Five minutes in to my session with Linda on Saturday and I still felt super activated. I told her my heart was pounding and I sensed my hypervigilance. I said, ‘I’m so anxious and nervous, really panicky and overwhelmed by the thought that Anna is definitely dead. Yesterday I was going over and over the scenario that you will be preparing to tell me that she died and it was just breaking my heart all day. It felt like absolute fact, you know? And I’d be the last to know… it’s just driving me insane.’ Linda said, ‘that sounds really awful, really so painful to be consumed by those thoughts.’ I nodded and started to feel a wall of shame rising. I said, ‘but that felt like a different part of me, today I’m just ashamed that I care that much about her.’ Linda said, ‘you know, I’m just thinking, I don’t think it would be a breach of boundaries for me to keep you up to date with Anna, I mean we text every day, I could, let me think… how do you feel about it? I could easily keep you updated on how she is doing.’ My heart was in my throat and I said, ‘yes please tell me’ and she said, ‘okay, well Anna’s alive, she is resting and she’s okay.’ I nodded and started to smile and say, ‘that’s good’ but I could feel my face changing and the emotion rising and then I was crying. I had my hand over my eyes and was properly crying. Right in front of her. Eventually Linda said, ‘what’s happening for you just now?’ and I said, while still crying and not looking up, ‘it’s such a relief, I’m just so relieved! I really believed she was dead.’ A bit later Linda talked to me about her observation that I tend to default to binary thinking, black and white thinking. We explored that for a bit and although I initially criticised myself calling it immature she offered me a reframe. She said, ‘it can be a really useful way of thinking, if our brains are trying to find order in chaos, it can be really comforting to look for boxes that we can put things in… there’s a sense of safety in making sense of the chaos by polarising it.’ I wondered aloud that perhaps it’s easier to imagine the pain of her dying than the grey area of her choosing to not end my suffering and text me back.
Today I have felt an ease that hasn’t settled inside me for a long time. I’ve been reflecting and it has helped soothe me. I’m so glad I wrote all of my sessions down. It means that despite the distance between Anna and I, despite not being able to speak to her, I can call on her wisdom and the comfort she’s gifted me. I can reread session notes and in my minds eye I can relive moments of her sitting with me, dedicating herself to me. I can be reminded of all the spaces inside myself we’ve been cultivating where self compassion and self acceptance are growing. She might not be here right now but the seeds we planted together are. They will never die, they will only grow and flourish. I must remember that distance physically does not equate to distance emotionally. There is a closeness there between us that time and space can not break. We have shared moments together. We have shared words, emotions, realisations, connectedness. She has the memories of those moments as do I. They don’t vanish from her mind and her heart just because there is a break in our time together. I have felt calmer today than I have for over a week. I’m grateful for this dampening of the heightened anxiety, panic and fear. I’m trying to soak it up while it lasts. We are under the same sky… and perhaps at points, we both look up at it together.