Even when it feels like everything is falling apart.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, some of my posts are copied here, sorry for the repetition. I’ve been journaling and trying to make sense of my experience this week and I thought I’d post about it here…
Two days ago I wrote in my journal that things were feeling good after my last session (the 90 minute session). I posted this on Instagram…
After my initial meeting with Anna (over two years ago) she gave me a questionnaire to fill in for our next session. One of the questions was, ‘How do you think you can help yourself in this process?’ And I wrote, ‘Commit to regular therapy sessions. Be open and self-aware. Be willing to listen, learn and make difficult changes. Trust the process. Maintain any between session work or think critically and carefully about previous / next sessions.’ I knew what I was talking about back then! TRUST THE PROCESS! Trust the damn process. Everything that happens in session, between sessions, as a result of sessions…. within the therapeutic relationship – everything is part of the process. Trust it. Everything can be worked on. Everything is worth working on.
Things are feeling quite good at the moment. Though the work is hard and the grieving is so painful, I feel positive that I am on the right track, that I am making progress and that Anna is able to help me. I do trust her and I do trust the process. I think this relaxing into the process and letting go of the need for control is one of the reasons why things are feeling better. More hopeful.
Whenever I start to doubt it, which I’m sure I will in time… someone please remind me to TRUST THE PROCESS!
Then the very next day it felt like the rug had been pulled from beneath me. I posted this…
All things must pass.
It always amazes me how quickly things can change. Nothing lasts. Nothing stays the same for very long. Ride the waves, Lucy… ride the fucking waves and trust that this raging ocean is wild and furious for a reason.
So I guess this is when I need to trust the process… not when all is going good, but exactly now… when things feel delicate and fragile and like they may break. I’m experiencing a massive kickback today. Emotional flooding. Body memories. This is hard. I wish I was seeing Anna tomorrow. It absolutely sucks that our session had to be cancelled and having an extra long session on Saturday didn’t detract from the longing I feel now. I feel so vulnerable, I have a sore tummy and I can’t stop crying. I had to take today off work. I feel like a failure but I also know this is what I need. This is a day for ‘7’ to just be and cry if she needs to, sleep if she needs to… this is the process. But I miss Anna and I want a hug from her so much. I want to smell her perfume and see her kind eyes.
I really wish I just *knew* Anna in ‘real life’. I want to be able to call her up now and cry down the phone with her. I feel so heart broken. I wonder if this is some sort of abandonment ‘flashback’ – after everything I told her on Saturday, to then not be able to see her for 10 days. I wonder if ‘7’ feels rejected and abandoned because of what I shared (does Anna need to protect herself from me?) oh this is hard. There’s such a strong desire to let Anna know that I didn’t make it into work today and that I’ve been crying on and off for the past two hours. But there’s no need really. She wouldn’t reply, she can’t do anything, she’s got her own life to live and I need to deal with this by myself.
Trust the process. It’s all I can do.
And then I posted this…
Sometimes the past won’t stay in the past. I experienced a massive kick back from Saturday’s session, from bringing certain things out into the light that have stayed hidden for decades. Today has been really hard. A lot of emotional overwhelm. When your trauma is relational, developmental… when you’ve been betrayed and violated by people who were meant to protect and care for you… when you believed time and time again that you could trust, that maybe today you’d be safe, maybe today you’ll be seen and looked after… and then again you’re let down, again you’re abandoned, again you’re rejected and again you’re hurt… it leaves some pretty deep scars.
I find close attachments with people a generation above me very triggering. I also find it very hard to trust myself. I’m hyper vigilant in these relationships. I assume I will be hurt. I predict the pain. I await the rejection and abandonment. I look for the hidden agenda behind seemingly kind actions. It is physically alive in my body. It’s not in the past. My brain may know that I am safe with Anna but my body believes this relationship is threatening. I’ve worked very hard to get to the point where I feel like I can trust her when we’re in the room. When she is in front of me, I feel she is being authentic and real with me. But it’s very hard for me to hold on to that feeling. Right now I am panicking, it feels like she’s forgotten about me or is glad she doesn’t HAVE to see me this week. I couldn’t handle the feelings earlier today and texted her asking for a call this week. I expect she’ll say no and maintain her boundaries. Her silence feels like a message to me that she’s sick of me, frustrated that the 90 minute session just a few days ago wasn’t enough for me. I always want more, it’s never enough. I’m too needy. I’m too much. She needs a break from me… hello inner critic! You’re also a very alive resident that’s hung around since the past.
I’ve managed to regulate as best I can today. I’ve looked after myself and taken it easy. But it is so hard. So hard.
Finally I shared this…
Ask and you shall receive… or something like that. I was brave. I asked for a phone session… or a short call that I’d happily pay for. I fully expected to receive a very considered, firm ‘no’ like I have in the past. Because Anna knows that boundaries are very important to me and she has experienced first hand the total devastation that can happen if she steps outside her boundary (even just slightly). Like the time I sent her an unclear message that sounded like I was at risk of harming myself so she phoned me. Her breaking her rules in that moment nearly sent me over the edge. We both learned very valuable lessons from that incident.
Boundaries, clear rules, consistency, clarity… these things feel safe and predictable. I need them.
I am learning though that boundaries can be flexible and that (as a good friend reminded me the other day) a ‘no’ can just mean a ‘not yet’ or an ‘here’s an alternative’. Also I am learning that as you build trust in an attachment, a boundary can be reassessed and changed slightly, safely, with consent.
So I sent a very adult text to Anna asking if we could have a phone session because the only reason today’s session was cancelled is because of maintenance taking place in the office. To my surprise she agreed. She has given me a time, confirmed the price and let me know that she will phone me. I actually can’t believe it. I nearly said ‘thanks but no thanks’ because I feel quite reassured that she’s okay with giving me the call… she wouldn’t have offered it if she was sick of me. She wouldn’t begrudgingly give me the call… she’s careful about keeping herself safe, she wouldn’t push herself to the point of being sick of me… I hope!
Ironically I’m not even sure what to talk about tonight. I’m going to have to drive somewhere quiet so I can give the session as much holding and containment as possible. I will need privacy and I will need to feel safe. How much can we get into on the phone? I’m in a very different place to where I was yesterday. I wish I could step back into those overwhelming emotions so I could share them with her in real time.
I guess I need to just TRUST THE PROCESS!
And that’s exactly what I did. I got in my car in the dark wearing four woolly jumpers and a scarf to keep warm, drove to a quiet beautiful space near where I live and watched the almost full moon hang in the night sky, reflected on the oil like black water below while I waited for her to call me.
I’ll write about that phone session in a new post.