What is the present tense for being heartbroken? I am heartbroken, but that would suggest it gets better every day. There is the lowest point, but then your heart slowly mends over time. My pain is so much more present tense than that. My heart breaks over and over again, every day, and it is never able to heal.
T is back from her holiday.
This week was our second session back – and I didn’t want to go. I knew that leaving her was going to be so awful, and the pain of leaving almost prevented me from going in the first place. But I went, and the adult in me had a productive session – I will write about that another time. With a few minutes to go, though, T mentioned we needed to finish and Little fell apart. T picked up on this – where have you gone? – because she notices the subtle signs. But it soon became not so subtle, as I put my head in my hands and sobbed with all my heart. Help, I wailed, but what can she do? She hugged me, reassured me that she would see me next week and we could speak on Monday… but the agony of tearing Little away, peeling her fingers away from the places she is clung to T’s clothes… its unbearable.
T and Little spoke by text, very late that night. Please don’t forget about me, Little begged. I won’t forget about you, really really, reassured T. Her reassurances help, but they are a drop of liquid dripped onto a arid desert of need. Sometimes, they almost feel cruel – as if they are mocking me with their inadequacies. It has taken all my strength not to allow Sass to send T a tsunami of anger and hatred – the need to punish T for making me feel this way is overwhelmingly high.
I staggered through to today, when I had an appointment booked with S. After our last beautiful session, I was feeling quite reassured that I would be able to soothe Little. S is so wonderful – she is so gentle with me and I feel calmed just by sharing her space. We started by talking about my week – and I suddenly became hugely overwhelmed. Tears welled and I stuffed them down; then they welled again and S encouraged me to show gentleness to myself through those emotions. Talking about T, and the level of abandonment Little feels, became so overwhelming and excruciating. There are truly no words for the agony – agony, in its truest form, is probably the closest I can get to explaining the feeling of loss and grief and pain. Just, so much pain.
S is hugely insightful, and as we talked, she steers me towards seeing progress and being gentle. Gentleness and allowing and being present are all terms that I have previously scoffed at, but S is the first person who has given them context and she is wonderfully soothing. As I became very upset at how much need I feel inside, S encouraged me to consider the progress I have made. When I started therapy, I could not relate to anyone. I could never feel any elements of love, only numbness with very occasional twinges of pain. Now, I feel, excruciatingly, all the time. All the fucking time. S reminded me that this is progress, and over time, I will learn to soothe myself. This upset me more – why am I not learning to do this yet? Can you allow it to be something that happens over time, in imperceptible changes? S questioned. Most people don’t have a eureka moment. For most people, they don’t notice the changes until they look back. This felt somewhat comforting, but it didn’t stop Sass grumbling that it’s very easy for professionals to tell me to sit with it or trust in the journey… they don’t have to listen to the agony I can hear inside myself.
I told S about something that happened this week. A girl I worked with brought her baby back in to show off. Baby is 16 weeks, and she is lovely. I was cradling her, and feeding her a bottle, whilst talking to her mum. I obviously wasn’t concentrating, because the teat of the bottle had come out of her mouth. I discovered this because of the noise the child made. I struggle with being able to express the agony of Little’s need – but the way that tiny child screamed for her bottle… She screamed like she had never known food, like she didn’t believe she would ever be fed again. The noise she made to make me aware of my mistake… that noise describes it. That noise was the perfect pitch and tone of Little’s agony. I got really upset with S, when recalling this. The way that we all leapt to the baby’s need – I immediately put the bottle back in her mouth, the whole room responded to her just by her expression of that sound. It is so unfair, I cried. Her world is set up to meet her need – but mine wasn’t, isn’t, and never will be again. I sobbed, then.
Don’t give up hope just yet, S said. That love can only be met within ourselves. You will learn to give that to yourself, in the future. You will be able to soothe your cry for your need. I really want to believe her. I need to believe her. I have to believe her.
I pulled myself together because I did want to have a massage and we had spent nearly half the session talking by this point. The massage was odd. S checked in regularly, because I was very dissociative. She worked on my back, shoulders, and neck. My neck, in particular, felt absolutely alive today. Her fingers and hands there had me constantly covered in goosebumps and when she asked me to explain it, it was beyond words. I have no words, it just feels nice, I said. Nice doesn’t even begin to cut it, though. As with many things with S, ‘profound’ would probably have been better.
I was just about able to enjoy my massage whilst I was on my front. I was aware of pleasurable sensations and got lost in the waves of her hands. S said before she started that she wanted to stroke my nervous system – to calm the nerves that get fired up when we get upset. I could definitely feel that. It all got a bit much when I turned over, though.
It was okay, until she touched my hands. Something about having my hands held (which I had hugely enjoyed the week previously), felt so overwhelming. Nice, but emotionally painful. As we rolled on towards the end, the sobs I had finally silenced filled back up inside me. When she finally stopped moving, I sat up, hid in the towel and fell apart. Huge, hot tears poured into my towel and I just could not stop.
S is so calm. She encouraged me to bring myself back out from under the towel – to remind myself that we were there, together, in this room, in the present. That although it’s not bad to be feeling things from the past, we need to be in the present too and be able to move between them. She asked me that desperately frustrating question, what do you need? and a million answers bubbled up inside me. For a hug, for you to hold me, for you to stroke my hair and take me home and adopt me and love me so I never have to be left ever again… but I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t even say how much I needed her to be next to me, not a mere metre away. She answered for me – you’re not able to tell me, are you? and my nod had to be enough.
I don’t know how I’m meant to leave you, I whispered. Because you’ve done it before, she said. Because you know you can always rebook. Because there can be a next time. She’s right, of course, but it isn’t enough. It doesn’t fix the broken.
Little and S have texted since the session. Please don’t leave, she squeaked. Don’t worry, see you next time. It helped, a little, but my head is screaming of all the possibilities. Don’t worry, because she thinks I’ve been bad today but she’s trying to reassure me that she isn’t too cross? Don’t worry, but next time we will talk and decide this isn’t working for S? At the end of my session, whilst I was shaking and trying to get dressed, S asked if the team of professionals involved in my care contact each other. They don’t. I didn’t ask her why she asked. Was it because she wants to give me back? Am I too much?
It’s been a hellish aftermath. I shook for about an hour. Dissociative as fuck and in horrendous physical pain – chest pain, tummy cramps… its awful. I know it’s just the emotional pain but it doesn’t help when it is so, so painful to just physically be as well as trying to emotionally be.
I don’t know how to fix the broken. I don’t know how to heal the hurting. I don’t know how to soothe the screaming baby. I don’t know. I just don’t know.