Love is addictive

I’m carrying around an unmistakable feeling of being loved at the moment, for the first time in my life. It feels good to be surrounded by the people who are right for you, who you want to be the best for. Not just my therapist, but of course she plays a huge part.

My therapist, rightly or wrongly… I know she loves me. It’s undeniable. In my work there are a couple of clients I just have an amazing connection with. So I can see it in K and I too. I know how much I mean to her. Every session confirms that. Because in that connection huge progress is being made, week after week.

“I am growing up! I don’t want to grow up!” I play bantered today with her. I’m finally in an attachment that is allowing me to spread my butterfly wings and spreading them I am. The blood is pulsating through them as they uncrumple and stretch out. It’s the little things.

For example, she’s having a mini break next week and I asked her that we don’t have contact through it, despite her offering to keep contact as normal.

I look around her therapy room and there’s bits of me everywhere in it. There’s the canvas I made for her from a photo I took this summer. There’s the card I made her when it was her birthday, the hand drawn front just sat on the shelf. There’s books I’ve donated to her collection. There’s a mini bean bag I picked up for me to have when in her room. There’s my white board and pens tucked under the bookcase. If you opened her cupboard there’s a notebook I got her that’s just for me and her. There’s a massage wax she bought just for me. The DID folder from CPD she did because of my diagnosis…. I could probably go on…..

The reason I say this is because I’m realising that, finally, this is how my attachment is with her. I might not be in the room 24/7, I might not be directly in front of her, but I’m still in her mind, and dare I say it, heart. There’s little bits of me scattered around in her mind and heart. I know it. I feel it. I don’t need her to confirm that.

I think it’s been really helpful having such an influence on her therapy room. I’ve moulded that room in the same way I’ve moulded her as a professional somewhat, and of course, she’s moulded me. The layout in the room is the way it is because I suggested it would be better for the clients..! She still won’t get rid of the mat I dislike though 🤣

It’s just been helpful seeing my attachment to her grow in physical ways through these objects that have slowly collected in her room. Even when I no longer need to step into her room twice a week, I suspect some of those bits and bobs will still be there. And knowing me, probably more besides! Little physical demonstrations of our attachment to help me see that I exist, I matter, regardless of lifes variables.

Until I’m here again

I’ve not been here in what feels like months, though is probably just weeks. Things are inexplicably good. Minus the covid-19 scare yesterday (!!).

K was so gorgeously warm today in our phone call I ended up blurting out asking if she’s drunk. I’d said this morning that I had quite a scare last night in developing such a high fever suddenly. I said I needed comfort. She was just so endearing, for example, repeating what she’d texted on Saturday “my butterfly is spreading her wings” after hearing about date number 4 with the Girl Who Seems To Like Me.

She wasn’t drunk by the way. In case you were wondering!

The next few months are going to come with such a huge life change its crazy. I thought by the end of this year I’d be pregnant. That hasn’t worked out thanks to covid-19, but instead a whole new chapter for MYSELF is beginning. I’ll be living alone for the first time in 8 years. Dating a girl. Planning a new future. Definitely spreading those wings.

I don’t know how much I’ll be here now. Doesn’t mean I don’t think of you though, those whose blogs I used to read. I am just so entwined in life outside of online now I’m rarely finding time for here. Take care all. Until I’m here again x

…or not

Up down, up down, up down, down up. This attachment work is so tiresome. I am bored of it now truth be told. Totally bored of it.

Outside of attachment stuff everything is going well. I’ve been on a second date with The Lady Who Seems To Like Me and it was amazing. It meant conquering one of my fears that I’ve developed in the last few years and when I told K that I did it seamlessly she erupted in cheers “oh my little butterfly!”. It honestly was the sweetest thing she’d ever said to me and I had to check in with her in the evening to make sure she hadn’t said it by accident, or regretted saying it. No, I meant that, she said. That kept me warm for about half a day.

The problem is you don’t get good without the bad really. There is an accumulation of grief ongoing in my life outside of therapy and it does seem to be having an affect on my attachment to K now, in a negative way. You’re close to imploding with this, K said in session today towards the end. I can see it in your face, you’re going down a negative path with this and you’re closing into yourself; you’re going to end up feeling no one cares about you, you’re all alone, you’re unwanted and unloved, and it just is not true.

A conversation about loss lead up to it. Regardless of what loss happens in my life it always puts me in touch with the loss of a childhood. Always. I ended the session with K well aware I was walking away from her feeling completely and utterly rejected. Even though she’d tried to get me to concentrate on what I DO have with her, not what I DON’T have. It’s the hot tub in her garden that pisses me off. Every. Single. Time. I look at it and immediately see ‘family time’, ‘friend time’, time where I will never ever be. It makes me SO ANGRY. A hot tub is a sign of luxury. It’s what you get when the basics are all covered and you have room for extra.

She/her daughter has room for extra – and I don’t even have basics. It really highlights it to me. That blasted hot tub.

So yes, I came home and imploded. Unthinkable pain. Pain that unless you’ve been completely and utterly unloved as a child you just won’t get. Pain that has you walking around doubled over as if you have the worst stomach pain ever. Pain that has you leaning on the kitchen counter where you can literally hear your tears fall, until you slowly slide onto the floor completely energy less. That pain.

I know what I have. But no amount of what I have will take away the pain of what I don’t have, what I never have had. Whilst there’s absolutely nothing she can do about that, getting angry about it (for example getting cross at a hot tub) I know is just banging my head against a brick fucking wall, day in day out. It won’t change anything. But I just can’t switch this pain off. It sucks the life out of me. I feel completely wiped.

Epiphany

Firstly, I apologise I haven’t been able to read other peoples posts much at the moment. I see big walls of text and my mind just grinds to a halt. It isn’t that I don’t care but I’ve got a lot going on at the moment that is taking up a lot of spoons!

K and I are sticking to support sessions rather than therapy at the moment. With everything I’m juggling I just need to stay buoyant as I am, rather than get bogged down in therapy work. There’s a lot changing in my life externally at the moment and that’s always been my biggest trigger, sharp change. So we are trying to soften the blows of that change by keeping her present in my life more regularly, but for less time.

I did have a bit of an epiphany though a few days ago with regards to my attachment with K.

I’ve always felt a bit angry at her, I guess, for not just giving me what she gives her daughter. I know she cares deeply for me. Deeply. I was reminded today of a few weeks after my baby girl died, how K drove to me, on a Sunday, and sat in a layby with me because I didn’t know how I was going to go on. But she has never loosened up natural boundaries and given me bits of herself that her daughter gets etc and that’s always felt rejecting, of course.

It’s meant essentially I’ve always been pining for the same attachment with her that her daughter and her has. And it dawned on me how impossible that is by the very fact I don’t have a secure attachment style like her daughter does. K has to work a HECK of a lot harder with me. She admits it. She admits that she has to be so much more careful with what she says. She has to think everything through so acutely. She can’t just be with me like she is with her daughter because those attachment grooves are not there.

I always internally griped about how much time her daughter gets compared to me but how on earth can you quantify time when it comes to attachment? When K is with me she is wholly and completely with me. She’s not thinking about dinner, school work, arguments with friends or whatever else she might have ongoing. She’s completely and fully with me. She wrestles in this attachment chaos day in day out and that must take up so much more energy than just falling into the attachment grooves with her daughter that have been so well rehearsed for years and years.

I guess it’s just made me appreciate a.) What I do have in her and b.) How it’s not something she can do unthinkingly. For that reason I can’t blame myself for the fact she can’t just copy and paste the attachment with her daughter to the attachment with me. I am simply not capable of it, and that’s not my fault. But it doesn’t make what we do have an inferior quality of emotional expression. It just makes it different, unique to us, and entirely governed by what I can manage.

I’m not sure if anyone else gets why that’s such an epiphany for me. I’ve taken my sleeping tabs so I might be a bit fuzzy in writing!

Trauma

“Our memories aren’t 10-15 years old, they’re just 2-3 milliseconds old!”

I’ve started working, vaguely, with a hypnotherapist and whilst she’s extremely knowledgeable and articulate, it does mean she ends up throwing quite a lot at me because I’m “just so intuitive” and unfortunately a lot of it does get dropped. I struggle to process things verbally so whilst I wish I could hold onto everything she says, as I know it’s all said to help me, I only manage to get about a tenth of it in my brain I think.

Todays tenth was about memory. I am living in a triggered state at the moment due to goings on at home. You do know you are PHYSICALLY safe though, don’t you? the hypnotherapist said I mean, you do FEEL physically safe don’t you? I said yes, I do, of course I do, but at the end of the day he’s hurt me and…

so you’re triggered. It doesn’t take much for those who have been through trauma, we’re talking severe trauma, to be triggered back into that place, she finished for me. Indeed. So I don’t feel safe around him. I’m activated. Those memories that in terms of time are decades old are not actually decades old, they’re just milliseconds old. My subconscious has opened up the filing cabinet draw at UNSAFE and accessed those memories as if they’re new.

Five year old you never got out of that trauma she went on to explain. Seven year old you never got out of that trauma. Sixteen year old you never got out of that trauma. They’re all still in it. You survived, yes, but they’re still there. I felt that. That’s why in the morning when I’m assessing with a full set of parts in my mind whether it’s safe to get up we are literally going from ‘Yes of course – get up, you’re an adult now, you’re safe’ – to ‘No you’re not safe to leave this room – don’t go out it’s dangerous out there’ within seconds. My subconscious, where all those traumatised ages of me live, are NOT out of the trauma. All they do is find present day information that adds up with past information about what is safe and what isn’t and adds that to the filing cabinet. Now HE has been added to the filing cabinet. He is not safe, for them. I feel that every morning when I am literally being screamed at inside to not leave the bedroom, not open the door, don’t do it! IT’S NOT SAFE AND I’M TRYING TO JUST KEEP YOU SAFE.

It helps me to be less hard on myself. Unfortunately it doesn’t make my job any easier. I still have to work through what is past emotion and what is present day truth. I still need to battle with my mind to let me show it that we aren’t where we were. I still need to create these new brain pathways which are painstakingly difficult to create at the moment. But it does help me to be a bit more compassionate towards myself. I’m not just “not getting over memories that are 2 decades old”. The memories are right there for my subconscious. They’re living and breathing it every single moment of every single day. I look at a knife and my subconscious is right there. Danger. Run. I was never actively TOLD to run away from someone running at you with a knife. I learnt that the hard way. And whatever you learn as a child, the hypnotherapist said, you have no knowing of the world to really logically compute it, so it is just filed away as truth – adults come at me with knives – that message is in your subconscious ready to access at a moments notice.

Makes me realise the “trauma therapy” with my ex therapist was just a joke. I am not in any way shape or form recovered from the trauma. In fact, I just have more due to her actions. Trauma therapy is what I am doing now. What I am doing now in fact, OUTSIDE of the therapy room.

Trauma therapy is feeling triggered and calling a friend, and going out for a walk with her in the woods after sobbing on her shoulder, as happened last week. Trauma therapy is going from crying on the phone to the hypnotherapist about how unsafe things feel, to going on a walk with a friend 5 minutes later around the nature reserve full of smiles and gratitude and really really strong connection, as happened tonight. Trauma therapy is acknowledging a break from therapy work is needed and switching across to just 20 minute support calls again, as is now ongoing with K. Trauma therapy is acknowledging the trauma is there but not bloody living in it, but actively finding a way to live outside of it!! THAT is therapy.

It makes me so cross. You deserve the best life, the hypnotherapist said. You deserve the best most powerful life because of what you have survived. Look at what you have got yourself through, look at what strength you have, you are just at the beginning of a wonderful life honey. Such a far cry from the messages I got from my ex therapist, which I came to believe. I came to believe I was going to be too traumatised for life. I came to believe I was mentally ill and therefore unable to reach stability at all. I came to believe I was never going to get anywhere near a “normal” life.

I am so thankful my psychological help now is the total opposite to that death sentence I was given.

New paths

It feels really nice to be liked to be honest. Yes I’ve lost completely the safety and security of the home-life I had for nearly 7 years. But at least this way I am liked by someone who isn’t just trying to “rescue me” and keep me in a needy place. I am liked by someone who wants me to be the best I can be, not the worst.

I have never handled change very well; the apprehension of new things that I don’t quite know how it looks yet, does seem to use up about 60% of my inner resources just to let it simmer in the background of my mind. So it feels like whilst all this change is ongoing I’ve only really got about 40% left to deal with all of lifes stressors outside of this shift – pandemic shit, but also going back to work shit. Neither of those are easy for me (for anyone?). On top of that though I’ve got the pressure of this change and what it means for me – in my personal life, financial matters, my understanding of the attachments around me. It’s all changing.

She’s special though. It continues to amaze me that she does like me. I’ve always felt that “people like her” are so out of my reach. She’s outgoing, mostly confident (as much as anyone is really), passionate about herself and her loved ones, grounded, mentally healthy…. I usually attract the complete opposite. I think because I’ve always BEEN the complete opposite and now I am not. I have fundamentally changed in the last two years, and as a result, the energy of people I am attracting is changing too.

So she’s worth it! She’s worth this change, this apprehension, this worry about where I’ll be in a year. We are taking things slow – we are doing things properly. We are not jumping into a relationship unthinkingly, just grabbing each other because that is all we have. We both know it isn’t just “all we have”. We both know we are worth more than just grabbing the first person who pays us attention. So we date. We social distance date and it’s peculiar but its what we’ve got – so we go with it.

I’ve had a history of intense relationships too soon but I’ve matured a lot since then – I’ve gained respect for myself and for other people since then too. People deserve for me to be a bit more measured and not just throw everything at them and hope they can carry it. Is it important that she can accept who I am, my difficulties and all? Yes. And as an example, she calls my self harm scars “survival marks” and it’s the sweetest thing ever, it makes me melt every time. “They’re your survival marks – nothing to be ashamed of”. But it isn’t a test of whether she can handle everything – my past, my present, my current hang ups, future burdens blah blah blah. Those things are for me to carry and so don’t even need to be shared for me to be understood, heard and seen. I know that now. I am who I am, not what I’ve been through, what “survival marks” I carry (physical or emotional), or what current life situation I am in. I’m a person. Not a narrative.

I’m grateful to be as far along in my healing as I am. Things aren’t brilliant all the time, no way. There is still a way to go in terms of shifting some really deep rooted things and continuing to learn about secure attachments. But 2 years ago I decided to enter therapy with K and engage in it with all I had. I’ve healed more in those 2 years than I ever have in my life. There was an initial bit of resistance – the good old “you won’t care about me if I’m well/better/don’t need to see you anymore”. But now I just can’t wait to keep this momentum going. Keep moving forwards so life gets easier to navigate and more and more fulfilling.

Crisis

“Believe in us, like I do. Believe in you, like I do”.

I was sat in a ditch of stinging nettles crying my eyes out on the phone to K. I felt entirely gaslighted by a therapist (not K obviously) and it had triggered an avalanche of crisis within me.

I can’t really explain how I came to feel gaslighted by a therapist without going into details of a life that isn’t mine – but suffice to say being made to feel like I’d lied, and something didn’t happen that did, sent me off my rocker.

I literally received the email from this woman then within five minutes was in the car driving to who knows where. That’s how I ended up in a ditch (though the car was parked by this point, I chose to walk through stinging nettles as a form of self harm I expect).

I said to K on the phone it’s like when someone who has battled depression for a long time starts to feel better, that’s when they’re most at risk of suicide because they have the energy to actually do it.

I feel most at risk because now I KNOW there is a life out there that I could have, or could have had, but it feels just out of my reach all the time. “It was easier when you just didn’t know what life was out there” K reflected. Exactly.

“I know you’re more at risk now, I hear you, but please keep talking to me, please hold on because you’re so nearly there, you are so nearly there”.

I know I was triggered into back brain rather than front brain. As I squirmed in the mud saying this is too hard, this is too hard, I had 5% of me inside saying – cut it out, this isn’t you anymore. Not enough to actually change my automatic reaction to flick into crisis at a trigger, but enough for me to wonder if it’s right. Which is something.

You’re important to me, please stay safe.

Sometimes that is all we need to really hear. Amidst the trauma triggers, amidst the crises, amidst the attachment avalanches. Sometimes all we need to hear is we are important to someone.

Happiness

I took my top off and threw it on the floor. I looked up, directly at the mirror on my wall and tilted my head.

Something looks different.

I searched my face for what was different. Does it have more colour than usual? Have I lost any weight? Then it hit me.

Fuck, I’m happy.

There is nothing like happiness on a face, in the body. It brings life to skin that is just inexplicable. I have a lot to be happy about, to be fair.

*As pathetic as it might sound, my deep deep love for my dog makes me happy every single day. My heart hurts as I cuddle her because it feels like the love for her is just breaking out my ribcage.

*I’m finding such grounded connection in my “date”, connection that just feels like home when I hear her voice. Her presence in my life at the moment brings so so much. She likes who I am as a person. She likes my apparently “normal” energy and that’s endlessly validating.

*Things with K are going great and I have genuine hope that this attachment work is the real deal this time. It’s excruciating at times and it’s really crushing to come face to face with the brutal truths of what this therapeutic attachment with K is, and isn’t. Really crushing. Sometimes the weight of the crush pins me down for a few hours and the self pity creeps in. But fundamentally I know I’ve got it fucking good with K and forgetting that is ridiculously unhelpful of me. Understandable, but unhelpful.

*Outside of my dog, my “date” and K I have a plethora of totally amazing people, some living just seconds away from me! It does make me feel, in some way, that I belong here in this community. I’m loved by many here. My birthday gathering proved me that. I might not have a family, per se, but I have a village family. I have treasures all around.

*I have hope. My pre lockdown plans were completely scuppered but I have hope that it won’t be forever. Perhaps actually I deserve more than the pre lockdown plans would have left me with. Perhaps this new life path I’m going down is actually much much more fulfilling, and will compliment my pre lockdown plans really really well. Perhaps I’ll be grateful that the lockdown made me pause and wait.

*Ultimately, I am wanted, in the capacity I can offer to people anyway. My “date” wants me around. K wants me around. My friends want me around. My dog cannot get enough of me. After a crushing childhood of being made to feel completely unwanted and completely inadequate, the fact my being at the moment is loved, is everything I would have wanted for myself back then. Love.

Happiness is feeling loved, and feeling the safety in that love.

Stay standing

“You know when I’m really vulnerable and feeling little in my attachment?”

“Yes…”

“Well, how old do you see me as?”

“For some reason 7 pops into my mind, I’m not sure why”.

“That’s the age I was thinking too. But doesn’t that scare you?”

“No why would it scare me?”

“As in don’t you ever worry that it’s becoming too much and it’s unhealthy”

“No because you’re not like that all the time. You aren’t stuck in that place. It isn’t permanent. It’s just what you need to be in that moment”.

It’s funny how whilst 75% of me is maturing and developing in this therapy journey, the other 25% feels the opposite. It feels like that part of me is getting younger and younger. I know that makes sense if you consider we are going where the damage was first done – in an attachment very very early on. It makes sense that sometimes I’m even feeling like a newborn baby. Heck, I’ve said a few times to K recently that I only want to exist in her womb 😬 I mean we are going right back to babyhood, and even before!

It’s hard to feel like we are treading ground that my ex therapist encouraged. I know though that what K highlighted is true.

“This is about your needs, what is best for you, not me”.

The problem with my ex therapist is she needed to feel needed. She admitted it herself. She needed me to be in need of her, vulnerable, reliant. Especially as her own kid was moving into teenage years! I know K isn’t like that. I explain it to K like this:

“You always stand so upright, in your attachment to me. You NEVER bend over towards me or worse, fall into me. I’m not used to this. I keep trying to get you to fall into me, so we can become one, and I feel rejected when that doesn’t happen. But I know that’s not healthy. I know that’s where boundaries are crossed and you lose who you are and I lose who I am. I know that from [ex therapist]. But it’s hard for me to get used to you just staying standing all the time”.

I both love how sturdy K is in her attachment stance and hate it at the same time. It’s clear now I’ve literally NEVER had a close relationship of any description with someone with a secure attachment. This is all so so alien to me. I’m learning things with it every single day.

But at the same time it hurts. It feels like I’m failing. It feels like I’m obviously not “good enough” because if I was she’d fall into me like every other person has in my life. If I was more X, Y or Z then maybe she’d fall.

I know that if she fell, it’s game over. I know that this therapeutic attachment is reliant on her keeping a hold of her own self, her own shit, her own difficulties, and keeping them far far away from me. I know that. One wrong move and in 7 years I’ll be saying the same things about K as I am about my ex therapist.

So she must must stay standing. Even if I pull her with all my might to try and repeat all I’ve ever known.

“I want my mom”

I’ve been pushed into attachment need by hearing that phrase come out of the mouth of someone just diagnosed with cancer. Someone who has been in foster care for all her child life. Someone who basically has no mum. When pushed to the absolute brink of mental overload those words still come out her mouth. I want my mom.

The need for a mum is insatiable. I want to crawl into the lap of K right now. I’m tired, really super duper tired. I’ve been immersed in a pool of love all day, it’s been my birthday. We managed a socially distanced get together and it was absolutely everything I wanted it to be. I’m over the top tired and I just want my (therapy) mum.

It’s so hard when she’s not able to pick up my heart when it’s like this. When the boundaries are there and I’m kept away from her because of who I am to her. The thing is it’s 11.30 pm so even if the boundaries weren’t there I wouldn’t message just out of respect. But the boundaries are still sticking out like a sore thumb for me since they were changed. Which feels ridiculous. How long does it take to acclimatise to a new routine? It’s been WEEKS.

I want to crawl into her lap and tell her about my day. I want to see her smile as I tell her what I got up to and who I saw. I want to feel the warmth I feel when she’s genuinely feeling proud of me. I’ve been adult and “front of house” for the whole of today almost. I feel like I NEED to see her to recalibrate that.

I’m so tired of pining for this attachment. It feels like it’s about 50% of who I am – attachment pining. When is it going to end? Presumably when my attachment is secure and I can feel her even if she’s not directly available. But that feels like a pipedream away. I know this is the thick of the attachment work. This is it. I just wish it wasn’t so hard to carry sometimes.