Three years ago today, I met A (GP) for the first time. I’ve written this before, but I was a sucidal, drowning mess and he was calm, kind and gentle. He reminded me yesterday that in our second ever appointment, he briefly scared me because he was cross – it took me a few moments to realise that he was cross with the mental health team who were meant to be supporting me, and not me. That strength and support from him was just the start.
Last year’s post was a very positive one, and re-reading it hurt because I am not in a place to be quite so positive this year. I would love to write this post and fill it up with huge successes, overcoming of trauma and great strides forward. I would love to have reached three years and to be boasting about all the great changes that have happened… I want so badly for A to feel proud of me and to feel I am doing well, that all the support he puts in is bearing fruit that will reassure him that I am worth caring about and sticking with. I wrote last year that I wanted this year to be filled with less chaos and more calm… I can’t honestly say I’ve achieved that. I am writing this blog post at gone 3am after an extremely traumatic flashback/dissociation. I’m too scared to sleep. It’s not the first time recently. That’s not less chaos, but more….
But…he is still here. Despite it all, despite the text that I hope won’t have woken him at midnight, despite the constant attachment seeking, despite the sharing of deep, dark traumas that he struggles to hear but I need to share, despite the late evenings on a Friday because I can’t bring myself to be okay enough to leave….. Despite no longer being a patient, despite having seemingly gone backwards recently, despite dragging him into the twisted world of insecure attachment and it’s relentless and insatiable need… Despite EVERYTHING, he is still here.
I am relentless, but he is relentless in his reassurance and promises. My attachment seeking is utterly endless, but so is his patience with me. The trauma memories are fierce and strong, but he is one of my fiercest and strongest protectors in response to them. I am selfish and volatile but his generosity is wider than anything. My fingers are angry, anxious and harming, but his fingers catch mine and are containing, soothing and gentle. I am broken and fragile right now, but he is a fixer and a builder, gentle and persistent and I rebuild and grow because of him. When I am unsure, he is certainty and clarity. When I am wild, he is calm. When I am lost and floating, he is anchored and grounding. He is the counterbalance to every possible weight that knocks me off centre. He is security, safety and calm. He is real, and whole, and loving, and he is the kindest person I will probably ever know.
He is also excitement, celebration and joy. He is whole text conversations written in emojis, he is the childish fun in an “I was brave today” dinosaur sticker. He threw love and kindest wishes around me like confetti when I got married. He is the positive reinforcement I need to get off my arse, brush my hair and get in the bloody car when work feels too much sometimes. He is my loudest cheerleader when I need to be brave, and he is giving and open with his praise when I manage it. He is the voicemail message I have saved to my home screen to be replayed over and over, because the words are important but the rise and fall of his voice calms my heart. He is the overwhelming love in his voice when he talks about his wife and their girls. He is his constant reassurance that he enjoys seeing me, that I’m not a chore or a punishment. He is the sharing of favourite albums and the excitement about the circus. He is the easy acceptance, lack of judgement and gift of transitional objects to keep us connected through a break. He is the grown adult man, cradling a stuffed elephant like a baby to fill it with love before giving it to me to hold and keep through our holiday separation. (He is also the grown man taking a toy bunny rabbit with him on his holiday to soothe Little). He is the safety, love and warmth in his cuddle. Nothing explains the strength of his love, safety and kindness like the overwhelming feeling Little has to want to curl up within him, to sit on his lap against his chest, curl his fingers inside hers and sleep. She holds him apart from any other man – after everything she experienced, she holds total faith that he is safe, that he is protection and that he will not harm her or let her be harmed. He has risen above all the torture and damage caused by others. She finds her home in him.
Yesterday, I was quizzing him on the differences between securely and insecurely attached people. What do you do when you’re not okay? I asked. Do you rely on yourself, or do you reach out? Do you have that secure base? His wife, he said. “She’s my sun, the one I orbit around.”
You’re my sun, I replied, and he reminded me that actually, I’m building a constellation of stars rather than just one sun. Yes, him, but others, too – all providing the core stability to my often wild and shaky orbit. At the moment, my orbit is SO shaky that I am constantly connection checking to prove to myself that he is still there. And he is, every time. I am really struggling to hold that firmly in between checking, but he is learning along with me what helps to soothe that. His voicemail of promises and commitments is saved to my phone – the other night I woke panicked and couldn’t soothe so eventually I put headphones in and fell asleep to his voice on repeat – and I am writing this blog post cuddled up with ‘his’ elephant. Neither of us are experts in what will help me heal – but his willingness to try and his commitment to staying by me are providing the grounding strength and stability to the light in the middle of my orbit.
A few weeks ago he sent me the lyrics to a song off his favourite album. The words have stuck with me since then:
“She’ll carry on through it all,
She’s a waterfall.”
Those words don’t hold within them any promises of greatness or guarantees of success. They don’t make any comment on how easy or challenging the water’s path will be. There is no judgement on how much effort will be needed. Within those words is only the calm and persistent certainty of relentlessness, perseverance and the belief in a future, in forever. I could have written a gushing blog post about all the ways A makes my life brighter and better, easier and lighter. I could forget to mention any challenges and it would be mostly truthful, but it definitely wouldn’t be fair. Not to me, fighting through heartbreak and pain every day at the moment, and not to him, supporting me through. It wouldn’t be fair. It is fair, though, and true, to describe him as the strength, power, energy, direction and conviction in my waterfall. Some days I am purposeful and healthy and that waterfall flows just fine. Some days I’m broken and damaged, numb to the world, and he is the energetic kick up the bum to keep that water moving. Sometimes I’m wild and swirling, directionless and uncontrollable, and on those days he is the focus and the calm to keep that water on track.
Those lyrics hold no promise of ease or comfort, and in a way that is the most soothing, healing thing I could hear at the moment – no false promises when life is ridiculously hard, I’m wild and spiralling, but A is keeping my orbit spinning and my waterfall moving. For both of our sakes, I wish for days with smooth flowing waters and gently circling orbits… and I feel hopeful that they will come. It might take hard work, time, and a lot of patience, but I am growing in confidence that we will get there. A has faith in that, and I’m taking my faith from him!
I read a huge amount of poetry and often send A screenshots of ones that give words to my feelings I could never describe so eloquently or beautifully. In the last three years, though, I have never found another poem which adequately expresses my gratitude for A. Because of this, I am posting this one again, as I have done the last two anniversaries. It is everything in such a small way.
A, we love you. Thank you for your relentlessness, courage and ability to always be the balance to my imbalance. Thank you for being a ‘forever’ part to the anchoring centre to my orbit, and the strength that keeps my waterfall carrying on through it all. With all the love I can give,