Alone

I think I need a support group or something I said. Not necessarily therapeutic, just a way to make true connections with people who are also family-less like me. It’s just a way to feel less alone when you have no safe family to speak of. Nobody rounds here gets it. Everyone around here is so lucky.

With my bio mother turning abusive towards me again I’ve become a trauma-soaked and DID splitting survivor again. Honestly, my life has become CHAOTIC. I ended up in flashback last week. I called K and thankfully she picked up. She talked me down from bashing up my kitchen and got me back on solid ground. I haven’t experienced a flashback to that degree for years. And that was before my mother was the threatening sadistic **** she can still be. I got that treat Sunday morning.

Ok. K said. I’ll do it. I’ll do it for you.

Well, just think about it. I said. It just would help me exponentially to know I’m not the only one in this awful hell. It would need to be moderated a bit because it could become quite unhealthy really, with people just triggering others. But it has the potential to really unite a group of survivors who seem to have got the raw end of the deal. They literally have no kind family to speak of. Not even an aunt who helped. A nan who was safe to go to.

How she would set the requirements for being invited to the group I’m not sure. She’s going to speak to her colleagues about it and see what can be done. Ultimately I just need a break from watching everyone around me family it up at the moment. The grief has been immense.

I have a sister who because I’ve stood up to the perpetrators of my abuse wants nothing to do with me.

I have a father who was abusive and who we are losing to dementia.

I have a mother who is horrendous. Just horrendous.

That’s it.

I don’t have any other family. Above nor below me.

So I’m ridiculously isolated.

I have friends that are family but it isn’t the same. It’ll never be the same.

I hope K can pull something together. I’m itching to feel understood by people who truly understand. I can’t take K convincing me anymore that it doesn’t matter who you have in your life, what matters is who you are. It’s really easy to say that when your family is multi generational and involves two family names. She has it all and it’s really difficult sometimes to accept any sort of placating from her with regards to this subject without wanting to shout “you haven’t a clue, you’re just about the luckiest person alive!”

3 years

A month since I wrote here.

Three years since I started with K.

Doesn’t time fly?

She brought it up today. I’d completely forgotten! Sat on the towel that I placed down so she didn’t get her coat dirty on the weird makeshift hut we had found in the woods, my heart melted to hear her say it’s our anniversary this month!

How the hell did you remember that, I asked. Usually I would hold onto anniversary dates of special people very much but with the richness of social connections in my life just growing exponentially, these things I would usually grip on for dear life to prove that I am someone, get dropped from my brain. Replaced by normal everyday connection.

It means so much to me that you remembered that I said, unable to stop the warmth I felt in my heart spreading across my face. And of course what followed was a discussion of just how much I’ve changed in the three years we’ve been working together.

The biggest signifier of that would probably be the banana.

Today was the first time in three years I’ve been able to eat in front of K. It took a little encouragement on her part, but before I left the house I asked her if she wanted a banana, letting her know that today I was ready to face that challenge.

Apparently now, on our actual anniversary at the end of this month, we will be having lunch.

A big step up from a measley banana. If I don’t think too hard I can do it. Maybe. Perhaps. Gulp.

Three years ago just sat in her presence made me burn with anxiety. Now I’m managing food with her, whilst sat talking about dating and sex. I owe her my life. She said today, when I first saw her 3 years ago, I would talk about having had a breakdown the year previous, but she reckons I was still in it. I was just in pieces. A shell of who I am now.

I am a functioning human now.

The “L” word

My therapist used the “l” word today. Love. Yet, I feel no different.

It’s been a long time since I’ve craved K using the L word with me. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that she doesn’t need to tell me that she loves me, I just know that she does from her behaviour. I wrote her an email saying as much! I know you love me, I wrote. I know from everything you do for me, from your dedication, and the way you are around me. I think a part of me was still hoping that in response to that email she’d just finally bloody say it. But she didn’t! I probably rolled my eyes at her absolute dedication to staying in her therapist mindset and just moved on.

Today though, well, it’s been a rough few days for me. Unrelenting shite being thrown my way day after day after day. I was just emotionally exhausted this afternoon and in very clingy mode towards K by text. After support giving, she then said it, and I did a double take. Did she really just say that?? Yes. So I put my phone down and went to sleep. Kindness isn’t something I take in very easily. I wasn’t able to pick up my phone again to process it until 2 hours had passed. Even now I’m not sure what to say. I am torn between the “OMG DID YOU MEAN THAT” or “OMG YOU JUST SAID IT” or a quiet smile to myself that I was right all along 😉

The point of this post though is to say – I do not feel any different. I do not feel any more loved or cared about because she used those words. Love truly ISN’T just saying those words. In fact, just saying those words isn’t love! With K, I know she loves me because:

  • She is nearly ALWAYS on time
  • She never cancels unless in really extenuating circumstances
  • She is SO flexible with my appointments, particularly in a pandemic
  • She offers daily contact if I genuinely need it
  • She inserts little physical challenges into our sessions when she knows I have the skills to cope with them e.g. eating in front of her
  • She remembers things I’ve said YEARS back so tracks my progress very closely
  • She asks me to eat and drink when I’m resisting it
  • She offers physical contact and now has got to the point of just giving physical contact
  • and more, that are more personal so I don’t want to necessarily share on here.

So I guess I stand by my conclusion from before. I know she loves me, because she said it. But I already knew before. And knowing before is a LOT more powerful than knowing now.

it’s been a while

Well, does anyone remember me?

Hi!

It’s been a really long time. For me, anyway. A month in fact! Last time I was here I’d not long gone through the traumatic experience of December 2020 and I’m happy to say it actually didn’t hit me as hard as I was worried it might. I picked myself up quite fast actually. Testament to my general good mental health now.

I’m in a very good place. Well, except for the fact I have the time to write this because I am on good old Self Isolation… I am generally doing really, really well. I’m not sure whether I’ll continue writing on here or not.. I mostly wanted to pop by and say Hi! And I really hope you are all doing as okay as you can be given the continued state of the world.

If I was to continue writing here I could talk about the developments in my life. I broke up with my girlfriend as she was heinously passive aggressive which is the one trait I absolutely cannot tolerate in my relationships anymore. I think we have all sported the passive aggressive stripes at some point in our lives but I’m well past that now and frankly, we’re all allowed that one thing that we just won’t tolerate and for me, that’s it. I am however in contact with a guy. My last two relationships (both girls) has put me off being with a girl, despite doing the hard part and coming out as gay. Too much hassle. I’m going back to men!

It’s taking me some getting used to, conversation with a guy again. There’s so much more sex talk already it initially threw me. But as my therapist said to me on one of our walk and talks – “you are an amazing and sexual being” – I probably blushed because being called amazing is bad enough, let alone being called a sexual being too – but that is what I hold onto in conversation with this guy. I am an adult, I am a sexual being, and I can either engage in a conversation or lay down a boundary somehow. I have the right to do both.

I’ve practiced laying down a boundary twice. Mostly just because I need to get some practice there! The fascinating thing is there was no drama that came out of me doing so. No guilt tripping, no punishing, no negativity at all. It felt really empowering.

Talking of empowering – my ex therapist is now entirely out of my life. I unblocked her, asked her to send my stuff she had, received it in the post, and blocked her again. With my stuff she sent me a note. I can’t remember what it said now. I read it once, skimming it mostly, then threw it away. Unfortunately she still pops up in my dreams now and then. I mean she would, after 7 years of daily contact. I have enough distance from her now though to really see how much better I am without her. I never get the urge to speak to her, or have any contact with her. In fact the thought makes me feel quite anxious. I decided not to report her officially. Doing that would have delayed me just getting on with my life as it is now. She can’t give me back all the time and money I wasted, so there is very little point trying to get formal recognition of her enormous fuck up.

K is still a big part of my life but in a different way. I’m not sure whether it’s because we’re now walking and talking instead of having sessions in a therapy room; but she’s become less therapist and more just general cheerleader. I’m mostly figuring shit out for myself at this point. Mostly. We’re considering integration now between myself and my remaining 2 alters. Not a formal arrangement by any stretch it is just where I’d like us to go. Made a bit more complicated by the fact one of my alters has made a really good friendship with my best friend. They play together, paint together, talk together, have a laugh together and I know at some point I need to say to my friend that one day it will “just” be me in my head, as a blended mix. There will be no separation of parts, hopefully. They’re doing okay as they are. It’s still relatively early days but it’s in my mind as a “to do” on the therapy list.

K let me know on our walk and talk new years eve that I am her biggest achievement of 2020 which felt somewhat lovely to be singled out. We have updated our goals for 2021 and got a new focus. This year is about going places together, to face my anxieties, and eating together. Much more practical things, rather than untangling emotional difficulties. I’ve never felt closer to her than I do now. My attachment to her is in such a good secure place and has been for a while now. My attachment strains are, touch wood, a thing of the past. We still have frequent contact but I am not feeling tormented by what she isn’t to me finally. The whole why can’t you be my mum thing seems to have lifted. What is left is that sometimes I just need a little bit more than other times to keep the connection feeling stable.

Well, that’ll do for now. I’m not even sure if anyone will be reading this still! This just touches the surface of current developments but it’s a start 🙂

.

I don’t necessarily want to give details but Friday night I went through a traumatic experience and I’m fighting the fallout of that, significantly.

1. I’m annoyed at my friend for putting me into that situation that would have been utterly traumatic for most people.

2. I’m trying to fight the triggers that have come as a result of that. Namely, cars. Even just seeing cars on the road.

3. I’m trying to re-establish boundaries around myself as when you’re put in a situation that violently takes all your boundaries away, it feels hard to collect them all together again.

4. I’m relearning where safety is in this world. Around people, but even by myself. Taking steps somewhere and just constantly assessing how it feels.

5. I’m trying to stop my mind from catastrophising, believing this is step 1 to breakdown part II.

I’m mostly just trying to remember the adult I was before I got so horrifically triggered and retraumatised. I’m trying to grow into my feet again and remember that I can stand tall, I can protect myself, I can feel empowered again.

I managed to succeed in all that yesterday thanks to my therapist, gardening, yoga and a dog walk. My biggest problem once I’m triggered badly into PTSD like this is every single morning is a new day and it’s the same fight, all over again. I’ve got to work through all those points all over again. Which is devastating when I was in such a good place just two weeks ago, feeling next to no anxiety at all. To have it back feels like a kick in the bollocks at a time of year I’m already punished enough for being me.

But – it is what it is. I am who I am. I’m trying to boost my compassion towards myself, again. I’m trying to believe I’m worth the gentleness, the warmth and the self love. When I’m able to do that it helps. It feels like I’ve just wrapped my quivering muscles and burning mind in a soothing blanket. So here we go.

I’m worth it. I’m amazing to have got to where I’ve got in life so far. I choose to sit and appreciate that, instead of constantly demanding I do more and more and more.

Tw dark thoughts

It’s not her fault but she’s the only one who cares as if it was!

My therapist and I both ended in tears today. I’ve been actively suicidal. Actively. Usually I manage to keep it to passive, but not this time.

I’ve got so many plans in my head of how I want my life to go now I’m not living in survival mode. Yet I just don’t think they’re achievable. I think I’m in that weird limbo land where I’m well enough to look for what I want, but not well enough to hold onto it. Leaving me getting tasters of things then having to let go and go back to square one.

It’s led to a rollercoaster of emotions, this entire year.

“I’m not strong enough to keep going” I said to K.

“Don’t you ever think you’re not strong enough” she replied, voice cracking. “With everything you have been through, for you to be sat in front of me now, don’t you ever think you aren’t strong enough for anything”.

She continued talking through her tears. Usually her eyes well up and she manages to swallow it down but not this time. She spoke, with the wobbly teary voice us clients know so well.

It made me cry just knowing she believed in me that much. She believes in where I’ve been. She believes in where I’m at. She believes in where I’m going to attempt to go.

I have carried that feeling, of being believed in, for the rest of today. There is no-one in my life who cares as vehemently as K does. No one else literally cries as they sit across from me, seeing the pain in my face, the weakness in my voice. She knows the full extent of what I’ve gone through and what I’ve had to survive.

Of course none of it is her fault, but she really is the only one who cares as if it was. There is great healing in that depth of concern.

Email to my therapist

“I used to worry that you’d think I’m dependent. I used to worry that you’d feel I loved you too much. Or that I loved you in the wrong kind of love for this relationship. Or indeed I used to worry that you wouldn’t want me to love you at all. That love is wrong, even though it’s entirely natural. It’s bonding.

But I don’t worry about those things anymore. I love you just in the way I love you and that can’t be wrong. It can’t be because it’s just a genuine feeling coming from a genuine safe relationship. No emotion coming from a genuine SAFE relationship can ever be wrong. The attachment is healthy therefore the feelings are healthy. End of. In my mind anyway.


Undoubtedly my first experience of genuine safe love. Undoubtedly. Mind blowing. Maybe when you first started working with me you didn’t anticipate it, maybe you did, but you’ve utterly transformed my life. I just…. How could I not love you for that? And by that I mean love YOU for that. Not love you FOR THAT. There’s a difference there. A big one.”

I felt this was a really important point to share for those of us navigating therapy relationships. The idea of loving and being loved in return is a cause of confusion for many. Me included, for a long time. But now I just think: I feel the way I feel. Nothing and no one will tell me the way I feel is wrong.

I feel I love her and I feel she loves me. Therefore, it’s true. It’s not what is said that is important. It’s what is felt.

Hurting

Since hearing the family news I’ve been in unthinkable emotional pain. I haven’t congratulated my sister. Indeed if she wanted me to she would have told me her news herself. If I’m not worthy of messaging directly, which I’m not, of course I’m not, she hates me, then I won’t be pressured to message her a congratulations. It’s got to the point I need to see her as dead to me. Because hanging onto any hope that she might actually soften towards me is only hurting me in the long run.

K called me up on my behaviour today. I sent a passive aggressive message this morning which was quite unlike me. So much so I’d forgotten id even sent it when I’d asked to speak because of being in emotional crisis today. Which is probably why it hit me like a tonne of bricks when she basically said she didn’t appreciate the way I was trying to get something from her, by being passive aggressive. That I know better ways of getting my needs met than that.

I do. But in that moment I lost control. And in the context of how much I’m hurting at the moment, I’m grateful K was challenging enough to shock me into awareness, but not in a way that made me run away from her in defense. Though it was close! My finger hovered over the red disconnect button a bit but I knew to do that was to allow myself to go into full on dangerous crisis and frankly, I didn’t have the energy for that!

She really feels for me at the moment, I know she does.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly she’s trying to help me see that I can use words to explain how I feel and they will have as much impact, in fact more, than the physical wounds I’m causing myself. I described the pain earlier this week in our face to face session as a burning club being repeatedly stabbed through my heart. Her face literally winced at that description and that helped. I know I don’t need to hurt myself to prove I’m in pain. It just helps me feel better to externalise the pain, rightly or wrongly.

Shit is painful at the moment.

I’ll never know you

I’ll never know you,
That makes me sad,
I hope you don’t grow up,
Believing I’m bad

I’ll tell you the truth,
If you grow up asking why,
Your Auntie X,
Didn’t even try

Truth is my whole life
I’ve tried to believe,
I could be something more
Than a black sheep with fleas

I’ve accepted now I’m needed,
Not in the way I had hoped,
My role was perhaps more important,
It’s how our family coped

Coped with the damage,
Done generations before,
I took on the blame, the shame
For what was for them, so raw

Without me dear boy,
I’m afraid to say,
Your mum, well,
She would have lost her way

Pushing me out the family,
Claiming I’m ill,
Meant she could forget,
What haunts me, still

The truth lies in me,
It’s a burden I bear,
It’s safer for your mum then,
To keep me right over there

I’ll hate every second,
You’re here and I don’t get,
To hold your little hands,
Cuddle you when you fret

You’re yet to be born,
But I want you to know,
I’ll love you from afar,
(and this is my biggest blow).

Get through

“I don’t think you wanted to be stopped” K said.

“No I didn’t. I still don’t. I want to be a self harmer at the moment and that’s that really. I was scared I was going to come in here today and you were going to get me to sign some sort of contract that I won’t harm for as long as I see you or something equally unhelpful”.

“I won’t do that. I know some therapists do that but I don’t believe in doing that. It is about autonomy. It is about you making choices. Who am I to take away a coping mechanism from you?” she replied.

“I am here to help you understand it; and of course it hurts me to know that your arm is cut to shreds but whatever you do is your choice, it is not my responsibility”.

“I am proud of myself though” I shocked myself by saying. “I am proud that I have got through this year and I am still functioning. I have dealt with all the change, just picked up everything, and carried on. I am proud of that. If I end up dipping into self harm addiction again now then, well, is it really any surprise I just need something at the moment?”

“No it isn’t any surprise. Everyone has had a lot to deal with this year and you, well you’ve had more than most. I am really pleased to hear you say you are proud”.

Of course, K has been my complete fucking rock. The session earlier this week we went dog walking and I just needed her to be HAPPY. Please, just be happy with me, I said. I am so tired of all the sad, depressed, angry people. I am being drained. Please lets just be happy! So we were. But then the almighty crash happened that night and the self harm erupted out of me and both of us were left wondering where the fuck that came from.

Last night was equally volatile. I sedated myself early evening because the emotional pain was something else. I then walked, half sedated, across to my friends house (who I am in a support bubble with, so don’t go mad covid police lol), where I sat and watched TV for an hour as the sedation slowly kicked in more and more. That ended with me enveloped in a hug with her, me switching between myself and my child part, who this friend knows and loves. Only when I was completed sedated did my friend drop me home to sleep. She saved me from myself, truthfully.

I am digesting the most horrid of truths. For years I have oscillated between believing I could make someone love me like I was their daughter, like I should have been as a child, to believing that my parents were, and are “good enough” and I don’t need anyone else. I would cling onto one of those two beliefs because what would there be to cling onto otherwise? Emptiness!

I am no longer clinging to falsehoods. No one will ever love me like a daughter. My parents will never have been good enough. I’ve finally given up hope of either of those things happening and I do think that is tearing me up from the inside out.

Yet at the same time I know how lucky I am. How lucky I am to have a therapist who goes way over and above what most therapists would. And a best friend who is opening up her heart to my most vulnerable and hurt part of self. Without those two things I don’t think the truth of my reality would have ever been able to settle. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve had to swallow in all of my recovery and it might be going down like glass, but at least it’s going down, finally.

“Remember the butterfly” K reminded me today and I know she is right. There will be a place for me the other side of this hurt. I will get through.