keep your coat on

I debated fiercely with myself today. Should I write? Should I post?

Yesterday I had a therapy session. So far we’ve only worked on relaxation techniques. I find relaxation unsettling, particularly in the company of other humanoids. Lowering my guard leaves me damn right paranoid and so even before the sessions begin I am worked up (it’s the expectation of exposure). We started out playing instruments, my therapist specializes in musical therapy and trauma. I have no musical sensibilities whatsoever, no sense of rhythm but I do like music just the same. I chose the Marimba. I felt a mix of emotions seething insecurity and childish wonder/joy were the top two. I found that I lost focus quite a bit and whenever I did I could tell because the notes became muddied and I lost whatever tune I had concocted. The therapist accompanied me using an African drum and whenever I listened to her playing I instantly forgot what I was doing and my hands became utterly alien to me.

After the music session I had to write a time line. We started with the first five years of my life. The first five years were very difficult and even though I was told not to give too much detail about the events it is impossible to speak of those years without mentioning trauma. Many of my early childhood memories are negative, so negative that even the positive memories make me queasy.

The therapist asked me if there were any positive figures who were predominant in my life. I found that a difficult question to answer. I do have relatives that are sane and kind but I spent very little time with them. I was able to think of one person though, a younger cousin. Growing up she was my closest friend, a kind of surrogate sister if you will. I’ll call her S for sister. S was born with a birth defect, a dangerous black growth on the back of her head. She had surgery after surgery after surgery growing up. She was horrifyingly thin, like the children on charity commercials, just bones with a canvas of thin delicate flesh, almost like a spider’s silk. She got sick often. She had chronic headaches. She was bullied mercilessly for her partially bald misshapen head. She stood up for herself and made friends. She was a very happy, affectionate child. She was innocence personified. She is my hero. Because of her condition she will always be at a high risk for tumors and has in her adult life dealt with her share of cancer scares and chemotherapy. She is tough and I don’t mean hard, I mean she is strong and resilient. She is a very devoted mother. She is also outgoing and confident which means we are completely different.

When I was talking about her the therapist said that I am also strong but I have never found myself so. How does one define weakness? What about strength? Am I strong because I didn’t die? Because I didn’t turn to addiction? Because I am not continuing the cycle, the path my genetics and wiring would have me repeat? If that is strong I guess I am reasonably but I would not call myself a “success story” either. I have a lot of fears and while I am courageous in some respects in many others I am a total coward. I knew I shouldn’t have taken off my coat when I came into the appointment. I have been wearing my coat each time but yesterday I wore a thicker wool coat and removed it, I think it gave a false impression.

Anyways yesterday was a tough session and I am feeling fragile and hostile. I can’t even exercise because I am so nauseous from the stress. One thing I am not good at, is letting go and switching gears. Once I start to open up, I mount an attack against myself in retaliation. I get locked into some morbid obsessional loop that I can’t seem to break free of unless I perchance to have a good night’s sleep. I did not have a good night’s sleep. After the session Sam came to pick me up for lunch and my mind was all over the place. When he left I did a little shopping but I lost so much time wondering around that I was nearly late to greet my daughter from school. I called my MIL just encase I didn’t make it in time and I only barely did.

That is why I am not posting any poetry today I am feeling too vulnerable and emotional. If I do write anything today I will need to sit with it a little longer than I usually do.

(Sam is sick he’s had a high fever all night so I am going to make him stay home today.  I thought my stomach problems were stress related but since he is also having stomach problems I think we might have gotten some bug.)


19 responses to “keep your coat on

  1. This is an emotionally challenging time for you, and I only wish I could bear some of the pain so that you don’t have to. You are amazingly strong (resilient) considering what you’ve been through (and I font know the half of it).
    You’re making progress, you’re crossing another bridge. I know you’ll get there. Thinking of you and sending love xoxox

    • Thank you Bianca for your sweet words! Right now I don’t feel I am making much progress it is so hard not to try and change myself. I keep thinking something is wrong with me and going all attack mode and it isn’t doing anything to facilitate healing

  2. You are a wise woman, my dear. Yes, perhaps writing poetry would be like another therapy session or deeper. There are times sessions are hard, really not fun at all and trigger so many emotions. Bless you for sharing this moving post, my dear. I am thinking of you. It is flu season so do take care of you and your family. (((hugs))))Oliana xx

  3. Take all the time you need to work though the rawness of the emotional experience of therapy. Often it can be so difficult to sit there and try to open up – because it is far too painful – and there is way too much vulnerability. But there is one thing to consider – you went – you survived the session, the angst and rage – and you will be able to get through however much time it takes for you to release and process from the session.

    It may seem impossible – but I know – I’ve been there too. And you *are* strong – resilient, courageous, and you are more than victim – you are more than “survivor” – you are a creator, Yves.

    Channel your feelings – all of them – into what you do – and what feels right for you in the moment. Whether you ever share or not – that isn’t the point. And it might help – create – and then “destroy” — release it by way of a deliberate and pointed gift of release – preferably through fire – burn the papers or whatever – if possible – to the Universe.

    Just a few thoughts. Pardon my ramblings and sticking my nose in a little too far.

    Thinking of you – and your family. Sending you positive light and healing energy.

    Hugs to you, Yves.

  4. Defining strenght can be difficult. Being resilient doesn’t necesarily means we are strong, it may come from fear as a defensive mechanism. Strenght and courage comes in many ways and forms. Being able to have a family and live life day by day takes strenght. You are you and aceepting who you are for me is very courageous.

  5. Stress has always manifested itself as nausea for me. And trying to face childhood trauma is stressful. I’m so sorry you are going through it. I’ve found it isn’t as bad if I don’t resist so much, however, I wish physical discomfort wasn’t part of the process. You ARE strong, never doubt that! Take your time. Your courage inspires me. Hope you don’t have a bug! ((Hugs)) ♥

      • I had not heard of PNES before. Thank you for bringing it up. One more shitty aftermath of abuse. (sorry for language–it just makes me mad.)I looked it up and it looks like people go through a lot before they get an accurate dx. Have you tried the EMDR that they say can help some? Most likely you’ve done it all. I have PTSD resulting in panic attacks/anxiety but nothing as difficult as that. My heart goes out to you. Thank you.

  6. I think you are strong as well 🙂 And I also think you’ve been very successful. I do think surviving counts as success, but you also knew that you were meant to go to Sweden (you listened), you traveled thousands of miles and you found your soulmate, you’ve made a success of your relationship. You’re creating a new home for your family, and you’ve never given up. I call that success ❤

    Your cousin sounds like a really beautiful soul. We all respond differently to stress, and we all have different challenges. I try to just work with the benchmark of myself, if you know what I mean 🙂

  7. One step forward, a million back. That’s how it always feels, which I guess is completely normal, right? It’s never easy to see where we’re at in any given moment, and even when we look down that long stretch of road trailing behind us, we wonder if the perspective is playing tricks with our minds. I’m rooting for you, Yves, and you ARE stronger than you think. Those times when you feel like you’re at your most frail and vulnerable are the times that your soul is trying to crack out of its shell. (Okay, that sounded better in my head, but I hope you get what I mean, as cheesy as it sounds.) 🙂

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