I’ve been trying to write for days but I haven’t had thoughts stable enough to try to convert them into linked paragraphs. I’m still not sure I can. This will be long. Sorry.
I feel at rock bottom. I don’t feel manic, crazy, hyper, panicked… none of those. I feel oddly calm. I just don’t want to be alive like this anymore.
I can’t live with these lows. I’ve been in a dip for what feels like weeks now and there is no sign of anything getting better. GP and I are in daily (frequently multiple times daily) contact. Similar for T and me. Each contact helps temporarily – it calms the rocky sea within me. Then they go and it immediately starts up again. It is totally relentless.
I don’t have any words to truly explain the depth and breadth of this. It’s damage from a time before I had words and I feel like I am grasping at bubbles trying to explain it… I can’t ever get a good grip and when I try too hard, it escapes me altogether. It feels a little like always being an outsider. Never being truly settled in a place or with people. A little like trying to hold a beach ball underwater. Like rattling around in a box. Like having no anchor within myself. Last night when GP asked me I told him it felt like I’m a balloon. Floaty and vulnerable and easily buffeted. The need to ‘check in’, find them in the world, comes from not feeling the tension on the string between them and me. The ground and me, the world and me. Without a sense of that link between us I feel ever more buffeted and loose until I feel total panic and lose all sense of who I am and where I fit in the world.
I know that there have been times when I have had a more secure sense of the string between us, but I don’t right now. I feel a need to constantly, relentlessly connect to them. A constant need to remind myself who I am.
I cannot hold what they tell me. I couldn’t willingly leave you, T told me this week. I wouldn’t imprison you by making you come but I couldn’t leave you because you’re YOU. You’re an amazing wonderful woman and I wouldn’t want to leave. You can’t push me away. I can’t hold onto that. GP says similarly – I am not leaving you. You cannot push me away. I will always have time for you. I care about you.
They both ask me if I believe them. I don’t. I believe that they believe what they are saying – I believe that they think they will always stay. But I don’t believe them because I feel completely sure that they are only saying that because they haven’t seen the ‘real me’. That one day, they will realise who I really am inside, the core of me filled with rot and disgust and they will run so far from me. When they find who I really am, then they will leave.
*Trigger warning for this paragraph.* Last weekend I had an awful flashback of a time, or multiple times, where I had enjoyed something done to me. I know all the facts and information about victims of sexual abuse, how confusing it can be for very very small child to be touched etc…. I know all that. But it still feels pretty shit. *Trigger end.*
Little texted GP about it. She wrote and wrote about what she remembered and I didn’t censor it. I wasn’t really present enough to censor it. Literally as she pressed send a text came from him saying that he was with family and busy – I totally panicked that L had just sent him pretty graphic detail of her experience and he was at lunch with family. I texted to say not to read it… but too late. He later replied to say it made him feel sad, angry and powerless. Any initial comfort I had from his response passed almost immediately in waves of terrifying, overwhelming guilt that I had made him sad – that I’d ruined his day, that it was my fault he was sad, that he was definitely going to leave me now and that I had been too much, too dirty and now he would leave.
What followed was a few hours of trying to push him away…You can leave you should leave I’m unfixable, I’m broken they took me apart and put me back together wrong and that can’t be fixed it’s always going to be this way. I’m not yours, the responsibility isn’t yours, you don’t have to stay. I make you sad. I’m toxic and untouchable and my needing you isn’t fair it puts you too close to the rot and damage. Ring [potential new GP], give me to her and then run. I’m toxic and dangerous and bad and give me to her and get far away. Thinking about it breaks me but you are so important and you deserve to stay away from me.
And lots of self blame… I feel like it’s all my fault. They were bad people but I didn’t stop it. I never told, I hardly ever fought back. When I did it wasn’t enough. They ruined me because I didn’t fight hard enough, or sometimes even at all. I disgust myself. And everyone who had a chance to stop it didn’t because I didn’t tell… and those who must have known something wasn’t okay just decided I was attention seeking and clingy and never tried to find out what was underneath it all. I was already bad to them. I didn’t end it when I had the chance, just before I met you when life held so little value… I should have finished it then. But I didn’t and it’s my fault for not being brave enough. Now I would lose too much and hurt too many people all because I didnt do what I should have done. Meeting you and everything that’s come since makes life so, so beautiful and I live in constant fear of tainting the beautiful things by just being near them. We love and value you in so many ways and I’m desperate for you to always love and care about me and stay and i can’t bear to think about life without the person you are and the role you hold and all you bring… but i hurt you, because with me comes a whole load of toxic rot which I wasn’t brave enough to prevent or stop or kill. It’s too much, I’m too much. It’s my fault. I don’t want you to hurt.
His reply – You can’t turn me against you. It’s not possible. Don’t even try. – gave me a brief respite, a brief moment of lightness at the acknowledgement that he knows me so, so well and that he’s the most incredible soul… but the guilt in my flashback and the guilt of hurting him by sharing hung heavy.
*Trigger for this paragraph.* That night I had two dreams. In the first, I dreamed that GP and I built a nest together. Pillows and feathers and foam and blankets and clouds (and Rabbit!). More cave than nest as we pulled the blankets over to cover most of the roof. Then he tucked me in and put some more squishy things around me and sat on the edge of it guarding and I slept in the nest cave with him keeping me safe. It was wonderful. I woke but then fell back asleep. In my next dream I dreamed that I had made him sad. I wanted him to be happy, I felt all the awful guilt and shame of making him sad… so I undressed. Knelt in front of him, opened my mouth, opened my legs. Dream me did everything she knew how to do with her body to make him ‘happy’. Dream me tempted and encouraged him. She wanted it because she so badly wanted him to love her. When I woke again I felt more disgusting and ashamed than ever. It was awful beyond belief and I felt like I was violated and that I had somehow violated him, too. That him knowing me was dangerous. *Trigger end.*
I spoke to T that night, and she kept telling me that I am not responsible for other people’s sadness. She made me smile (and also panic a little!) by saying she wanted to ring GP to tell him he shouldn’t have told me he was sad! I disagree – I was already triggered before he said it and it also really helps to hear other people react to my experiences like a ‘normal’ person, someone who feels what happened to me was so, so wrong – and I asked her not to. She said she wouldn’t – That’s me trying to rescue you, wanting to protect you. It did encourage me to check in with GP about who supports him when I hurt him and it did reassure me that he feels he would seek support as and when needed.
I still tried to not go to T for my session this week. I felt so sure that I would hurt her in the same way I had hurt him. When I got there I was super dissociative and remember very, very little of it. Almost none. I have snapshots of her talking to me, sitting on the floor holding my feet tightly to try and get me to ‘come back’, cuddling into her with the coolness of her bare skin against the sticky hot tension of mine. I remember her joking with me that she must care about me a lot because holding my feet is not in her job description! We ran over but we still hadn’t really resolved anything. When she told me time really was up, I put my head on my knees and sobbed. I left without saying goodbye.
I rang GP but he was busy. I drove home, still pretty dissociative. I had to pull over a few times because I wasn’t sure I could stop myself driving off the road or into oncoming lorries. I remembered a conversation a few weeks ago with T where I told her I would want it to look like an accident… and she said now I couldn’t crash because she would always believe I’d killed myself. I rang the Samaritans and cried until I threw up on the side of the road. I eventually got home and cried to my husband who struggled with what to say to my wish to die. GP picked up my texts and missed calls and we spoke at about 11pm. Bless his kind, good heart. By then I was pretty much cried out. Talking really helped, even though I could hear the worry in his voice, and then I saw him the next day. That hour and a half was warming and holding and comforting… but still I feel so low.
I wish I had killed myself a few years ago. When I had just split with my ex, I had no job, no friends, no partner, no family relationships…… I could have killed myself then and nobody would have cared. I am trapped now. Killing myself would upset my friends and family, those I work with… It would be selfish. Impossible to hide. I can’t just end things quietly, I cannot just slip away. Now I would disrupt and upset… Then I would have just vanished. I feel trapped by that.
I cannot live with the lows. I know that this will pass and there will be high points again – but that doesn’t feel like enough anymore. It doesn’t feel fair or okay that I had a truly shitty childhood, followed by a very difficult early adulthood……and now I’m an adult and despite all my hard work and all the therapy and all the people who support me things are STILL SHIT sometimes. I know this will pass but I also know that there will be more lows in the future and I’ve had enough. I don’t want to live a life like that. I didn’t kill myself at 23 because I had nothing then but I was holding on to hope that I would one day have everything I have now. It is agonising that I’ve got EVERYTHING I wanted now… but those lows still followed. Had my 23 year old self known that I would still feel these lows, she would have ended it.
Because it isn’t going to get better. My understanding of attachment is that it prevents the formation of early neuron pathways and there are gaps. I’ve seen images of an attachment disordered brain and a ‘normal’ brain and there are obvious gaps.
My understanding is that these gaps can only be “filled in” up until no later than 7 years old. Mine weren’t. Those ominous black gaps are there. So there will always be lows. I appreciate that they might become further spaced apart and I will probably continue to develop strategies to cope…. But that’s not enough. I can’t cope with them at all. I don’t want to accept them. I don’t want to live with them.
I’m desperately searching for a solution, a way to convince myself that one day it won’t feel like this, that one day I won’t have to worry about sinking into yet another awful low. I wonder about therapy, about the support I have around me. Is it right, is it enough, is it targeted on the right things? GP gently questioned whether my relationship with T is the ‘right thing’ therapeutically – are we too close? Am I challenging myself? Am I moving forward with her? I know that yes, I have moved forward massively through working with her. I know how much she has done for my self esteem, my security, my sense of self. I know that I couldn’t live without her now, or maybe ever – whilst I’m not totally secure in our relationship because I am still convinced she will leave, I know that she is the closest to a secure attachment that I will ever get – and if I forced myself to leave her, I would grieve horribly and then search instantly for another maternal attachment figure. So leaving her isn’t right. But should I be doing something else as well as that? I see R, but we probably aren’t as focused as we could be. We probably could be more focused, I probably could challenge myself more with her. But then that is almost impossible to do when I only see her monthly. Should I be tackling the symptoms of how I feel? The anxiety? Should I be doing something like CBT to try to address those horrendous anxious feelings I live with constantly? Or would CBT be pointless without addressing the root of all of this?
What even is the root? I’m becoming more and more sure that it all comes back to my core beliefs of who I am – my certainty that I am truly unloveable, unfixable, annoying, attention seeking etc… I sat in a coffee shop the other day and made a list of all the words I constantly hear in my own head.
When I showed this to both T and GP they both adamantly denied that they would EVER feel any of these things about me. T tried to acknowledge a few of them, that we can all be attention seeking when we need something…. but kept telling me she didn’t feel any of these things about me. GP repeatedly said the same. And I watched him, choked up and trying to convince me that when he thinks about me he never, ever, EVER would think these words……. and I couldn’t take it in. I am totally convinced that this is who I am, and if he doesn’t yet think of me in this way, it is because he hasn’t got to know the true core of who I am yet. Same for T. When they REALLY know me, when they find out who I REALLY am, they will leave. They will think these things about me. They will abandon me.
This makes me impossible. I need to hear, constantly, that they don’t feel these things about me and they won’t ever leave. Then they tell me and I don’t believe them. Then I feel guilt for having asked, for needing them… which then feeds back into the original need to hear that they won’t leave and they don’t hate me…. and then the spiral starts again. GP asked me what he could do to help me feel more secure that he is staying and he means it – there isn’t anything. No matter what he did, it would trigger off negativity somewhere else. If he told me 50 times a day that he wasn’t leaving, I would feel loved but intensely guilty that he was giving up time in his life. If he never told me, I would feel relief that he wasn’t close to me so I couldn’t be hurting him, but the attachment pull towards him would be horrific. I can’t win. He can’t win. There is no winning.
I recently wondered whether it would work to try and SHOW T or GP what I think is at the core of me. If I showed them, and they didn’t leave, then would that bring me permanent reassurance? When I was talking to my best friend about this yesterday, we recognised that this is impossible. I don’t have some internal demon or monster that I could bring out from the place it lives and let it rampage around. There is no physical thing that I could point at and say “That’s who I am. Hate me now.”. There is no true test of this because it is my perception of who I am and their perception of me is different. I hate myself when I reach out for comfort from them because I believe I’m annoying, needy, clingy, attention seeking….. but they tell me they don’t mind. It’s my perception that I need to change, but how? What the hell do I do?
And is it even possible to change my core beliefs about myself? GP asked me if those words were words that I thought of myself or if they were words told to me by others – and I couldn’t even really pull them apart anymore. Some of them probably came from others initially (slut, attention seeking, drama queen)… but they’re now so ingrained in my internal voice that it’s hard to tell. These feelings are so non-verbal and I know I have just allocated words to them after the feeling. T will tell me many of these feelings stem from the earliest removal from my mum… so how do I change what is at the very bottom building block of who I am?
I’m desperate for GP to say here, take these meds and it will get better. He won’t, and he’s right not to because this isn’t something a drug could fix. I find myself wishing for a label – if I could call it depression, anxiety etc then surely it is something I developed and as such can be ‘fixed’. But this isn’t something I developed – I wasn’t ‘normal’ and then this happened so logically I must be able to turn it back to normal again. This IS my normal. This is me – and I don’t want to be me anymore.
GP reminded me that all I need to do is carry on putting one foot in front of the other. I’m trying. I am. But I’m exhausted now.
This song really connects with me at the moment. It feels like a conversation between me and L.
Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Anywhere I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you
And I… will swallow my pride
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye
Say something, I’m giving up on you
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
And anywhere I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you.