I can’t promise that this post is going to make any sense but I need to try.
For months now, things have been amazing. I have felt balanced and the most mentally well I have ever been. So much so that I was almost in a place of being triggered by anybody mentioning my background, mental illness or equivalent things around me. It felt like a flashback to a horrid past and I didn’t want to be anywhere near that. Things have been going so well that I’ve been slowly looking at cutting down therapy, easing my way into a life that doesn’t involve an hour or so a week sat on a sofa, navel gazing.
In amongst all that, though, has been some ever-strengthening self doubts. They started small and ‘normal’… worrying about my weight, what I look like in the mirror. It spread into worrying constantly about work. And then on Thursday it exploded.
I am due to have an elective surgery. Not serious but general anaesthetic. On Thursday I went for a meeting with my consultant and then for ‘pre-op’. I thought I had prepared well, writing on my form that I have an abuse history, boundary issues and that I need to be informed etc. I thought I had prepared well but I was WRONG.
The nurse for my pre-op triggered me until I was hysterical. Dissociative, sobbing and absolutely incoherent when trying to explain myself. Eventually an extremely kind HCA came to sit with me and cuddled me until I came back down to earth. We finished everything needed for the appointment but it was still really awful and triggered a huge wave of insecurity and emotion.
Three days later I then got probably my first ever ‘telling off’ as an adult, from my boss. Justifiable, I did fuck up, but I know that I just need to use it as a learning experience and take the positive from it, but it has added to all of those insecurities brought up so painfully on Thursday.
I’m not sure where to go from here or how to process everything whizzing around my head.
I watched somebody read a children’s book the other day, called Little by Little. It’s a book about an otter who has a can do list and a can’t do list. His can do list is pages long, and his can’t do list only has one thing – learn to swim. The book follows him as he takes baby steps, eventually learning to swim. The moral of the story is meant to be that a ‘can’t do’ list is actually only ever a ‘can’t do yet’ list. Anything is doable if you put your mind to it.
The story really upset me, for two reasons really. It made me realise I can’t even think of one thing to put on my can do list. Seriously, not one thing. But my can’t do list is pages long. It could fill whole books. It highlighted for me how useless I feel all the time at the moment – how my self belief is at absolute rock bottom and I’m not even sure quite why. It really upset me to even consider those two lists and how different I perceive them to be from everyone else’s versions… surely everyone else has a longer can do list than their can’t do?
It also upset me because of the suggestion that if you just try hard enough, you can do anything you want. Thursday with the nurse proved to me that I am always going to be somebody who was abused. I think I had been conning myself that if I felt well enough for long enough, if I stopped talking about the shit things for long enough, there would become a time when I wasn’t that abused kid anymore. But thursday proved me wrong and it feels like it’s flipped a switch inside me.
I can try my hardest and take baby steps and do it little by little but my history is never going to go away. I am always going to be triggered by certain things, and maybe right now I need people to stop trying to be helpful by telling me that ‘it gets better’ or that ‘things will change’ and instead just sit with me in the utterly raw, stinking cesspool of rot that is my grief at this newly found understanding that those BASTARDS damaged me in irreparable ways. They took that little girl and they ripped out so much of her, fucking spat on it, trampled it, and stuffed it back inside me, hoping that maybe I wouldn’t tell anyone what had happened. It took me years to tell but guess what, I did and it’s STILL SHIT. I think it’s always going to be a little bit shit. And maybe telling me that it can get better, that baby steps will work… I feel like right now that’s part of what has destroyed any self belief I had, thinking that if I was just working hard enough it would go away and be okay again. Maybe I could take baby steps to the moon and back again and I will STILL be rot inside. The damage they caused will still be there. Even if things can get better, I don’t want to hear that right now. Right now I need to sit with my grief that they ruined so much of me that I can never get back.
On Thursday night I kept saying repeatedly that I’m not brave. That phrase got stuck inside me and went round and round until I thought it would drive me insane. R replied to my panicked email ramblings with some beautiful words, which helped, but I’m still ultimately stuck on this feeling of being unable to be brave.
I want to be brave enough to pretend my background never happened. I want to be so brave that I can go to the nurse and sit there like everyone else, nice and quiet and well behaved. I want to be brave so that when I leave, I don’t have a fleeting moment where I consider killing myself in the car park. I want to be brave enough that I can do everything that ‘normal people’ can do. I don’t want to have to explain myself, I don’t want to make excuses for my pathetic useless self because I’m no brave enough to get through the day like a normal person. I don’t want people to know about the dark parts of me, by way of an explanation for what I did wrong or why I fucked up (even though I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry, I was just so triggered and stressed I couldn’t help it).
In slightly more positive moments this week, I’ve seen this as a growth opportunity in therapy. Take this to T or R or both, work on this grief and anger, rebuild self esteem, accept myself and my background and then create coping mechanisms to make me look artificially brave. I will go to therapy and I will work hard and then this will be okay again. I will make myself artifically brave. But right now is not one of those positive moments. Right now is a sobbing myself to sleep moment. And right now I need to be cuddled and rocked and soothed while I grieve for everything I am not and can never be.
Sit with me? 😦