

But she doesn’t. Sometimes, Bea will ask me to come up with ideas, or to think of choices. Other times, she knows my brain is way too offline to do that, and she does it for me. I really love that about her. “Well, like you are wearing pink when everyone else in the family is wearing grey or navy. That’s you. That is your voice. And you can make sure you aren’t sitting by him at the ceremony. You aren’t sitting by him at the reception and you can hang out with and focus on your moms family that you really like seeing. Is Hagrid’s Dad going to be there?”

“Yeah, he’ll be there. I can hang out with him and hubby. He’s a shrink, did I tell you that?” 

“No, no you didn’t tell me that,” she says, sounding a little surprised. 

“Yep. So I’ll just hang with my shrink cousin,” I say in this self depreciating voice, shaking my head. 

Bea laughs a little because I’m being funny, playing on the fact that I tend to call therapists shrinks when I don’t like them or don’t know them. She says he is a good person for me to spend time with at the wedding because he is safe and I enjoy talking to him. 

I agree. I don’t tell her that last summer, I had a flashback and I think he recognized it for what it was. I claimed migraine to the rest of the family, but he had followed me and asked if I needed anything and made a point that he was there if I didn’t want to be alone right then or if I needed to talk. By then I was in that here but not here place, and so I had smiled and said thank you but that I just needed to lie down and let my migraine meds kick in.

Bea smiles and continues with a few more ideas of ways I am in control.

“It’s worse…..you know….it’s harder…. because…….I just….” I start to talk, mumble, stop talking, scrunch my body up into a a smaller ball, and then bury my face even more. 

“Going back there? Going to the wedding? It’s harder because why?” 

“Seeing him. It’s harder………worse because of……..I……I can’t even say it. I just…I can’t say it. It’s that bad. A memory…the memory….” I’m really going even farther away now and I dig my nails into palms, making my hands into fists.

“Is it the memory with Jackie? With the three of you up north?” She asks gently. She is matter of fact and there is no judgement in her voice, but there is harsh judgement in my mind.

I nod my head. Yes. 

“That memory is popping back up, huh?”   

“It never left.” I say the words. But that’s not exactly right. Yes, the memory is very here and alive, but it’s more than that. It’s this feeling of being out of control, of not making any choices, of being so alone, of having no one to go to, of feeling so disgusted and hurt and just broken. Of feeling betrayed. I wasn’t special. I did not matter. None of this stuff, the secret game, the things that made me feel icky and excited and scared and good and bad and happy and awful all at once, they weren’t just because I was so special he couldn’t help himself, it wasn’t because he loved me and wanted to be with me. I was just there, a thing, a toy, something he could use. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t special and he did not love me and it was all bad and wrong and everything hurts. But I don’t say any of that, because it’s too many words to have to get out right now. 

I end up in a little girl place, crying to Bea, asking her to not make me go back there. She tells me that can stay right here, until I’m ready, and that on Monday I will be back here, with her, in her office. She says I can always “get sick” at the wedding and leave, that it’s okay. She talks, soothing the little girl, and I cry. When I do leave, she reminds me to reach out and text her if I need to, and to stay around the people who are safe to me, like Hagrid’s dad, and my grandma. I agree. It will be okay. 

Little girl hiding

The little girl doesn’t want to go to therapy today. She’s not in the mood. She’s angry with Bea. Bea’s the one who left, and it’s been a week since the little girl has seen her. She feels really disconnected from Bea. And Bea is leaving again in a week and half. So what’s the point? Why bother? Thankfully, the grown up part of me is present enough that I do manage to get all the parts to therapy. It’s rather like being a child or teenager and being forced to show up to therapy at times, but the grown up me is nothing if not responsible and always on time, and so off to therapy I go.   

I walk in and stand at the bottom of the stairs for a moment. It feels really hard to climb up the stairs, and go to face Bea. Hagrid runs right up, though, and she greets him, happily. “Hagrid’s here! How’s my friend Hagrid today?” 

I follow Hagrid up the stairs, and walk into Bea’s office. It feels off to be here. Maybe it’s because I’ve been dissociated and detached since the yuck was dredged up, and Bea leaving only made it worse. Maybe it’s because I’m terrified she isn’t going to be herself; that she hasn’t really come back. I keep my gaze down, and whisper “Hi.” 

“Hello,” Bea says, like she is herself and has come back. “I feel like we have a lot to catch up on.” 

I get seated, and fill her in on what Kat has been up to the last week. I fall easily into that ‘here but not here’ space, and chat as if everything is fine between Bea and I. At this moment, the adult me, even if it is miss perfect, is running things, so there really isn’t anything wrong between us at this moment. The issues between us are between Bea and the little girl, and Bea and the teen. 

When I pause and run out of things to chatter on about, Bea switches gears on me. “I want to make sure we have time to talk about you. Should I get out your email?” 

I shrug my shoulders, and pull my knees to my chest, bury my face in my knees. The little girl is back, and she’s embarrassed and upset. She doesn’t want to be here. “It doesn’t matter.” 

“Well I can pull it up, but if there was a different direction you wanted or needed to go in today…..” Bea says. 

I don’t say anything. The direction I want to go in is out the door. I’m shut down and hiding. I can’t do this, I can’t talk to Bea. I don’t trust her right now. She left me, and she is leaving again, and she might not come back as herself.

“I can see that you are very closed off today, that you very much need to feel safe.” Bea says. 

I’m hunched over, curled into myself and continuing to bury my face. Floating, and far away, I’m not really here, but this is painful, in a dull achy way. It hurts to have Bea so close, and not be able to connect with her. As much as the little girl is afraid to trust Bea, she wants desperately to confide in Bea so she doesn’t have to hold this awful chopped up, mixed up, blender memory on her own. 

“It’s really understandable that Kat’s play was very triggering. It makes so much sense. And I was so glad that the little girl found her voice and was able to write to me and share how she is feeling. It’s so important that the little girl can share her feelings. I think we need to be very careful to pay attention to the little girl.” Bea starts off. She’s reading through an email I had sent on Friday. What she had just read was about Kat and how Kat triggered me……….Yesterday. The little girl was triggered in this big, big way by Kat. That’s been happening a lot lately, too. And so I try to find more ordered activities to do with her like board games or baking or something like that because open ended play is just….I don’t know. Hard sometimes. We are playing with the mini princess dolls and the Sofia dolls. So the princes and Prince dolls are like the grown ups and the Sofia dolls are like the kids. Everything was fine, or mostly fine. But then Kat picked up a Sofia and Prince Charming and was like “pretend he was kissing her and that they were in love and going to get married”. I froze and did my best to be neutral about it, but then she had this grownup boy doll pressed up against the Sofia doll, the little girl doll, and I just lost it. Or rather the little girl part took over. I think it’s probably going to be maybe easier if the little girl writes the rest. Just know that it’s not all of me that feels like this, but it’s pretty much the perspective and feelings that have been strongest lately, that I have been dealing with and that I don’t always like………… Bea had replied to the email, but it was our last communication. 

The grown up part of me is embarrassed and my face flushes. I don’t want to even acknowledge the feelings of the little girl. I’m so angry with the child. And the little girl part of me feels like Bea is being patronizing, or not really caring what she is feeling. 

“The body memories, those can be bad, very difficult, but I do think that sensorimotor is the best way to work through them, to help address them. What were your thoughts on that? Did you want to do some work with that today? I want to make sure we have the time to talk about anything you need to talk about. I’m sure there is a lot to update me on, too.” 

I shrug. The child is upset. She defiantly thinks that there is nothing to update Bea on. I had written to her a bit this week, and simply not sent them to her. I had written to her this morning, at 3:00am, after waking from a nightmare. I want to get out the iPad and give her the unsent notes now, so she can read how I’ve been feeling, so conflicted and up and down. I just am frozen and it’s a struggle to move. 

“I don’t think you are in the window right now. It feels like you are having a very hard time staying here.” Bea says. 

I shrug. I’m not in the window, but I don’t want to be. I’m so tired of fighting to stay in the window and be grounded and be present and be here. 

“How was the rest of the week? Has the grown up gotten to be more in charge? Have you felt more grounded, been able to use your resources?” Bea is asking. 

“No….not…..” My voice sounds too quiet and the words are stuck in my throat. “Not so much.” 

I don’t know how much time passes after that. I am getting spacer and spacier. I know Bea is trying to talk to me, to find something that sparks my attention, gets me feeling connected to her, understood and cared for, so I’ll feel safe enough to talk. The adult knows Bea is trying so hard, and that she is being real and authentic. The little girl believes Bea is just telling her what she may want to hear. She’s not sure Bea is really here. And I’m so fuzzy and blurry and far away that I can’t feel if Bea is here, or herself or not.

In the end, I manage to hand Bea my iPad so she can read my notes I’d written to her.

So…….the grown up me is sort of ping ponging between being just not here or very very angry. And it’s really not good because the grown up is so mad at the little girl, and some of that mad has come out at Kat. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but the grown up is aware enough to know its not good to be taking out anger she feels at the little girl at girl, so she just shuts down, detaches, pulls away and everything is numb and flat. That probably isn’t much better, because then I’m pulled away from everyone, especially the person my anger is coming out at and that person just happens to be my kid. 

Otherwise, the little girl has been running the show. She isn’t in a good place. She is in a very bad, very not trusting, very not happy place. She’s always hearing things twisted and placing negative meaning to other people’s words. She is also hateful to herself and hates her actions, but more so she is afraid– terrified, really— that others feel the same way about her the way she feels about her self. She sees everything as rejection, as a sign or signal that she is failing, not living up to the perfect she needs to be. 

I feel like if I was in my “new-normal more grounded accepting calm state” I would have read the whole email from you and felt understood and supported. But the little girl is really the one running the ship these days, and so I’m not feeling those things!

What a hard time for part of you to have to be a parent–yikes! I’m glad you were able to hide and get yourself to a safe place, even if not as long as you probably wanted.

Like this, I feel like you are thinking I’m not being a good parent and it makes me afraid to keep talking about anything. It makes me afraid to say how much snappy quick sharp anger has come out at Kat this last week. I know it’s because I’m mad at the little girl. 

It’s challenging your functioning and depleting your resources. Be gentle with yourself!

All I keep hearing in my head is “why doesn’t she know I can’t be gentle with myself?” And “why couldn’t she just tell me it’s okay to talk about it all? She didn’t say it’s okay to talk, she really doesn’t want me to talk.”

I get that you feel like you are disgusting. I don’t have those feelings, but I get that you do.

This should one of those parts of an email that make me feel really supported and much, much better —–the second sentence of ‘I don’t have those feelings’ would usually help me feel better if the grown up was in charge, but right now, with the little girl being more here, it doesn’t help. She’s just angry at you and I don’t understand why. All she wants to do is scream at you, “No, you don’t get it! You don’t get it at all!” 

Hi Bea, (from the teen speaking for, maybe with, the little girl)………

I’m so very mad at you. And I don’t really know why. And I don’t want to be mad. You push me to talk about this stupid wedding that he will be at. You dredged up so much yuck. And then you tell me that the next week you will be out of town. And you left, and it didn’t feel like you were there by email. It doesn’t feel like you want to deal with me. Why do you keep pushing dealing with the wedding? Ugh. I don’t even want to think about it. But you know that. I wrote in my last email some of my most hidden thoughts and feelings about it, finally, after you have pushed and I have not said a word, I say something. But you didn’t even really respond. 

I don’t understand why I’m so upset with everything. I understand that it might be old feelings, things from the past, but It doesn’t feel like that. It all feels now. I feel like you don’t want me to talk, that I’m not allowed to be me, that you don’t want to hear all the bad stuff, that you are going to leave if I talk and about all the bad stuff because you will be disgusted or angry with me, that I’m not doing anything right, that I’m messing up everything, that I’m all alone no matter what I do. 

I don’t even want to come to therapy today. I feel so disconnected from you, it doesn’t matter. Usually I’m upset and sad and feeling alone when we miss sessions, and am glad when we have a session after missing one and things can get back to normal. But right now? I just don’t care. Or I don’t want to care. I’m not sure which. I’m sad and scared and feel like no one gets it and anyone I talk to is going to decide I am awful and disgusting and terrible and hate me and and just leave. I’m really afraid that if I come to therapy today, you won’t really be you and you won’t really there. 

She read what I wrote and responded directly to the little girl. “I don’t have any bad feelings about you, and I really am me, I’m here and I’m back. I want to speak to the little girl, okay?” 

“Okay.” I whisper. 

“I understand why you think I would find you disgusting, I understand you feel that way. But I don’t think of you that way at all. I really don’t. I want to hear what you have to say. I want to hear anything you want to tell me. I’m not afraid of it, and I’m not worried about how I will feel about you. I’m maybe a little bit drawn to the darker side of life, of a person. Remember, I don’t see failure in the ick and disgusting parts of life, I see the potential, the beauty. I know it feels so bad when things are dredged up and I am leaving on vacation. Maybe the next vacation, we might want to process me leaving that week before I go, or see if we can move schedules around so that we can still have two appointments that week. And I’m sure that ever since the trip where I wasn’t so present in email and I didn’t come back to be really present, it feels really scary to have me go on vacation and it is really hard to trust that I’m not there on the other end of the email. I promise you, I was very present, and really focused on being very grounded and there for you when I was answering your email. I was right there. I know I didn’t respond to the very last paragraph and that really hurt. I wanted to respond to that, too, there was so much there and it was all very important, I was just too tired to keep writing. You know, there is a part of me– a very big part of me– that wants to stay right with you and take care of you and make sure you are okay. There’s a part of me that always keeps you in my mind, and that part really cares about you and wants to take care of you all the time.” 

And with that, the little girl was fully and firmly seated in the captain’s chair, no longer sharing it with the grown up, and she was running the the ship. Tears poured down my cheeks, and I sobbed. I wanted to soak in her words, to really feel them, to hear that Bea has a part that cares for me and wants to stay with me and care for me all the time, but it’s sort of too much for me to feel. It makes me feel really good, that she does care, I can feel in her words that I’m important to her, but it is a lot and the feelings of comfort that come up are almost painful. I don’t want to sit in that painful, uncomfortable feeling, but I can’t shake it either. I cry and cry, all the while still pulling into myself and hiding. 

 “I can understand wanting to push someone away before they can hurt you. That makes a lot of sense to me. I’m glad you came to therapy today. I think it’s interesting that you are really feeling so strongly that I would not want you to be you, or that I don’t want to hear the things you have to say. I only want you to be you, just Alice! You’re perfect just as you are. And I do want to talk about the feelings you have been hiding about the wedding.”

I cried some more. The tears were just a mixture of relief that Bea was Bea, and sadness and pain. I shake my head at her, not wanting to discuss the feelings I have about the wedding. 

“Okay. We don’t have to talk about it right now. I do just want to say that it’s not surprising you might have feelings of wanting Kenny to find you attractive, if you have to see him at the wedding. It doesn’t make you disgusting or bad or anything else in my book. It makes sense to me. The little girl was really attached to Kenny. Of course she wants him to still like her.” 

I know Bea says more about that, but I am too ashamed of those feelings to stay present enough to hear her. I’m so very, very, upset and embarrassed over those feelings, and hating myself for it. Hearing Bea say she doesn’t have any bad feelings towards or about me over this. 

“I am wondering about this invisible ink you used, though,” Bea says softly handing me back my iPad. Her words come out happily, with a small smile and curiosity in her voice. She is talking about the way I have written about my nightmare and then turned the font white, so it couldn’t be read. I’d written above that It’s 2:00 am and I’m up. Nightmare. Pieces of the blender memory. I can’t breathe. Can’t breathe. I want this to go away. It’s all body memory stuff, and not many words and the words I do have are just so very embarrassing and shameful and not okay. I feel like it’s too much to deal with. I wrote the words, the little bit that was a nightmare. And I can’t leave them, because I don’t know if I can give them to you. So I colored the words in white– between the stars– and I can color them back in to be read if I want to. I’m just so scared, and so alone, and no one gets it. Its a scary place to be, vulnerable and emotional and feeling alone. “I am curious who the resourceful part is, that was able to make it so you could give me this without having me read exactly what happened with the nightmare.” 

I shrug, still hiding my face.

“I’d like to meet this resourceful part one day. This part really took care of you, keeping you safe, and giving you control over when and if you allow me to read these words.” 

“I don’t sleep anymore.” I cry. “And I’m scared.”

“I know. Things have been really hard.” 

“I’m afraid if you read this, you won’t want me anymore.” I whisper, fully in little girl head space.   

“I know I won’t think that at all. I can’t imagine ever being disgusted or upset with you,” Bea assures me. 

Part of me believes her, or really wants to believe her, but I’m not sure. I can only think that if she actually knew what I had to say, she would not be so confident that she won’t find me disgusting, bad, terrible. “I’m afraid. Part of me just wants to throw my iPad at you so you can read it and it can just be over with.” 

“Yes, I can understand that. To not have to feel alone with it anymore,” she says. “What was it like to write the words?” She asks. 

“I…….I don’t know. I mean…..I don’t…..” I stop speaking suddenly, and try to think. I honestly can’t remember. “I really don’t have a memory of it. I just…it’s fuzzy.” 

“Yeah…..it’s a whole different part of you that holds these memories right now. That’s okay to not know. And you can share it now. Or later, or not at all.” Bea says gently. 

I sit up and stare at my iPad, highlighting the text I had turned white and then turning it a bright navy blue. Then I just stare and stare at those blue letters on the screen, which form words that turn into sentences and create the paragraph describing my nightmares. 

“If I…….if I give this to you, can I turn around and hide?” I whisper. 

“Yes. You can hide, of course you are allowed to hide. Would you like a blanket to hide under?” She asks, once again, simply just speaking to the little girl. I’m touched because she remembers how I like to hide in my closet under my soft blanket. 

It takes me what feels like a long time to answer her question. Eventually, though, I do. “Okay. Yes.” I hand her the iPad. She takes it and sets it on her chair. She walks over to where she keeps a stack of blankets, and she chooses me.  

Bea hands me a fleece teal blanket, saying, “I think this is the softest one.” 

Taking it from her, I hide under it, and turn away. “What if it’s not okay?” I ask, feeling suddenly frantic. 

 
“It will be. I imagine I’ll feel sad for the little girl, maybe sad for adult who is in so much pain right now. But I also imagine I will feel glad that you aren’t alone with this anymore.” She is speaking so softly and carefully, so as to not scare the little girl. 

“Okay. Okay.” I tell her. 

And so I hide under a soft and fuzzy blanket, curled into a ball, burying my face in my knees, while my therapist reads my latest most shameful memory. 

It’s too much for me, that she has read it and knows now, and I’m way too far away to retain any memory of the day. What I do remember is that Bea was her most supportive, emphatic and caring self. She had no bad thoughts about me or my actions. As I am leaving her office, still unable to make eye contact, she says, “The little girl was so brave today, so brave to share so much today, to trust me that much. I hope you can get some relief now that you aren’t alone with this memory.” And I believe her.  
 

I am seen

This post may be triggering. I wrote about sexual abuse, self harm, eating disordered behaviors. Please be careful when you are reading it. 

This hasn’t been a good week. In all honesty, things haven’t been good since that bad doctor appointment. It’s been a sort of steady decline since then, of me getting more and more overwhelmed. Bea had a thing Monday morning that couldn’t be done any other time, so I saw Tuesday instead. We kept in touch via email over the weekend; mostly it was me writing how gone I was, how alone I feel, and checking that she was still there. She offered up grounding ideas, and reassurance that she was still there, and that she sees me and is still listening. 

I emailed her that I was afraid, that the last time I was feeling and acting like this my husband emailed her. I told her these memories are similar to the ones the last winter, when I lost it. I told her I was lost and confused. I said that I thought it didn’t matter anymore, I had to find a way to fix it, to work through it, to get over it, so I’d try whatever she threw at me, I’d try it. Because I don’t want to be this person, and I’m not sure how much longer I can be okay when I feel like this. 

I spent the weekend baking. I made french macarons. I made many, many macarons. My kitchen, freezer, and fridge are full of macarons. I used to bake cupcakes. I used to make fancy, creative flavors, and fancy beautiful frosting. Cupcakes are simple, now, though. I can make them without thinking, I can make them completely dissociated and falling apart, and they don’t distract me anymore. Macarons, on the other hand, take attention, careful attention. They can be made in all kinds of crazy, creative flavors. They are small and cute and different. And they offer a small distraction, they aren’t mindless. 

I need a distraction. I’m so lost in hurt and mess and memories I can’t breathe. I’m lost and scared, and being dissociative doesn’t offer any relief because it feels unsafe to be so far away. It feels unsafe to be far away, and it feels unsafe to be here. I want to spend every minute of everyday cutting, throwing up. Those things stop me from hurting. They numb all the fear. So, instead I’ve been baking and I will continue to bake, and bake and bake.

I’ve all but lost Tuesday’s session. Its fuzzy. The last few weeks are fuzzy. I drive there in a daze, a fog. I take Hagrid with me, and he offers me some comfort. He always does, and I’m so glad I have him with me. I love this dog. 

Bea greets us with a smile, and we settle onto her sofa. I don’t think she let me get away with much distracting small talk. Or maybe I was too far away to make small talk. 

“Did hubby ever talk to you?” Bea asks. She was referring to an email I sent her about a fight– or rather a me screaming at him thing– in which I told hubby I wasn’t Polly-fucking-Anna. I’d told him I try to be, I want to be, and that was who he met, married and fell in love with, but no one listens to Polly-Fucking-Anna. I screamed that he wanted whatever “this”– meaning the issues between us are– was to be my fault, to be because my of PTSD, my triggers, my issues, but it is about us, the both of us, it’s him, too. I told him that this issue was going to remain until he dealt with his stuff. And he said nothing in response. Not one word. 

I shook my head. “He doesn’t….he doesn’t see me. And I yelled. I mean, I swore. I don’t swear. It’s not…..I just…ugh. He had me so upset, I was swearing. I just….I don’t know.”

“Well, you had a voice, you expressed something you have needed to for a long time, and that’s important.” Bea says. 

“Ummmmm…….I’m not so sure. I just screamed and screamed and he didn’t say a word. So what was the point? I don’t know. He needs therapy.” Hagrid nudges me with his nose, and I run my fingers through his ears. 

“I wasn’t trying to be discouraging in my email; I think asking him to go to therapy is good, it’s great, but I think people have to go to therapy for themselves, and choose it for themselves to really heal.” She’d written: People have to want to work on their stuff in order to change, so if he’s not motivated to go to therapy for himself I’m not sure how much work would actually get done. (if you convinced him to go). Most people change best when they are in pain, which makes sense I guess. That’s not encouraging in a situation like yours, of course, but still it’s worth continuing to encourage him to go. 

“I didn’t think that,” I say honestly. “And I know. I just wish he would go. Did you think I was right though? About us being good, and him seeing me when I was Polly-Anna, and now all this PTSD stuff coming out has triggered something in him, it triggers his stuff and makes him shut down, which only triggers me more because I feel not listened to and that triggers his stuff more, and it’s just this bad cycle we are in. Is that right? Am I right about that?”

I had explained it more throughly via email and asked if what I said was right, and she had responded in a way that told me she agreed, but she hadn’t explicitly said I was right. “Yes, it’s right, it makes sense. It’s good to understand the cycle that you are in, what is happening.” She tells me.

“I just…I don’t know.” I cover my face, and stop talking. I don’t want to talk about hubby anymore. 

It seems we sit in silence for a long time. Or, at least there is a big blank in my mind. I’m really not sure where the conversation went from there. 

“What happens when you get snappy with hubby?” Bea asks. I had told her that I was snappy all week, and that was what led to our fight.

“It’s anyone. I mean…..it’s…I’m in this far away place. I don’t…..it’s not okay, I don’t…..it’s not this safe feeling…..it’s not okay here, but then…..it’s….I’m…….anything that interrupts me, that distracts me lit of the far away, I snap.” I shake my head. It’s really hard to explain this. I don’t have the words to explain my internal world, my reactions, my feelings, any of it. 

“Do you feel irritable?” She asked more, described it better, but I don’t remember what her words were. Maybe she talked about being short tempered, snapping before you can think, feeling slightly out of control. 

Her words make me feel really understood. I hate this part of myself, but she says it all so kindly, so full of empathy and just curiosity but it doesn’t sound like she is hating this part of me. I nod my head, but then realize that because I’ve curled up and hidden my face in my knees, Bea probably can’t see me, so I say, “Yeah.” 

We talk about the far away, and Bea tells me that the here and now is safe, that I am Grown up and safe. 

“It’s too much,” I tell her. Our session is near the end, but I need her to hear this, to get it. “It’s like….I’m on this tightrope. Trying to balance. And I can’t. I’m falling, and I have to balance. If I don’t….I…..I’m falling and I have to balance. If I fall, there’s no one there to catch me.” My voice catches and I start to cry. 

“Ahhh. You are feeling really alone.” She says softly. “What would happen if you fell?” 

“No one would catch me. I….all this….it would be right there. And then….I don’t know. I don’t know what would happen.” 

“These memories that are so real lately. They really have you feeling so alone and scared. Have any of them connected or have you been able to put words to it?” She asks me. 

“No…it’s just pieces.” Really bad pieces. I don’t know. I can’t.” There’s so much about these memories I am afraid to say. They are pieces, little ransoms pieces that don’t fit together. They are body memories, images, sounds, smells, thoughts. I’m scared and ashamed of them. It literally like being attacked all day and night. 

“Could you write them down, and we could look at them and see how they fit together?” She asks me. 

“Maybe.” I blink back tears. “Maybe. I can try.” 

“Okay. That’s good. Trying is good.” Her voice is kind. 

When I do sit up, and get ready to leave, she tells me she is here, I’m not alone, that she sees me. I leave her office with the message that I’m seen and my voice, my story matters. My voice is heard, and my story matters. I am seen. 

The body tells a story 

Thursday. Hubby wakes me before he leaves for work, but I don’t get up. I haven’t been sleeping well. Sleep had been better, the last few months. It was something I had written on my list of things that were better. But the last few weeks, I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m up late, and then when I finally fall asleep, I’m up again an hour or so later with bad dreams. If I manage to fall back asleep again, I’m up every hour after that, startled awake, expecting something very bad is going to happen. So. Hubby has been having to help me get out of bed, and Kat has been late to school almost every day. I hate that he has to help me wake up. I feel like a big loser, like someone who can’t care for herself. And every night when hubby asks me when the latest I can get out of bed is, I feel like he hates me, is looking down on me, thinking bad things about me, is feeling like I am a bad person for not being able to wake up on time. 

So, hubby tries to get me up, but he has to leave for work, and I lay in bed in a fog. Eventually I do get up, and Kat and I rush around to get ready. We make it to school on time, and I make it to therapy with enough time to walk Hagrid for a few minutes. 

When I get up to Bea’s office, Hagrid runs to her, excitedly. He loves Bea. She pets him and says hello to us. 

“Good morning,” I say. I sit my bag down, get settled in my corner of the sofa, and Hagrid jumps into my lap. I pull out my iPad, with some journaling written in it, but tell Bea I need to talk about Kat when she tries to ask me about how I felt about her response to my email about having not having words. 

We talk about Kat for a few minutes. She’s having some struggles with the sub that’s taken over her class while her teacher is out on maternity leave, and her favorite ABA tech has left (she’s gone back to school). I don’t like the sub, either. She’s harsh. She isn’t this warm fuzzy person, and she isn’t good with kids on the spectrum, and her regular tone of voice is almost exactly the same as my ‘angry mommy’ voice. It’s not a good situation. I know it’s not in my head because Kat’s special education teacher is concerned about it, too, and has offered to have Kat and some friends come to her room every day for a an hour or so. 

“She’s been playing this…saying whatever doll or animal she is speaking wants to die, or is dead, or whatever. And it’s like no one can respond to her right.” I sigh. 

“Usually that kind of play is about pain, big emotional pain. I would ask, go in that direction, of asking if owl is sad, or whatever.” 

“She won’t let you go there. I ask her that, and she gets mad. She yells, she screams, she says to shut your mouth, that you can not talk about it, that you are stupid. It makes her so upset,” I explain. 

“Just reflect back what is happening, then. ‘Owl wants to die.’ Then go back to playing,” Bea suggests. 
“I….I just….I can do that…….but…..I don’t know..I don’t want……I mean….” I shake my head. I’m at a loss as to how to explain it. 

“You don’t want what?” Bea prompts. She wants to know. 

“I….it’s hard. I don’t want…..I mean, I don’t want to be my mom. Hubby, he gets mad at Kat for playing like that, tells her it isn’t allowed, whatever, I don’t know. He’s just like my mom. I married my freaking mom. And I don’t want to be that. I’m afraid if I don’t ask, and don’t talk to her, and just reflect back and move on, that she will feel like she can’t talk, or I am ignoring, or I am….ugh. I don’t know. I just…I don’t want to be my mom.” The words feel like a jumbled mess, and everything in my head is convoluted, but Bea gets my point.

“Well, first off, we know hubby’s personality is that he doesn’t like things to be upset he doesn’t like waves to be made, he like everything to be even keeled and easy. So those big displays of emotion are hard, they are upsetting to him and he doesn’t know how to deal with them, because it upsets his internal balance.” 

I nod. “I know. I know. But it’s still. He is my mother.” I shrug. 

Bea smiles. “With Kat, you make space for her to talk. Reflecting back, and then continuing on with the play isn’t the same as your mom, as ignoring, because you make space for her feelings.” She sounds so sure. 

I think that a year ago, if she had told me this, I wouldn’t have even known what she was talking about, what making space meant. Now, though, I know what she means. “What if Kat doesn’t know there is space?” I ask. 

“There’s space, you make space, and Kat knows you make space there.” Bea assures me. 

I nod. “I hope so.” I sigh. 

We wrap up the Kat conversation, and Bea asks, “How did my email land with you?”

I hand her my iPad. “I wrote back. Sort of. I…I just didn’t send it. I don’t know. And I was writing. It’s not the words I need. But I was writing.”

Bea takes my iPad and starts reading. I continue talking, while I curl up and hide my face. Having someone read my writing is so exposing, I don’t want anyone to look to me and see me. That would be too much. 

“I really do think it is about the parts. Some parts wanting to talk and some parts not wanting to. The parts that don’t want to talk are trying to protect you, keep you safe,” Bea tells me. 

“I know. I just….I…it’s…I want to talk. I want my words.” I sigh. 

“Your toes are very still today. Your legs are shaking, but your your toes and your feet are very still, very firmly planted.” Bea’s voice is steady and calm. 

I don’t feel my legs shaking. But I am frustrated that I can’t find my words and not really here. I haven’t been very present all week. I’ve been in this strange fog, feeling off and fuzzy. “I don’t know. I can’t…I didn’t…..ugh.” 

“I’m trauma, we talk about preverbal memories. The memories that really don’t have words, that form without words. Does the memory have an age to it or a place to it? Are there even words for that?” 
I let myself think, fall back there. It’s not hard to do. I’ve been in this on edge, fuzzy, nervous, scary, overwhelmed place. I’ve been falling back into this place off and on all week, almost like a part of me is always there. “I don’t….I can’t…I just…I mean….I don’t want….” 

“What don’t you want?” She asks me. 

I shake my head. “I…..I can’t…I can’t..I just….I don’t want….I mean…..I don’t want…..”

We sit, me struggling to get out words, and Bea reading. She prompts me another time or two, but I can’t get out the words. I’m not even sure I know what it is I am trying to say. 

“I’m reading now about therapy in the moment,” Bea says. “So, sensorimotor isn’t about focusing on the feelings, we would focus on your toes shaking, and what they want to do. If they didn’t want to do anything, we could do an ‘experiment’— see what it feels like to push against the floor, or whatever. And sometimes feelings come up, but we redirect back to the toes, and the body, to the movement. We notice the feelings, then let them go, and redirect back to the toes. I understand being scared, but you don’t have to focus on the feelings. It’s safe. We stay in the window and focus on the movements.” 

I shake my head at her. I’m not looking at her, and my head is buried in my knees, so I’m not sure she sees it. “I…it’s….that’s the…..I’m……it’s…..” I can’t say it. I want to, but I’m afraid to. 

“What is it?” Bea asks me. 

I try again, but I can’t say it. “I….it’s just that…..I don’t know. I mean, I do know. Ugh. I….it doesn’t feel like that. It doesn’t feel okay.” 

Bea shares a story about when she was doing the sensorimotor training. She tells me how they had spilt into pairs and were practicing the techniques on each other. Bea had some feelings come up, and her partner had focused on the feelings. “So I know how feelings can come up, and even start to take over. I needed my partner to help me notice the feelings and then redirect me back to my body. She was very focused on my feelings, and she was almost adding to the feelings, with the things she was saying and asking. But when I said no to her, and redirected myself back to my body, those feelings weren’t so powerful, and I felt safer again. I was able to process (my event).” 

I get what she is saying. I get it. I’m glad she shared with me that she has experienced sensorimotor therapy and having really big feelings come up. Hearing her story about that experience helps more than if she had just said she got it, or had been there and experienced it. Because I don’t trust things easily, if she just tells me she gets it, I question to myself if she is just saying that to me to make me feel safer in talking to her. Hearing a story, a real experience, means she does understand, and I can trust that. 

But the feelings coming up and being overwhelming aren’t exactly my fear. They aren’t exactly what I’m afraid of. I’m afraid of focusing on my body and being present like that because then I am present with the feelings that come up. Being so present with those feelings is what is hard for me. What’s even harder though, is being so present and having someone redirect me back to my body movement, and away from my feelings. It feels like being ignored, abandoned, left when I am redirected away from my feelings. And being present and redirected is so painful. It hurts so much to feel those ignored feelings in the moment. I think it is too much like what my mother always did. The other part of it is that once I have focused on a body movement, and had overwhelming, big, scary, feelings come up, I’m afraid to focus on my body again and have more feelings come up. Because I already can’t handle the first set of feelings that came up. 

I can’t say any of that, though. Bea has stopped reading, and is trying to help me get the words out. 

“You can read. Just read. I’m not talking anyway,” I tell her. 

She goes back to reading. “I am excited, but that doesn’t mean I have any expectations of you.” She had written that she was excited about Monday’s session, and I wrote that I was terrified of that. Her being excited means I will disappoint her because I maybe won’t be able to do that again. “It’s okay. I’m not going to be upset if you can’t do it again. I don’t expect anything.” 

“Okay,” I say numbly. I don’t know what else to say. People always have expectations, they always want something. And I really don’t want to disappointment Bea. Disappointing people makes them leave, and I don’t want Bea to leave.

“Hmmmmm….mmmmhmmm. I agree, the teen is part of fight and flight. That makes sense. She is really trying to protect those vulnerable parts, and she is really front and center right now.” Bea says. 

“I just….I’m afraid….I mean…” I’m still trying to get the words out. 

“I can write a letter to the doctor for you. I’m really okay with doing that,” Bea says. 

“You don’t need to,” I repeat the same thing I had said in my writing. Then I tell her, “I have an appointment in May. It’s fine. It will be fine, it is okay. I don’t need anything.” I had called and made an appointment after Monday’s session. 

“How did you get an appointment in May?” She asks me. 

“I called. I said I would call, so I called. I made the appointment. It’s fine.” I say the words with finality. I can’t talk about this right now. 

“Okay. It will feel good to get it over with.” Bea says, letting it go. 

She goes back to reading, and then makes a “Mmmmmhmmmm…” That sounds like everything just made sense to her suddenly. “The nightmares. That makes me think this isn’t just about parts, but it’s a memory without words. That it’s not something that is present day at all, but a memory that is very alive right now. And it seems to be stored very much in the body.” 

Throughout this session, she has been periodically commenting on my legs shaking, and asking questions. She has been trying to help me say what I need to say. She pauses now, and looks at me. “Your legs are still shaking. You might not have words, but your body is telling a story.” 

Inside, I feel myself freeze; she knows. She knows how bad I feel right now. 

“I can tell that this memory is very scary,” she says softly. Her voice is full of caring. I can hear that she cares. 

“How do you know?” I whisper. I’m curious. I want to know why she knows, what she sees that I can’t feel. 

“Well, your legs are shaking, and your body pulled into itself more, curled up more, protecting yourself, hiding.” Her voice is careful, gentle. 

I nod. “It’s scary. But scary isn’t enough. It’s more than that.” 

“Terrifying?” Bea asks. 

“That seems….too dramatic.” I start to cry. “I don’t want to be a drama queen. I don’t want to be dramatic, I don’t want to be……” My voice trails off. The word that gets dropped is needy. I don’t want to be needy and a drama queen. 

“We could call it very BIG scary.” 

“Big scary. Okay.” I mumble the words through tears. 

“Your legs are still shaking. Can you feel them? Can you focus on that?” Bea asks. 

“I don’t want…..I just…….I don’t want………” I’m back to trying to explain something I’ve been trying to say all session. I’m really scared Bea is going to get annoyed with me, give up on me. 

“Clearly you don’t want something. What don’t you want? It’s okay. You can say it,” she tells me. 

“It sounds silly, dramatic.” I tell her. 

“Maybe it won’t to me. Maybe it’s something I really need to know.” 

“I….it’s….if you tell me to focus on my toes….and I focus on them….on my toes moving…” 

“Yes?” Bea prompts. 

“I focus on my toes moving……and then feelings…..you know….ummm…..feelings come up…..” This is so hard to say. I feel so embarrassed. “And if you redirect me to my toes…..then…..it would….I mean……I don’t want……it might feel…….I….” This is it, the part that makes me feel about 6 inches tall, silly, and embarrassed. “It might…..I don’t want…..if you redirect me to my toes, it might feel like I’m being ignored.” The words come in a rush, like ripping off a band aid. Once they are finally out, I feel myself melt a little, sink further into myself, preparing to be told I’m being stupid.

“I can see that. It makes sense. So maybe we don’t redirect back to focusing on movement. What do you think would be helpful in that case?” She asks. She doesn’t sound like she thinks I’m stupid. She doesn’t sound like she wants me to shut up. She sounds like it’s okay, like she can understand it. 

“I don’t know.” I tell her honestly. I truly don’t know. 

“Maybe we stay with it, with the feelings.” 

“Okay.” I agree. I’m not sure if that’s the answer, but I think it’s what I might need right now. 

There is some more talk around that, around feeling left and ignored when I’m redirected, but I can’t remember it all right now. I think she said something about paying attention to all of me, that all of me is important. 

“I’m noticing that you are still shaking, and I’m wondering if any thoughts, feelings, images are coming up?” She asks later. 

I can’t say it. There are thoughts and images and feelings, but I can’t say it out loud. All the things that are coming up are so mixed up, and weird little pieces, that I’m afraid if I start to say them out loud, I’ll be told I’m making it up, that I’m crazy. I’m afraid she won’t believe me that there is this bad scary memory, and this really bad nightmare, if I tell the pieces of it that I do have. 

“That’s okay. This memory is different. There’s something different here.” She is murmuring the words, almost to herself. 

“What? Why is it different?” I question, panicking a little. 

“Well, it’s the first memory we have worked with that is stored more in your body, that doesn’t have so many words. So it feels different. We’ll process it, we will work,through it. It’s okay.” Her voice is reassuring. 

I think I have other memories that are more body based, I just haven’t ever felt them like this, because I haven’t been present in my body. I lived my life so detached from the body, that it wasn’t possible to feel these memories stored in the body. As I’ve learned to be more present, more here, more grounded, I’ve started to feel more. “Things are so…off.” I tell her. “Yesterday. I was irritable. Not okay. I just…I don’t know. And I yelled at Kat. She told me I was a bad mommy.” Tears run down my cheeks. I try to hard to be a good mom, and it pains me to hear that my daughter thinks I am a bad mommy.

“That never feels good.” Her voice is full of empathy and understanding, and I wonder if she is thinking of her own kids. 

“I don’t know why I feel so….I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m just irritable.” 

“Is your period about to start?” Bea asks, very matter of factly.

I feel like someone just punched me in the stomach. “I… What?” 

“I guess we haven’t talked about periods before, have we? I was just thinking, hormones. They can effect you.” 

“I don’t…I mean….I’m so embarrassed…my face is literally bright red right now and….no. It’s not about to start.”

Bea laughs, a small, nice laugh. One that says it’s okay, I don’t need to be embarrassed. “We haven’t talked about it, but most of my female clients, I know where they are in their cycle. They tell me. Because hormones really can effect moods and how we react and feel.”

I think back. “I shouldn’t…I don’t get my period. Just…maybe 2, 3 times a year. So…I…that’s why my doctor makes me come in twice a year.” 

Bea asks me about that, why its not healthy, or why it concerns my doctor. I tell her I’m too embarrassed, I can’t talk about this right now, maybe I can write about it later. She says okay. (The explanation, as I wrote to Bea is as follows: But anyway. I guess when your body doesn’t naturally have periods monthly, the uterine lining continues to build up and build up, and just isn’t shed every month. So that building up of the lining isn’t good, health wise. I don’t have endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, but the issues are similar, and there is a higher risk of uterine cancer. So, these issues are why I wasn’t able to just get pregnant. My doctor wants me on birth control, to cause periods monthly. She believes that is the best course of treatment. I won’t do it. So my doctor has me come in twice a year. That’s all.)

I honestly don’t know where the conversation went next, but we eventually end up back with me being irritated that I have no words. 

“You don’t need words for this. It’s okay.” Bea is trying to reassure me, but I need her to understand, I need words. 

“I need words. That’s what I do. I write. It’s what I do. I use words, I write. Without words, without being able to write, I’m lost. I do need words.”

“Ahhh. Yes, you use words very well. You are very articulate. I know this is really frustrating for you. Really uncomfortable. But I am here. You aren’t alone. I’m here with the uncomfortable, needing words feelings, and I know that part of this story is a feeling of terror and wanting to hide. I’m here, and you are not alone.” 

I cry some, and we talk about feelings. Bea asks if there is a color or image or anything that comes up that I can put words to. I shake my head. There is, maybe, but not so much. I feel so dumb right now.

“Maybe we just need to sit, and let you feel that you aren’t alone, and let your body do what it it needs to. Your legs aren’t shaking as badly now,” she says. 

“I don’t know…..it seems…..I don’t know.” I feel like that’s not enough, like I’m not doing enough, or something, but I can’t explain it. 

“It’s hard, isn’t it? To trust that your body knows what it needs?” She asks me. 

I nod. Yes, yes it is hard. 

We wrap up the session with Bea reminding me she is here, that even without words, my body is telling the story and she understands. 

Scattered and separate 

My thoughts are so scattered right now. After Monday’s session, of which I remember very little, I feel like there is so much I want to say, but I am so unsure about any of it. I don’t know what I am allowed to talk about, I don’t know what is off limits. And while a part of me realizes that nothing is off limits, and that Bea had told the little girl there was nothing off limits, I am worried. I told her on Monday that the little girl was afraid to talk because she was so sure that she couldn’t stay in “Bea’s window” and she was sure she would be stopped. Bea responded by saying if there was something the little girl needed to talk about, then we would talk about it, and if she needed us to not worry about the damn window, then we would forget the window. She talked about how she only wants to keep the little girl safer, that is all she is doing,this isn’t punishment. I remember telling her that I felt like she thought there was something wrong with how we had done therapy in the past, and how that felt bad to me. That if she had focused on safety and grounding and not allowed me to talk because memories were just slamming me left and right, I would have left; I would have quit therapy and never gone back. She told me she knew that, and she didn’t think there was anything wrong with our old methods, just that now she has a way to keep me safer and more present and able to integrate everything better. That is what I remember. The rest of the session, I have no idea what we talked about. 

So, Thursday, I’m driving into therapy, and I’m feeling like there is so much under the surface that I can’t name, but that I want to talk about. So I arrived and had no idea what I wanted to to talk about. I spent 75 minutes talking about Kat and then hubby and how angry I am feeling with hubby. And, then, something changed. Bea asked a question. 

“I suppose I should have asked this sooner, but with the holiday coming up….are there fears about Kenny showing up at your parents? Or running into him?”

I can literally feel the change in me, I go from being more engaged and able to look at Bea, to staring at the floor. I want to hide. I do not want to think about this. “No…I…well, that day….it was Easter, he was bringing, dropping off carrot cake…..his mom….she always makes cake…It’s legendary…—.it is really good—” I interject the bit about the cake actually being really good as if it is a separate part of the story, almost as if maybe a different part of me is chiming in. “But she was bringing it to work and my mom didn’t work that day…so he was dropping it off…..it was a fluke.” 

“I see. He doesn’t normally drop by?” 

I shake my head. No, not exactly. 

“He doesn’t still live in [that town], does he?” She asks me. 

“Well…yeah. Not in my parents’ neighborhood, but in town. Yeah.” 

I don’t remember what she said after that. I know we talk about how I could run into him. She asks me if I was worried, before, about seeing him. If I remember being scared or even excited about the idea of seeing him. My head is really fuzzy, and I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to explain. 

“I…well…I’d see him, before….before Kat, because I went home a lot….like…at church and stuff. I’d see him. It just was…..I didn’t think…..he was just my parents’ best friends’ son……..I don’t know.” 

“I think you are leaving my window,” Bea says quietly. 

“I don’t know what you mean,” I tell her. I feel confused.

“Well, I think that we had both agreed you were out of the window if it was hard to talk. And I know you are trying to figure out how to explain, to find the right words, but I don’t think that is all of it. And I called it my window, sort of joking, because you said it wasn’t your window and named it Bea’s Window.” She tells me. I wonder if it is ever annoying to have to explain things like this– things that should not require an explanation– to me. She doesn’t sound annoyed.

“Oh. Yes. It’s not my window.” I say, sort of joking, but serious.

“I know. But I’m hoping that one day it can be our window.” 

I shake my head, laugh, tell her, “Hey, at least I am allowing you to have your window. That’s real progress.”

I’m not sure, but I imagine Bea to be surprised by my bluntness, but maybe proud, and smiling, when she agrees with me. “It is progress. And it can be just my window.” 

There is silence while we pause for a few minutes, and then I try to explain how things were with Kenny. “I….it didn’t bother me, to see him….before I had told. But then…after, it was different.”

“What made it different?” Bea is curious. 

“I….well….it…um…well, it was real then.” I have something I want to explain, but I am afraid that I will sound crazy. “I… I know how to explain it, but I am afraid it won’t make sense.” 

“Why don’t you try it, and find out?” Bea suggests, softly. She sounds kind, like it is okay to not make sense and to sound crazy. 

I’ve been trying to be less filtered lately, so I start to speak. “It’s like, if I was at church, or around people, or anywhere, really, mostly, I was my parents’ perfect daughter. So that never happened. Because it just didn’t. Like…it couldn’t have. So…I don’t know. But when I was alone, and had a….you would have said flashback, but I wouldn’t have called it that…a memory, a quick picture, I don’t know…or a nightmare…well, I would know what happened. But it wasn’t allowed. To know. Because then I wouldn’t be prefect. I’d yell at myself, to not be upset over stupid things, to stop lying, to….I don’t know. It wasn’t allowed. So, I would just put it away, and be perfect again. Because..I don’t know. I had to. But then, sometimes, you know, I think if I had been out with friends and someone mentioned him babysitting me, I would have said no, that never happened. Because it was so separate, it didn’t exist. It couldn’t. I had to be the perfect one….or my parents, they wouldn’t love me….and I needed them. So I had to be perfect. And Kenny…that does not happen to perfect girls.” 

“It makes sense, it’s not crazy. You had to have it separated, or you wouldn’t have been able to function. And you did need your parents….it’s really no wonder them changing is so hard.” She pauses for a minute, and then asks, “Have we talked about the idea of a false self?” 

I nod. Yes, we talked about it, and it had resonated with me, at least in part. 

“This…it is like that, maybe, in some ways. But it doesn’t feel false to me, more like a separate personality you created to survive. Because you really were that perfect daughter for a long time. And part of you maybe felt it wasn’t the real you, but she is real, too.” 

“I didn’t think about it. I just…I don’t know. It’s confusing. But it was fine, really, I was able to be perfect and keep this, I don’t know, keep everything separated, but I wasn’t thinking about it. Except for when I did remember. And then…I would force it all away. But…not like I blame her…but having a baby….”

“Having a baby probably stirred all kinds of things up,” Bea agrees.

“…….and Kat being Kat….something broke. I couldn’t…perfect me couldn’t put everything away. And it…something broke.” 

“Or whatever was keeping you from being aware of your own truth, of the other parts of you, was fixed.” 

I feel a little smile on my face. Leave it to Bea to see broken as being fixed. “No…it felt like something broke.” 

“Okay, then, maybe that needed to happen. Something needs to be broken before you can heal it.” She says softly.

I nod. “Okay then.” 

“What kinds of things would you yell at yourself, to put everything away?” 

I sigh. I know, I know exactly what I would yell. But I am too embarrassed to say it. “Nothing nice.” 

“Would you call yourself bad names?” Bea asks. She asks other things, too, but I don’t remember. 

I nod. “Maybe. Probably.” 

“Who was yelling at who?” 

“The perfect one. She does the yelling.” I think how absolutely insane this conversation must sound. 

“Who was she yelling at?” Bea is talking quietly, and I don’t hear any indication in her voice that she thinks I’m crazy. But I wonder. I wonder if my being so unfiltered has made her reevaluate everything and if she thinks I am crazy, after all.

“I don’t know.” I whisper. 

“Maybe the little girl, trying to have a voice? Needing her secrets told? Or the teenager, being belligerent and refusing to follow the rules?” Bea suggests. 

I think how either could be right, but I really just don’t know. 

Bea says something about dissociation and the idea that maybe one day I would want to be able to choose to go away or not. 

I think about it for a moment, but finally tell her, truthfully, “I can’t honestly think of a situation where I would want to stop myself from going away.” 

“Well, I suppose it might seem impossible, but….well, okay. When I was at class this weekend, I discovered I can’t do a lot of the movements in a big group. I really couldn’t move my arms. I know I’ve told you about my social anxiety, not liking being part of a big group?” 

“Yeah. But that just surprises me. I don’t know why.” 

“Well, so I could move my arms when we broke off into pairs. But in the group, I couldn’t. So I needed to be present and aware of what was going on for myself, so I could work towards not being stuck and frozen in a big group.” (I think she actually explained that better than I just wrote, but I was having trouble focusing, so that is what I pretty much heard.)

“Well…..that wouldn’t be a problem, though. For me. I would go away. And move. Follow the exercise. And I might not be able to tell you much about it afterward but I would have done it, exactly, and no one would have known I was gone.” I tell her softly. 

“That’s true. Because you can go away like that. I don’t have that talent, so I have to stay present and work through it. But the point of the exercise is to be able to feel. To be aware of what is happening.” 

“But I….for all appearances I would have done it. So it would be okay.” 

“Do you remember the boundary exercise I told you about?” She asks. 

I nod. Yes, I remember. The idea is to figure out your personal space, your boundaries, and then a partner crosses your boundary line and you push them out. Or something like that.

“Well, let’s say you got to a point where you wanted to try that. So we were doing the exercise. How would you find your boundaries or push me out, and really experience pushing someone out of your space, if you went away?” Her words scare the crap out of me. To be that present, and aware, to not go hide? The idea of feeling so much, it makes me feel cold inside. I can’t do it. I’m not so strong. 

“But I…. I would have to go away. But I’d…I mean, if I though you expected me to do the exercise, I’d agree, but then I’d go away. I don’t know.” 

“I know. I know. I don’t expect you to do anything. You don’t have to do anything.” 

I sigh. “It’s…I like to know what people want, expect. And then I do it. Then it is simple. I don’t know.” 

“I know. But I don’t expect anything, I don’t want anything, except for you to be you. To do what you want, what you need.” I peek through my fingers at her, and see that she does mean it. But I really don’t understand. In my world, I matter, people keep me around, because I can be what they need. If I can’t do those things, then what is the point? Why would anyone want me around?

“I don’t know what I need.” I tell her. It feels like I need to know what the people who matter to me need, so I can be that, and everything will be okay.

“But you do. You need me to own the window. You needed to know you were still allowed to talk. You need hubby to stop being disengaged. You know some of what you need.” She reminds me.

Later, I ask Bea, “Do you ever feel like…maybe….well, sometimes when I am here, and we are talking, it’s like I get this glimpse of all the pieces and everything makes sense. And then it disappears. And I forget how it made sense.” 

“Yes, I get that. What is it like, when you have that glimpse?”

“I….like I needed it to last longer.” I could have said it feels like everything will be okay, like I am on the right path. That it feels quiet, peaceful. But I felt too seen to say that. 

“I think you will. I think talking and working through things and integrating it, well, all of that will lead to longer glimpses.” She says softly, but seriously.
 

I shrug. We circle around, talking about hubby and Kat. When I leave, I’m not super foggy anymore. I just feel like I have a lot to think about. It feels like something has shifted, and it’s neither good or bad. Just that something has shifted, and it is a result of Bea’s classes, my attempts to be less filtered, and maybe something else. I don’t know.