The lady who looked after me before T2 had a bunch of phrases she drummed into my head before bump turned into baby. They are carelessly littered throughout all our correspondence, throw away comments that now feel so golden, leaping out at me in moments of deepest despair, when I’m flicking through old emails to find where I lost myself. She had the most beautiful accent, so I hear these words in that sound of safety: keep talking. You don’t have to do this on your own. Keep the faith.
Her words run through my mind like a mantra when I’m struggling, so at the moment they provide the drumbeat to keep my heart beating and my feet moving. They remind me to keep fighting, to ignore my ingrained need to run, to hold on even when my fingertips are pale from exertion.
T and I had an intense week, last week.
She vanished, again, creating another panic – she went away and did not tell me, because she wasn’t booked to see me, and she had her phone on her (…just no emails). When she finally replied to my email about our session (only after a text prompt from me!) I spat venom back by email – immature and unfair, but I felt so abandoned.
We had our session, talked a little about this – I asked her not to go away without telling me, then instantly regretted it. As always, she had thought things through that I had not, so she talked me down.
And then she made me cry.
“It sounds like you’re feeling very alone right now.”
hate despise crying in front of T. I am such an ugly crier, and I hate the weakness it shows. I feel like each tear tracking down my face shows such failure. But as much as I hate it (and rarely do it), they were pouring and there was absolutely no stopping them.
She hit a nerve because she was right. I was feeling so desperately alone. Caught in the web made of thoughts of suicide, thoughts of self harm, thoughts of purging and being skinny and despising myself, completely tangled and totally, despairingly alone. I feel like this is the lowest I’ve ever been and yet I’m not sure how many people around me are understanding the depth I’m at. I am unfair to expect them to – I don’t share, I don’t explain – the only person who truly knows every detail is T, and that week, I felt completely abandoned.
At some point in that evening, sat with my chin on my knees, I knew I had to tell my parents. I am pretty certain T and I talked about this but I cannot really remember it – but regardless, I left knowing I could not not tell them any more. At one point T asked me what I would say if I could tell them anything – my answer? That I’m not happy.
My dad was very supportive; my mother, less so. She still believes that I’m attention seeking, that this is a choice, or an excuse for being overweight. She hopes this is something I can ‘snap out of’, and directs this anger at me in such a damaging way. She believes my boyfriend will leave me, that I’ve ruined my career, my body, my life.
I am programmed with all the right answers to these comments, but it doesn’t stop the pain.
My attachment to T is high this week, partially because of the residual panic that she’s vanishing, but mostly because at times like this it’s so vividly clear how much I need her. Whilst I’m sobbing on her sofa, she finds all the right words, never panics, even when I’m being open about how scary my thoughts are and we’re throwing the hospital word around. In our session on Friday (two this week, to rebalance), she knows to celebrate for me, because although I absolutely cannot rejoice in my achievement of telling my dad, I can listen to her celebration, and take it in. On Sunday, when I forwarded her the words my mother wrote, her reply was praising, comforting and healing.
And somewhere along the road, in my head, T has become the person who will save my life. She has become my superhero who will save me from Them, and from me. When I allude to this she tells me that there is only one person in this world who can save me: me. But I don’t believe her, because I can list too many times where she has paused or reversed my downward spiral to what sometimes feels inevitable.
These feelings of comfort and safety should be so positive. But the attachment stings, because she can never be what I imagine her to be. It feels like I am never going to get the happy ending that I want, because there is always going to be the plot twist, when I realise she isn’t going to save me. No-one is, but me. And I am useless.
This week’s therapy lessons:
1. Being honest with people will prevent me from reaching rock bottom. Keeping secrets is so damaging because it triggers memories of keeping abuse secrets, which compounds on top of whatever situation is going on for me at the time.
2. Telling is a life choice, not a death choice. They cannot kill me for telling, breaking the silence will not end my life. Telling will enhance my life.