Saturday, 29 August 2009

First Therapy Break

My therapist is on a break; a two week break which means that I miss four sessions.The last session I had with her was... a difficult place to just 'drop therapy' for two weeks.

I've been informed by her that I have a "disorganised attachment disorder", and in all honesty, given the lack of organisation I practice generally, I'd say that there may be a fair chance this is true.
(Ok. So I am deliberately choosing to misunderstand her).
I don't know much about attachment disorder, other than it is to do with the way a child attaches to its mother during infanthood.
Having little more than a 2 gig memory, it's a strain to recall memories of events that happened 3 years ago, let alone memories of what it may have been like 30 odd years ago, so you'll forgive me if I am slightly cynical. A disorganised attachment though, is allegedly the result of having a mother who cannot (for whatever reason) meet the needs of her baby.

I always thought it was a sign of being incredibly well adjusted if you never really missed anyone while they were away.

Apparently not.

It's amazing how negative a spin the mental health profession can put on everything.
Like... washing your hands a lot can't just be 'a penchant for cleanliness'. Oh no. It has to be 'an OCD'.

Weary sigh.

I'm talking crap and I know it.

Just wanted to let the bricks in my walls have a few words so they feel like they are still important.

Thoughtful of me huh?

Friday, 28 August 2009

Learning From Lyrics II (more on Pink Floyd)

Having identified the experience of loss, rejection and betrayal as foundational bricks in The Wall, I'm going to go on and have a look at Part II of 'Another Brick in the Wall' (and thanks to the lovely Gail, I can also hopefully manage to embed the song! - I say 'hopefully' warily!)

Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 (Waters) 3:56

We don't need no education
We dont need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

We don't need no education
We dont need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

"Wrong, Do it again!"
"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you
have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"
"You! Yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

The haunting tones of a young child in the first part of the trilogy, are here replaced by those of an angry and rebellious adolescent. Rather than the earlier focus on loss, the theme changes to the damage done by the 'dark sarcasm' of teachers during school years.
(It occurs to me as I write that, paradoxically, the double negative in the first line is indicative of the fact that they DO need education!)
Waters' experiences with education clearly had a negative effect on him, as he writes about the oppressive schooling which became, 'another brick in the wall".

Few people I know came out of school unscathed and I can particularly identify with these lyrics as I recall a certain year in a very small Roman Catholic Primary School where the numbers were so small that children in Years 5 and 6 had to share a teacher and classroom.
The teacher I refer to was notorious for being a horrible, unfeeling man who had little patience for any child who he deemed to be 'weak' (sounds slightly Victorian, I know. In actual fact, he was a Northerner living with a load of 'soft Southerners' and there was truth in the stereotype in this instance).

I watched that man bully my middle sister, week anfter week, as she failed spelling test after spelling test (because she was dyslexic and not academically inclined).
He would make the class sit down as counted down from 20 out 20 to 10 out of 20 (by which time only a few students were left standing. As he got even lower, I would sit twisting my pencil in my hand, willing him to have mercy.
4 out of 20. My sister would still be standing, by this time, visibly trembling with her face and ears burning.
When she couldn't stand the humiliation anymore, her reddened face would screw up and she would begin to cry with the desperation of someone who knows that they can't afford to be crying.
"Go boil yer head", was his usual, disgusted, response.

I would grip and twist my pencil until it hurt. The unbearable stiffness in my spine makin it hard to even breathe properly as I visualised stabbing him with the pencil, or heroically facing him with the all the cold, angry bitteness of a ten year old child who has yet to become immune to watching the same sister suffer.

Despite the fact that my career revolves around education, I find myself wincing when I see colleagues treating young people badly.
Even in the slightly more emotionally 'enlightened' era we now live in, I would bet that most teachers have NO IDEA how much damage they may potentially do to a vulnerable young person.

When Pink sings about education in Part II, I think that he is referring to the shame that comes from being subjected to mockery, sarcasm, humiliation.
You want a wall built fast? Shame is your material.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Learning From Lyrics (Even More Words on Walls)

Ok. So... If anyone knows about walls, it's Pink Floyd.

I've been thinking about his wall-themed-songs (penned by songwriter Roger Waters) over the last week or so but haven't managed to write anything, partly because I haven't had the time to do so and partly because I am feeling a sense of deadness (which is another post altogether).
Please bear with me as I attempt to collate the assortment of jumbled thoughts I have had about Water's lyrics and why I think they are such a powerful metaphor. It's a work in progress ok?! (Ain't we all!).

Anyway, for those who are not familiar with Pink's brilliant 'The Wall' album (and to be honest, I'm not a raving fan, I just happened to like this album when I was teenager dreaming of rebellion) there are three parts which specifically make use of the wall metaphor.
I have a feeling that when examined closely, Pink's wall might well have similar foundations and similar bricks to the ones that many of us 'building types' have used.
I'm going to start with the first.

Another Brick in the Wall. Part 1

Daddy's flown across the ocean
Leaving just a memory
Snapshot in the family album
Daddy what else did you leave for me?
Daddy, what'd'ja leave behind for me?!?
All in all it was just a brick in the wall.
All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.

The haunting first part of the trilogy refers to Water's father, who left to fight in World War II and never returned.
In this very short verse, we hear the the innocent, and naturally egocentric, questioning of a small child as he struggles to comprehend the loss he has suffered, interpreting it as a rejection.
There is also perhaps, a sense of anger and of bitterness in the question about what the father had left behind, apart from a memory and a photo.
The wall has started in the child. It is not something that the child has planned or wished for. It wasn't a brick that was selected or specially placed, but the impact amounted to the foundations for the wall.


I wonder how many of us have walls with huge bricks which would, if touched, speak of loss and grief.

I'm not just talking about death either. I'm talking the loss of anything.
Even if Water's father had returned from that war, it would still have been a loss when he left; a feeling of abandonment would still lodge itself somewhere in the child's frightened mind.
Rejection too. Powerfully destructive and it forces in some of us, a need to protect ourselves from a future of rejections and losses.
We build a wall.

Few children are emotionally equipped to deal with the emotions that swell in and around loss. Even worse if our parents are unable to hold us in the grief and the anger and the chaos.

Like most of us, I've had people die. But the worst losses I have ever suffered haven't been through death. No. The worst loss I have ever felt is my middle sister. And she is still alive, though the word 'alive' seems incongruous if I am writing about her. She exists rather than lives.

My sense of loss and rejection at the start of my teenage years was a founding brick in my wall.

I'm wondering whether anyone else can idenify with this.

******** (and) To anyone reading, do you know hw I can embed a vid from youtube in a blog post WITHOUT having to use the 'share on(name of blog)' option on the youtube site? Is it possible?
Thank for reading *********

Monday, 24 August 2009

More About Walls.

A while back I read this extract by A.J Mahari. She writes about Borderline Personality Disorder which, by by the way, is one pathology that I don't have. However, I think much of what she writes applies to most of us in one way or another (or atlest, at one time or another)


Walls. Emotional walls, physical walls. Walls of anger, walls of rage, walls of fat; walls that are all designed to protect. Protect what? Have you ever got to the point where you wonder this, protect what?

So much of the "Borderline" behavior and "acting out" is all designed to protect by throwing up walls between oneself and others or oneself and one's very own feelings.

It can get very lonely and isolated and depressing within the confines of these walls. Walls that push loved ones away while a child aspect of you screams for their arms around you, screams for nurture. You reject this nurture, you must protect from the closeness and ache ever so much in the rejecting distance that you yourself have created by becoming a slave to the need for the protection of your walls.

For some people these walls are the scars of self-injury, of cutting themselves over and over again in an effort to find some safe comfort, close comfort from a distance.

For others, numbing out feelings and anger with food the walls that pin you in are layers and layers of fat, eaten there by your own choice to protect and not to learn.

No matter how many walls you can entrap yourself behind, giving more and more power and time to the pain that you seek to protect yourself from feeling.....the pain is always there, close by, maybe an arms length away, a cut away, a burn away, a drink or drug away or a few chocolate bars, a cake, a pie away....there, waiting ever so patiently to be felt, acknowledged and expressed.

If you have built these walls, of behavior, of rage, of injury, of fat, (or of thinness that threatens your life) how can you find your way back to the pain? That pain, being held at bay, on the other side of your walls, is the bridge to your freedom. It is the way to once and for all leave this angst behind.

Borderline Personality Disorder causes those who have it to wall themselves off from what they need and want in ways that recapitulate the past and how they were walled off from that original care-giver with whom no bond was possible.

Think about this today, was that your fault? Do you need to go on punishing yourself, adding wall after wall to your arsenal of lonely, aching defense? You were a young and rightfully needy young child. The "original" wall, that so annihilated you, that threatened your very existence so completely, emotionally, if not physically as well....that fractured your ego to one degree or another is not yours. Go back, get in touch with those feelings, from that original wall of wounds. Feel them and express them, safely and (I speak from experience) you can then learn how to set yourself free from the walls that you are still building. You need to let the "original pain" in, let it flood in (with support/ in therapy), then, learn to cry, grieve it, express it, let it flood out....the results will be a new view on much of your life and of others. You can then systematically, slowly, over time begin to dismantle your walls.

These walls may have "originally" risen up from others in your life who hurt you and let you down, but once you reach adulthood, (by chronological age) it is up to you to get there emotionally too. Reclaim yourself.

You are "good enough", you are "worthy" you do deserve to know a life outside of all of those BPD walls.

Walls. Emotional walls, physical walls. Walls of anger, walls of rage, walls of fat; walls that are all designed to protect. Protect what? Have you ever got to the point where you wonder this, protect what?

The answer is you are trying, in the "here and now" to constantly protect yourself from the "original" wounds of can't anymore, they have already happened, the cause is now long gone.....Subsequently, however, you've continued to make the choice to re-live and re-live this don't have to anymore. Stop trying to protect yourself from what has happened and what can be over when you choose for it to be. (Through hard work/therapy).

The walls are your walls. The walls are reactionary. The walls are no longer necessary. Step beyond the illusionary safety of the very walls that are much of the source of your pain today.....the world awaits your are that are that world waiting to be born, yet again.

Take the walls down. Those walls are no longer viable. They are not holding out new pain, they are holding in very old pain. Take the walls down.

© Ms. A.J. Mahari - May 9, 1999

The first time I read this I was torn between loving it for it's understanding and feeling frustrated by it for its rather blithe 'take down the walls' command.
I love the wisdom, but I hate the state of open vulnerability that it implies we should be living in, should we take down our walls.
I find myself loving the concept of being free, no longer imprisoned, living out of the shadows. And yet, hating the reality of being raw, exposed, at risk.
Walls are there for a reason aren't they? To say that they are no longer serving a useful purpose seems presumptuous at best.

Please feel free to respond. I'm interested in what others make of this.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Thoughts About Walls

Thanks in part to two readers here, Mark and Wanda (seriously... thank you), and also inspired by therapydoc's post about 'The Disappearing Act' , I have been thinking about the concept of walls.
Far stronger than physical walls, the walls I have been pondering are emotional walls. You know the kind I mean.

My guess is that there are very few people who haven't built a wall around something inside them. I guess with some confidence because walls are constructed as a response to pain or threat and they essentially serve the same purpose; to defend and to protect.
And who hasn't been hurt or felt as though they may be in danger?

Walls defend
Each brick has been puposefully and carefully laid, the foundations are often nearly as old as we are. They may not always be easily accessible or, for that matter, identifiable, but they always feel safe..
Maybe we have a 'don't get too close' brick in our wall? Perhaps a 'I don't care anyway' brick. Bricks that were originally shaped by rejection and are now cemented by the intense fear of it. Whole walls are built using this type of material.

There are painful bricks, bricks that will cut if they are touched. 'I don't need' bricks, watchful bricks, ready to advance like an attacking army if they sense danger.
Then there are other bricks. Bricks which are old and heavy, dark stones that can't be named because they can't be seen or touched. Dead bricks. Most useful for building walls of despair and depression.

I can't name all the bricks in my wall and I doubt that I am alone in finding that too daunting a task.

I feel like at this point in therapy, I am beginning to get a sense of the wall.
I am just starting to take in the scale and fortitude of what I have constructed.

I'd be interested in any thoughts about bricks so feel free to share.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Playing Mummies and Daddies

To say I that I was an anxious kid would be to downplay the terror that tore through me each night and very often, in situations during the day. But, downplay it I do... I guess because my parents just seemed to receive it with a mixture of shoulder shrugging, eye rolling, 'she's absolutely bloody neurotic and hopefully she'll grow out if it', kind of concerned bemusement.

Those words.
They stuck.
They define me now. Not just then.

I did too.
Forget monsters in the wardrobe. We're talking real men here, lying under my bed with a 12 inch syringe of a lethal chemical which, upon being injected into the bloodstream, would cause almost instant paralysis. I would die in screaming pain without being able to utter a sound.
Overactive imagination? I think so too.

The hardest thing perhaps was that, instead of being able to take refuge in childish sleep, I was an incurable insomniac from the earliest age.
I was the night watch. Guarding the house. Responsible for the safety of my family.

It's a thankless task being a watchman while the rest of your world sleeps.

Lonely hours spent crunched up on the stairs, staring at the shadows.

Straining to hear.
Nightie pulled and stretchd over cold, bony knees. A leather bound volume of Shakespeare at my feet, a heavy weapon.

More neurosis.
It would appear that I believed that an excess of alcohol would cause a person to become dangerous. Thus, I thought that when drunk (which was an infrequent occurance) my dad would murder my mum as she slept. Whenever they had been out to friends' houses, I waited for hours outside their room to hear my mother's muffled screams.

I also believed that if people slept on their backs, they would swallow their tongues and choke to death as they slept.
Nobody else seemed to care about this. Nobody seemed bothered that my sisters might be suffocated by on of their own organs.

So I was responsible for keeping them alive.

Four, five, times a night I would tread on trembling tiptoes into their rooms and either suffer the heart stopping panic of finding one of them asleep on their back, or the warm rush of relief to find one curled up and sleeping on her side.
Each time I found them in the death position, I would gently place my finger under her nose to check that she was breathing.
Then I would carefully roll her on her side and tuck the duvet behind her.

Today my therapist listened to me explain the night time procedure of checking they were still breathing and said it was what a new mother did to her new baby.
She said I took on the mother role.
I felt winded by this. (No pun intended)!

I thought about this and thought about my watching the shadows and realised I took on the father role too.
She said it was like playing mummies and daddies, except for real.

I'm not sure I like the implications. But I was blown away by the understanding of what I was doing.

Aspects Of Me

I got overwhelmed about all the different branches on the me tree so, I resorted to the much revered mind map method.
Here's what it looks like.
I'm not sure if it enlarges when someone clicks on it but it's no great shakes if it doesn't. It's more for my benefit.
Helps me to seperate some of the tangles.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Prison of Panic

If I had been kidnapped and locked up in a house with my jailer, it would be very likely that I would be furiously angry with him or her. I suspect that I would spend some time trying to cajole, some trying to empathise and some just screaming and cursing.

Today my house is my prison and I am my own jailer.

I was supposed to be going away for a few days, I've even been excited about the prospect. I really need to get away.
I'm no longer going. I can't face it. I am 'saving myself' by staying in prison.

What do you do when you are your jailer? Empathise? Get angry?
The obvious answer is to force myself to face the fear... to attempt to break out, ut I've done that so many times over the years and, contrary to the CBT philosophy, instead of getting easier each time, it's always as bad, if not worse.

So. I'm curling up in my cell, which sounds shockingly feeble, but is at least better than the fight when I am this tired of it.

Monday, 17 August 2009

My Blog Has An Inferiority Complex!

I'm not liking the direction this blog is taking...

I suppose that when you entitle a blog 'Tears Behind The Smile - A Journey Through Therapy', it is somewhat indicative of the fact that it's not exactly going to sparkle with fun and comic genius. That being said, I keep coming across blogs by people who somehow manage to gracefully combine their introspective meanderings with dazzling wisdom and charmingly self-effacing wit.
I think I'm fostering an unhealthy 'blog inferiority complex'!
In the dawning of this realisation, I find that I am faced with the option to quit because I am a rather unimaginitive blogger who is overwhelmed both by the talent and bravery of others, and by the idea of ever making sense of a ridiculously complicated, and yet, rather dull journey. Or, I can continue to add to the rather alarming population of moaning and whining blogs that already exist.

The fact I am rambling about this pretty much tells you that I chose the latter of the two options. However, I feel compelled to preface all my posts with some kind of apologia which acknowledges that this place is going to be generally fucking miserable.

I haven't written much about the things I want to yet. largely because I seem to have a fifty foot wall imprisoning all the words that I would need to describe such things.

I'll get there.

Today's therapy session was... another thing I should be able to write about but can't find words for.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

To Trust or Not To Trust... THAT is the issue

You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink”
Terry Pratchett

I'm struggling to write about a lot of my therapy sessions, which is ludicrous given that I started this blog so I would have a place to air some of the things I was finding confusing or difficult.
I guess the thing I am finding most difficult at the moment is my fear of giving myself an inch... Of allowing myself the luxury of being heard an understood.
I'm caught between denial and the desire to deny myself. It's a hard place to be stuck and there's not a lot of space to manouevre.

OK. So. Who doesn't have an issue with trust? I mean, it's a hard thing to trust someone. Especially a therapist.
And that's the problem.

I don't trust her. I don't think I even WANT to trust her.

I explained to her that I was utterly ashamed at the me who she saw. It's not the 'me' that everyone else sees. It's a miserable and introspective, selfish and hopeless me.

I was DREADING going to therapy on Friday because it feels like such a RISK to be seen like this.
I explained it to her saying that I saw it as me having two options.
I either go and present myself to her as honestly as I am trying to... and in doing so, I am laid wide open to the horrible fear that she will be disgusted with me for my negativity, disgusted by my weakness, just disgusted by ME. OR I go and chat about lighthearted things and give her my 'outside' part, pragmatic, logical, competent, cynical and humourous. However, in doing this, I leave her room in a state of inner agony because I have sat close enough to relief to touch it but in keeping with denying myself anything good, I have chosen to walk away with desperation.

She said that put her in a double bind.
I said that put ME in a double bind.

I have bound both of us.

She said that she knew she couldn't soothe me at the moment.
Then she tried anyway and started saying that therapy has been around for so long because it works and that we could make the suffering go and ... and then she said other stuff and my mind went far away and I saw those bloody grey patches if I looked up. (I need to explain the mind thing, but that is another post).
I gripped the cushion and concentrated on the bones in knuckles,imagining them going through her glass window. ( I realise I sound a little crazy here but...)
In my whole body all I could hear was me screaming, "You're going to hurt me. You are going to hurt me".

I can't get past this. She is going to hurt me. She is going to get sick and tired of me. She is going to get horribly impatient and tell me to get over it. To get a grip. Tell me that I have to grow up. Tell me that I am being pathetic.
I want to leave her before she does that.

If I let her kindness touch me then I am just weakening my defences, and if I allow that for a second, BANG! She'll sock it to me and it will finish me off.

I am so stupidly afraid of her.

I explained some of this and she talked about transference.
I am uncertain and my mind is unclear.

I can't trust her not to destroy me. How can this ever work? (Answers on a postcard to...)

Friday, 14 August 2009


I cant feel
Feel a thing
I cant shout
I cant scream
Breathe it out
Breathe it in
All this love
From within

I wont cry when you say goodbye
Im out of tears
I wont die when you wave goodbye
Im out of tears
Out of tears

I wont drink
I wont eat
I cant hear
I wont speak
Let it out
Let it in
All this pain
From within
And I just cant pour my heart out
To another living thing
Im a whisper
Im a shadow
But Im standing up to sing

I wont cry when you say goodbye
Im out of tears
I wont die when you wave goodbye
Im out of tears, yes I am
I wont cry, I swear my eyes are dry
Im out of tears
I wont cry, Im going to tell you why
Im out of tears
Out of tears
Out of tears

Let it out
From within
Some you lose
Some you win
I can drift
I can dream
Til I float
Off your screen
And I just cant pour my heart out
To another living thing
Im a whisper
Im a shadow
But Im standing up to sing

I wont cry when you say goodbye
Im out of tears
I wont die when you wave goodbye
Im out of tears
Out of tears
I wont cry, I swear my eyes are dry
Im out of tears
Out of tears
I wont cry, Im going to tell you why
Im out of tears
Out of tears
Out of tears

I think this just about says it all really.
I can't work out whether this is how I actualy feel, or whether this is just the way that I WANT to feel...
I guess that maybe it's a combination but I like it because it expresses a tiny bit of the numbness I have come to know.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

My Sister The Anorexic

If life were a little more 'Sound of Music', and a little less 'Final Destination', the beginning would indeed be a very good place to start.
However, I can't really say where it all began and so the 'beginning' is really just a blur of tangled threads running though the family loom. Threads which, over the years, have merged and fused, stretched and thinned, snapped and frayed.
For a long, long time, I didn't know where my sister ended and I began.

This is difficult to write.

My sister is anorexic. Severely.
Until recently, I always thought that there are 3 kinds of anorexic. Those who are 'reactive' anorexics, people who are responding to some kind of trauma, tragic life event, loss, abuse etc.
Then there's the second type, 'cultural' anorexics, those who are influenced by the media's disgusting portrayal of beauty... and now in particular, the younger generation's 'emo' population - 'beautiful is broken' image...
And then there is the third type, 'Pure' Anorexia. Anorexia that is not a reaction or a rebellion. Anorexia nervosa in it's purest (and most deadly) form. Up to 20% of anorexics die from their illness and I would argue that most of that 20% fall into the third category.

I preceeded that paragraph with 'until recently', because nowadays I am not as certain about this (or anything else) as I used to be.

My sister almost certainly seems to fall into the third category though.
She is quite undoubtedly mentally ill. Her anorexia is a personality, a pathology.

When I was 14, I lost my sister. Not because she died, but because this illness scooped out every part of her that I had known and loved, took command of her mind and infiltrated her cells. It's almost impossible for me to remember who my sister was but one thing is for certain, she no longer lives. Her fragile body is just a home for her disease.

8 Reasons Why I Don't Have An Eating Disorder

1. I LIVE on sweets and chocolate. All day.

2. About 50% of the time I look at myself and know I am looking thinner.

3. I have to FORCE myself to go to the gym as much as I do.

4. I am not a perfectionist.

5. I am 31 years old. I'm too old to start being anorexic.

6. I am too rational and logical AND I have too much self awareness.

7. I really like food.

8. My sister is an anorexic.

I realise that I have developed 'issues' with food. This is not new. I have struggled in phases with disorder eating. In the last year though, something has changed and it's all become a little more serious and a lot more confusing.

I have been studiously avoiding discussing it here... and I feel compelled to lie now that I am, which is absurd! What will that achieve? Why would I try to protect myself from that which I already know?

I'm doing that a lot lately.

I feel as though a part of my mind which is vaguely 'aware' of new possibilities and realisations is being attacked by a stronger part of my mind which is determined to keep anything from being fully realised.

And now... with the food... and my sister... and...

I'm not going there tonight but I need to write about her.

Another thing I've been thinking of and avoiding.


Despite therapy, despite blogging and despite trying to be more open with myself, I've never not understood more than I don't understand at the moment.

(Ya..! Work that one out!)

Monday, 10 August 2009


It's a therapy day today... Again.
I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Friday's session felt... like talking about the latest Nescafe advert when you are standing on a chair with a noose round your neck.
Dramatic, I know.

It occurred to me the other day that this blog is a reflection of my journey.
I am dancing around all sorts of things, unable to actually voice anything... Kicking and fighting new realisations that challenge my own truths... Thinking up a million different lists to evidence the fact that I am, in fact, absolutely ok.
It's ridiculous. Absurd. What do I stand to gain from being dishonest with myself?

My therapist notices and explains that my mind fragments when I talk about certain things. I notice it too now. I imagine my mind to look like a snail which, when touched, shrinks until it disappears altogether. Short of smashing the shell, there's nothing you can do but wait.

It sounds like I have suffered horrendous abuse and all sorts of terrible traumas.
I haven't. I would make more sense to myself if that were the case, but it's simply not.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Oh, The Shame!

A few days ago I realised that I spelled 'navel' as 'naval' on the web address for this blog, thus changing the entire meaning and making me a prize idiot.

I cannot believe I didn't notice this at the time.

An unforgiveable mistake given my career!

Friday, 7 August 2009


A Very Expensive Chat

I've just come back from therapy.

We chatted about the housing market and web forums and my sister's latest relationship disaster.

Another session where I sat there feeling a part of me bound, gagged and writhing.
When do I give up on this?

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Catapult - Counting Crows cover

All of the sudden she disappears
just yesterday she was here
tell me if I am sleeping
someone should be with me here
(cause I don't
wanna be alone)

I wanna be the knife that cuts into my hand
and I wanna be scattered from here in this catapult
What a big baby won't somebody
save me please
You won't find nobody home

all of these quiet
battered voices
wait for the hunger to come
we got little revolvers and
stupid choices
and no one to say when we're done
(Well I don't wanna
bring you down)

I wanna be the light that burns out your eyes
`cause I know there's little things about me
that would sing in the silence of so much rejection
in every connection I make
I can't find nobody home
I wanna be the last thing you hear when you're falling asleep....

There's something magical about Counting Crows songs. The words rarly make sense when they are all put together to form a song... The song is a blur. More of a feeling than a thought.
I find though, that when you take each line as an individual song, the meaning is crystal clear and very often, I relate.

Today as I drove, I sang this at the top of my voice, and although I don't understand what the whole song means, every word I sang made sense.

I can't find Counting Crows doing a clear version, but this girl sings it well.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Language of Pain II

The hidden parts of my legs are often covered in small red mouths screaming.

Nobody hears but it sometimes it helps for my body to scream when the rest of me is in silent pain.

If you are reading this thinking I'm a nutcase, you're wrong.

I'm your friend, your neighbour, the smiley person at the checkout, your kid's favourite teacher, your librarian, your sister, your colleague.

You'd never know because I am so ashamed. I could never explain to you that sometimes I am so full of hatred for myself that I need to hurt. Or that I am angry and hurt at something someone has done /said but for some reason, the only way I can release it is to slice myself up. Or that sometimes I am so depressed that I need to feel something... or that there are times when the pain inside becomes unbearable and I have to put it on the outside.

I could never tell you that. And so it stays as my secret.

My body screams under my clothes as I smile at you and shake your hand.

It screams as I nod politely at your conversation.

It screams as I laugh about your weekend.

It screams as I ask how you are.

This is also the language of pain. A different form.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Poem For.....

I was in a session a few weeks back and had been trying to find words for something wordless (as always). In the end, frustrated and hopeless, I said, "I can't explain it".
"I want to understand", she said.

This is my response.

Where Were You When?

"I want to understand"
Bright smile and stinging eyes
Oesophagal agony
Screams that won't come.

Where were you when I needed you?
When darkness cast deat into me
I bled black for years.
Tears turned to stone and I screamed
each time I passed a tear
through ducts too small for stones.

Where were you when I had words
to spill and spout and squander?
And my arms ached and ached
from holding the binding skeins apart.
And I retched unseen as they tangled
and strangled deep in my gut.

Where you when I was figthing?
Punching holes into a silent wall,
Spitting truth bullets into denial's flesh,
Kicking the dust and biting angry hands
that levered my bitten, swelling lips apart,
and rammed words back down my throat.

Where were you when the salt burned like sulphur?
My beaten pillow, wet with censored pain
And twisting, I writhed with the knowing
Of things yet unknown.
And my cheeks smarted with their rage
Truth-shy handprints scorched my skin.

Where were you when nothing was left?
When slivers of cold metal comfort
Whispered sweet numbings into flesh
And I bled silent pools of hiddedn sscreams
On shiny, hard bathroom floors.

Where were you when sweat and tears
Plastered matted hair to my face?
Smothering silent screams,
I twisted and turned and gasped,
As I aborted myself
and bled secret shame
onto my sheets.

And it's too late now
For your saving reach.
My cold corpse
Can't feel your comfort.
And it's too atenow
To breathe life
Into the bloodless womb.

"I want to understand"
Echoes in the hollow
And I am filled with sickness
And grief swells like thunder.

In my head
I spit on your floor
And walk away.
You can pay your respects
But don't fuck with the dead.