Friday, 7 May 2010

Saying the Unsayable

Although it seems absurd for someone of my age to behave in such a way, whenever my anxiety becomes unbearable, I crouch against the radiator in my room, and play game after game of Bejeweled or Word Scramble on my itouch.

It's a way of not thinking.

I have been crouched there for the last two hours.

My therapy session is responsible for tonight's retreat into a world of random letters on nine squared grids.

"Tell me about your week", the woman asked, when I explained that I had struggled with a huge loss of control with my eating since Wednesday.
So I do.
I tell her about the ferocity of my four day workouts, I tell her about the pressures of GCSE coursework, I tell her about the curriculum inset I have been on. I tell her about the anxiety I have felt.

She asks if I feel the impact of the kids' anxiety. (The children I work with / teach).

And so I begin to tell her about a particular kid, one in my group, who is in the middle of a case where her secret history of sexual abuse has come to light.

I tell her about this poor girl, who I want to wrap up and hold safe until it's all over. I tell her about how much I want to protect her, how frustrated I am with child mental health services lack of input, how I want to shred the red tape that is binding professional services from helping her for the next few weeks.

I tell her about how much she reminds me of me at that age... Her anxiety... the phobias she has...

I recall the fear that wraps itself around her at night...

And the woman utters the omnipotent, 'yes' and adds that she was just thinking that.

Why? I ask her.
She doesn't know the girl. How can she know that we're similar?
The woman's response is a blank (in my memory) except for the fact that she compared us in terms of dissociation.
So she knows. She knows about the extent of the dissociation. How does she know that it's that bad?
(Note the twisted irony in the fact that my mind has gone blank somewhere around this)

We talked more about the girl, until the woman said that what was important, in terms of our work, was that I tried to remember the fact that I had noticed similarities between this girl and myself.

More blanks
we discussed something my mum had said the other night when talking about my
sister's seventeen year long illness.

Mum: I've often wondered why... Why, when she has grown up in this family... With all this love... How....?
Me: Maybe love isn't always enough.
Mum: Of course love is enough... being loved...

The woman says it's an interesting and that she takes it that my parents only recognise 'abuse' as something very violent or sexual...
She says something about emotional abuse and I say,

"My sister wasn't emotionally abused"

" I was thinking of you actually"

That's hurt my stomach. Can I tell her that? Can I tell her that what she just said hurts in my tummy? No. I can't. That sounds pathetic. It is silly and it doesn't make sense.

And I'm dazed and a little way off and I am beginning to pick up the cynic's shield because somewhere it's aching but somewhere else it's feeling like a deliberate game, playing with my emotions, kicking the ball at me when I wasn't looking...

"Huh? What is emotional abuse anyway?"
There's no such thing. It's another bloody therapy buzz word. They get paid to turn us all into victims.

"Emotional abuse is being repeatedly hit... a little girl being thrashed in the middle of the night when she's anxious... blank blank blank

Blasted by an ice blow torch. Instantly frozen.

What? What's she saying? No more. Don't say anymore. please stop. Did I just say that bit aloud? Don't cry. Don't cry. You're ok. You're ok. Don't cry.

........"that wasn't to help you... that was out of anger... It was out of control..."

Stay calm... It's ok... What do I do with this? What am I meant to do with this?

I hear a small, strangled groan that might be a sob
Shit. Did that come from me? Did she hear? Please don't let her have heard

I want to cough to cover the sound up.
No, a cough'll just make it worse. Maybe she didn't hear.

Sudden tears on my face
No. No no no no no. Don't cry. Come on. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. why am I crying? What am I crying for? It isn't anything. I don't even feel anything. Why are you crying you silly girl?

"....... and we're a couple of minutes over and I realise this is a bad place to have to break... just take a few minutes...."

What do I DO with this?

She's saying something about saying the unsayable

"There are some tissues......."

She knows I'm crying.
Of course she knows I'm crying... I'm trying to wipe my face... What the hell am I crying for?

She's asking what my weekend is like....

I'm telling her I don't know. That it's ok. That I'm ok. That I'm sorry.

And it's a blank how I get out of the room.


  1. Hi love-

    I am in overwhelmed with and for you. Some times the journey to self sucks - this is one of those times. And 2 hours playing bejeweled and or word scramble? Excellent distraction.

    About that pain in your stomach? Definitely you should tell her. Definitely.

    You are working really hard. Please have some fun, k?

    Annie says "hi"

    Love you

  2. Wow. This is oh so familiar to me. So much is said here in the lines and between the lines. Why are you crying...would I dare say your body knows...

    About the games. After my sessions I go home and play games on my xbox.

    As hard as it is thank you for sharing

  3. You express so well the exact pain, fear, sadness and pressure I have felt in session with my therapist, at times. The "Don't cry, don't show your pain" is so familiar.

    Why do we do that?
    Why do we hide the pain from the one who may have the medicine to make it go away?

    I hide too. Too often. Bejeweled, scrabble, boggle... the depths of the internet is my safe refuge.

    You are not alone.

  4. Hiding is what I do best these days. Expressing that pain to those that can help is the hardest thing to do. I'm standing here with you.

  5. Emotional abuse? Well, it does exists. Having suffered rom it far to long. I found it between lines at my therapy. I find it between the lines here. Hiding, yet showing enough between the lines. Yet it needs to be clearly voiced. It is hard yet your body remembers. I am in your corner. I am thinking of you. Safe hug.
    P.S. Love is not enough. I know

  6. To all of you who have written here...
    Thank you.
    It's too painful to reply individually. Too painful to even do more than glance at anything really.
    It's been so hard to leave my post here.
    Thank you for your words.

    i feel worthy only of disgust.
    That's another post I can't write.

  7. still here . . . . . . . and identifying with your pain . . . . wish I could do more than that . . . . . .

    much love,

  8. We feel your hurt we feel your pain, we share it with you, love you and you are so not alone.
    I love the games you have found to play when your therapy leaves you in that black hole, seeking the safety and security of the darkest corner. I admire the fact that you have the strength to share this with us all. Reassuring to each and every one who is on a similar journey of finding self.
    I have a trauma therapist who has shown me that the body remembers what we forget or have blanked out. Your so strong keep going you will find the answer your looking for...

    The "Don't cry, don't show your pain" is so familiar, for me too no one hears your tears no one cares, but sometimes my pet we have to be given permission to cry. So go ahead cry we will share your tears .
    Love and blessings to you
    Claire x

  9. Lis,
    Thank you.
    All I can say.
    Hope you got my PM.
    Much love.

    Runaway Child - Again, I'm very short on words and yet very toched by your words to me.
    Thank yo for taking the time to read and to offer such encouragement.

  10. WS,
    I can only thank God for leading me to you all, the blogs I have come across have helped me cope better with my own journey and selfishly sometimes feel so very alone and misunderstood. But really the only folks that can understand are one's that have been there. As I am often reminded we are stronger than we think and we are not alone and You dear are doing really well, your not disgusting or anything else you are a wonderful woman / child of God who loves you very much.
    I hope we can all get to know each other through our journeys and sharing of who we are.
    If it helps this week I don't want to go to therapy have begun to dread it now and yet it works... but then I do have other things on my mind.
    Your loved though hugs and blessings
    Claire x