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Catching you up (5)

by JustEliza on 15 March 2010

(Selections from July, 2008)

17 weeks exactly since my referral.
>2 times longer than the original specified waiting period.
7 days until my first appointment.

I finally got the letter from the counsellor.

---

Things I have learned since my referral:

I am not well.
This is important, because the thing most keeping me from my goals is the assumption that I am well and that I am capable of doing anything, as I am. I am not well and there are many things I am not capable of achieving without a huge impact on my health and life.

I don't like or love my parents.
This isn't anger speaking; this is numbness. This is the best my body and brain can do in the circumstances. They hurt me and did not care for me as a parent should. I am a worse person when they are around. Every new painful episode is a result of me trying to be a daughter to them, and I can't be that daughter right now. I can't be that daughter yet.

I can't get over it.
Cliched, but I need to stop convincing myself that just because I'm successful doesn't mean I'm not haunted. It's because of my drive for success that I've managed to get this far, but it's not enough to get me all the way. I don't need to maintain this baggage.

I'm terrified of being different.
I am content being plump and unkempt because I'd rather be likeable and matronly and respected than attractive, hot, and wanted. Similarly, I am content being numb and uncaring, because.. why? Will I ever be able to sit quietly and still? Will I ever be able to cope with a holiday, with a break, with a rest?

I have to admit, I'm not happy about starting therapy. Most of me has been trying to convince the rest of me that none of my past ever happened, and now I am purposefully meeting with someone to declare the opposite. It's difficult -- much harder than a pill, but moreso because I never talk to people like that.

I'm afraid to be weak and I'm afraid to be strong.

So strong, I get rejected from adequate therapy and continue on as I am, running and running away.
So weak, I get rejected for being unable to cope with what has surely been an inconsequential lifetime of events.

I'm desperate to know why I can't keep friends. I'm even more desperate to know why I can't keep caring. Will fighting the numbness be a battle for me forever? When I'm 'healed' will I still want to be where I am, who I am? Will I want my husband the same, more, or less?

I know there isn't a magic cure. I know it's better to have more realistic goals than just an opaque 'make everything go away already' ... but I don't yet have the clarity or, moreover, the hope to really believe I will eventually be capable of having the same drive, the same success, without all the stress.

----

I've been more frantic (manic?) lately than numb. I do prefer being numb, because although the euphoria does pump me up and make things move quickly, nothing quite sucks as much as the horrified downer that occurs afterwards.

I recognise this pattern occurring a lot in my past, actually. Traditionally, I would extend myself in social situations, becoming extraordinarily witty and on-target, and then as soon as we all go home, I'd have flashbacks of fear and an intense self-doubt. Moreover, though, I'd feel patently awful about what had, at the time, seemed like quite a decent time.

I do tend to avoid social situations, and not because I don't feel capable of being social, but because I'm learning to hate how I feel afterwards. I can't predict it, and I am tired of all of my memories becoming weapons.

The simplest answer is often the best. I haven't continued reviewing my trauma but I've researched enough into my early life to piece together a proper diagnosis. I wonder if the counsellor will agree.

The simple answer is that I have had attachment problems since I was born. This definitely explains why I was prime for victimisation as a child, and it seems the PTSD and attachment disorder go hand in hand. It explains why, so far away from my triggers, I still struggle with the basics that I've always struggled with: coping with others.

This also gears me to set real goals for the therapy (which I definitely needed). It also enables me to identify choices and behaviours that are healthy and that do help.

----

 

…it's amusing to think if only my parents were criminals or addicts .. then maybe someone might have noticed and rescued me. Then maybe I would've been loved and protected by somebody in a way only children can be.



Before today, the shame would've prevented me from admitting I've only ever wanted that, but I'm adult enough now to say, a shy 4 days before my first day of therapy, that all I've ever truly needed and wanted was to be someone's cherished child. No amount of paycheck will ever replace that desire, so don't mistake my determination for my passion. I've never been empty by choice, though I've tried to convince myself otherwise.

To some degree, we've all felt the imperfections of our caregivers, our parents. I don't belittle your experience or belabour my own. But in avoiding blame, I've also avoided the cure. I don't have to suffer them as triggers for my PTSD; why do I have to keep forcing myself to be something I never was? It's a tragedy I still can't fully comprehend: how I can have been with them for so long and yet have so little to show?

This evidence is key: before the first moment I was bullied, I was already grieving. I was already suffering. I was already alone. The biggest betrayal was not the years of abuse, it was the lack of support. I've spent my entire life grieving for something I never knew I deserved. What a miracle that I've even had the opportunity to be in a trusting, positive relationship now. What a miracle that I'm even loved at all.

Someday, it won't just be the motions I'm going through.

----


I didn't write after my first meeting with the therapist, because I wasn't sure what to write. I'd almost prefer not to think about it at all, and that is certainly what got me there in the first place. In some respects, I don't like her, but that's the nature of it all. If I wasn't crippled with shame over sharing these piecemeal parts of me with a stranger, I wouldn't be needing to. So, in many respects, recognising that I don't like her, she who exists to challenge me, is a perfectly normal part of the process.

She kept stressing that it gets worse before it gets better, and she made me cry several times, but only out of stress.

I know it gets worse before it gets better. I think I'm afraid that once I start walking, I'll just keep going.

As the therapist said... 'Running away.'

I do run away. But when there are always things to run away to, how can that be helped? I feel so much better not thinking about my parents. I feel so much happier ignoring they exist.

 

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