A little of what you need

I’ve not been around much though I have dipped in and out. Things have felt quite overwhelming to be honest and I’m approaching another therapy break with a lot of anxiety. Christmas is a difficult time anyway, on top of that I’m missing Anna massively and there are a number of other things weighing heavy just now.

I have this gut feeling that I need to try to pull my focus in a little. I’m spending so much time online and although it seems like a distraction, it’s actually hurting me and it’s getting in the way of my relationships. As much as the online world brings me validation and a sense of belonging… it isn’t my ‘real life’ and the exchanges, though full of meaning and connection, leave me dealing with a sense of loneliness at times. People are there but they’re not really there. This is a reenactment of my childhood. This is purely my experience, I’m not assuming others are the same… it’s my own lack of whatever resources it is inside that I don’t have that I think other people do have. Comments and conversations on here bring me so much affirmation and they really fill me up… but then they’re gone… it doesn’t last… because it isn’t inside me. A bottomless pit of need. I’m constantly looking outside of myself and that isn’t where I’m going to find peace.

The next two weeks will be about focusing on my little family and trying to navigate the waves of triggers, trauma responses, grief and all the other things that make life complex and challenging. I will also be making a conscious effort to lean in to love and joy and silliness and fun. Though family life and face to face interactions are deeply triggering for me at times, maybe reducing my phone use and being more in the room will bring me a little of what I need.

I’ve had three sessions this week in order to try to process the magnitude of what is coming up for me as I quickly approach a year since the last time I sat with Anna. Mark is very much in encouragement of my desire to turn towards my little family, to slow down and try to take stock a little bit. I haven’t had a digital detox since the weeks leading up to Anna leaving back in May.

So I will take a break. I’m going to temporarily close my accounts tomorrow morning for two weeks (that’s the plan). If you want to keep in touch you can email me… I’m not turning away from all the lovely friends I’ve made on here, just turning away from the noise and bright lights of the web… finding.lucy.king@gmail.com

Anyone who finds themselves reading this, I hope the next wee while brings you a little of what you need.

Be gentle with yourselves and take a moment, as the end of the year approaches, to quietly marvel at everything you’ve survived in 2020.

See you in the new year.

Welcome to the Work.

I’m going through a proper rollercoaster with Mark at the moment. The usual push pull, disorganised attachment shit. It is pure agony as always.

Basically a very young part poured her heart out to him last Monday. I have no idea quite how it happened. Almost a whole hour of unfiltered sharing. Stuff I never told anyone, even Anna. And it felt good to share. And he was so lovely. And he really got it!

I then faced the painful wrath of the protective parts all week. Mark then met a very angry, critical protective part through email mid week and then in session on the Friday as she told him how violating and intrusive he’d been. Listening to the recording I can hear myself saying he behaved like a predator… I can not believe I said that to him.

The truth is that he’d been wonderful and gentle and patient and slow and careful. Not a single ounce of predator in him at all! I’ve listened to the session at least half a dozen times and all I hear is him respecting me and supporting me. Yet on Friday, when faced with my ‘feedback’, he graciously took responsibility for the pain his enthusiasm had caused and offered a heartfelt apology for overstepping my delicate boundary and making me feel unsafe. I asked him if he felt critiqued by me (like Linda used to say…) he said ‘I don’t, but if I did it would be mine to feel and mine to deal with, not your responsibility.’

And now I feel like I’ve pushed him away. Even though he says I haven’t. But he said we need to slow down and listen when parts of me slam on the breaks. But I want to feel him with me, I don’t want to slam on the breaks. I don’t want to build a wall!

Push / Pull

I’m thinking about sending him this to help illustrate the internal battle. Although I know he knows. He said to me, ‘even just my presence is frightening to some parts of you and it will take as long as it takes for me to earn their trust… they will test me – you might not want to but they will need to test me, and I’m okay with that. This is the work Lucy, welcome to the work.’ With a gentle smile.

The repair of this mini rupture was so healing and exactly what I needed. But I’m afraid I’ll never get to where I want to be… it feels like a constant uphill battle sometimes. Rolling this boulder up the hill only to have it roll back down and crush me whenever I feel like I’m getting somewhere.

Grief is the Antidote to Trauma

The remnants of my trauma (most of which used to be hidden so deep I couldn’t even feel it beneath the heavy ocean of numb that rested on top of it) has been actively bubbling under my skin for a few weeks now. It has intensified recently to the point of me experiencing heat fluctuations, twitching and convulsions during my sessions as the energy is surfacing and discharging. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and I’ve been unable to put these experiences into words. As Mark said the other day, ‘appreciate the wordless space, we could load a lot of words onto it which can be helpful but words are not experience. It’s not the story about what happened it is how the story touches us.’

I found this video tonight and my mind is blown. Thank you Gabor Mate… once again you are teaching me… broadening my mind and deepening my understanding. I mean this makes so much sense and I guess I knew it, but also I didn’t. GRIEF is the antidote to trauma! The video is only a few minutes long but the first 50 seconds blew my fucking mind… just watch the first 50 seconds if nothing else…

I have recently found myself contemplating the impact of Anna leaving. (She says as if this hasn’t been something she’s been contemplating for most of the year). It’s been nearly 10 months since I sat in a room with Anna and 7 months since she phoned me to let me know she was closing her practice and I would never be able to speak with her again. I don’t need to write here how much Anna leaving me ripped me apart. I wrote about my experience extensively through that whole period. The grief broke my heart wide open and I thought I wouldn’t survive the intensity of it all. I drove to her office more times than I care to admit and sat sobbing my heart out in the car, often feeling unable to leave the last place that connected us. And even in those moments of pure torturous grief where I felt like my body was being turned inside out, if I had to put a name to it, I would called it love. Grief is love turned inside out… it really is. In those early days when I would walk into the forest so I could cry in peace (as the lockdown rendered me permanently accompanied by my 3 housemates)… I cried outloud… to the point where people would hear me… and I would place my hand on my chest and feel that my crying was a way to love her. It was my only way to love her. It’s because of who she was to me that her absence was so devastating. Me grieving her fully, has been about me honoring all of the great work we did together and all of the work she and I wanted to do with each other. Grief is not only about what you have lost in the present moment, it’s about having to rewrite all that you hoped for. Your whole life changes in an instant.

Recently I’ve been talking to those close to me about how I’m sensing in to this new sense of gratitude and a slight shift in perspective of the whole thing. It’s not that it doesn’t hurt like hell, the waves still drown me from time to time (though less frequently than a few months ago)… they still blindside me and render me unable to function while their swelling tides. But what I am also aware of is that the road that this tidal wave has carried me onto is a road that will lead to deeper healing. This direction that I would never have taken, had she not left, has led me towards something I couldn’t have experienced without losing her. I would not wish the pain I felt on anyone, not even myself (and I have a pretty good track record of causing myself pain!)… but as the well worn saying goes, ‘what stands in the way becomes the way’… this grief became my work. And something miraculous happened… it opened up a portal to all the grief… the stuff I could never feel. The stuff I was numb to. I have access to it now and my god am I feeling it. Not just emotionally but somatically, viscerally, literally physically feeling the grief surge through me. It’s not sadness. It’s not depression. It’s grief. And the grief that I now have access to is slowly breaking away the calcified trauma. Like the ocean wears away at the cliff edge… I can feel it happening!

It’s all making so much sense now that I’ve watched that video. OF COURSE grief is the antidote to trauma. Linda was wrong! Joy may ease the impacts of trauma but it is not the antidote… grief is. As Gabor describes it. And yes you have to actively grieve. It’s a process that you have to live through, let it destroy parts of you… it knows what it’s doing and it is truly miraculous when left to do it’s thing. I’ve watched my own kids grieve their mini losses (and some pretty big losses as they’ve lost great grandparents and great aunts and uncles)… they grieve, therefore they don’t carry the trauma. And all of their little injustices, their playground upsets, their disappointments and their missattunements are all grieved in relationship and released – not stored as trauma in the body. And in therapy… it’s what we do to heal. We access the pain from childhood and we grieve. I mean, it’s way more complex than that but that’s the nuts and bolts of it all… grief. NO fucking wonder this enormous loss has felt in some ways like the most empowering thing that’s ever happened to me… like a catalyst for healing. It literally has been! In all of it’s agony, it has also been rejuvenating. Within the grief I have found myself.