Back and Forth.

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Everything is a mess.

I sent my email and then a few hours later sent her a WhatsApp message. I’ve just sent you an angsty angry awful email trying to escape and now I’m crying so hard I can’t sleep because I can’t not need you. I’m a mess. I’m sorry. And this picture. 

She didn’t reply that night but did the next morning. I am so sorry that it is feeling so hard for you at present. I am very happy to see you on Thursday but understand you may want to cancel it. You don’t have to try in any way. What is important is you just being.

I got a WhatsApp message from you that made me unsure whether you were cancelling on Thursday or not. What does your heart want?

This frustrated me. What does my heart want? Surely that’s the entire issue. I don’t know. I just don’t know. 

So I replied.

Little’s heart wants to see you, spend time with you, come every day forever until you die and then she will die too so that’s fine. She wants to come because if she’s with you then she can be good enough that you will love her and being together means love and if we are together enough then you will love her enough to adopt her and that love will be so great that it will erase all the awful bad things and she will just be totally cocooned in you so she won’t feel this bad and she will be okay forever. 


Sass’ heart thinks Little’s heart is stupid, that you’re dangerous, and that if you knew that we were always going to struggle with these attachment panic periods then you should never have let us get this attached and you should have let me leave (uni), kill myself and find peace that way. Sass thinks this whole emotional attachment thing is stupid, she knows we are totally unloveable and always has been and can reel off all the people who came before you that ‘loved us’ but not enough and who eventually left and now you’re doing the same. She thinks L and I are intensely stupid for ever believing you could be different. She also thinks I’m stupid for repeatedly pouring salt into a wound. She knows that I know you can’t love me enough to cure this so she thinks I’m intensely dumb for coming back week after week to feel all the love I feel for you but then to leave and feel that attachment tear. She thinks L is pathetic, I’m stupid, she thinks you suck and she wishes I would just get on with ending it. 

My heart doesn’t know. I just know I need to feel better because I can’t hold this weight of feeling anymore. But I don’t know who of the two above to listen to. 

I don’t know what to do. Any decision is agony. 

She didn’t reply. 

Later that day I asked to talk. She said she was too busy, but that she would be very happy to see me on Thursday. 

This caused anger. You have to be happy to see me. It’s your job. That means nothing. I don’t know what to do. 

Eventually I emailed to cancel. She needs 48hours notice of cancelling and I don’t want to get charged.

This morning she replied to say she hoped I had a good week…she would see me next week.

Which triggered a meltdown, a begging for her not to leave me…

So now I am waiting for her to call. Waiting. Wanting to die.

Still waiting.

What to do. 

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I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about how hard things are at the moment. I just haven’t had the words. My attachment insecurity is sky high, it’s agonising. For a few weeks T and I have had huge levels of contact, almost daily, sometimes more. It isn’t making anything better. 

I am now starting to question whether I’m doing something wrong. T can never be my mother and yet I am desperate for her. I feel that since the wedding I have pulled off my rose tinted spectacles and seen our relationship for what it is. She can’t be my mother. She doesn’t want to be and she couldn’t be even if she did. Before the wedding, for years I feel that I’ve bounced between insecurity and then a loving act by T which has then helped me pretend she’s my mum. Then I bounced back again… and so on. Now I can’t see her loving acts in the same way. She read me No Matter What the other day and I was sat practically ignoring her. She doesn’t mean it. She can’t possibly love me no matter what if she doesn’t love me in the first place. 

It’s become clear to me that my attachment damage is a lifelong thing. It might get better sometimes, but ultimately it is permanent damage to my soul, and there will always be relapses. I don’t know whether I am doing the right thing to support my management of this ache. I just don’t know. 

Below is my email to her tonight. I don’t know if it is the right thing to do. I don’t know anything any more. I just know that I need to feel better. I need to feel better now.

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I think I need to cancel Thursday. I think I need a break from therapy.

I’m exhausted with trying to make you love me and I have nothing else to give to it, I am so so so tired and that, alongside the total impossibility of you being who I need, makes me wonder if, instead of repeatedly smacking my head against the same unrelenting wall, I should be keeping myself safe by running away. 

I saw GP on Friday and it was raw and exposing and awful. I was so switchy and hysterical with the attachment ache in my tummy. He kept telling me he felt helpless, he didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know either so mostly we just sat together with him holding my hands so I stopped scratching my wrists and me sobbing into his shoulder. He held my fingers tight and squeezed them, my dad used to do that. He kept saying he didn’t know what to say but he promises that he is never leaving me until a final, ultimate end, that I can leave him if I want to (that he hopes one day I will be strong and secure enough to be able to) but he has made his promise to stay and he’s keeping it, that he feels like he has adopted me and that it’s impossible not to feel parental emotion for me especially when I’m crying into his shoulder, that he will always walk with me. “I will always walk with you”. We were together about 2 hours. He texted me the next day to say he hates not being able to erase what happened and make things better.That he hates feeling helpless.

I texted him yesterday to say I’ve read from cover to cover a very intense but wonderful book – ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’. About a woman called Lucy who’s practically estranged from her mother after a very difficult childhood, Lucy gets appendicitis and ends up in hospital for weeks. Her mother comes to visit and it’s just their conversations, whilst Lucy is poorly and in bed with nothing to do but think. And an acknowledgement that bad things happened not because her mum didn’t love her but because she loved imperfectly. Which, really, is the only way we are able to love. Anyway, the doctor in the book reminded me of him so much I had to keep putting it down for fear of overwhelm. She describes him throughout the book as her ‘lovely doctor-father-man’. She describes the reason she loved him so was because through all the most difficult moments of being ill and this moment of emotional trauma etc, throughout it he ‘refused to look away’. I couldn’t find a better explanation for why he is everything my soul needs than that. He refuses to look away. Friday was awful, exposing, painful and raw but he never looked away from me. I couldn’t write a book, but if I did that’s what I would write about him.

And it’s still not enough. I’m still craving him, constantly. I’m still desperate to check he hasn’t left, to reassure myself he is still close by. It’s never going to be enough because I’m fundamentally broken in a part of my soul that is incapable
of full recovery. 

I nearly texted you this morning but then I didn’t because what’s the point? It’s an attempt to prove to myself that you are staying, you haven’t left me, you love me…. but you don’t, can’t, won’t and I’m torturing myself trying to make it possible. It’s not even a conscious thing mostly but it’s never ending. Inside all this pain atm is a growing angst that our relationship is currently mimicking that of mine and my mother’s. She can’t/won’t/doesn’t love me in the way I need her to, either. She never has. That’s the entire problem. That’s how she screwed me up badly enough to end up on your sofa. But I’m SO angry with you for feeling the same with us. I know we are very different. I could write books on how you are different. I know really. But I want to never see you again right now because you aren’t saving me by loving me enough. 

Not helped by such a beautiful few hours with GP where he is much more open than you (rightly) ever will be. We are friends on Facebook. He sends me songs he wants me to listen to. He tells me very personal things when they are relevant to me. Funny that, in that way, he mimics my dad. Much more obviously loving and open, but ultimately can’t save me either. 

This is epically long. Sorry. I don’t want to come on Thursday. I think this is me cancelling. Maybe for longer than just this week? I don’t know. 

I need to feel better. 

X

Rebalancing. 

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This week passed by in a pattern of me speaking to T, which brought some relief, but then almost as soon as I recognised that, the panic came again. Attachment need is truly insatiable and I don’t think it can be understood by people lucky enough to have always been securely attached. It is possible when things are raw like they are now for me to miss her WHILST we are talking, like my body is preparing itself to scream and cry the very second she puts the phone down. 

I was nervous to go to our session this week because I knew I wouldn’t leave feeling any better. T had something on afterwards so we had moved our time forward, but with that came a pressure to make sure I was okay to end on time. I didn’t want to be a frustration to her because I was panicking about leaving. I think because of knowing we had to end well, I held back from much connection. 

I had texted her earlier in the week to ask if we could read in our session. When I sat down though I didn’t really feel like it. I talked for a while about the ridiculousness of this feeling. I feel horrendous but there is no changing it. She can’t adopt me, and even if she could she wouldn’t be able to erase what had happened. It just IS and there isn’t much point going around and around it. You’re going to leave me eventually, I said. When I’m 92 and still having the same ridiculous conversations you will get fed up with me and leave. I’m not leaving you, she promised… but I wasn’t really listening. 

After a while she asked me if she could share with me a picture book on mindfulness and meditation. She came to sit with me and we read it in silence, just the two of us alongside each other. I would LOVE to be someone who can be all mindful and find space to meditate etc… but I’m just not. It’s terrifying to think about sitting still, I said. Sitting still would make everything implode. At least when I’m busy everything is kept at a distance from me. When I’m busy even though things are still painful and awful, I know they’re less bad than if I let them penetrate the shield. I know, she said. I am not telling you that you have to meditate.  I asked to borrow the book and I will maybe try to come back to it later in the week. At the moment I feel like I’m curled up in a ball trying to keep all the pain away from my deepest insides though. 

After we’d read that book, we read No Matter What by Debi Gliori. Readers who have followed my blog will know this book is almost at the core of our work – it’s a book about a small fox who is in a grump and testing his mother’s love. ‘If I turned into a bug, would you still love me and give me a hug?’ The book is repetitive and soothing, with the mother fox always promising to love small fox no matter what. 

T read to me and she was trying so hard for me. Pausing, looking at me, telling me she would love ME no matter what, that love like starlight never dies…….. and I just didn’t believe her. It was awful. She was reading and trying so hard and I was sat there almost feeling cross about it. Feeling like I didn’t believe her. 

When she finished reading I sat up and moved further down the sofa, away from her. My whole body language must have screamed distrust and anger, I was turned away with my back to her. Do you believe me? Look at me. she kept saying. Eventually I looked at her through my hair and she grinned at me which made me grin…. and then start to cry. I knew we were so tight on time so I sucked it all back inside without answering her. We cuddled, she told me a bit about her plan for after my session, and I left. 

On the way home I pulled into a car park and sobbed my heart out. It was awful. I tried to speak to GP but he had finished work early for once and I didn’t want to disturb his evening. 

I asked her if we could speak the day after. She emailed back to say she had a very tight slot but it was fine to squeeze me in. As it happened, she was then late so we only had 15 minutes. She promised she would ring me back whilst she was walking the dog in the evening, after the client she was clearly about to see. So we talked for 15 minutes. And it actually helped.

I talked about all the children I’ve worked with over the years, how you work with them and love them and then they move on and time passes and eventually those children I loved get forgotten about. I don’t like it but it’s inevitable. There are only a handful of children I really remember well from my first years of work…even though at the time I would have sworn I would remember forever. This is what is going to happen with us, I said. How many clients do you see in a week? Loads, surely. When we stop working together I will just blend in and eventually be forgotten. No, she said, you are going to be one of those people I never forget. 

Well you will still leave me, I said. 


I’m finite, T said. I know you don’t want to hear that but I am. I don’t know anything about what will happen to us after we die but I do know that the only reason I would ever leave you is 

if I stop being a therapist and then I wouldn’t leave it would just be different. We’d work it out when we get there. 

Then she had to go to her client and I was left thinking. Earlier in the conversation I had said she isn’t meant to want to stay in contact with me after therapy and she had dismissed that, saying she wasn’t meant to talk to me on the phone whilst doing something else like driving or walking the dog either but we do it because it works for us. I would never have imagined that happening when I first starting seeing her, but we’ve worked it out as we’ve gone along. I found a little bit of trust in her again, that we will continue to do what works for us. It might not be conventional or the way it should be done but we will make it work. Her reminder that she does what I need worked and I felt a tiny, tiny bit of relief from the attachment pain.

When she rang back, she was walking the dog and started by describing to me the huge horse chestnut tree she was walking under. Can we go outside one day? I blurted out. Can we take (Tdog) and walk? It might help me feel you are a really real person. Of course!  she said. We would just need to discuss what would happen if we bump into someone I know but that’s fine. If you want to go for a walk next session we can talk at the beginning and then go. Then you will know where I walk when I’m on the phone to you! She sounded positive and excited and I just loved her all the more for it.

When we had been on the phone for 15 minutes I said she needed to go and she was relaxed and said she had a few more minutes. I loved her for that, too… finding time. When we said goodbye, I felt lighter.

I emailed her much later, just before sleep. I just need to tell you that I love you. Forever. You and I may be finite and maybe there is no such thing as forever…but the impact you have had on my life and way you have changed me as a person will overcome all finite boundaries, until long past
we are dust making up the stars and last endlessly. 

I’m finding some balance again. I can feel it. Xx 

Augmented Reality.

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I went on a training day this week about new technology. One of the areas we covered was ‘augmented reality’. I’m not an expert but this to me means looking through a screen  (like a phone or a tablet) and seeing something different to what is actually there. Space shuttles, mountain ranges, skeletons… with a few clicks of a button, these appear on the table before you as if they are totally real.

When I was driving home I thought that this is pretty much what is upsetting me about therapy at the moment. Seeing and feeling things that aren’t really there. That can’t really be there. 

T was okay on Thursday. I remember very little about the session. I know I panicked when I had to leave and T asked to hold my hand for a bit before I had to go. We talked a bit about my desire to have a baby soonish and how thinking about that has brought up worries about how I will cope with medical interventions etc, and also a lot of grief that she won’t be involved in my children’s lives. 

Then I met with GP and we also had a (more detailed) conversation around the practicalities of support I am likely to need. The first step for me with this is to register with a GP near my home.

For over a year I haven’t lived in the surgery catchment area. I’ve been willing to travel and it hasn’t been a problem so far (although I have felt a little bit naughty when lying about my address for appointments)… but if I want to have a baby, I will need a GP near to me. 

GP was gorgeous about this. He promised me (and I believe him) that he will always make time for me, that me moving wouldn’t stop any contact but that I would have to be a private client and he would need to inform my new gp of any really important things. That doesn’t matter to me – I rarely see GP for genuine medical things now, mostly I see him because he strengthens my soul. So… We agreed that we would both have a look and see which GP might be a good one for me to move to. He said he would ring or email them before I saw them to explain my background. That felt supportive. I feel like now things are mostly okay it might be easy for someone to not believe me…but I need to be believed, always, because there are so many inevitable triggers in a medical setting and I can fly from calm to hysterical if triggered. Especially by a stranger. 

GP genuinely was really gorgeous about it but I could still feel myself going floaty and dissociative. I think I said I didn’t feel like I was there anymore and he offered to talk about something else but I didn’t want to because how am I ever going to have a child if I can’t even cope with someone NOT leaving me? I should have felt the boundary and stopped… I felt horribly lost and panicked and dissociative all weekend and poor GP had many texts from me begging him to stay, to still love me and not to leave me. T had the same. Oops 😦

It’s hard to separate out what this panic actually is. It feels like a terrifying fear that they will leave me… but i know they won’t. I trust them both. It’s more to do with my own children. 

It’s no secret that I am desperate for a baby. I’m also totally terrified that I will damage my children as much as I was damaged. I’m terrified I will cause their broken attachments…. that they will end up in therapy for years like me because I didn’t manage to keep them safe. I want to be a mum so badly but I am horribly worried about the damage I might cause. Anyone who’s been abused hears the awful ‘facts’ said about abused children…. how they become abusive adults, how there is a cycle of abuse etc etc. I cannot be that mother. I cannot damage my children.

So much of what we do is based on the modelling we received as infants. The model of parenting I have shown as a child was horrendous. But then… enter T and GP. They have both separately (and partially together, despite having never met each other!) modelled excellent ‘parenting’ with me. All those things I was desperate for as a child (safe boundaries, predictable outcomes, someone to cuddle me, someone to be proud of me, someone to guide me…), they do all that in spades. Working with them has made me a more securely attached person. They’ve made me more stable, more secure, less anxious, less impulsive, more considerate and generally just righted a lot of the wrongs. Not all. Never all. But a lot.

This is my augmented reality now. I am so incredibly blessed to have met two people who give so much of themselves to help ‘parent’ me. Most of the time, I live in my augmented reality world where they love me and care about me and I’m a priority for them and when things are good I run to tell them and when things are bad I run to be comforted by them and generally I am secure. I have this (albeit slightly bizarre) patchwork family that I hold onto and it works. 

It’s not real though. They’re not real, not in the way I allow myself to believe. My wedding was a painful reminder of that. I got married and neither of them were there. They were both so lovely and T especially did all she could to be a part of my day… but they weren’t there. And when I have children, they won’t be part of their lives either. Of course they won’t. They’re not ‘real’. 

I trust them both. I know that I will hopefully have my baby and I trust that they will both be genuinely pleased for me. I know that when that baby is tiny they would both let me bring her to a session. I know they will both love to meet her. But that’s not what augmented reality me wants. AR me wants them to know my children as they grow. AR me wants them to read my kids stories and take them to the park and tell them off when they’re naughty. AR me wants T to talk to my children about their emotions and how it’s okay to be themselves… AR me wants GP to teach my children the importance of kindness and being respectful. AR me wants them to be an integral part of my kids lives and they won’t. Of course they won’t. I know that. AR me doesn’t, though. 

They’ve raised me (they’re still raising me. They probably always will be). But because they’re not REAL, because they’re separated from me by a professional boundary I won’t ever be able to break down… They won’t help raise my children. 

My children will have my real parents as their grandparents. I feel sure that they will be good grandparents but they also got things wrong with me that they will never be allowed to get wrong with my kids. There are beliefs that I don’t agree with. They have ways that I won’t follow. But because they added egg and sperm together to make me, they get grandparent rights. The two people who actually raised me from broken, damaged little girl to half-successful adult, wife and hopefully soon mother… They don’t count. They only exist in my augmented reality. 

I know that the answer to this is to just be so grateful for person they’ve made me into… And know that they WILL influence my children, through me. Every time I choose to do something my way rather than the way I was shown as a child, they will have had a part in that. And that’s beautiful and not to be underestimated… But it doesn’t make the grief feel any better, and I just don’t really want to hear it. It is similar to telling me I will eventually learn to soothe myself without them. That’s probably true but that’s not what I want… I want them to always love me and soothe me, and I want them to be tangible, real people for my children – so my children are protected from the world so much better than I was. 

I feel really shitty because how selfish is that? They’re incredible people who give me so much yet I’m sulking because they won’t adopt me and let me pretend forever? It makes me despise their own REAL children who will get what I want without probably even ever being aware of how lucky they are. It makes me into this hideous, jealous, evil person who I hate. 

It makes me angry that nobody saved me when I was young enough to legitimately find a family like my augmented reality one. I know the realistic prospects for children taken into care…. but that knowledge doesn’t help my jealousy for T’s child (T is not birth mum) who’s own children get T as their grandmother. Nobody saved me and that forced me into an adult world where I don’t get to be saved. It forced the family I so desperately want into augmented reality. 

T made me absolutely howl down the phone at her this week by telling me she wouldn’t know my children but she would always be by my side. It stung like hell to hear it said so clearly. I should have heard the positive but I didn’t, I just heard the ruined fantasy. I’ve always known it’s not REAL but it hurt all the same. 

The rest of the week has passed with many tears and split skin where blades are helping me make sense of emotions too big for me to truly understand. I’ve still got a few days until I see T and it feels unbearable. 

I don’t know how to make this feel okay. It feels like an illusion has been shattered… even though I’ve always known deep down. It feels like being left, being abandoned with every heartbeat and I’m totally miserable with it. I don’t know how to explain it to anyone in real life because to them, T and GP aren’t real. They’re faceless professionals. I don’t know how to explain it to anyone who doesn’t have insecure attachments because it cannot make sense to securely attached people. I don’t know what to do. 

I’m sorry for being so selfish. This drawing reminded me of me. A little girl wanting the moon. X

And we’ll watch the sunset…

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I’ve tried to start writing this so many times. Here I go again. 

Therapy with T was really painful last week. Really gut wrenching, raw pain that made me want to be anywhere else but in front of her. Our first session back after my wedding and I was dreading it. I questioned whether I should even go. 

It felt okay to start with. Being with her gives me a sense of a lightness I rarely have anywhere else. With my knees crossed on her sofa, just the two of us… I feel at home with her. She gives me a feeling of being home… this is the feeling that always knocks the other, more difficult feelings away when I arrive. I often spend the hour of my drive thinking of all the difficult things, but then I sit down with her and I lose grip on all the difficult stuff. So to begin with it was okay. 

Then we started to talk about the wedding. My best day EVER. I wanted to share it with her and tell her everything but I started to and found I didn’t have the words. How do I describe to her the pure joy, the excitement, the funny little bits and the poignant moments? She wasn’t there. That feeling of loss, that she missed something so meaningful and important to me, came crashing down around me and I cried a few really hot sobs. 

I didn’t really know how to talk about it with her. She was so loving and kind in the run up to the wedding, anything I wanted to say sounded selfish and mean and horrible and grateful. I don’t want to be ungrateful because I know she went wildly above and beyond and talking about how upset I was felt unfair. 

It’s not really about the wedding. It felt more like the beginning of the end. Like I’d spent months preparing for the next lilypad in life with her, then I’d jumped but only then realised that she wasn’t going to jump with me. Transitions are always shitty but this felt especially so. I felt we had nothing to talk about because she didn’t really feel alongside me anymore. Even though she kept promising she was. 

Anyway eventually she did come and sit with me and we looked through my wedding photos and had a cuddle and then I left… not really feeling much better. 

I emailed her Sass’ horribly angry rant during the week which I’m just going to copy and paste below. 

Massive rant. Not sorry. 

I feel like I hate you. What is wrong with me. I can’t come next week feeling like this. I soooo nearly sent you the text I wrote asking to talk then I didn’t because…fuck you. You missed my wedding. It hurt in the run up and then on the day
it hurt but now it just feels rotting and ugly. I feel stupid for ever wanting you to come. I feel stupid for ever inviting you, for all the begging for you to come. It would be better if I’d never met you. It would be better if (previous counsellor) had referred me onto
anyone else who would never have coped with me and then they wouldn’t have kept me on after uni and then I would have split with (ex) and lost (my pets) and then killed myself. You wouldn’t be sad because you would never have met me, I was barely speaking to
my parents and had no friends so nobody would have missed me. I would have bled out of the world and nobody would even have noticed me gone.

You were stupid to keep me on after uni. You should have let me leave then you could have forgotten about me instead of getting stuck with me forever and ever because I’m a pathetic loser blocking a therapy space that you could use much better for someone
who might eventually be fixed. I’m never going to be fixed. I’m just going to sit on your sofa and spend my life whining at you, whilst some poor sod who you could actually cure will probably kill themselves because of me blocking your space.

And then eventually your bucket of patience will run empty because I spend my life poking holes in it and knocking it so it spills everywhere and you will leave me. Or you won’t leave but I will just KNOW I have to leave you because I’m a waste and then
I will feel all these shitty feelings I feel from you not going to the wedding but they will be a million times louder and uglier and then I will want to die because being a lonely unparented child again will make me not want to live except now I will have
a husband and friends and maybe kids and killing myself will make me selfish disgraceful fucking monster. 

Please don’t tell me I will be doing all the lovely wonderful happy feeling things for myself by the time I leave you because I won’t. And even if I do, even if I turn into a fucking therapy miracle child who heals all past wrongs by learning to self soothe,
that is one of the saddest things I have ever heard. When I have nightmares and I’m screaming for people to stop hurting me and (husband) tries to wake me to comfort me I push him away. Instead of reaching for him he has to watch as I stroke one hand with the other
hand, then swap back and forth until I’m no longer hysterical. I’m always asleep. He can’t wake me. And that is one of the saddest things ever to me. Self soothing doesn’t sound like something to be achieved – it’s something fucked up trauma kids learn to
do because there is nobody to do it for them and it feels really unfair that I’m going to have to learn to do that so you can escape me. How unfair is that. I don’t want to hear that I’m going to be okay on my own. I don’t want to be. I don’t want you to leave
me and I don’t want to learn to be okay without you. 

Now I’m a grown up aren’t I. I’m married with a job and a house and I want a baby. Now I’m a proper grown up and you’re going to leave me. Now I’m a grown up and grown ups don’t need mums so you won’t want me to need you and you will leave. I will hate
you forever if you leave. 

Please don’t leave me. I’m going to need you forever 😦
She replied to say she was glad I’d been able to express myself and she was looking forward to seeing me soon.

We talked again the beginning of this week, on the phone, and nothing felt much better really. I feel simultaneously like I’ve outgrown therapy and also like I never want to leave therapy ever. Like I have a never-ending list of a million things to talk to her about and yet none of them feel right. 

So now I’m finishing this blog post whilst I’m sat in my car outside her house…. because I’ve been so apathetic about therapy all week I’ve not had the energy to finish it before now! I hope this next hour is better. 

I’ve been obsessed with the Ed Sheeran song Castle on the Hill this week. Something about the desire to get back to what you once had, the sense of driving at 90miles an hour in a hope to propel yourself backward in time to a time where you could just be together and watch sunsets and just BE. It’s hopelessness appeals to me this week. There’s no going back. No matter how much we want to. 

The Selfish Princess and the Tiny Pea.

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So I got married! And it was wonderful. It was amazing in every way and I loved every single minute! 

Now the confetti has settled I feel a bit unsettled! I’m back into the routine of work and T is on holiday. Our session time is coming closer but we don’t actually have a session this week. 

I feel a little lost without her. I’m also not quite sure how I feel about seeing her. I love the ambivalence inside me….. not. 

T and I spoke on my wedding day. She rang when we’d agreed and within about 2 minutes I had said goodbye… I hated hearing her voice and knowing she was so far away. I felt so much heartbreak and upset on what was already the happiest day. I expected it to be lovely to hear from her but instead I hated it. We texted after the ceremony, when I sent her a picture and a video of me walking down the aisle. You look fabulous. Thank you, she wrote. 

In our last session before the wedding, I gave T her card and present. I was then entirely lost for words when she gave me a card and present back, too. We spent the rest of our session chatting about the excitement of the wedding, with the small package sat at my feet, confusing and exciting me. 

I opened it to find a beautiful card and the sweetest, softest, squishiest tiny bunny rabbit. 

This tiny, gorgeous rabbit (called Bella as she has a bell in her tummy!) holds so much for me. I was convinced T would feel the therapy boundaries too strongly and not even give me card, so for her to choose to give something so meaningful to us fills me with so much love. She is such a perfect symbol of our relationship. Bella was tucked into a bag on my wedding day, close by, and she helped me to feel that T was close by, too. 

So it was too painful to speak but T’s present gave me an amazing symbol of her on the day. Now, though, I feel unsure how our next session will go. She wasn’t there for such a massive day. I feel awful for still feeling the distance even when she did something so lovely to make me feel close to her. I want to show her the videos of the ceremony and the speeches, flick through photos with her and tell her all the funny bits and the sweetest bits and the bits I wished she had been there to see. But we have 50 minutes and that’s not enough time and probably a huge waste of her time. After all, she’s my therapist, I’m her client. Not her friend. 

I feel a small amount of trauma trigger that she missed something big. This was a GOOD big thing but I feel the trigger from all the BAD big things that people important to me missed before. It’s a totally different situation… and yet I feel distant from her because of it. I feel like there might always be the gap between us, that she missed a big thing. I remember feeling so alone and separated from adults who I knew loved me or cared for me but hadn’t noticed the big things happening. I feel the same here. It aches. 

I emailed T last night to say I was missing her. She replied back in a really warm and friendly way, telling me a little about her holiday and telling me she had been thinking about me. That helped. But I still feel unsure. 

I’ve just had a mental image of the princess and the pea. Me, the princess, sat on top of stacks and stacks of ‘mattresses’ of wedding love, happiness and sweet little bunnies. So lovely. But that hard little pea… I’m still feeling it. 

And that makes me feel selfish and ungrateful and cross with myself. I know T won’t think the same of me. But I do. 

X

The Last Professional to Thank… 

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Dear GP, 

Hopefully you will open this on the… and I will be getting married today! In amongst all the planning for the day it felt really important to me to be able to thank the people who have made it possible for me to be healthy, secure and happy enough for this day to be happening. So, this is my thank you…

When I first met you, my life was one big storm and I felt like the smallest boat on the water. Thunder and lightning, chaos and waves of trouble so big they were destroying me. I was lost at sea and I felt like I didn’t know where to begin with steadying my ship. Everything was a swirling mess of chaos and I was drowning. I knew I needed help to take control but even the options for help themselves were terrifying. Then we met and the first thing I remember about you was how calm, strong and steady you were. You made me feel safe. First, there were some waves you got in front of, which crashed onto you so they passed me by. Then there were some waves you stood by me and guided me through as they rocked me – I was safe because you were still there, even though I was starting to be in control. Some of them turned from terrifying to exciting once you’d helped me see them differently. Now, there are some waves I navigate all by myself, and when I prepare to, I feel safe because of all you have taught me and the belief you hold in me.

When (future husband) met me for the first time, he met somebody who had already been taught how to manage rough waters, how to stay strong and rise above, and how to sail her own ship. Our relationship exists in part because of the support and guidance you’d shown to the girl on the water terrified of everything. Our marriage is my greatest adventure so far and it comforts and strengthens me to know that our vows to each other will be said to the background noise of the waves against the cliff we will be stood on – there is something  incredibly poetic in the reminder of how far I have come, and how far we can go together.

My wedding day is a day for gratitude – I know that today, because of all your positive energy, integrity and unwavering support, we’re here and it’s amazing! I can often feel the contradictions within myself – the excitement and fear of the waves – but I know that you have been the person who has taught me to sail on in spite of that, and made it possible for everything to feel so very beautiful.

With much love and gratitude, today and always,

Me x

My ‘Therapist of the Bride’ Card…

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Dear T, 

Hopefully you will open this on … and I will be getting married today! In amongst all the planning for the day it felt really important to me to be able to thank the people who have made it possible for me to be healthy, secure and happy enough for this day to be happening. So, this is my thank you…

When I first met you I was terrified of the dark – and of my life. I slept with a light on at night and I stayed inside, instead of risking being out alone in the darkness. I’m not sure we talked about that specific fear, but since then, we’ve talked about many other metaphorical darknesses. You changed my view of night time. You heard me – you listened and held me and made me feel less alone in the dark. You took the darkness in my life and helped me fill it with so many beautiful, bright stars – when I look back at all that has been made possible with your support, I feel so much gratitude and pride for all I’ve achieved – all those things are now bright stars in my sky. Throughout all our work, you have turned the night into a time for marvelling at the stars.

When I saw this card and heart it reminded me of us and seemed especially apt because my wedding feels like a place to pause and acknowledge all the beautiful parts of my life – the stars which surround me. Because of you, now when I’m driving home in the dark or I wake in the night, I see the stars before I see the darkness. They remind me of you and I am always filled with warmth and love and a connection to you. To me, you are one of the brightest stars in my sky.

You’ve read me the line in the book so many times, where Big Bear takes Little Bear to see the stars, a reminder that light is all around. He falls asleep in the starlight, holding the safety of both the stars and Big Bear in his heart. I love that this rabbit has one bright star held closely in his heart – this is how I feel today. We are apart but you are held so close to my heart. My ‘something new’ today is a bracelet with a rabbit and some stars – he is running towards the stars, chasing them, and I love him because he reminds me of what you’ve taught me – to look for the stars.

My wedding day is a day for gratitude – for lying back and watching the stars. I know that today, because of all your love, warmth and endless support, I am blessed. I can often feel the contradictions within myself – the darkness and the stars – but I know that you have been the support and guidance which has helped shape me in spite of that and made it possible for everything to feel so very beautiful.

With much love and gratitude, today and always,

Me x

Inbetweener.

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T managed to find me a time for one more session next week before my wedding. That changed today from being the last session to being an inbetween session. 

We just chatted. About work, job applications, the wedding, having babies… and as she was choosing names for my not even yet conceived future children, my heart swelled with love for her. 

It was just what we needed. A session where we had the space to be ourselves, without the pressure of it being a last session. She was just what I needed today. X

Things We Will Never Do

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We will probably never stand in the sun together outside. Or the snow. We will talk about the clouds, you will tell me about the stars, but we will probably never stand together underneath the beauty that means so much to us, but separately. 

We will never send birthday cards. I probably won’t ever know when your birthday is – even knowing the month feels like I’ve intruded too far, sometimes.

We will never eat together. I have no idea what food you hate, what you love, what you choose when everything in life feels shit and you just need something comforting and easy. 

I will never call you mum. 

Our families will never meet. You might meet my children, cradle them when they are tiny and young enough not to understand what therapy is… but shortly after, I guess they will have to pull away from you too. 

You won’t come to my wedding. We are going to talk on the day but in some ways that makes you a ghost. Present but not really. Knowing you won’t give me a cuddle or a card on the day is heartbreaking.

You will never say “I love you” freely and easily to me. 

We will never watch crappy tv together. 

I will never see you in non-work clothes. 

You will never talk about me to anyone who isn’t another professional. I will always be one of your secrets. 

I will never know how to describe you to someone I meet for the first time. The word I want for you doesn’t exist. You will never need to describe me at all. 

I will not be able to grieve you when you are gone. I won’t know where to take flowers. I may not even be told. I may find out by googling. If I die, you will only find out if someone remembers to tell you. 

I won’t always know if you’re even in the country. I will always worry when I read of atrocities in the news because I will never be sure you aren’t there. 

You will never visit my home. I will never go further than your therapy room. 

You will never come to save me. Broken down car, stranded after the last tube, really poorly or just having a horrendous day… you will never drop everything and come get me, scoop me up and make it okay. 

I won’t ever know if you’re not okay, unless you are SO not okay that you cannot work. Your heart will break and your week will be shitty and you will always tell me that you are okay when I ask.  

We will never walk by the sea together. The waves connect my soul to you but we won’t ever stand watching them together.

I will never fall asleep knowing you’re close by. Even though sometimes all I want to do for my hour session is sleep listening to your heartbeat. 

You will never love me anywhere close to how much I love you. I will never be as important to you as you are to me. I will be forgotten when you are unforgettable. 

We are not permanent. We are both borrowing each other. The permanence my heart yearns for will never be. 

That is the worst of all. x