Yesterday was our two year therapy anniversary.
Two years ago yesterday, I hated you.
When I look back on it now, it reminds me of the Shakespeare quote;
When I first saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.
I sat on the floor, in your office, surrounded by plastic animals, and fell apart. I left the session like a scalded cat, scared and vulnerable and exposed. I was overwhelmed by my intense dichotomy of feelings towards you – part of me hated you for hurting me without even trying; part of me attached to you by instinct, because you just felt safe. Looking back, I wonder if you knew that, because when I emailed you a few days later to cancel on you, your email response was everything I needed to hear. You could have let me run, and you didn’t. You had touched a really deep nerve, a nerve that tracked all the way down into my deepest fears and my youngest emotions, and I fell apart.
In two days time, I expect I’ll do the same. Different room now, I’m older and you know me inside out now, I’m more attached and you’re more connected, but the situation is the same. You will hold the space for me, and I will fall apart in that almost sacred place. The tears might not fall, maybe I’ll be quiet or maybe I’ll squeak for you in fear, but I still feel all those things I felt in your room, two years ago yesterday. Fear, anxiety, need; I’m unsafe, I’m unsure, please care for me.
I barely remember my life before you. That’s a grand, sweeping statement, I know, but a true one. I remember snippets, of course, but it is like my mind has blocked out the most painful feelings of loneliness and fear that I know ran through my veins like water; I could not live without them. Though those days can still exist, now you are with me in one way or other. We speak, we text, we email, or I hold your polar bear and try to connect to you through wavelengths I don’t even believe in, through connections of the heart that I know are not there. There is nothing now that I feel I have to face alone. You are a constant in my life that enables me to face the scariest of my demons. You are dedicated to my healing (even when I am not), you are kind to me and my soul (even when I will not), you see my future with positivity and hope and confidence (even when I can not). You are my safe person, and I am healing under your care and guidance and support.
The problem is that I cannot see a life without you, though I don’t suppose I’m looking very carefully because I do not want to. I do not want to spend my whole life in therapy, but I do want to spend my whole life knowing you. You are my safety, my security blanket, my stabilisers. You are the parent we never had, you are the teacher we really needed, you are the ears, arms, heart I spent my whole life trying to find. You provide me with stability that does not exist within me; I use you as a benchmark on which to measure up my emotions, to decide whether I’m overreacting or underreacting. You are my singular proof in the world that there are good, safe adults who care about me, mistakes, mess and all. You contain all the things I’ve ever been taught through therapy, reminding me when I need to, keeping my therapeutic past very much in the present, an encyclopaedia of emotional knowledge that I just haven’t learnt yet.
Last week, I told you I thought you were a superhero, and you told me you were not. I know you need me to see that everyone is human, everyone has faults and flaws, because my expectation that I be superhuman is my great downfall. But to me, you are. You have taken my broken heart, my damaged soul, my traumatised child, and started to glue the pieces back together and sooth the hurting parts, and persuade me that there is hope, happiness and healing.
I am so scared of our ending. When I talk of it, I say when you leave me, and you remind me that you’re here for me as long as I need – it is me that will leave you. And I laugh and correct myself, but the truth is actually my version. Because I will fall out of your diary, out of your inbox, out of your to-fix list, long before you will ever fall out of my heart. I cannot bear that there will be a day when you will give me up, when you will still sit as I walk away, because no matter how entangled you are in my life, I am ultimately a slot in the diary, a ‘one of many’, and easily replaceable.
I am not sure whether I am hoping for a 3 year anniversary, or not. I feel like perhaps I should be hoping that we don’t reach 3 years, perhaps I should be hoping I’m well over halfway through now. But, truthfully, I am not. I am hoping for healing, but wishing for more hours with you. Because you are the only safety I have ever known.