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. 

Friendship 

Monday’s session was much of the same as Thursday’s at the beginning and then we spent some time discussing a Kat and her weekend of meltdowns. I’m thankful she will see Bea this week. I wondered, but didn’t say, if maybe missing a week of therapy effects Kat more than we think it does. My thought process was along the lines of Bea providing some extra holding space and containment for Kat’s BIG feelings and BIG worries, because while I do my best, my container is sort of leaky, and I struggle to hold my own crap at times. Although, I do think I now have separate containers for myself and Kat, but both still have lots of holes. Which is where Bea comes in. She holds the stuff that leaks out. Maybe that theory is way off base. 

It was the end of the session that got interesting. Bea had asked before she left on vacation about friendships, and if I noticed friendships forming now that were maybe different from friendships that were formed when Ms. Perfect was running things. I didn’t really answer then, but I ended up writing about three woman who I think I may be forming friendships with. All three have kids that Kat is friends with, which is how we met, but they also seem very authentic and real, their parenting values are similar to mine, we each have a similar quality of quirkiness, of nerdiness. Two of these women I have spent time with outside of having our kids with us, and it was really nice to have grown up conversations, just someone to have girl talk with. I stayed me, most of the time, and I didn’t leave our outings feeling drained and in need of a lot of quiet, down time like I usually do after a social engagement. 

I’ve noticed that the more real and authentic I am being, the less exhausted I am. I’d written about this in my notebook, along with a lot of other things, but the friendship thing is something Bea was really interested in today. She asked a lot of questions about them, and I talked a bit, but I also felt a little embarrassed. Why am I, a grown woman, having to discuss new friendships and how to navigate those new friendships, with my therapist? I mean, I am very appropriate in social settings. I am competent and confident in speaking to anyone, really. Or at least Ms. Perfect is. She isn’t afraid of people. She doesn’t let them in, but she is great at focusing on a person, being polite, talking to anyone and everyone and getting along with all kinds of people. But me? I have no idea how to be that person. I’m okay in social settings, maybe a little awkward, maybe a little preoccupied with whether or not people are perceiving me as weird, or crazy, or needy, or annoying, or any other thing that would separate me from them. But navigating and building real friendships? Yeah, I’m lost and uncertain, like a middle school girl who doesn’t fit anywhere. 

Bea asked about close friendships, if I felt like any of the women were people who would end up as close friends. 
I smiled and shook my head. “I don’t do close friends.” 

Bea paused for a moment. “Maybe you do now.”

I shook my head. “Nope. I don’t have close friends. It’s not something I do. I do surface stuff. I prefer to play by myself in my sandbox.” I’m joking, but I’m also a little bit serious. After all, if I play alone in the sandbox, no one can mess up the design I have for the sandcastle, or think my idea is silly, no one can throw sand at me and hurt me, and no one can smash my castle. I’m safe in the sandbox all alone. 

Bea laughs, a small delighted laugh that says she enjoys my stubbornness, and my humor. In a silly voice she says, “Well, Alice, now, you are gonna make close friends.” We both crack up. 

In a small voice, I say, “I HAD a close friend. I HAD Kay. I don’t want close friends again.” 

Bea doesn’t respond right away. “You did have Kay. She was a very close friend. And maybe you really don’t want close friends. But I’m thinking there are all different kinds of friendships. Like my friend I walk with? I see her a lot and we do a lot together, we’ve already texted this morning about something, but things are sort of on the surface with her, she just doesn’t have the capacity to go to difficult places. But she is still a good friend. We have a lot in common. Then I have a friend who I see rarely, but when we do get together, there is a deeper connection, and time spent together feels much more meaningful. I have a younger friend, from my old job, who I have a lot of fun with, but we have a deeper friendship, too. Oh, and then my friend Julia, she’s weird. We have a lot of shared history, both of us have parents who passed away (I already knew Bea’s father had passed away, we discussed that when we worked through grief over my grandpa), and she can go to those grief filled places, but anything else, there is a wall and she will not go there. So, maybe there are all kinds of friendships. I think Kay was unusual; most friendships aren’t like that.”

“I know….I know it was maybe one sided in a lot of ways. But she did talk to me, too. Actually, she was quite the open book. But…..I don’t know.” I shake my head. 

“I wonder…I know her friendship was important, but I wonder if you were acting something out with her?” Bea is thinking out loud again. 
I groan. She’s heading into shrinky thinky territory, but as I’m not feeling very emotionally connected, I don’t really care. “I don’t….I mean…..well maybe.” I think for a bit. 
I think in my head, and Bea thinks out loud. “You were always shutting her out, disappearing. I wonder if you were acting something out with that.” 
“Well, it’s not like I shut her out for no reason. I mean…..well, like, if I was going to treat you like I did her……” I’m embarrassed to admit this, because there have been times where I have thought of running, of disappearing on Bea. “Like, when you brought up relationships in the past and talked about them even though you knew I did not want to discuss relationships— now it’s been okay— I would have just not come back. I’d have walked out and not looked back.” 
“But Kay, when you did that to her, she didn’t let you shut her out.” 
“Well. It’s like…….if something came up in conversations and upset me, she’d see it. Where I would be working to hide it, and others would not notice, or maybe they noticed and I am not so good at pretend as I think, and they ignored it. Kay would see it and she’d call me out on it. She wouldn’t let me pretend. She’d push to know what upset me.” I shrug. 
“Usually, I’d tell her and we would talk and then I would disappear for a few weeks.” 
“Boundaries……” Bea says slowly. “She wasn’t respecting your boundaries at all.” 

“Maybe…..” I say. I don’t want to agree with Bea right now. I can see where she is coming from, but I feel like that isn’t the whole story. “I mean, she put up with a lot from me…..I was a lot. So maybe she felt like she didn’t need to listen to any boundary I set.” I’m not sure.

“Well……..let’s say something comes up in conversation that upsets you, it’s touches on those vulnerable places. You don’t want to talk about it, so you pretend everything is okay. A friend who notices and asks you about it, they say something like ‘hey, did something just upset you? Are you okay?’ If you say you don’t want to talk about it, that is an authentic response, and a boundary. A healthy friendship would respect that boundary. If you say nothing is wrong, that is maybe coming more from Ms. Perfect, but still, a healthy friendship would respect that boundary.” 

I nod slowly. “That’s Reagan. She asks, but won’t continue to push or ask about it. She hears the boundary, I guess.” I don’t think I’ve ever thought of pretending to be okay as a boundary, as a choice, as a way of saying ‘no’. I’ve always thought of prefect as building a wall to keep people from knowing the real me that they would inevitably hate. 

“That is a healthy relationship.” Bea says.

We continue talking about friendship and boundaries, and when it’s time to leave, Bea says, “I think this is important. Maybe this is something to do some writing with, if you feel like it.” 

I nod. It might be. I’m not sure I want to talk about friendships. I’m not sure what I want to talk about, though. It seemed like so many big things were coming up before Bea’s week long break (to be fair, she was only gone for 4 days, it was just I saw her on a Wednesday and not again until Thursday), and they have just disappeared. I’ve detached from her and don’t really feel an emotional connection. Part of me wants to stay that way, talk about the shrinky side of things, because when I feel like this, I can. The other parts me are desperate to feel emotionally connected with Bea again. I don’t know which part of me is going to win.

Living Life 

I’m only going to see Bea once this week. I’m going on vacation, and I am going to be gone the whole week, so I wasn’t able to schedule vacation around therapy appointments this time. It’s honestly okay, though. I mean, I have that little sense of missing Bea, and wishing I had therapy a second time this week, but I also know that Bea is just an email, a text, a phone call away. She isn’t gone, and either am I. I told her I might send an email on Wednesday morning “just because” even if everything was fine, and she told me I could absolutely do that. 

It’s weird, but I think I might actually be living my life. Or starting to. I haven’t had time to be online, or to watch my favorite TV shows (which is good because TV is a time suck I don’t need!). I have been busy, but it’s not the rushed, frantic, perfection seeking busy-ness of my past. It’s this life happens, things flow from one moment to the next, sort of busy. I feel grounded as a grown up, in this present moment, and I’m okay with being a little messy and not having all the answers, with just being me and being transparent and honest about who I am. I’m not hiding. I feel like I am finally— Finally!!!– starting to build a life and actually LIVE in it. 

Kat is at school full days Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is occupational therapy and regular therapy for her so school is a 3 hour day that day, and we get to spend the day together. The other days? I’ve been planning Girl Scout activities, meeting with the other PTSO board members (how cool is it that I am a board member?!?! I’m the secretary.) and gearing up for Valentine’s Day parties, and then March is reading month. The other day, I walked around downtown and visited local businesses, asking for donations that could be used as prizes for the students for reading (ME! I did that! I asked people I didn’t know, for something and I had nothing but my sincere thank you to give in return). A lot of people said yes, too. So that was pretty cool. 

I’ve also been going to the pool when Kat is in school. I’ve made three new friends, one who has a 13 year old daughter on the spectrum (which is great for me! I could sooooo use a mentor in the mommy department at times), one who is a guy (so rare for me to feel comfortable enough to talk to men in the pool, let alone consider them a friend and make plans to meet for swim re following week), and one who I just clicked with– and we exchanged numbers and made plans to go out to lunch when I get back from my vacation. I feel like a huge loser, but I don’t have friends. I mean, I had my best friend who can’t be my best friend again, and I have my other *close* friend (not someone I share a lot with, more than most, and our communication tends to be inconsistent), but aside from that I have friends who are acquaintances, always kept at arm’s length, very surface level, no matter how much they let me into their lives. So, now I am making new friends, and I have a chance to change that, but……I’m not sure I know how. I realize this would be a great thing to take to therapy, but I won’t do it. I’m not sure I want to dig into relationships right now (there are other important things to work on in therapy). 

I’ve been trying to do a few minutes of yoga in the mornings, and then at night, Kat and I have our bedtime tea, do our yoga and mediate. I also try to journal every night, which is something I want to add to Kat’s routine. This routine, always yoga, is so helpful to me. 

I’ve been eating good, too. Well, good for me. I’ve been doing breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s sort of a big deal. I don’t usually eat more than one meal a day unless I’m planning on purging. And I’ve made sure that I’m getting protein with my meals, which is also unusual. 

Things have just been going really good. I’ve been using downtime to read (or listen to audio book while I clean) or journal, or just be in silence for a few minutes. I’ve been able to keep any yuck that Bea and I are working through contained in a suitcase, one that I can set down in my regular life, knowing it is there, sometimes feeling its’ presence, but knowing it can stay packed away because I will unpack it in Bea’s office. Sometimes the contents leak out at night, but during the day, I feel as if I am able to put it away, but it’s not the *put it away, bury it deep, work very hard to forget it exists*, put away. It’s just the going on with real life, put away. You guys, it feels sort of amazing and kind of wonderful. Am I afraid it won’t last? Sure. But this is a new feeling for me, and I like it. I like feeling this way. I wonder if this is what regular people without trauma mostly feel like in their lives?

I’m just trying to live in the moment right now and enjoy where I am in my life. And this week, that means an indoor water park hotel! Hubby had to travel for work, and the week long conference he is attending is being hosted here, the conference organizers put up the attendees and family members (who were invited!!) in family suites for the week. We have a friend’s step daughter dog and house sitting. All is (mostly) right with my world. 

🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷
Now, for a political note…….

I’ve not been silent! My daughter and I wrote letters to our senators, thanking them for their service, and asking them to remember that all people deserve to be treated equally. Kat even chose to write to Trump. Her letter said: Dear President Trump, please be kind to all people. It is important to remember people might look different but we are the same. Si si nisawa (Google the lion guard and si si nisawa if you don’t have a young child at home!) means we are the same. I am autistic and my brain works different than yours, but at the end of the day, we are the same. I don’t like when you behave like a bully, but I hope you do good things and make good choices for all people. 



That’s my daughter, guys!! I mean, how amazing is she? And she is only 6. This kid. She will change the world one day, in more ways than she already has. 

I’m planning on calling anyone in Washington who is on the senate HELP committee to implore them to vote no on Betsy Devos, in order to protect the rights of children like my daughter. According to the news this morning, there won’t be a vote for 24 more hours– so Wednesday morning. *Sigh* How did this happen? How did things in this country end up so backwards? I try not to focus on the horrible scary things happening right here, but on the things I can do– like making phone calls. If you want to call, too, Jess, over at  Diary of a Mom has phone numbers and a script written out. She’s also just a really good writer. Before I ever started blogging, before I ever even thought about it, I was reading her blog. So check it out. 🙂

Update 

So, my last update was that I was sick and dealing with this nasty ear infection. I ended up back at the doctor on Thursday, and she sent me to the ER. So, hubby and Kat and I went to the ER, where they wanted to admit me and give me IV antibiotics. I had a panic attack over the idea of staying in the hospital, so the ER Doctor decided to have the ENT look at the ear infection. They walked us up– over?? I’m not sure, that hospitals is huge!– to the ENT, and I got the nicest Doctor. She told me to call her Tara, and she was really gentle and kind. She ended up cleaning out my ear (which hurt and made me nauseated), putting this wick in it to keep the canal open so it could drain, and then we talked about what to do. She was understanding of my not wanting to stay overnight in the hospital. She gave me the choice, and I chose to go home, so she gave me a stronger oral antibiotic, some antibiotic ear drops, pain meds, and told me if it was worse on Friday, I had to come right back in to see her. We made an appointment for Tuesday, because she wanted to keep a close eye on the infection. The ear is slowly getting better. It’s still tender, but no longer sore. I’m on my fourth– and hopefully last!– round of antibiotics now. It’s still a bit swollen, and I’ve lost some hearing for the moment, but Tara said she believes when the ear fully heals, my hearing will come back. I hope so. 

Aside from that, I have been in a really rough place. The little girl had something she was desperate to let out, and Ms. Perfect was determined to keep it in. It’s been a rough few weeks. The little girl has let this let this truth out before, but each time some part of me shuts it down and buries it away, so I don’t have to deal with it. This time…..it was different. It’s as if the little girl had this truth she needed to tell, and Ms. Perfect couldn’t allow it out, and I was stuck somewhere in the middle, hurt and scared and alone because Ms. Perfect wouldn’t allow words to come out, and the little girl was bombarding me with feelings and thoughts and images and it was this awful, chaotic, internal mess. Everything felt very raw and vulnerable and scared and hurt for a long time. 

On Wednesday, the little girl let out the secret, she told this painful truth —to Bea —that needed telling. And everything, everything is scary and sad and not okay feeling. I don’t want any of this. I’m not sure which way is up right now. I am lost. But, Bea has been here, really really been here. For the first time, I actually believe that I have an effect on her, that I matter and that she cares, in a human to human way, not just in a *this is my job* way. It’s not really that I’ve emailed or talked to her everyday this week, it’s more that the way she has responded. She really understood and articulated some things to me this week that let me know she got it on this deep level. She hasn’t hidden emotion from me, and she’s been very, very transparent, but still solid and safe. She hasn’t been annoyed at my needing her, she isn’t behaving as if it’s a burden or something I shouldn’t need (not that she ever has)……it’s almost like because I have been so honest with her about just how hard it is to reach out, how huge those fears of rejection and abandonment are, she has been preempting me this week, by offering email or a phone call (those things are always on the table, she does not restrict out of session contact, but I’ve had a hard time emailing and reaching out for a while now), by making sure I know it’s okay, and that she won’t be upset and that she will respond/answer/call me back. So, I have emailed, and Thursday night I called her, and today we had a conversation via text message. I’ve had some form of contact with her everyday this week, and I’m trying to let that be okay. I’m so destabilized right now, the ground beneath my feet doesn’t feel solid. 

I have still been writing, I just haven’t posted. I think I might be ready to post my posts from November. I’m feeling really vulnerable and afraid, and unsure of myself. So we’ll see. 

I also wanted to say, I read all the comments on my last post, when they were written and they meant so much to me. Being sick and feeling so trapped and lost in flashbacks was really hard. You guys helped so much. Thank you. 

Terrible week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes…….PART Two: therapy and my birthday 

Okay. Part one left us with me needing naps because I’m not sleeping well at night. There have been a lot of nightmares since the wedding. I was dealing reasonably well during the day (although the name of the game was constant distraction), but the dreams have been haunting my nights. The hardest part for me is that these dreams haven’t been specific to one memory, they are more of the crazy, mixed up, not real stuff, variety of dreams. Those are somewhat harder for me to deal with, because there doesn’t seem to be anything to process, just this crazy nonsense and really bad feelings. Bea believes otherwise, and has suggested we talk about reoccurring dream. 

Therapy has been weird. Bea is fine, she’s herself, I’m just in this weird, locked down headspace, and I’m afraid to talk and open up more. I’m super numb and not even aware of how I feel moment to moment but at the same time I’m being bombarded by nightmares and flashbacks and overwhelmed feelings. It’s hard. My crazy hurt teen part and the little girl part have been really on the lookout for signs Bea hates them or wants them gone. Maybe two weeks ago, when Bea said we should come up with a plan of what we are working on, I freaked. I thought she was mad I had been wasting time, or she was wanting a plan so she could work towards getting rid of me. It turns out, in her mind that wasn’t the case at all, she tends to have a sort of direction we are working but had wanted to make things be more collaborative— on top of which, with me being shut down Alice for the last 3 months, Bea really didn’t have a lot to go on. So I wrote her the email I posted “where I’m at, or some thinglike that”. 

That email brought up a lot of stuff, from anger vs rage, to how I was feeling after the wedding because we didn’t really process that, to hubby and couples therapy (which we have had two sessions now, and I need to post about that, too!), feeling like no one gets it (old feelings that come up every fall), and this idea that my mother didn’t give me much space to exist– I was either the perfect daughter or the daughter who was ruining everything. We’ve had some conversations around those things, and emailed as well. Bea missed one Monday because she went up north for a quick trip, and one session was spent on my birthday. So we haven’t had a lot of time to really talk or process much of anything. I’m feeling really disconnected from therapy right now, but I see her tomorrow so that will be good.  

As for my birthday, I went back to my parents’ house to celebrate. It’s the first time I’ve been back since the last time I celebrated with my Grandpa. That last birthday was 3 years ago. it was hard, being back. Hubby knew it would be hard, and had insisted my parents keep things low key, and just them and me, hubby and Kat. It was nice, but sad. I miss the days I loved my birthday, the days where I believed everyone should celebrate for a week and have cake for breakfast everyday. I miss the days where my birthday was a party, and an event— not because I was having a huge party, but because it was a fun day, a fun week. My grandpa always said I was his birthday present, and the best present he could have been given. I think my birthday was always so full of good feelings because I believed him when he would say that, and I. That moment, for that day, I could feel that about myself– I was important and mattered enough to be the best present. Now…..I just feel sad and lonely on my birthday. I’m lonely because Grandpa is gone. I cried on the weekend, and I told my family it was hard to be back in October and that I missed grandpa, and was sad. I didn’t hide my tears or fake happiness. So that was good. And hubby was supportive and more present than he typically has been, so that was good, too. 

Too be continued……

Deeper down the rabbit hole part 4 (Monday morning breakfast)

Continued from part 3 of deeper down the rabbit hole……… 

Reagan is sitting in a booth waiting for me, eating pancakes and eggs, fruit and bacon. She’s drinking a mimosa. 

“So………?” She says as I sit down. She smiles at me and her smile is warm and welcoming. 

I sigh. I look down and shrug. “I’m here. I made it through the night.” I smile and my eyes water. 

“I’m glad. Have you talked to hubby at all?” Reagan asks me. 

“No…..not really. I just…..I can’t.” I feel broken. Really, really broken. 

A waitress walks over to our table, and and she smiles at us. “What can I get you?” 

I ask for coffee, amd order yogurt with a bowl of strawberries on the side. When she delivers my food, I focus on slicing my strawberries into my yogurt. 

“I know you don’t want to hear this. And I am always on your side. Always. But you need to talk to him. He needs to know how bad he makes you feel.” 

I shake my head at her. “I can’t. I’ve told him so many times, and he just keeps doing it. I can’t keep doing this. I feel like I’m constantly asking for him to see him, to pay attention to me, and then he goes and does it again. So I end up hurting and sad. I love me up feeling needy and bad and not okay for being so needy.” 

“I know. You aren’t needy. You aren’t.” Reagan says in a serious tone. 

“I hate relationship. I never wanted this. You know?” 

“I know. But Alice. That’s what life is a about. Relationships.” Reagan says some other stuff about how we need relationships to survive and such. 

I roll my eyes at her. “Bea ruined it. I didn’t expect anything from people in relationships. I didn’t want to be seen or heard, I just wanted to hide and blend in and maybe….I don’t know. But I didn’t want anything!” 

“I know. But you have grown a lot. It’s okay.” 

“I wished I had not. It’s screwing everything up. I didn’t want anything to do with relationships. Not really. But Bea made it…..I don’t know. She just kept pushing a little bit, after little bit, and I just, I don’t know. I finally decided it mattered. The I wasn’t…..I don’t know. So scared, because she made it safe. And then I wanted that realness, being just me, in my friendships. I tested the waters with you, with Kay. And that was okay. Until it wasn’t and Kay left me. And then I wanted more from hubby. Stupid. Stupid. He can’t. I never should have…..” I stop talking, shut down, not able to continue.

“Can I ask you,” Reagan begins, and I nod. “What is it about relationships? I mean, why does the idea of being seen and seeing knock,you off balance? Do you know?”

I think for a minute. I might be able to put some pieces together, make sense of it all, but do I know? I mean really know why? “I don’t know…I just do….I think I’ve always been that way.” I shrug, remembering how I would tell made up secrets to my friends in middle school and high school, during sleepovers, so I would fit in. They were never things that were lies, just things that didn’t actually matter if everyone knew or not. They weren’t real secrets. 

“So with Bea, what happens? What was that like at first?” She asks. 

“I don’t know. She pushed a little, continuing to remind me that the work of therapy wasn’t just my stuff, the stuff we talk about, but that it was about the relationship between her and I. And I just….I don’t know. Refused to believe that. But when she would say things, or more likely write things in email to me that were definitely about really seeing me. Like once, early on, I wrote in email to her, after I had answered honestly about my eating disorder stuff, I wrote that she should give me a good star or an A plus or something, for you know, talking about that stuff as much as I had and having been truthful about all my self harm stuff. And she wrote back that no, she would not give me a gold star, she wouldn’t perpetuate the child hood message that I had to be good or perfect to be wanted. Bea wrote something about accepting me just for me. It upset me and freaked me out. At first I was mad and hurt that she wouldn’t give me a gold star. Then I was freaking out, and upset over her saying me, just me, was good enough. I threw my phone, I was so upset.” I pour some more coffee, add cream. 

“You never liked not knowing what someone wanted from you. And she was basically telling you she didn’t want anything.” Reagan says. 

I nod. She’s right. We talk a little more, and mostly I realize that I have issues with relationships. Like, real issues. I’m not even sure what, exactly, my problem is. I’m can’t really put it into words or explain why. Maybe it’s something I’ll think about later, I’m too tired to think now. 

To be continued………..