Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Falling apart and holding it together

I'm aware that I have posted a lot lately. I try not to post too often in case you all get sick of me, but I think it has been helpful for me in coping since my T left. That's what I wanted to talk about today actually... how I'm coping.

It is now over two weeks since my last appointment with T, although I did see her briefly after that to give her the letter and card that had mysteriously disappeared and then turned up again. She was very kind to me when I did call in with it and thanked me for coming in with it. I had dreaded my last appointment with her and we had both anticipated that the days and weeks after her leaving would be very difficult. I thought back on how I coped when my previous psychologist left and felt that there was every likelihood that this time round would again see me crashing into a dark place where work and I would not be compatible, not to mention other things like getting out of bed or generally acting like an alive person. I also worried about what coping techniques I'd resort to. Most of all I was worried about how bad it was going to feel, in my heart... the pain of loss.

Strangely though I felt surprisingly positive after my last session. I felt like our relationship was good and that T had good feelings about me (sometimes I get paranoid that she hates me and this makes for an unhappy Candycan) and I felt determined that I was going to get through the next six months and do well for myself until she came back. I felt motivated to cope. I felt like she'd be thinking of me (because she told me she would) and that if she was thinking of me, I'd be OK. This feeling lasted for a few days and then I moved into a different way: that of not thinking at all. I noticed my general feelings about anything disappearing and over the last few weeks I have just drifted along, just functioning and not thinking or feeling anything. I've tried to think and feel. I've thought about T, intentionally, but I haven't allowed myself to feel. Sadly, now that my positive feelings about T have faded, I've found myself worrying that she doesn't exist anymore. I want to know she is still real. I hear a young voice ask Adam: "Is T real?" and he reassures me that she is. It asks: "Do you think she might have died?" and Adam assures her that he's sure she is fine and just getting on with her life somewhere else.

I've also been so disconnected from the others too... the other parts. I've felt like I'm just singular, no one else, no feelings, no others, no past. I can hear the child speak but I don't sense us as being connected.

I've been struggling with food again recently. Things had been pretty settled for me in that department. Yesterday, Adam made food in the evening and he gave me too much. He often does and I always eat it all then complain about being too full but I usually don't feel it's unmanageable to feel full. Lately it has been becoming unmanageable though. The full feeling becomes the only feeling and it's awful. It sits in my stomach and inside all I can think of is the overwhelming need to not feel full anymore. It doesn't go away. I try to ignore it by watching TV but I can't concentrate because inside I'm thinking "I need to make myself sick. I need to make myself sick. I need to make myself sick." I tell myself I don't need to do it and try to ignore it but it sits there, in my stomach and in my mind and my heart races.

Yesterday it was too much. I sat with it for a good amount of time, debating it and trying to ignore it, but eventually I decided I had to do it and I went to the upstairs bathroom and put the fan on and made all the preparations that I used to do on a daily basis and stopped and thought I should just stop and do something else. Then I rationalised it as OK. It's just being sick. Once isn't going to hurt. You'll feel better afterwards and it's just a one off. There are more serious things in life than someone throwing up their dinner. It's not a big deal. And so I did it. It felt as awful as it ever did, physically. And as the food surged to my mouth, I felt an accompanying surge of emotional pain and grief come to me. The feelings were hurt, pain, grief, sadness, loss, despair, loneliness, more pain. It felt real. It felt good. How can bad feelings be a good thing? But it was. It was a relief to feel the pain. I cleaned myself up, brushed my teeth and went to sit on my bed. I took a piece of paper and a pen and wrote:

"Dear T
I miss you."

I lay down and felt pains inside my pelvis.. I don't know what part. I need to refresh myself on anatomy... but inside my vagina I guess. I've had these pains before. I didn't know why they came then. I guess all of these issues are with me on some level all the time. Suppressing my emotions about T is just another suppression along with everything else I am avoiding. Making myself sick helps release some feelings and I guess it's not going to be exclusively just my feelings about T leaving. Other things come back to me too. And this time it was I guess some kind of body memory? Either that or I just have something actually wrong inside me.
I woke up some time later. I had fallen asleep I guess.

The pains are with me again today. Earlier it was more outside pain, like my clitoris and general outside parts. It's a sharp pain. Hard to describe really. Like a cramp or stabbing pain. Now they are inside again, they feel high up. It's strange because although it's pain, it's somehow reassuring too. Something real. Something to make me feel. Something to focus on.

Otherwise I'm ticking along OK. Except I came home to an empty house on Monday to find a smashed jar on the floor in the kitchen. I almost instinctively picked up pieces that I could see were sharp and washed them off before setting them aside while I cleaned up the mess. I took them up to my room and cut myself a bit, then cleaned them and put them with the collection of other bits of glass and sharp things in my bedside drawer. The whole thing was done with as little feeling or concern as one might have about coming home from work and feeding the cat or taking the rubbish out. I find it strange about myself that it seems apparent to me that if I see broken glass, I have to cut myself. I'm only noticing this trend now. I mean, I know I've had urges to self harm on and off my whole life, but this is different. This is nothing to do with emotions. This is just an instinctive reaction. It's almost compulsory. Broken glass = cut yourself. The first time was as a child of eight. Mum broke a window by reversing into a truck and a few days later while sitting waiting for her in the car I found some pieces of shattered glass. I took one and drew it along my thigh and watched the blood seep out in dots. It felt good. The pain was real. I hadn't been sad or upset. I wasn't on Monday either.

What's wrong with me? Why can't I feel like normal people? What do these pains mean? Was the purging a lapse or is it a relapse? Is T real?


Ruth said...

Tough questions with most of the answers trapped in your own memories. Check your bills...T is real. You don't have to pay for imagination. I am not being sarcastic or rude. This is why I have a room full of hoarded stuff to prove things happen. When I started having vivid body memories I started at the medical doctors office to make sure the problems were real or not. I was never quite sure if I was happy or sad when test results came back normal. I do know that body memories are real. The pain is real. Unfortunately medical doctors don't always have the answers. Take care, Ruth

Anonymous said...

Oh Candycan I feel for you. I wish I can put the world right and take away all the pain. I am so sad to hear your instinct for selfharming is back. I definitely go threw phases of needing to selfharm, but we are feeling strong at the moment (which isn't always a good sign) cos thats often when the walls come tumbling down. Hopefully you will build a really good relationship with your new therapist and that will help you.
Keep reaching out. We are all listening and sending you our best wishes and thoughts.
Take care

NormalWasNotMyGoal said...

Hoping you're doing better today....

CimmerianInk said...

I actually understand it when "bad" emotions feel good. I but bad in quote marks because my therapist often says that emotions aren't bad. I went through a period where I was cut off from my internal selves and I remember how desperately I wanted to feel emotions, *any* emotions because when I didn't, I didn't feel real.

When the emotions came back, even though they were sadness and fear etc. I was glad because I could feel again.

I'm so very sorry that you felt the need to hurt yourself. You're going through a rough time and losing a therapist would be a blow to anyone in this situation. It would probably be good to make a list of some others ways you can cope when things get bad and then look at that list to remind yourself of other options. Maybe your new therapist can help with that?

Just a thought. Be good to you.

Candycan said...

Hi Ruth, you're right about making sure the pains are not anything else. I think it's a mixture of both with me. I think sometimes when doctors know a person has psychological issues or admits to pain being linked to stress, they can be quick to put everything down to psychological factors. I experienced this just yesterday actually.

Erica, it's great to know you are reading. Thank you so much. I'm sorry that you go through these times too. I know what you mean about being strong not always being a good sign.

Thank you Normalwasnotmygoal. I went out for dinner today and had dessert and although I thought about purging, I was able to sit with it, so I guess that's a good thing.

CimmerianInk, I like your point about emotions being good even the bad ones. I think what you say about needing to feel 'something' rather than unreal is how I have been feeling too.

Meronym said...

Don't worry about posting too much - that's the beauty of a blog, we can read or not as we wish. You just write when you need to. I know my blog is certainly my therapy.

I'm glad to hear you got some positive closure-type interaction with your T. Maybe you could hang an email or note or something of her where you can see it, just to remember she's real. Or have any littles that do remember her draw a picture for the ones that don't, maybe?

As far as bad feelings being a good thing, when you can't feel anything, feeling something is better. An overabundance of feeling, of any kind, can give you a cathartic release of it all. Breaking the dam, so to speak.

Instinctive self-harm. I do it, sometimes. Found a small cutting on my thigh last night, about two days old. Small, nothing special. I have a vague memory of cleaning up, finding a scalpel, making a few cuts, and putting it away, nothing emotional - just because it was there. Myself, I think maybe it's a good thing to be able to de-emotionalize it.