It’s been one whole day, and I am doing ok.
I slept really well last night, which was a complete surprise to me. T’s blanket helped massively, and for the first night in a few weeks I slept without dreams of being left, naked and alone. It was amazing to wake up this morning feeling like an adult, and not a sad, naked little girl.
This evening, I met with R again. We last saw each other over a year ago, and it was lovely to see her again. She was a really important part of my time at university, and I’m looking forward to working with her again now. Everything about this evening felt right – the room is lovely, I still trust her even though it has been a while. Sitting with her used to make me feel safe – the world used to stop spinning, just for an hour, and that happened again tonight. I am proud of myself for putting this support in place for T’s holiday.
I know that initial sessions often involve summarising, or giving an overview. I found this really hard tonight, because I don’t want her to feel that I have made no progress, or gone backwards, since our last session a year ago. It is really important to me that people are not disappointed in me, and R particuarly – she left me at uni just as my degree got crazy, and it was super important to me that when we next spoke, I wasn’t going to be a failure. One of the last texts she sent me said, “I have complete faith in you, you know”. I found it very, very difficult to admit today that my life feels like one massive, spiralling mess. I am embarrassed of the damaged, hideous, ugly failure I am.
The really sad thing is that, at surface level, my life is going from strength to strength. Great degree, a job I’m doing really well in, I’m free from a painful relationship, my weight is slightly less disgusting now and I’m a 24 year old, living in a beautiful part of the world, with freedom and all the chance in the world to be happy. But inside, I feel like I am rotting, and everything is slowly becoming dank and disgusting.
My attachment issues haunt every relationship I have – from the intense therapy relationship with T I am so lucky to experience, right through to my purely working relationships with colleagues or bosses, attachment taints every one. It has always been there, in one way or another, but now I have learned to feel, and begun to experience Little’s emotions, it is so painful. The pain makes it feel like my attachment issues are getting worse.
My self-harm, and all the self-loathing and worthlessness issues that surround it, is a never-ending cycle. I hate myself, so I cut to punish. I then hate the punishment, so I feel stupid. Then I feel I deserve the punishment, because I am stupid and worthless. So I cut to punish. Or, I am overwhelmed by feeling so worthless and disgraceful that I cut to numb out the feelings – watching blood pour down my ankles out of perfectly straight, meticulously neat cuts silences the intensity. The regimented lines are the only part of my body I can allow myself to like. Straight, neat, ordered – a total contrast to the fat, disgusting, chaotic rest of me. I am nowhere near giving up my self-harm (though I am capable of going without for weeks or months, like now, it is always there). And worse than that, I don’t think I want to give up.
My body terrifies me. I feel so ill at ease in my own skin, and to see it changing and shifting as I lose too much weight every week is terrifying. I can suddenly find hip bones, a waist, the bottom of my rib cage. I am being constantly told off in therapy for losing too much weight; every single week I stand on the scales and do an internal dance at another kg gone, whilst A chastises me for being happy about it. I love the changes, I love buying clothes a size smaller and feeling like I have this power over myself – but I despise it too. Suddenly my collarbones seem vulnerable, open to the clash of teeth and scratch of his stubble. Putting my hands on my waist reminds me of his, holding me still. Taking care of myself, enjoying looking better, thrusts me back into those times sat with her whilst she dressed me up for them. I had lost any connection to my body, but now I am getting it back, I remember that I didn’t like the connections we had. I hate every molecule of my overweight, worthless body, and yet I am supposed to be learning to feed it and love it because it’s all I have. How do I learn to love something I am terrified of?
And then the loneliness. It eats me. It isn’t that I was any less lonely before, I don’t think, but maybe my life was so noisy that I was lucky enough not to hear Lonely’s cries. I am lonely every minute of every week, apart from the one hour in which I see T. The rest of the time, loneliness underpins everything. When I’m with friends, I question and judge their reasons for seeing me – who would want to spend time with me? When I unlock the door to an empty house, loneliness is right there to meet me. I am lonely driving home at night, I am lonely during my working day, I am lonely when I sleep…. it permeates through every cell. Little thankfully gets T, but my adult has nobody, and loneliness is the worst feeling of all.
I asked R at the end of today’s session whether she felt I’d gone backwards since my time with her at uni. She talked about using evidence, which shows that I am working hard and making huge changes. I wish I could see it, but I can’t. I feel like I opened Pandora’s box and every evil in the world is now all around me, and all my responsibility. I am the only one with the power to put my demons back in my box (hopefully this time in a healthy, healed, loving order), but I don’t know where to find the power from. Everything should be in place, my life should be ready to fly from strength to strength… but I will still need to sleep with T’s blanket tonight, and I will still despise myself in the mirror when I fat-check tomorrow morning, and I will still cry with loneliness when I come home to a completely empty house on a Friday night. I am the only person who can change my life, but I have absolutely no motivation to. I want someone to take care of me and make these intense emotions go away, because I cannot stand them, but I don’t want it to be me because I am tired of looking after us. I am too tired.
I hope I haven’t gone backwards. I hope she isn’t disappointed. I hope T will be proud of how I’ve coped this holiday, and I hope that 5 weeks with R gives me a refreshing break from the stresses of intense therapy. I really hope so, because I am tired of feeling worthless. I am tired of feeling, at all.