Bucket Filling Days


This week has not been a good week. In the aftermath of our family drama last week, I have really struggled. It was the recurring nightmare of my childhood, played out in full colour, and after watching it replayed last week (except with us as adults), I have sunk into trauma, panic, anxiety, and all those awful emotions I used to feel over and over again as a child. Added to that is the grief, anger, confusion and sadness that I feel as an adult – that my poor childhood self lived through her fucked up drama over and over and over again.

I bought blades on the way home from the awful holiday, and was self harming a lot. I went too far one night this week and ended up in A&E. They were so, so kind to me, patched me up and sent me home, but things weren’t good. I saw my GP, he gave me some bloody brilliant meds which helped lots except they make me cry all the time. I did therapy sessions, I rang the Samaritans a lot, but before today, things still weren’t feeling okay.

Years ago, I was a nanny for a lovely family with two great children. I loved their kids so much, and I dragged them through the late stages of childhood and the early stages of adolescence. I spent multiple hours a week with the kids, and they welcomed me wholeheartedly into their family.

Their mum, in particular, took me on in a mothering role. She fed me, regularly offered to wash clothes or lend me cash whilst I fought through the challenges of being 19 and on my own. Eventually, their kids got old enough to no longer need me as their babysitter, and when I graduated, I stopped working for them. Nonetheless, we kept in touch, and when I split up from my ex their mum was absolutely brilliant. She bought me all the household things I could need from IKEA, fed me multiple dinners when I wasn’t eating, and listened to me sob down the phone. I saw the kids all the time, to watch films and to be silly. They have always welcomed me as part of the family and I am incredibly grateful for their love.

I texted her yesterday, in such an incredibly low place, and she told me to come over for lunch and we would talk it all out. I went over for lunch today and she hugged me and filled me up with so much goodness. She said something that really stuck in my mind, though. She was talking about one the kids, who is quite low in self-confidence and self-esteem. She said, as a somewhat throwaway comment, “her bucket just has no bottom, so we just make sure we’re constantly filling it with love”.

What a perfect metaphor for what I feel like inside. My ‘bucket’ is so full of holes, perhaps entirely bottomless, that all the love that people do put into it never feels like enough. When things happen like last week, it pokes so many more holes in the bucket, and all the self-worth and feelings of love I have suddenly pour out even faster, until I am empty. This week I’ve turned to harming, hating myself, being angry at myself and despising everything about my childhood. But the bucket thing… it’s just so obvious that I should be filling myself with love and care in these times, not doing the opposite.

So today, as well as my gorgeous cuddle and time with C, I had a lovely massage. S manages to connect with the non-verbal parts of me, and she is incredibly intuitive when it comes to which places need attention and care; usually, my neck, shoulders and lower back, but today she branched out to massage my tummy – I’ve been having some awful nightmares/flashbacks that always leave my tummy sore. I left feeling very grounded and Little felt calmer too.

Then I went to my session with T. I was so tired, so so unbelievably exhausted that words felt too much and all I wanted to do was be held by her and say nothing. After about 5 minutes of trying to talk, she moved closer to me and I spent the rest of the hour listening to her heartbeat whilst we talked about some painful things, some nonsense things and sometimes nothing at all. She held me, squeezed me when the painful things were said, and stroked my arm and my hair whilst I soaked in every possible fragment of her laugh, her steady breathing, the softness of her top and that constant lub dub, lub dub, lub dub. Filling my bucket with love, stability, security and the promise that I never have to be alone, like I was then, anymore.

I’ve had such a lovely bucket-filling day. For the first time in over a week, I finally feel grounded again, like I’m no longer a fragile boat in the midst of an awful storm. Little is calm, so calm I’m soon going to be asleep, with that perfect, soothing rhythm in my head. Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.



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