Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Child Part

Bear with me.

I need to issue some kind of disclaimer which states that the information that follows and the fact that the concept has been mentioned at all, does not in any way imply that the author accepts or acknowledges the existence of such a thing.

Then, in one completely paradoxical swoop, I will contradict my own disclaimer by saying that I know perfectly well that this is a part of me somehow... I am just terrified by the disgust that I feel it may be met with.

Get on with it right?

Fear gets in the way.

My therapist in all her glorious wisdom reminds me over and over again that I have a number of very seperate and very distinct 'selves'.
I am beginning to see how this is really quite true. The filing cabinet seems to have more than two drawers, or there are, at least, sub sections in each drawer.

This post is itself a child, tentatively and stumblingly clinging to the walker as it steps on soft, unused feet.
The ideas we talked about in therapy this week are little prisms, just about an arms length away from me and I tremble as I reach to just brush one with the very tips of my fingernails; hoping that the infintisimal fraction of contact will be just enough to edge the prism into a line of sunlight.

The title of the post acknowledges the topic I am not daring to comment on.
I'll come back to it if I can reach...

Friday, 27 November 2009

And in other news....

Lately I have needed to sit very quietly, with my knees, encircled by my arms, pulled tight into my chest.
I'd give an update of therapy but my eyelids seem to have suddeunly been overwhelmed by uncontrollable graitational forces.

Perhaps tomorrow.

This week I have:
Accidentally order a pair of very expensive Caterpiller boots off Amazon.
Been shocked by a huge hornbeam tree falling down across the garden
in the high winds.
Drunk Ginger wine every night.
Bought a (bargain price) nice bottle of whisky in ASDA
Eaten a lot of sweets and chocolate.
Not slept very well.
Cut myself in a very superficial and controlled way.
Worn a vest everyday because the heating at work has gone bust.
Taught 3 new kids.
Been to the dentist and been told I will need to have surgery on my
gum in the future.
Been to book club.
Seen a friend who has been living abroad for 2 years.
Been asked out to dinner by a guy in the gym. (Not my type, sadly)
Been very stressed at work.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


Anger has burned through me and left a black, hollow space of silent ash and dust.

It's a story I won't be able to tell.

Silence is heavy but safer.

If I could place a pillow over the hurt, I would suffocate it. Sit on it until it stopped moving.

I hate it that I sound this pathetic right now. I disgust myself.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Kindness Like Water

The other day my therapist said she didn't know whether to wrap me in cotton wool or bubble wrap to keep me safe.
I was fuming and something inside me tried to crawl to the furthest corner of my insides; a frantic retreat from her kindness.
Images of barbed wire piercing bubble wrap flashed through my mind, followed by the most vivid recollection of this scene from The Wizard of Oz.

At first I thought it was my therapist. Nice...
But no.
The witch is something in me and the water is kindness and VALIDATION.

If I let it soak me, I think I will melt.

Positive, you may think, given that the witch is after all, The Wicked Witch Of The West. But, truth be told, that part of me is desperately frightened of being melted.

Being heard is harder to swallow than being dismissed.
I find more pain in the kindness.

A watery war is being fought inside me somewhere. I don't want it to touch the wicked witch of the west, and yet I know that the witch is the villain of the piece.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Razors and Release.

I have so many words but feel overwhelmed at the idea of trying to piece them together. They swell and tumble, a disparate wave of words and feeling. The wave itself a spectrum of sensation, utterly numb at the base, raw at the breaking crest.

If I could somehow figure out what is going on to cause this level of desperation I might have a hope in hell of controlling it.
These last few days, well... weeks really... I have been fighting (and, shamefully, frequently losing) a battle against the urges and the desires I have to hurt myself in whatever way I can.
Self harm.
Controversial. Taboo. Disgusting. Shameful. Painful. Desperate.
And yet, comforting. Releasing. Soothing. Calming. Cleansing.

A paradox and a half.

There are so many different perspectives on self harm that it's hard to keep up.
"Attention seeking" is the label that is possibly the most damning and the most hurtful to those who have to exert such incredible control by resisting the urge to just let rip on themselves. Instead they have to confine the screaming of their stories to such small areas of the body, the most hidden parts.

Tonight, just as many nights this week and the week before that, I stand on the brink of my own desperation to destroy. I fight from a part whose objections I repeatedly overrule, even as it reminds me and warns me of the physical pain I will be faced with when I trample over its defeated form in the rush to reach the razor.

People self harm for a wide variety of reasons and certainly, nowadays with the youth heavily influenced by 'emo' culture and the like, it is quite common; a disturbing trend borne, it would seem, out of a search for identity. Whatever happened to clothing being the defining feature in "teen stereotypes"? It's no defined by the number and depth of the cuts on a wrist.
I digress.
For me as an adult, it's primarily either a release of anger, a punishment if I feel let down, a purging of feelings that I can't hold in, or a response to uncontainable self hatred.

True, I started cutting as a teenager. I was fourteen and unable to speak about the fact that my sister was starving herself to death. Faced with the reactionless faces of my parents, the point blank denials that anything was wrong, and the stinging discipline that met she who dared to contradict; the pain started to spill out in secret ways using a different language. A language of pain which doesn't need to be heard to bring relief, only to be spoken.

At first, it wasn't as good as being able to talk to a grown up, but it made the clamour inside me quieter, and came to be far more effective, and practical, than needing anyone.

Great, you think.
That was THEN. This is NOW.
My past is not my present.

And yet, something died in me back then that I miss in my present.
It wasn't my sister, although I no longer know her, so in some ways, perhaps she was the greatest loss of all. But something in me died and I can't revive it.
Maybe that is what therapy is for. To resurrect what is dead.

I am ashamed to admit that my mind feels invaded with fantasies of what I will do to hurt myself.
Goodness knows if you knew me in real life you wouldn't see a shadow of a ghost of a trace of the truth that I am someone who would ever imagine such fantasies, let alone indulge them.

I sound vaguely like a psycho but you'll just have to take my word for it that I'm the smiley girl you pass on the way to work. I'm your kid's favourite teacher. I'm the one who you come to when you need someone to listen and understand. I'm the one who you can count on to write a list of your problems and work out how you can tackle them in a way that feels manageable and is realistic.

It defies my own understanding then, that that same smiley, logical, responsible empathic, problem solver who is relied on by so many can be so consumed by such a desperate desire to violate her own body.
I'll spare you the details.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Cottage In The Woods

Yes. It's quite true!
My therapist lives in a cottage in the woods.
It really is like something out of a Hans Christian Anderson tale!

I suppose it could be symbolic, although I have never thought it to be before writng it here.

By six o'clock on these evenings, the grey dark has already been draped around the woods and the blackened trees tower, sinister, hoodless figures of forboding. The smell of damp, rotten leaves and lichen is comforting in the cold, and as I step out of the car a heavy, woody, quiet muffles in my ears.

The lines of the cottage have the blurred glow of the aura on the edge of a flame. Pumpkin light seeps from therapy room window.

There is space here for metaphors to bound like excited kids on an autumn forest walk but, I have to say, the golden light that draws a part of me into that room often feels like a trap and, once inside, I am frequently faced with a darkness and fear much greater than a night alone in a cold fingered forest.

That's the story of the little cottage in the woods.

And yes. There is a magic about it somehow, despite (or perhaps, in part, because of) the plunging fear that accompanies and enshrouds the place.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Back To The Matter In Hand...



My session today was markedly more positive than the previous sessions...
It's not that a great beam of light shone into my disordered and chaotic cabinet.


More that I allowed myself
to dare
to try
to be
just a tiny
well defended than I have at other times.
(Yes - that sentence was intentionally convoluted... Somehow I want it to demonstrate just a fraction of the fear I feel at daring to get close to anything that might lie beneath the barbed wire spiral in which I have wrapped myself).

Anyway, it's about time that I bought a little light to the darkness that has been my blog over the last however many ("too many!", you cry) posts.

I drove away from her little cottage in the woods thinking that I must remember this session as one where I gave her something to work with, rather than waiting for her to wave a wand over my unspoken pain.
I thought that it would feel very risky to allow myself to do that too much.
But that I must remember the time that I did.

The word "allow" is one of the most frightening words outside of my vocabulary.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Friday, 6 November 2009


To what does my therapist repeatedly liken me?
A mysterious, multi faceted prism bending and reflecting light? A valuable, finely tuned instrument?
Apparently I'm a filing cabinet...
One of those rather grim, storm grey, functional filing cabinets that squats inoffensively in a corner under a desk.

My bottom drawer (or is it the top?) is in perfect order. Little coloured, plastic tabs labelling each and every category and subsection. Each tab written in perfect, calligraphic, black font. Efficient, competent, quick minded and organised.
Put me in a situation and watch me compute actions and actions; reach into the tidy compartment and pull out the appropriate 'file'.
In stark contrast, my top drawer has all the marks of a desperate thief rifling through papers whilst footsteps approach the darkened office.
My therapist explained that it was as though all the papers in this drawer had been strewn on the floor. Moreover, the papers had been ripped into pieces and we may pick up a middle piece and find it has an end but no beginning... Or find an end but not be able to find the two upper pieces.

I wanted to explain that my last post came from my top drawer.
The 'secret' drawer that nobody really gets to see.

It's a chaotic drawer and I'm not sure that some of the fragments even exist anymore.
It's a drawer that has been locked for a long time and the rusted runners won't allow it to open easily, let alone fully.

I was in half a mind to 'disable comments' on this blog. It has been a battle to leave my honesty and my expression of the top drawer chaos. It is unfamiliar ground to allow the drawer to open even a fraction and when I began this blog, I didn't realise that blogging was such a 'relational' thing. I had no idea that people would be the least bit interested in a grey filing cabinet.

When I expressed the difficulty I had with allowing comments to my lovely blogfriend Gail, she wrote that she thought most of the comments I got here were very kind and caring... I don't know that she realised that this very truth is precisely why I find it so excruciating at times.

Kindness kills.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Screaming Silently

*****Trigger warning for anyone struggling with self harm - sorry*****

Thin pink lines, lips clamped tight
Bile burns my throat, bubbling
blisters swell, threaten
to burst

but swallow

swallow down the acrid glob
of howling unheard, stifling
child's screams, fighting
to erupt

but press

press balled fists into the sting
of salted eye skin, swelling
and cresting with each new wave
of gasps

but cut

cut red mouths, open lines
to scream unheard, unknown
my legs, a shrieking gingham cloth,
to hear

but hide.