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.

“So! How have you been?” She asked. First session back from her mini break.

“No offence but I didn’t miss you one bit. I wasn’t even going to come today!” I replied.

“Ok!” She smiled “is this out of anger, or genuine ok?”

“Not anger at all no! Just didn’t feel I really needed to see you, but I decided to come anyway, as a reward to myself for not needing to see you.”

Bit strange but I’m all for rewarding good choices and good behaviour, even my own! Whilst K is still on holiday from work she’d made todays spot available to me and though I wanted to give it back to her, like a gift, I also just wanted to see her because I could.

It strikes me that we’ve hit a new level in this attachment. When she’s away I don’t pine for her. I might still count down the days until she’s back but that’s more out of habit than need. We also had a conversation about death today.

“I’ve realised that if you died, I’d be ok” I said.

“Yes you absolutely would” she replied.

“Obviously I don’t want it to happen but this latest grief has taught me just how much souls live on in you. If you died I’d still feel you here, just as much as if you were physically here”.

“I can relate to that with my [family member]” she said, her eyes filling a little. Her loss was a sudden devastating one, just like mine. She taught me a lot when handling that loss. It still feels raw for her a little and I swayed conversation away.

I saw her kid today, this afternoon after the session. And actually it just made me smile. K’s kid was walking up the road with two much younger kids beside her. I thought to myself, trust K to raise a child with such obvious grounding and maturity that others entrust their young children on her. K’s child exudes a level of “grounded” and “stable” I’ve never seen before in a girl of her age. What a stark difference to how I was at that age. Here’s a girl who has never known what it means to be unsafe at home and boy can you tell. The way she walks, stands, looks at you, even plays. (I see her often really as we live in the same place!) It is starting to warm me actually, rather than hurt me. She will easily become a beacon of light in her generation of people and goodness knows society will need that as they age and recover from this societal pandemic crisis. There’s so much goodness there in just one person. She will have a lot to give our struggling society if she wants to, just like her mum.

Testing K

“You’re going to need to be patient with me” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“This is pushing me way out my comfort zone. I’m still going to do it but it’ll take me some time. Heck I can’t not do it being the therapist!”

I love that I’m pushing K out of her comfort zone. I LOVE that in working with me she’s also working on herself. A lot of my side of the book has been written and proof read already. As far as I know she’s yet to start.

K knows me. Of course. She knows that I’m quite quick to complete tasks I set myself. If I want to do something I want to do it now.

So she’s right. I need to be patient with her. And actually me testing her is going to test me……. Gosh and they say therapy is all a one-way street. No way!

K and I had a different session today. Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my senior dogs death that near enough tore me into pieces. She’s been gone for over a year. 45 minutes over a year to be exact. It’s unbelievable. Time goes so quickly.

K came to me today and we sat and did some art together. Art based around the soul pup I lost. It was beautiful, just what I wanted and needed. It was slightly tainted by the fact she’s going away next week which is interrupting the predictability of our sessions again but I’m trying very hard this time to not make a big deal out of her absence. It is never a big deal at the time. Not once has it been a big deal that she’s been away. I just build it into a big deal before hand and in some respects I probably always will. It’s a habit. An attachment wobbling habit.

I’m testing myself too at the moment because I’m having to “share K”. I mean, not really, but it sure feels like it in a way. My best friend, or at least one of them, is now seeing K for some therapy too. I set it up, I orchestrated it. I know how bloody awesome K is and I love my best friend so much I want her to have the best. I believe in K’s ability to help her. It’s hard though. It’s hard to not feel paranoid about what is going to be said about me etc you know? I’ve said to K that I don’t expect her to ever share anything that comes up about me indirectly or directly, of course, but please don’t judge me on anything that is said!

Makes me seem guilty when all I’ve ever done is my best for this friend. But hey ho, my paranoid brain needs the reassurance that someone else cannot change K’s opinion on me.

Triangular dynamics are hard.

Hope anyone reading this finds a lot to smile about today 🙂

Echo!

It’s been a while.

I’ve been busy figuring out this life shit. Lots is changing. For example, I’ve quit my job and taken on another. I’ve realised a career isn’t worth me killing myself for.

I’ve been busy as well writing a book. It’s a joint venture between K and I. I’ve always wanted to do it but I didn’t feel like my story had come to a sufficient point for a ‘beginning, middle and end’ until now.

Getting my life story out in chapters is proving to be very therapeutic. How one person can go through so much is beyond me and if it wasn’t for the fact it was me, I’m not sure I’d believe it. I’m leaving trauma descriptions out for the most part because a.) it isn’t a trauma dumping exercise and b.) people will read it like a Dave Pelzer book, or whatever his name is, and that isn’t what I’m going for.

K is involved so we can turn it into a therapist and clients journey through pretty severe attachment work. I’ve got the comparison of how not to do it with my previous therapy, and then the insight into what is important, what is necessary, what can be done. K has progressed just as much as me and I hope that gets shown in the pages.

It was a beautiful session with K today. One of those sessions I’ll hold onto forever. Not for what was said, or done, but for what was felt. I couldn’t have felt more seen, heard, cared about and appreciated. In terms of the past me, present me and future me too.

Attachment fun returns

It had been a while since I’d had a complete attachment meltdown. This was one of those monumental ones where I end up telling K that I give up, blocking her, and vowing to never see her again. When I know full well that’ll change by tomorrow!

It did change by “tomorrow”. By 9.30 the next morning I was on the phone to K begging her to not leave because of my behaviour. Begging her to not absolutely hate my guts.

In session this afternoon we examined more of how things went so drastically wrong with my ex therapist, especially in situations like attention crises. And K told me something that completely blew my mind.

“I would never put my stuff on you. You’re entitled to feel how you feel, be cross at me, be sad, be mad, be frustrated. It isn’t my place to put my emotions about that on you”.

I was honestly speechless. So all those times my ex therapist would put her crap on me. All those times she would emotionally react to me emotionally reacting….. Well no wonder we blew up on each other! Who was the therapist?

The attachment meltdowns are likely to become a bit more frequent now we’re going into the time of year I loathe. In this last crisis I’d texted K in obvious attachment distress, to which she said “what can we do?” and I came back with “nothing”. So when I then asked why she was doing nothing she said because I said there was nothing she could do.

I just patted myself on the head when I re read the messages today in session. It’s such a jumble of emotions when I’m in it. A mess of very young vulnerability. My poor brain I said, as I gave it a little pat. Nothing makes sense when you’re in attachment meltdown does it? Which is why, K said today, she was unable to give anything but acknowledge where I was.

“I knew in that moment you hated the situation, I knew whatever I said or did wouldn’t have been enough”.

I mean I’d like to think something would have been enough. It was the end of session and I knew I was going to have to just be brave and ask it outright.

“I was essentially being a very little toddler. I was essentially needing to run up to you, check everything was safe, then run off again. I think that would have settled it”.

“Ok so what could I say?”

“That’s the thing. Messaging doesn’t cut it. I would need to actually hear you”.

“Ok so I voicenote? Or phone call? What are you saying?”

I was certain she’d say no. But I had my phone in front of me so I could see the fact we were already over our time.

“I feel like if I could just speak to you on the phone, like the toddler, check everything is safe, then go off again, it would help”.

“Right then that’s what we do” she said, easily.

“I guess I just didn’t think you’d want to do that” I trailed off, smiling inside at her answer, feeling exactly how I needed to feel when in that attachment crisis, seen, heard, cared for.

I bloody hate attachment. It’s exhausting. I’ll leave the “it’s not fair” conversation for another day. Just another broken record in my brain.

Therapy updates

“I enjoyed that” K said, turning to me. It was sweet. I could see she really meant it. “Never be afraid to ask to do something like this, this is really good”.

All we’d done is go for a dog walk. Like we’ve done many times before. We were walking different dogs though. Usually we’d walk mine but today my friend needed hers walked whilst she looked after her poorly son so I combined that with my therapy session and yeah, it was lovely. I get the feeling she preferred my friends dogs to mine! Rude!

It was good to have a lighter session today after the session earlier this week where I basically sat moping up tears for the entire hour. An incident where I live involving me was more of a trigger than I anticipated it might be. It led to a bit of a blip in my mental health and I self harmed two nights ago but with the help of friends and K I’ve already picked myself up, dusted myself down, and moved on. It’s rare for me to mentally heal quicker than physically healing from a self harm incident. Usually self harming in itself becomes a trigger but I gave myself the day after to be as “mental” as I needed to be and then it was all shifted. Back into the stable gear again.

Hypnotherapy is going well. It’s making a difference I believe. I don’t massively like the therapist if I’m honest. Certain things about her that annoy and irritate me. But she’s talented at the hypnotherapy part so I grit my teeth and bare it. So far it’s not had a negative effect on the DID. It’s not tampered with the DID at all which is good. We are going to start hypnoanalysis which is where trauma work picks up again. I’ve arranged the next hypno session to be the evening before I see K so I have that time with K to process and find safety. It’s a big thing jumping back into direct trauma work. I’m angsty about it but like I said, I know the hypnotherapist is talented. I know I now have the inner resources to cope with the outcome of trauma work. Now is the right time to do it. So let’s get it done.

Fear of life

K identified a pattern of mine today, and she’s entirely right. I return to what I know, even if that’s anxiety and misery, in order to protect myself from the fear of life.

I saw this on social media today and it really resonated with me. To me, looking ahead at the life that is right there for me to grab if I so wish, stirs up so much anxiety. Physiological and mental emergency in the absence of danger type anxiety.

“It is totally understandable” K said “why you are anxious about life ahead of you. It’s all new to you, and life hasn’t given you a chance so far, it really hasn’t. But you stopping yourself from moving into this thriving chapter of your life is potentially going to damage us”.

She’s very clever. I’d said that I don’t want to be thriving so much I lose her. She knew that to bring her into it would make me shift gears.

“If you’re still holding yourself back like this in say two years then I’d be telling you to go see another therapist because we aren’t working”.

She’s right. She’s there to bring me into a thriving state for the first time in my life. If I stop that for fear of losing her then that defeats the object of her being in my life.

“With the progress I have made” I said “there is no way that in 2 years I’m going to be exactly where I am now”.

I guess I was being a little defensive. I might falter sometimes but it felt like it was completely undermining the huge progress I have made by asserting that a lack of progress now means she will kick me out the door.

“You have made phenomemal progress. I am absolutely not denying that at all.” She said.

Obviously I know she doesn’t mean it anyway. She’s using it to kick me up the arse and that’s okay. I’ll allow it. Whatever works works right?

But the fact of the matter is I have C-PTSD, I have been severely abused, much of life I’m experiencing as “firsts”, even now, in my 30’s. I’m going through sexual discovery as if I’m a teenager for example. Life is dangerous in my mind. It just is. That’s a fact that exists in my mind.

One step at a time. Today we worked on my subconscious need to live in a dehydrated state (because dehydration actively causes anxiety!). She encouraged me to play with a straw. I worked out that even when I’ve managed to put a glass to my lips my tongue is right at the front, blocking most the entrance for the liquid. I’ve always known I’ve got a real issue with liquids going in my mouth I just didn’t realise how my tongue was playing such an active role in blocking me from drinking.

When using a straw, my tongue is being pushed down, out of the way. My mouth is more open and I’m drinking so much more with every effort. It’s made a difference. I’ve drank more this evening than I usually do in a day. So I’ll be drinking with a straw for a bit. Trying to prove to myself that water is a powerful thing and can help me to feel better with every slurp.

That’s just step one in allowing myself to thrive.

Catch up

“So the boundaries have been confusing but we have been able to work through them and know that we are still in a very safe attachment. “

If that’s as bad as ruptures get with K, that’s more than tolerable! Not her fault, not mine, but technological issues meant things weren’t quite as they should have been and whilst it did throw me off a bit, the way she handled it was superb.

I think that’s the important thing when things go a bit pear shaped. It isn’t what happened, it’s how it was dealt with. What happened wasn’t even in either of our control anyway.

I’m still looking forward to her being back though from my break. And dare I say it, looking forward to her kid being back at school so she is a bit less all over the option with timings. She was there for me so much during lockdown, I’m paying the price now slightly with her being a bit less present generally with child care pressures etc. Must be stressful being a working mum at the moment, can’t deny that.

My system and I (DID) took a humongous step last week. We brought one of my friends into the therapy room and my child part (one of) had a play date with her. “Fascinating” my friend said when I caught up with her (as myself) a few days later. “She really is a child in her own right. She isn’t you. Her face is different. Her mannerisms are different. Her voice is different. Everything is different. She takes up much less space in the room. She’s really a child. I know I was prepared but it isn’t until you see it that you can truly appreciate it”.

K had a session with this friend a week or so ago to talk to her about DID, prepare her, and frankly to meet her too. She’s such a special friend. She saw a traumatised soul in me way before I told her. The way she dealt with my child part was nothing short of perfect. She even bought her a present. I trust her implicitly. I have the most wonderful people around me. That thought still stops me in my tracks when I’m shit shifting the crap out my life at the moment.

Living alone has become the best thing for me. Already. I love it. I feel so much safer, so much more able to move about how I need to, to express the way I feel. Covid 19 has shown me the true colours of a person. Not necessarily nasty colours. Just not my type of colours anymore. It’s massively relieving that they’re gone now. I know most the world hates covid. And I do too. But you know, it brought a gift into my life. The gift of time stopping so I could really take a breather to analyse whether my life was going down the road that is best for me. Thanks to the breather I’ve realised it wasn’t. But it is now. It so is now.

All those times I wanted to die, but kept telling myself to hold on, better times are coming. Well, I didn’t lie. Thanks past me, for keeping me alive.

The unpredictable mum

I’ve had a wonderful day with my girlfriend. She’s just… We’re just… “Solid” as she said today.

It was nice to spend the day away from my attachment crisis mind. It was nice to not spend the majority of the day in angst over K.

Things haven’t been great. In session yes, wonderful, outside of it? Really not. I’m overcome with a constant feeling of being rejected, unwanted, she doesn’t care etc etc etc.

Our sessions have become really unpredictable. She’s making the most of society opening up as much as it has now and she’s last minute booking things left right and centre. Meaning our sessions have zero pattern to them. Sometimes they’re a day after each other even which I hate. They’ve not been the steady 2x a week, usual days, for a long time.

I’m trying to not care about it. She says I’m doing well to manage it etc etc but I keep thinking one thing: she is dropping the baby, week after week after week. And it doesn’t seem to matter to her. Sessions are meant to be regular so it feels reliable, predictable, holding. I don’t have that now at all. Boundaries in terms of outside contact is changing all the time because of her schedule being demanding and taking her away from work so much, and it just feels very much like I’ve been shut in a room somewhere and mostly ignored.

Which is LUDICROUS. I’m still seeing her twice a week for goodness sake. Who cares if it’s consecutive days?! She’s still finding time for me even when I’m the only client she is seeing that day. But I care. I care.

An unpredictable mother is the biggest trigger of all. K is not unpredictable in terms of self no. But in terms of availability and therefore resultant attunement, it’s confused at the moment. Really confused. I’m not responding well to it. I’m living in an almost permanent state of conflict. Half my brain wanting to cut and run. The other half wanting to cling on more. So I’m sending messages to her then deleting them before she’s even seen them. I’m asking to share something then not sharing it. I’m as disorganised in my attachment as I can get. My behaviour is starting to match up to my mind struggles and when that happens I know how chaotic my attachment experience is inside, when it starts to leak out so much in my behaviour.

I know I’ve just got to bear with it. I know things will become steady again. I guess I just continue to try and not care so much. It’s life. Life is unpredictable. There’s no getting away from that. This year is teaching us all that I think.