This marks the second week since I more-or-less quit therapy. I had the thought to go today, if nothing else to find out what my counselor is saying in his not saying anything to my quitting. Part of me is concerned that I can’t ever go back. Part of me wonders if he hates me now. After I left my last counselor, I was met with a very impersonal 5 second encounter when I requested the art therapy drawings I made under his care. That hurt, and a lot more than I’d expect. People who I lose touch with for whatever reason seem to either A) forget me, or B) hate me; I guess it makes sense.
Ultimately, as I went about my morning routine with deliberate lethargy, I chose not to go. Instead, I wondered, as I have been wondering, what I should do to replace therapy. I’d been going every week for the past several years, after all; I should find something to fill the gap, right? I had the thought to go swimming, but multiple things filled my head to tell me that was not a good idea. I looked outside, saw it was raining, and decided that after I grab groceries, I was going to go for a walk. This turned out to be a very good decision.
For whatever reason, I really wanted to go to the bookstore, so I did, umbrella in hand. I would’ve let myself just get rained on, as I did earlier to and from the store, but thought I’d ruin the books. I sang as I walked, revisiting the idea of being a YouTuber who made song covers. I thought about life, abuse, healing, and culture. I thought about what and how I was going to write next in my Studies.
I ended up buying two books, one to enjoy and one to study. Part of me felt guilty for spending money on “selfish” things. Another part of me reminded that part that there’s a difference between “selfish” and “self-care”. I thought to add that to my “self-care” study I’d been working on.
I twirled my umbrella, smelled the rain, saw and heard it pitter-patter everywhere. The raindrops looked like silver gems on the leaves. I noted how few people were walking on foot. I had the thought that crime probably goes down in the rain; everyone’s indoors, and as my footsteps splashed in puddles, I could probably hear someone sneaking up behind me easier. I still walked, still thought, still sang, feeling a little more at ease.
I purposely took the long way home, passing by this man-made lake. I peeked over the railing to see the koi fish swimming about agitatedly, different from their usual slow pace. “You’re okay,” I told them (because I like to talk to animals). “It’s just the surface of the water that’s being disturbed, not the water itself.” I realized I learned another lesson; gotta write about that one later.
When I got home, I realized it was a lot warmer than outside. I was again grateful for this place, its placement on the building protecting me from the heat and cold, even if I don’t get much sunlight. It was safe, welcoming; no one’s tried to hurt me here, or vandalize my car. I don’t have the most prestigious job, and that’s okay; people there think well of me, and it gives me something else to think about (and as business slows down, more time to write and create). I don’t have a lot of money, most of it being eaten up by the rent to this place. That’s also okay; this is a very good place to live, I have enough to eat (if I’m careful), and while I don’t have a lot, what I have belongs. My life is too complicated to clutter it more with things I really don’t need.
As I count my blessings, I’m reminded of said complications. I’m reminded that I’m very much alone. Most young adults live with roommates, or live with their parents/family; the latter is not an option, the former only slightly more of an option due to all my issues that make me a very difficult roommate. I realize that the only support I’m open to is material; I accept monetary help from family and organizations, but very strictly (too strictly) limit what emotional help they or anyone else may offer. That assuring part of myself reminds me that I feel this way because of what I experienced thus far from my abuse and its very negative aftermath, and that I feel more comfortable with material help because of how my abusers would shower me with material goods growing up to shame me (and/or because they felt guilty of the abuse they commit/allow?).
I think about the guy I like, how guarded I am towards him. I’m physically very comfortable around him, and have been acting more snuggly. At the same time, I don’t really talk to him anymore about what’s going on, instead defaulting to that physical comfort. I wondered if it bothered him. I value his advice; he’s a much kinder and smarter person than I think he sees himself to be. But sometimes I just want to be comforted, told something other than advice: “You’re still good. I still like you.”
Being constantly given all this advice, no matter who it’s coming from, I feel like a problem to solve more than a person to love. That’s probably not the truth; the advice these people, this guy, give me is out of the part of their hearts I occupy. Still I doubt. Still I distrust. Instead, I go with the kind of comfort least likely to be met with rejection (in the case of the guy I like, hugs, nuzzles, and fun flirty talk).
It makes sense. It also worries me; how far am I going to go this way? With all of this, not just with him. I feel like I’m running away. To where and from what? It’s hard to say. When you’re scared, and are just running, you often lose sight of where you came from and where you’re going. Then you trip and fall, and you’re forced to take in your surroundings. You’re forced to think of why you’re running, what are you running from.
I don’t want that. I don’t like it.
So I pick myself up, and keep aimlessly running in whatever avoidant behavior I can find.
The book I got to study is one on Complex PTSD, or just C-PTSD. I’ve heard of the term, but know little about it. I just figured it to be self-explanatory; a complex version of the already complex condition of PTSD. A quick look revealed the difference to be a “long exposure to traumatic stress” versus isolated instances of trauma. That explains why I usually see the term being used by victims of childhood abuse.
The book itself is very refreshing to look at, with white pages, lines for you to write in, and small pictures of nature every chapter. The words are very calming. It just states facts without getting too deep into the feelings, the experience. I felt less scared looking at it, though the fear came back as it talked about those grounding breathing exercises. My other books said that victims of sexual abuse might find that method alarming; makes sense.
…If I’m really honest with myself, grounding in general alarms me. It makes me so much more afraid, being told all the time to be in the present. My counselor always told me that God is only in the present; the past and future doesn’t exist. They’re not important. I have to detach from those things. I have to dismiss the memories and emotions from the past. I have to stay in the present, and to do that, I have to destroy the past.
I don’t like that. I’ve come to not like it so much that I’d blank out, forget where and when I am.
It happened in that last session. I wouldn’t (couldn’t?) speak. He asked what was wrong, if I was hurt. Then he said nothing. He said nothing until it was about time for the session to be over. Then he asked me about something I was going to do that day. I snapped out of it, and could speak again.
I feel like I should try to resolve this. It’s at the heart of all my other problems right now that aren’t getting better, instead getting worse.
…What’s so scary about the present? What am I so afraid of?
Just writing those words makes my heart start to speed up. My mind’s starting to cloud over. My stomach’s in knots. It’s harder to breathe. What’s doing this to me? Why do I…why am I crying now?
Why is this happening?
Ever since that first abuse, I escaped the present. I locked it away. I repressed feelings. I repressed the memory entirely, and others memories like it, for so many years. The present wasn’t safe. The present was never safe. I wasn’t safe at school, at home, at church, in my bed. Nowhere was safe. The only place I was safe was in my daydreams, in whatever I could get into, use to distract myself. In the process, I seem to be stuck in this sort of half-existence.
I’m always half something. Half-European, half-Asian. Half-privileged, half-victimized. Half-eldest, half-youngest. Half-conservative, half-liberal. Half-Catholic, half-atheist. Half-hated, half-loved. Half-hopeful, half-despairing… I’m never a whole anything. I’m always just something in the middle. A part of me liked that a lot; this lets me take neutral stance, and have an easier time having empathy and compassion for everyone. I also don’t belong anywhere; I only half-belong somewhere. It’s even a half-moon today; how appropriate.
I’m a whole human, aren’t I? And as mysterious as it is, I’m wholly physical and wholly spiritual; I’m not half-and-half. I’m wholly female; even if my plumbing or hormones were different, every cell in my body says “female”. That’s comforting. Reality checks are comforting.
Even so, everything still looks “wrong”. I look around at my home, and still feel like I’m not supposed to have this, I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not supposed to be an adult, sitting on her couch, writing on her blog. Where am I supposed to be, then? What and who am I supposed to be? My head feels weird.
What’s so scary about the present? Why can’t I be here? Do I not deserve to be here or something? I’m safe, and no one is presently hurting me; shouldn’t that be where I’d prefer to be?
Flashbacks happen in the present. Memories and emotions, even physical feelings, from past trauma come back when I don’t distract them away. Fears and worries of the future come in, pressure to live up to something come in when I don’t distract those away, too. But those things aren’t of the present.
I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense. It made sense that I escaped the present when I was being hurt, but now I’m not being hurt. Why am I still running? Why do I want to run to a distraction right now?
“Detach” and “Dismiss” are playing in my head. Detach, dismiss, detach, dismiss… I don’t want to detach, and I’m tired of being dismissed! No one’s going to care about it! I’m the only one who cares about it! If I forget, it’s gone forever! If I dismiss it, I’ll be just like all those others who dismissed me!
There has to be a better way. Those are unacceptable.
“Love,” something in me, yet not me, bigger than me, says to my heart. “Why don’t you just love instead?”
Well…how do I do that? How do I love what everyone’s telling me to “detach” from, and “dismiss”? These painful, traumatic things caused me so much more pain, from people I trusted what’s more. So many people dismissed me, or detached from me…and I guess that explains why it hurts so much; people either A) hated me, or B) forgot me.
How do I wish they acted? How do my closest friends act? They accepted me, wherever I was in my healing journey. They understood me, even when I didn’t make a lot of sense. They forgave me, even when I acted out, hurt myself (and so hurt them). I’ve been forgiving myself lately whenever bad things came to mind, things I did/said/experienced that embarrassed me. I’ve been trying to understand myself, writing things like this.
But have I accepted myself? Am I welcome? Am I allowed to come in, or am I stopped at the door?
…I don’t accept myself. I don’t accept the present me.
I’m always dissociating from myself. I’m always trying to escape, and slam the door on my own face. The me in the mirror looks like a stranger, an unwelcome stranger.
There’s these movies called Kung-Fu Panda. It’s fun, it’s sassy, it’s full of kung-fu action…it’s cartoony. It’s also a healing journey as Po struggles to accept himself, accept his traumatic past, accept his friends and family. The first movie, he can’t stand himself. He thinks he can’t do anything. He thinks he’s just a fat, lazy panda like everyone says he is; a mistake. He learns he’s wrong. The second movie, he’s confronted with the death of his mother, the destruction of his village when he was just a tiny baby. He thinks he’s broken. He learns he’s wrong. The third movie, he thinks he’s alone. He learns he’s wrong. He learns and accepts who he is.
One line from the second movie always makes me choke up: “Stop fighting. Let it flow.” I’m afraid if I “let it flow”, I’d never stop crying. I’d drown in my own tears. I’d go insane. I’d hate myself. I’d not be able to function. No one will love me; so many things are expected of me out there. I can’t open the door. I can’t break now. (But I’m breaking myself in the process).
…I’m not sure where to go from here, or if I should go any further.
I’m aware this entry took a weird turn. I guess it’s okay. I know a couple psychologists follow this blog; maybe it’ll be educational. I hope so. At least I had a nice walk in the rain, I got a new book to study, and I realized I need to accept myself. Presently, today…that’s good enough for me.