I am writing this letter to you (though I will probably never send it), because endings are important to me. It has taken me many years of therapy to be able to be present through an ending – I used to shut down, switch out and refuse any acknowledgement of it until it had long passed me by. Now, I can be present. The pain of them is still excruciating (hey, that’s attachment disorder for you), but I can be present through all my feelings of loss, grief, abandonment and self-punishment. I have tried to speak with you, but you have not replied. This is my attempt to give myself an ending, because I deserve one. The broken parts of me, and the whole parts of me, deserve closure.
We first spoke almost exactly a year ago. I was looking for a massage therapist. I knew that all the work I was doing in therapy was having strange consequences in my body. Suddenly, I ached all the time. My shoulders hurt, my neck felt vivid and alive, my lower back stopped me from breathing properly when I sat a certain way. My tummy felt ‘odd’, my chest hurt, my head often pounded as a response to the emotions being brought up in therapy. I was just beginning to receive touch from T, and knew how hugely beneficial it was to my healing. I wanted to have an opportunity to experience that in a greater, deeper way – so I began to look for a massage therapist.
I know I’m complicated. When I began ringing around, not only did I have a trauma history, but I also had an active eating disorder (with all the associated body dysmorphia, which I wrote about here) and I regularly self harmed (even when I tried to be kind to myself, which I wrote about here). Because of this, I purposefully was extremely open in my first telephone conversations with people. I wanted people to have the full picture, because it would be unfair to both the therapist and I if I wasn’t. Nobody wants to discover recent self harm wounds on a person without at least some warning. So, when I rang, I was very honest with you and everyone else. I explained that I harm, that I have body image issues, that I have a trauma history which means I can dissociate. Two therapists said they didn’t feel they had enough experience to work with this. You didn’t. You reassured me with your knowledge, told me of your previous experience working in mental health, and I felt very confident that you understood what I was looking for.
The work we have done this year has been magical. It started with a very overwhelming first session – it felt very revealing. It was my first experience of the body/emotion relationship that I’ve come to develop over the last year with you. This connection has improved hugely over the time since – you said to me early on that this would be a process of coming home, and this has been amazingly true. I am more at home in my body than I ever was, and this has been really apparent in our sessions. I’ve become able to tell you where hurts – I’ve been able to share with you when things feel good. I’ve begun to connect the emotions I feel with the way my body feels, and this has led to some amazing sessions. You talked to me about paths, and worked with me as I started to lay new paths – paths which have helped me know myself better. I wrote a post about one of our sessions, entitled Pouring Love, and that is what it felt like, often. You are incredibly intuitive. You have stroked my back when I have been dissociative and upset – you have lifted me up with your hands when I have needed lifting. You have started a connection between my body and soul, and you have helped me to find a new way of being within myself. Thank you doesn’t cover it, but, thank you.
Then we had this session. It was agonising, but hugely healing. I felt a bit uncertain at the end, because I had been so upset and you had asked about other professionals. Because of my attachment issues, I always leap to conclusions about this – I convince myself that the world is ending when actually, the other person didn’t mean anything by it.
That wasn’t the case here. At the beginning of our next session, you said you needed to talk. That you weren’t in supervision, and as such didn’t feel you could handle what happened last time. I don’t remember the rest, because I dissociated. I still took my clothes off, though, still laid down on the table with tears in my eyes, still silenced myself through an hour of being touched by somebody I felt totally abandoned by. When I am upset, I find it almost impossible to say ‘no’. So I laid there, in silence, and left hugely dissociative and triggered. Even though you did try to reassure me that I haven’t overshared or broken any boundaries, I still felt traumatised by it. This is part of an email I sent to T, straight after our session: She’s happy to still work with me but in purely a take clothes off do massage put clothes on go home again kind of way. Which is fine. Except it’s not. Not at all. I’m too much. I’m bad. I’m panicking. Cutting and cutting but not coming down. I’m too much. I told and she left. Are you going to do the same? Eventually you will leave I’m too much. Please don’t leave I can be good please don’t leave. Shutting down. Why am I so hard to love? Rabbit says he feels sad because people always find out about the rot and leave in the end. Rabbit loves you if you really really mean you won’t leave. That makes you special. Xx T reassured me that it was your issue, not mine, that I hadn’t done anything wrong. But that is impossible to believe.
We haven’t spoken since. It has been over a month, but I have needed that time to allow myself just to ‘be’ with it. This weekend just passed, I’ve had a bit of a system reboot. I had felt myself spiralling, so I have pulled myself together and put things in place to support myself. One of those things has been to find a new massage therapist. I think I have chosen one – but I will tread very carefully. I wanted to talk to you about this, to get some closure, but you haven’t replied. Though I think I understand why you haven’t, you have hurt me. I hurt. Little hurts. The feelings of abandonment are high.
Thank you for all that you have given me, both through your hearts and from your heart. Thank you for filling me up with all the wisdom and insight you have. Thank you for starting me on this incredible journey of coming home to myself. I am sorry for any part I played in our ending, and I hope you can forgive me if you feel I was wrong. I don’t want to feel shame, if we bump into each other into the corridors when I start this new journey with this new person. I just want to feel gratitude and admiration for the person who helped me build my own home inside myself. Thank you.