There’s a hole in my chest where all the pain is.

I sent the confession email to Mark at 10pm the night before this session. Had to eventually take a diazepam at some point because my anxiety was through the roof. Had a very restless sleep and then somehow got through the day with bouts of intense nausea and numbness. Mark didn’t reply to my email other than to send the zoom link which massively intensified my fear that he was angry with me. By the time I clicked on to the call I was certain he would terminate with me immediately and I could barely look at the screen.

I was beyond nervous. I immediately asked him how he was doing and he said, ‘I’m alright!’ in a really sort of reassuring tone. He said, ‘I’m a bit tired this afternoon but other than that I’m in a pretty good place. How are you? You might have been a little bit anxious coming into the meeting… take a moment just to check in.’ I said, ‘yeah I’m fucking shitting myself actually… yeah… um.’ I couldn’t speak and was looking at my hands in my lap. Mark said, ‘Yeah. And you don’t need to hang your head in any shame. I just want to say that.’ I could barely hear him. I blurted out a garbled, ‘Can you. can you like, tell me… can you respond to what I said in the email?’ he said, ‘Course I can yeah. Yes of course I can I was just wanting us to arrive together a little bit first. Just to sort of land and make a little bit of contact. I can see why you might have recorded things and I can see how it would be useful for you so it doesn’t upset me. I think in some ways when you first meet someone there’s so much going and that kind of intimacy gets our threat and anxiety going so we can’t quite remember the session… ‘what was that like?’ sort of thing, so I can see how revisiting that afterwards would be really helpful for you and allow things to come through for you, it would be reassuring. One thing I really got from that was that you really took me in, what I offered and that was helpful whereas in the moment you’re probably quite activated. But in the quietness of your own space without me sat there you’re able to kind of hear yourself and hear me. And that ability to connect… and that makes perfect sense. You’ve kind of done that for good reason haven’t you. And you did it with Linda like a double check so you could revisit it from another space outside too much contact and what that brings up for you. So…’ he then smiled and slightly laughed and said, ‘it would have been good to have known about it but my sense is that you’re giving yourself a much harder time than I ever will.’ I said, ‘yeah. Yeah. I’m really struggling with this.’ He said, ‘hmmm yeah I sense that, your whole face looks different. The other thing to add is that if you find it useful then do it. Its okay, this is for you. Its to be helpful for you. This is for you to be able to get to know yourself more deeply and to connect with me and to ground our work and it might make sense that its helpful sometimes to do that after the sessions because you’ll catch things that sometimes you might miss.’

I said, ‘I’ve never done it before and because things that were happening between me and Linda were so confusing, whenever I would bring something to her about our relationship I would end up feeling like I’d made it up in my head so I wanted to be able to listen back and hear whether I was experiencing it the way that I felt like I was.’ Mark said, ‘hmmm it was kind of validating in a way wasn’t it.’ I said, ‘yeah and it was really clear to me when I wasn’t feeling emotionally all over the place when I listened back to it that I was right in feeling the way I felt. But, I don’t like dishonesty or…’ Mark spoke over me and said, ‘I really hear that Lucy, it came across loud and clear in your email and you can say it again now, I really felt that. It’s like you’re in a bit of bad faith with yourself for doing something behind the scenes as it were. And I appreciate your courage because you took a real risk telling me because you thought I might have a tantrum and sort of you know not see you again and that’s not the case. That’s not the case. I will not stop wanting to work with you. That never entered my head for a nano second. Because in a sense its you being committed to your own work isn’t it. You trying to get what you need.’ I was really struggling with some very intense emotions and Mark said, ‘how what I’m saying landing with you?’ I took a deep breath and there was a long pause. I put my head down again and Mark said, ‘no rush,’ I was staring out the window and my eyes were filling up. Mark said, ‘I can feel your upset. Lots of room for it.’ Eventually I said, ‘I want to hide from you I don’t want you to see me.’ He said, ‘I sense that and if you want me to look away I will.’ In a tiny voice I said, ‘yes please.’ And he said, ‘okay, I shall look away.’ He then spoke every so often as I cried with my head in my hands. First he said, ‘tell you what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna look out the window. And the sky is blue which it wasn’t a few hours back. I’m pleased to see that.’ I was crying audibly and he said, ‘notice with me not looking at you, the difference that makes if anything.’ He said, ‘I can hear your tears and your tears are very welcome. We were talking last time about tears. It may feel really sore right now and you’ve been holding a lot over the weekend but maybe there will be some release, some relief in your tears that will be good.’ there was a long pause of me crying and eventually he said, ‘and I’m just gonna keep you company say the odd thing unless you ask me not to just so you know you’re not alone in your distress.’ After crying for some time I blew my nose and sighed loudly and Mark asked gently, ‘how you doing?’ In a really muffled and swollen voice I said, ‘you can look at me now,’ and he said, ‘you sure?’ he said, ‘I tell you what, notice how it feels when I just turn my attention in a soft kindly way towards you.’ I looked at him through my hands and he said, ‘notice what happens inside. And if you need me to go away again, to look away again, I can.’ I was absolutely roasting in a thick wooly jumper so I told him I’d be back in a minute and got up and walked away.’ He said, ‘do come back.’ When I returned I had changed my top and told him I was hot and he talked about how weird the weather is at the moment and that it’s hard to know what to wear.

There was some quiet and then I said, ‘um… fuck sake… I don’t even know what to say.’ Mark said, ‘take your time,’ and I said, ‘I’ve been all over the place all weekend and today and pendulum swinging from completely numb and coping with life to feeling everything and being overwhelmed by it all. So… obviously I was teaching today!’ Mark said, ‘yeah I was just thinking that, yeah.’ I said, ‘so all of this has to get switched off, not consciously it just happens,’ Mark said, ‘Well, good that something clicks in! To help you in those moments, something just clicks in and you can rely on that.’ I said, ‘but then I got home and lost the plot.’ Mark said, ‘do you mean when you got home on your own all your feelings came up and you let them out a little bit?’ I said, ‘no I ended up shouting at Reuben, and I wasn’t even angry with him and I did go back and say sorry to him and reconnected with him and gave him a cuddle and everything but um…’ more silence.

Eventually I started up again ,’I find this really hard and I’m angry with myself coz I’ve done this already. I didn’t attach to Linda but I did with Paul and Anna and I’ve been through this shit and I’m really frustrated with myself for still finding this so difficult.’ There was a pause and Mark said, ‘yeah I’m hearing you.’ I said, ‘there’s massive needy vulnerable young feelings. Big, big, huuuge overwhelming feelings and I can hear it and then there’s this shame and silencing other part that comes in stopping any of the other stuff from coming out and its just a constant battle and then also another part saying I’m not making any sense.’ Mark said, ‘you’re being really clear.’ I continued, ‘I read over my email so many fucking times I could probably recite it to you! Before and after sending it.’ He said, ‘so much fear in that.’ I said, ‘because it felt very very important to be honest with you and also it felt risky to do that,’ Mark said, ‘which took courage didn’t it… I needed to be honest because I’d be in bad faith with myself if I weren’t, that’s not who I am, yet I also had a need to make sure that this was right to me to not reexperience some of the things maybe that you did with Linda..?’ I was nodding and said, ‘but then it became a really nice thing where I really enjoyed listening to bits of the sessions…’ Mark laughed and said, ‘yeah I’d quite like to hear it myself! Yeah it should be a nice thing to listen back to!’ I said, ‘but then I feel really ashamed of that.’ Mark said, ‘well that’s big for you isn’t it, shame. And you said it well I think – there are some young parts of you that are reactivated right now and in some ways I see it that its good that they are, and you’ve been through it in your previous therapy and no surprise they resurface again and give us an opportunity to sort of meet those parts of yourself. And it saddens me in some ways that there’s a shaming that happens internally. It’s there for good historical reason and it’s trying to make sure you don’t get hurt again. But it’s there and as you were saying that piece to me I thought oh god that sounds exhausting because there’s so much that wants to come forward and another bit that’s trying to clamp it so there’s lots of tension. It must be tiring and confusing and painful.’ I said, ‘Yeah. But it’s really frustrating as well coz it feels like… um… the parts of me that need to be heard the most are rarely if ever heard. The image that I have in my mind is of at work, I have to do sort of hearings and board meetings for vulnerable kids. So, you’ve got a room with a teacher and a head teacher and maybe a parent or two or guardian, you’ve got a child psychologist and social worker and nurture teacher and maybe ASN teacher and any other agency involved in the care of the child. And there’s always this really uncomfortable feeling in the room, for me, of like everyone is talking over and about this child that’s sitting at the table and, um… maybe even arguing, or maybe a parent is getting shirty or defensive about something that’s been said and there’s tension… and as the teacher sitting there witnessing it, not leading the meeting but sitting as an advocate of the child, knowing the child very well, there’s this desire to tell everyone to be quiet or leave the room and just let it be the kid sitting there, so they can speak. Like… I’ve never experienced that from a child’s perspective in reality but that’s what it feels like inside. All these other parts are much more powerful and much louder. But they’re not the ones that need to be heard.’ Mark said, ‘Yeah, that says it very well and yeah, feeling for the child in those meetings as you do you just want to kind of take them away and create a safe space and paradoxically that’s supposedly what the adults are doing but how horrible to have ones voice squashed or drowned out. And that’s what it’s like inside sometimes and we are here to hear the young parts of you. We’re here to hear the whole of you actually but those young parts that haven’t had a chance to express themselves need to be received and not shamed.’ I had my knees up and my hands clenched in fists holding on to my sleeves. One hand half covering my face. I said, ‘but I do feel ashamed, even just sitting here talking about this it feels so embarrassing and… and… it’s hurting so much in my chest.’ Mark quietly said, ‘and is there an emotion in that feeling in your chest?’ I could barely speak, ‘I whispered, ‘it feels like a big hole.’ I was almost turned away from him at this point. Still peeking at him. He put his hand on his chest and said, ‘if you’re willing, if this makes sense (you do what you need to do, there’s never any pressure from me), sometimes if there’s a big hole in someone’s inner chest it can be helpful sometimes to put a hand there to support it. You’re saying to it internally, to a part of yourself, you know it’s there and it’s hurting and we’re both hearing it.’ I was still looking at him and slightly nodding but hiding most of myself with my arms and just couldn’t bring myself to move an inch. I eventually said, ‘I want to do that but what the fuck, I’m so resistant.’ He said, ‘yeah well stay with the resistance, that’s speaking, yeah, so part of you wants to do it and part of you is just not on board at all and wants to cover your face, that’s what your hand wants to do.’ I started crying again, with my head down and Mark continued, ‘And if you need me to look away again, just say.’ There was some space with me crying and he then said, ‘I tell you what, I’ll hold that pain in my chest listening to you. I’ll hold it for you.’ I cried and cried. He said, ‘hmm, yeah, lots of room for those feelings of yours.’ Eventually I calmed a bit and blew my nose and sat round and somewhat reluctantly and somewhat defiantly, I placed my hand on my chest and looked at him. He gently and non- judgmentally said, ‘well you got there, I don’t know whether you can feel your hand or any support that its offering,’ I was looking away at this point and the words poured out of my mouth, ‘I don’t want to believe you when you tell me that you care and that you want to do this work with me and that you’re not going anywhere I don’t want to believe you,’ Mark said, ‘do you know what I can sense that, I can feel something that is struggling to trust, that it wouldn’t feel wholly safe to trust,’ there was a gap and we spoke over each other simultaneously, he said, ‘it’s also good that you…’ as I said, ‘but also I do want to believe you,’ and I started to cry again as he slowly gave me the following sentences, gently paced, ‘yeah, yeah. And we can have both. And you know what it’ll be in the post to you really, well to us, where you fully believe me that we’re not going anywhere, all things being equal, and this is a safe relationship where you can let yourself be seen and be as you are and that its okay. We’re not fully there just yet and that’s fine isn’t it, you wouldn’t expect us to be. And a bit of you longs for that space and a bit of you is scared shitless by it really. Difficult to trust that it will stay. That it wont be pulled away from you.’ I was crying heavily at this point with my head in my hands in my lap, sitting cross legged on my bed with a laptop in front of me on an upturned box that I usually keep rolled up towels in… with a man I met a few weeks ago staring at me from his house, wherever that is. I was sobbing. I have never, ever cried like that and had it witnessed by another human being, apart from perhaps in my infancy… even then I’d guess I was often left to feel alone.

Through the tears I said, ‘can you look away please.’ He kindly said, ‘course I can, yes course I can… I’m gonna look at my guitar which is a very good looking guitar let me tell you…’ there was a gap of him making ‘hmm’ noises and me crying and then he said, ‘I’m looking away, looking at my guitar, and I’m also holding a space for you and feeling into my heart making room for your distress at the moment and a real encouragement from me to let your tears out. You’ve got all that evolution, tears are good things, our bodies do it for good reasons. Might be relief on the other side.’ Despite this sounding like a lot of waffling and even at the time feeling like a lot of chatter, it seemed to help me stay connected to him. And I think that’s why he did it. Because I so rapidly become disconnected and lose the ‘other’ and especially because I wasn’t looking at him and I’d asked him to stop looking at me, he was finding a way to connect us, so I wasn’t left alone again. Eventually I settled and sighed. Mark said, ‘I head a big outbreath and I normally take that to mean there’s been a shift inside but you can tell me.’ I blew my nose and joked that I did not bring enough tissues. I said, ‘fucking hell!’ took a drink of water and sat back. I said, ‘I have never cried like that in the same space as someone before.’ I sound like I’ve been crying. Mark was still looking away though I was looking at him. Which was quite sweet. I continued, ‘this is really, really intense.’ He said, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah well I take it as an honour that your body’s let that happen with me, its intense and how else is it for you? Check around that intensity to see what it holds there might be other feelings. They might arrive later in the day.’ I laughed and told him he could look at me again. He said, ‘can I, I have to say I’m glad, much as I like looking at my guitar… and partly just to take us a little bit outside the world of the intensity…’ I said, ‘it doesn’t feel intense at the moment it feels like relief actually,’ Mark said, ‘relief, yeah… a real encouragement from me, before you go anywhere else, to let yourself feel that relief, just rest into it, even just for 30 seconds just let yourself have that.’ I gave it 3 seconds then started talking again… ‘there were times when I read the email (out of the hundreds of times that I did) when my rational brain was on board and I was thinking ‘this is totally fine Lucy, its fine, you’re doing the right thing how could anyone be angry with this if anything if he’s pissed off he’ll just tell you and you can work on it, that’s what therapy is about.’ But that was very fleeting and then all this other stuff flooded in – totally fucking certain that you were maybe even gonna not show up to this session or just be really disgusted with me. Um… or let down, disappointed. I dunno, I don’t want to be viewed like, this definitely feels bigger than just recording a few sessions and then telling you about it.’ He said, ‘sure, yeah, makes sense,’ and I said, ‘It’s like… I don’t even know what the words are… I want you to feel like you can trust me and believe me and its really important, really really important that you believe what I say and that felt like I could have damaged that forever by being evasive with the truth in the beginning, you know like ‘that’s it, you’ve totally fucked it forever’ hes never gonna believe a single word you say, hes always gonna remember this thing and its gonna tarnish the trust’ or something,’ Mark said, ‘hmmm, a real disaster movie in your head, and not only that, I was very struck, you used words like ‘disgust’ that I’d feel that towards you. There’s a few very key things that feel beyond mistrust… so it feels like other people are standing behind me in that, it isn’t what’s happened but it’s symbolic, something much bigger in you.’ I had my head down and was nodding quite a lot. He continued, full of compassion, ‘…and just to hold that for now, I’ve got it, we don’t need to open that any more than it is already. It’s here.’ I took a big deep breath and there was some more quiet. He then said, ‘and it’s paradoxical actually, because what I’m experiencing is your courage in saying what you’ve done and it did take a lot of bravery, it was a big risky step for you and if ive read you right, if you hadn’t done that you would have known it was between us and that would have gotten in the way so in some sense you chose to but it wasn’t much of a choice because you couldn’t continue working in that way knowing that was happening without me knowing. You’re between a rock and a hard place… you risked stuff that’s beyond you and I but it’s brought it up and I think, I want to say, if anything I really appreciate your rawness in it actually you’ve been very straight up and paradoxically that builds trust from my side.’ It felt really amazing to hear this and he continued, ‘I dunno if you can hear that and you might not be able to fully hear it right now,’ I said, ‘I think coz I’m very unforgiving of other people…’ he interrupted and said, ‘you are. Towards yourself you are.’ I sort of ignored this and said, ‘yeah and other people… and I remember everything and often one event can ruin a relationship for me. Like if someone lets me down that’s it, I always remember that they hurt me in that way and I don’t like that about myself but yeah I guess I am like that about myself as well. Um…’ We had some connection problems, on my side it said ‘Mark’s bandwidth is low’ and on his side it said, ‘unstable’ which made me laugh outloud… as if it was describing me!

I then said, ‘I don’t really wanna go very deeply into this but my mum never believed anything I said and um… often even about really small things to the point where (and this is how it felt with Linda) you feel like you’re going mad trying to persuade someone that you’re telling the truth or that you’re giving them an accurate description of how you’re experiencing things or what happened. Its so fucking frustrating and agonising as a kid trying to make someone believe you.’ Mark said, course, what an awful thing. What a damaging thing to not be believed. And an echo of that with Linda there, yeah painful,’ I said, ‘I was really scared I was gonna make you feel that about me too,’ Mark said, ‘of course, yeah, and just to let you know I think I’ve got a pretty good bull shit detector personally and I’m not detecting any bull shit,’ we laughed and I said, ‘I mean you don’t spend 7 and a half years in therapy bull shitting, that would be a big waste of time and moment.’ He said, ‘certainly is.’ I said, ‘I want this to work and get the most out of it. So as agonising it is I, eh… it’s all fucking authentically me!’ Mark said, ‘yeah and I get that, you’re coming across as you. And it’s very painful aspects of yourself that you’ve been experiencing since our last contact and it’s the past coming into the present. In some ways you’re being very authentic and in another sense its kinda not you its your history isn’t it, some very strong patterns that are deeply painful.’ I said, ‘and that brings up the image in my mind of the drawing of the corridor with the doors and almost like things being frozen in time behind the doors. I guess I said that in the email actually… I had to close a door on all of this when Anna left and because the shaming part of it is like ‘let the guy adjust to you before you start all this crazy shit, its literally been just a few sessions… not even a few months just a few sessions… tiny amount of time and already all of this is coming out… but it was all waiting on the other side of the door.’ Mark said, ‘yes I got that, yeah.’ I continued, ‘again not deliberately but none of this came up with Linda… maybe ones inner child has got a good bull shit detector as well…’ he said, ‘has to have yeah,’

I said, ‘even the first time we talked that wasn’t even a session I felt it all bubbling under the surface and said to you in that meeting that I wanted to work with you which triggered the shame immediately coz I was like ‘oh my god you’re so needy and too eager, reign it in’ and so scared that I’m gonna do something and make you want to stop working with me. I feel totally powerless in that fear and even if you say… like, I’ve got three therapists before you who had their own version of ‘I’m not gonna leave you’… you know… Paul would say, ‘I can assure you that I have nothing but unconditional positive regard for you and I’m not going to abandon you.’ Anna would say, ‘as long as I’m not ran over by a bus I’m not going anywhere,’ then COVID happened.’ Mark said, ‘that was the bus.’ And I felt like I could cry my eyes out again. He said, ‘its important because it wasn’t you. The bus wasn’t you.’ I said, ‘I remember saying to Linda that there’s part of me that wanted to act out and be a bad client and like shake her and force her to tell me why Anna can’t work with me. It cant just be asthma I work with people who have asthma and they’re working in schools right now it cant just be that! There’s something else. It drives me crazy not knowing. And she told me to try to find a trust inside for the fact that Anna had a damn good reason for needing to close her practice. But my brain is like a fucking dog with a bone trying to make sense of it all and obviously I keep going back to ‘it must have been me’ coz why would she have to keep it a secret if it wasn’t me? The rational part of my brain is thinking it could be mental health stuff and really because of my abandonment shit she’s not gonna say that her mental health was the reason because I’m obviously gonna automatically go to ‘I broke her, I made that happen, I caused that, I was too much’ you know?’ Mark said, ‘hmmm I can appreciate your awareness of where you might have gone to if certain said had been said, but it does sound to me as if an explanation would have given you peace. There was good reason, I don’t doubt it, I don’t think you do too but if you had a reason it would have allowed you…’ I then interrupted him annoyingly and I said, ‘we talked often about how important it was going to be to have an ending that was within my power and that it would be a long process. Because Paul left before I was ready, Anna understood that I really needed that. Also, my dad left and my mum repeatedly left emotionally and then physically and moved fucking 500 miles away from me. So I really needed to have someone not leave me. I know that she wanted to give that to me but in the end we had a 14 minute phone conversation. Why couldn’t I have had an hour? Just a session? But then she could have been in hospital, unable to speak at length. It might have been impossible for her and distressing for me to see her like that. I don’t know how to just let things go. My brain is going over and over and over all these possibilities.’ Mark said, ‘yeah I can really sense that which is why a straight up explanation would have given you a shelf to put it on even if it was a painful shelf it would be a shelf and you’d have some clarity over what happened.’

I asked Mark what the time was and he said, ‘The time is about 17 minutes past five… is there reason why you asked there?’ I said, ‘I guess my inner clock felt that it might be near the end and I want to keep talking about that but didn’t know how much time we’d have left and its always really awkward when you keep going deeper into stuff and then the therapist has to stop you.’ He offered to give me a ten minute warning at the end of sessions and I said I would like that.

I then leapt onto another topic, ‘When I started working with Anna she used to record the sessions, always asked my permission, because she was doing her advanced clinical training and used it for that she used to take notes. Then there was one session where she forgot the recorder and it was so connecting. I experienced a real opening to her and eventually realised I needed her to not have the sessions recorded. I don’t feel that now, I feel like I’d be fine for you to listen back to the sessions. The place I was in back then, 3 years ago, even more shame and mistrust than currently. And she used to write notes but I asked her to stop because it felt like it stood between us and also sometimes if I was feeling spacey or disconnected she wouldn’t always notice. She did stop nd was happy that I told her.’ Mark said, ‘both of those things make sense. I’ve never recorded sessions, I think it can be inhibiting and as you say it was, even though it would be useful in some ways.’ I talked about how sometimes its really hard to remember what’s happened in the session. Especially if it’s a very dissociated session. I said, ‘I’ve not felt spacey today I’ve been feeling it all today. Sometimes after a session I really struggle to remember anything that was talked about or experienced.’ He said, ‘hmmm and that’s not been true of today. And you’ve certainly felt some very raw feelings so that’s good isn’t it. It’s very interesting to me actually coz you’ve described your day a little bit its like you were dealing but not feeling when you were doing your teacher thing and makes sense that you have to access the bit of yourself that knows how to do that and just trot it out and it worked perfectly… and then we can get to a place when we just reel but don’t feel and we’re not sure where we are and we’re all over the place and you’ve not been there actually either. You’ve been dealing, feeling and relating. And at some points you’ve been quite raw but you’ve been able to ask for what you needed whether it was for me to look away or to look back. Or to express yourself and you know, you stayed in yourself and also receptive. The bit when I said ‘give yourself a supportive hand’ because if there’s an emptiness or something feels tight sometimes it helps to hold it. You were aware of wanting to do that and the resistance and your body did it eventually but you were like…’ and he sort of mimicked me forcing my hand from covering my face to placed on my chest as if pushing against a force. He did it in a fondly comical way and it made me burst out laughing. He smiled and said, ‘its nice to hear you laugh… yeah you eventually got there but you had to push through the resistance. You were receptive to your own process and letting it do it’s own thing. Because you were in yourself… how is it for you to hear me reflect back some of what’s happened today?’ I said, ‘I like it. I guess I feel seen in a safe way.’ He said, ‘notice that, take that in.’

I said, ‘I know that this is really big young feelings and I could feel that… it happened all weekend… I ended up taking diazepam. I felt like I was gonna have a panic attach I was so fucking beside myself with worry about all of this and I felt like I’d really fucked up this good thing that had come into my life. You know… anyway…’ he said, ‘that’s where you went and it’s horrible to hear… if it’s a good thing I’m going to fuck it up… what a thing to carry!’ I said, ‘yeah coz I don’t deserve it,’ he said, ‘I don’t deserve it.’ Mark said, ‘hmmm and that is a young part speaking, isn’t it.’ I said, ‘and when I was crying earlier I could hear, ‘please don’t leave me’ and I guess that’s the kid in the room that I was describing, that’s what the kid’s saying but nobody can hear her because of everybody shouting over her and one of the voices shouting over is, ‘don’t be so needy, everybody leaves anyway, no one can guarantee what’s going to happen, that’s disgusting being so needy and… yeah a repulsion…’ Mark said, ‘and without wanting to take you back into it, it’s a very powerful dynamic because in a sense the need comes forward with a power and its visceral and actually there’s health in that because people need people and that urge to move into relationship, there’s health in that. And you’re right nobody knows, we could all be run down by busses or whatever, shit happens, there’s no guarantee despite good intentions. But the other piece of it is there is a rejecting energy. There’s a needing energy and then there’s a rejecting energy – it’s wrong to need I’m going to reject my need I’m going to push that down, that’s not right to feel that. Like the kid being drowned out by all these adults talking over her. And it sounds like need and rejection do a push pull thing in you.’ I nodded and agreed.

Mark said, ‘we’re a few minutes off time and perhaps just to sort of breathe together and let some of that settle and just sort of connect a little bit in an ordinary way. Just see how you land.’ Which of course makes me feel very uncomfortable… not that I’m aware of that in the moment its only listening back to these recordings that I can hear how quickly I fill the spaces that he suggests space and breathing and connection. I immediately said, ‘In the whole 6 months I worked with Linda I didn’t once feel like I wanted to sit in a room with her. I felt fine that it was zoom sessions. I’ve realised that one of the big needy feelings, one that I feel a lot of shame around, is that I really wish I could sit in a room with you. And I cant believe that’s coming up because I just thought zoom worked for me and its frustrating that it’s not gonna happen. I mean, I totally agree with the reasons why we wont work in a room until its completely safe and if I could work from home I would. Just as we were ending there I felt the need to voice that feeling… that a part of me wants to be in the room with you… that’s it really! And that’s not a request… we don’t know what the fucks gonna happen… just I feel the longing.’ Mark said, ‘yeah I hear that. You were just saying what came up for you and actually a little surprise because you had it in your head that zoom works no bother but actually something about our connection would make it good if we could sit in a room together and yeah it’s not going to be any time soon by the looks of things… the shit rolls on doesn’t it… but yeah…’ I said, ‘yeah I’m just so grateful to you and also to the universe for like crossing paths with you and to myself for looking again and for it working out and that you had space and I’m really grateful that this is working. That kid in that room who hasn’t been heard for 6 months, as much as it’s scary, they’re feeling safer with you than they did with Linda and I’m really so glad about that. And that’s why I like the idea of sitting in a room with you and that’s why the feelings are all coming up… that doesn’t just happen with anyone.’ Mark said, ‘I hear you, it’s a good thing. That’s good to hear and you can sit a while when we stop in a second with those feelings and it’s good they’ve come forward. They bring other things in their wake perhaps but it’s good that we’ve managed to create together something that allows the kid to come into the room so to speak and be heard a bit more.’ There was a slight pause as I nodded in agreement and then he gently said, ‘So, okay… I’ll see you on Friday then? Take the best of care of all of you!’ I thanked him and wished him a good week and we said goodbye.

8 thoughts on “There’s a hole in my chest where all the pain is.

  1. This was so moving Lucy! You were courageous and he met you there and honored it. Last Friday during my session my therapist commented that even through all the heartache and failure with other therapists that I didn’t give up. And I said I wasn’t sure if I was being courageous or being stupid. She laughed and said actually there isn’t a difference between the two. She mentioned some saying that if things work out, you were courageous… if they don’t, you were stupid. We both laughed. Clearly you were courageous!!!

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    1. ahhh yes… thank goodness it was courageous! haha… I’m very grateful to him. I keep having these powerful flashes of doubt and panic that he’s going to leave. It’s so painful beginning this dance again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh Lucy! I went through that with my last therapist and it was heart wrenching. I keep trying to keep all of this at bay with my new therapist. I know it is an impossible and inevitable process. It is understandable that you are feeling this way. You must be feeling safe again. I hope you can use these feelings as evidence of this safety that you now have found again. I do know that you can’t talk yourself out of this turmoil! Mark will help you. It is frustrating that we can’t go around, or over, or escape this… we must go through it. I just hoped you would have a break for at least a little bit first. But I guess we don’t get to choose when or how this process will start for us. Your heart has been torn wide open. We have to believe these wounded parts trust you now that you can and will do this. But wow! If it is any help at all I used to talk to these wounded parts, before they had to shut completely down again, and let them know that I want to help them. And I would ask them to at least go slow enough so that I could keep up and not flood and overwhelm me too much, because that makes it so hard to help them. Sometimes it worked. My heart goes out to you and Little Lucy!

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