The little girl….5 years ago

Every time I sit down to write, to try to put all my thoughts and feelings onto paper, I find a reason to avoid doing so. I think it is partly because I don’t know what to write, and partly because I am still attempting to avoid feeling at times.

This summer was good, and busy but weird in some ways. With Bea being gone for three weeks to Europe, I had to work to stay more on the surface of things. September seemed to be about getting Kat back into the school routine and opening up all the turmoil of the teen in therapy. Now it’s October, and while the feeling of October is very real, I also feel like I am finally coming up for air.

Fall has been hard for Kat. She is struggling with a new class, and a new teacher. Being older is proving to be difficult for her, with more complex social expectations and her confusion about unspoken social rules. She’s also started puberty early, so I’m sure some of her challenges have been more difficult for her to navigate, because hormones and all that. Needless to say, the puberty thing threw me for a loop. I am not ready for this and it has been hugely triggering.

Days with Kat have looked like this since school started:

6:30am fight with mom about wearing clothes to school. Finally decide to wear the same too thin tank top and gym shorts she wore yesterday and the day before. Keep in mind, she won’t wear underwear or a camisole or training bra. She won’t wear deodorant. And all these things? She should be wearing, but I can barely get the kid into clothing every morning.

8:15am drop her off at school with our good bye ritual. She cries and asks me to stay. I leave anyway, feeling heart broken and like I am letting her down somehow.

3:15pm I pick her up from school

3:40pm I notice she has taken off all her clothing in the backseat, but now I’m on the highway and there isn’t much I can do about it.

4:00pm get home, and the moment we get in the door, the meltdown starts. Forget getting clothing back on her, or getting her to bathe. She cries and screams about clothes and school and kids who don’t follow the rules and a joke someone told that she took seriously and on and on. This will go on until at least 6:00pm, maybe later. If it goes past 8:00pm, I will give her a melatonin and a benedryl because I need her to calm down so she can sleep. If I’m lucky, she will be asleep by 10:00pm.

It’s never ending, and I don’t know how to help her. None of my tools have been working. I feel helpless. I’m sad for her, because she isn’t happy. And I’m sad for me, because I can’t fix it.

I have our old team of speech, ABA and OT working with insurance to get approval for short term services. But that will take time.

Two weeks ago, I asked Bea to start seeing Kat again. She agreed, and I felt relieved. We had a good conversation about it all, actually.

“So….Kat still doesn’t know you are my therapist. She knows I go to therapy, just not who I see….I feel like I made a mistake by not telling her. I don’t know.” I tell Bea, sighing.

“Remind me, why didn’t you tell her?” Bea asks.

“I was going to, I had planned to, but then when I went to tell her, and I started by saying how you see grown ups too, she made it clear that she was glad I wasn’t seeing you without her there, and so I just left it. Sometimes I wondered if that meant I should have found myself a different therapist, but Kat was three. And I just….” I shake my head, not sure how to explain.

“You were drowning and you needed help. You couldn’t let your three old dictate that. And you getting help is a gift to Kat. It really is.”

I nod. “I just feel guilty about it now that she is older.”

“I get that, but I don’t think that guilt is deserved.” Bea pauses for a minute, thinking. “You know, I don’t usually see parents and kids. If I’m seeing a kid first and the parent asks to be seen for their own issues, I will often meet with them and help them find another therapist. You were different though. I even remember the session we had with Kat right before you reached out. I remember I had been talking to Kat, and saying something about little girls and all the things they can do, and how grown ups job is to keep them safe, and I looked over at you and you were really far away. That was unusual because you were always so present with Kat. But that day you just gone, and it was maybe a day or so later that you reached out to me.”

“I’m glad you agreed to see me, that you didn’t try to send me to someone else,” I say quietly. I feel a little shy; I didn’t know she had seen me even back then.

“You know, I didn’t really have a reason, it was just instinct, but I thought if I sent you to someone else, you wouldn’t have gone.”

“No, I wouldn’t have. I think it was different because I had a relationship with you through Kat, so on some level, I trusted you.”

“Yeah, yeah that makes sense. Looking back now, I think you were so far away that day because something I said got the attention of the little girl. I think 5 years ago, it was the little girl who decided then and there that I was safe and I could help her, and that was that.” Bea smiles as she says this.

I nod, slowly. “I think so. I think it was the little girl that decided she had found someone she could tell her secret to.” My face flushes. This feels too seen, exposed and vulnerable.

“I am so glad she found someone to tell, and I feel very honored that she chose me.” Bea tells me.

It’s strange, how seen a simple conversation can make me feel. I’m amazed that she remembers that moment from so many years ago. Does this mean I have had an impact on her, too? That I have helped her grow and learn, too? Because that is sort of interesting to think about.

I’m not the same person I was almost 5 years ago. 5 years ago, I was struggling. I think my worlds were colliding in a way. Ms. Perfect could no longer run the ship because this grown up part that did not want her daughter growing up feeling the same way I did was trying to run the ship. On top of that, nightmares and flashbacks and half formed memories I didn’t want to believe and insomnia and mood swings were plaguing my life. Being a mom, having a daughter, had triggered all kinds of crazy in me. I needed help, and I took a chance in asking. I never would have believed so much would come from that.

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Aside

Breaking the silence 

I’m going to take a risk, even if it might not seem like a risk at all. I’m going to post what I’ve been writing about, therapy wise. The little girl has been running things a lot lately. That makes reaching out even scarier for me. Anyway. It’s a lot of posts, but I’ve decided to just post them all at one time in order. It’s a lot to read, so I don’t expect anyone to read all of it. The last post is where the little girl tells the secret with the painful truth. So……yeah. Okay then. And, I’m thankful you guys are all still here. 💟

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.