Girl Interrupted

This is a first for me and my body is all sorts of out of it.

My pattern was interrupted. It was put on display and looked at by A and I, and I felt like all the fun air had been removed out of my helium balloon of manipulation when I left yesterday. I’m trying to be curious and to notice and to not judge myself.

This is what’s happened since leaving yesterday

  • Get continuously teary on the way home from seeing A
  • Buy a bottle of wine despite having 12 at home already from wineries last weekend and knowing this is a bad plan
  • Receive texts from Dave and answer with details he needs (for work) but add nothing else
  • Text with husband
  • Buy food 
  • Consider options – I asked A how I should handle it and she said “with love for you and them” so I’m like what does that look like?
  • Go home and marinate steak and set up veggies
  • Watch Netflix
  • Desperately try not to text Shawn and indicate I’m feeling in crisis
  • Husband calls at right time
  • Spend 1.5 hours crying on phone to husband and catching up
  • Drink bottle of wine through all this and eat dinner at 9p
  • Do the work I promised Dave
  • Eventually go to bed after eating and writing yesterday’s post

And then today:

  • Wake up and feel like it’s too early
  • Thirsty
  • Look at myself in the mirror and wonder how I got so screwed up
  • Go to physio – usually I relish the pain that comes from IMS, but today it just hurts and I want it to stop but don’t say anything
  • Write email to Strong explaining my counseling session more in depth and that my decided plan is to engage as minimally as possible with Dave and Shawn
  • Immediately get text from Shawn asking where I am and if I’m okay (of course)
  • Answer with “just coming from physio”
  • Still teary eyed and feeling a combination of “don’t give a shit” and challenging myself to not engage with them inappropriately. Struggle to define parameters, these white Knight types tend to come after me worried if I leave them for too long
  • Don’t eat breakfast, catch myself feeling like I don’t deserve breakfast
  • Fall into self hate spiral, message Lu and have good talk where she reminds me this is progress
  • Steal away from the office to have call with recruiter who has been insistent on talking to me
  • Leave early, so now I’m sitting outside ruminating and listening to the playlist of exceptionally mushy love songs Shawn and I are learning because we have to sing them together next week.

Weird

Things have been weird lately. I know I haven’t been posting. I’m sorry. I know it worries me when I don’t hear from you, so it upsets me that maybe I’m worrying others.

Last weekend was my work retreat. I was really well behaved on Thursday and Friday night but Saturday I got drunk… suicidally drunk. Two of my coworkers (both men, both in relationships) took care of me. Amazingly so.

I wrote that last post from an incredible high. I’d figured this out, I was going to get better. I bounced into counseling today and A was like “whoa, this is new”.

But as I told her what was going on I realized I’m just following my pattern of manipulation and lies towards vulnerable White Knight type men. And I don’t even mean to, but I get into this place and I’m so… good at it. I love to be cared for and rescued.

A and I looked at it, together. And she was like “you, like this, is so incredibly charasmatic. You seem so happy, and charming, and just incredible. You have maintained eye contact this whole time and it’s like you’re writing the session as it happens. I’m so glad I get to see this because when you are playing out your manipulative pattern, you are intoxicating. I almost want to tell you to keep going.”

I fell back into my pattern. Lying to and manipulating vulnerable men around me. And I didn’t even realize it until she pointed it out. Thats why I seemed so in control – my needs were being met – by a situation I control. 

It’s complicated and hard but she asked me how I felt, and to take a look at it, and there were a lot of frank talks today where A high fives me and told me I’ve come so far in knowing why I do the things I do even if I can’t stop them yet. 

I was so confused where my perfectionist fronter came from, and the near the end, I was like “last week after my pap till now is such a drastic change” and then it hit me… the pap. It is so representative of my pattern. I get into a situation I don’t know what to do with, I lose control and disassociate and I gain control by lying to and manipulating someone. 

It was eye opening. I came home determined not to contact anyone and my husband called and I had a huge cry with him.

I wanted the euphoria caused by feeding my lie monster to be real. And it’s not. 

*Post edit: The lie monster has morphed more into an attention monster, where I manipulate the relationship. But I don’t do it on purpose. I didn’t come out of the disassociation by cognitively thinking “I need to gain control of this situation, who can I manipulate?” It wasn’t until session yesterday I realized I had done it. And it was actually really interesting to see it happen point blank and for A to get to witness it. Now it’s a matter of what I do next, really.*

Skilled & Empowered 

If you ever have the opportunity to find or make a friend like Dave, I suggest you take it.

Yesterday is a really hard anniversary for me. My husband was away, visiting people in MO (score one for me for knowing I shouldn’t go and staying here!) and I would be alone. Three months ago, I hesitantly asked Dave if he would crash on my couch, so that I wouldn’t be alone, or stupid. 

Usually I am pretty quiet about these anniversaries. But they almost never pass without incident.

The night before I told him it was fine and I didn’t need him and he went 

“Nope.”

And I said “seriously though, I’ll be fine” (aka I will come home, get drunk, clean furiously, and muscle my way through it)

And again, a hard “no.”

He made sure I ate without being pushy, by taking me for a work 1:1 over lunch. I told him I would stay in the car while he ran upstairs and he convinced me his girlfriend was worried and would want to see me for a bit, so I had company. We spent time seeing his new apartment and meeting with a flooring guy and he was asking me about tiles and I felt included in his life.

He always jokes with me about me being his sister, but this time he introduced me to three different people, including his neighbours, as his sister. “This is my sister, PD”. 

I can’t tell you what that meant to me. I actually can’t put it into words. After not having a supportive family for so long… It meant the world.

He paid for dinner and we watched comedy and everytime I started to worry or get distant he would talk about the present or ask my opinion on something. We stayed sober. We then watched Magic Mike and he wouldn’t let me fall asleep because “c’mon, this isn’t a movie I can watch alone!” 

But most importantly, at 4am when I had a panic attack and came into the living room and he made space for me on his couch and I sat down he was like “you know what to do. I know you know what to do.” And he refused to play rescuer. I was like “I can’t breathe” and he was like “yes you can, and you have the skills to get there, or you may pass out before then, and that’s okay, but regardless, I’m here”. 

And he didn’t do it for me. He didn’t attempt to navigate it for me. He kept telling me I knew how, and that I have more skills and more power than I know, and kept talking about the present and asking me questions. With one hand on my leg, he was steady, and supportive, and empowering.

It was empowering to know that I do have these skills. That I don’t need a crisis to ask for help. That I am able and capable of calming myself down without assisted breathing. That given long enough in a supported space I’ll figure out how to calm myself down. 

I don’t need to be hand held anymore.

And he will never know what a difference his determination to not coddle me made yesterday. His steady “I’m right here, you know how to do this, and I’m not doing it for you” was so incredibly empowering.

It was so different from every other time. And it was a friend, who chose to be there. Not someone I pay. Not my husband, who I’m convinced is crazy for loving me. 

In his refusal to swoop in and rescue me and his determination to have me rescue myself, he taught me that maybe I don’t need to be rescued anymore. 

Entitled 

Unlocking that pain, it hurt.

But I am entitled to trust myself without justification or explanation.

I am entitled to know what I want and what I need for me and to do those things

I am entitled to be centered within myself and know what I need. 

And I am entitled to not have to put them first.

It is my birthright to be able to follow my own desires, thoughts, and needs.

Wednesday and Thursday were hard. Very hard.

But out of the ashes a warrior soul has risen. 

Ive crossed a barrier. I can feel it.

And I am done apologizing for who I am, and I am going to trust that I know what to do. 

Hello, it’s me?

I had a whole thing written and decided I didn’t feel like pressing publish.

I don’t feel like myself. I’m okay, I think. The exam itself was fine and went as perfectly as one could hope. Dr. M was amazing, I’ll describe her process once I’m a little more outside of it. Lu was incredible. My session was weird but I was so disassociated, and I’m not completely back in my own body yet. I returned to see A this morning though, and we had a breakthrough. But I still feel separated from myself. 

The separation though, is more around the act of caring for myself and realizing how easy it would have been to be cared for before, and less about the actual exam. While uncomfortable, I had full autonomy and constant check ins. I think this is about having a tangible example of being cared for, and finally realizing what I’ve lost.

I’m very raw and feeling very vulnerable, and off to spend 3 days in a townhouse with 9 other women (my idea of hell). Dave will be around, but hopefully there’s space for me to be alone and I actually get some sleep.

I’m either not myself or I’m way too connected to how much this actually hurts. 

When “Shower & Wash That Part” is on the to-do list

TW: anatomy, sexual assault

Today is the day of my pap.

It’s also the day of a photoshoot, a co-working date with Lu who is basically my hero at this point, a cafe meeting and an appointment with A. 

I didn’t sleep very well last night (to be expected?) after a few days of really solid sleep – I’ve gotten my body in a routine. 

I made a list of everything I needed this morning. $75 for the hairdresser from the bank (now I’m wondering, should I tip her?). My laptop, Ativan (as a security blanket), my notebook, outfit changes, and ‘shower & wash that part’.

It was only this morning I realized the absurdity of that last statement. First of all, I’m past the point in my depression where shower needs to be on my to do list, I’ve got that clean regularly part down now. I would have showered regardless.

Second, ‘& wash that part’. That’s a thing that I do when I’m in the shower each time, it’s not like a once and a while special thing. Also, why can’t I put ‘wash vagina’ on the list. Why is it that that part = such secrecy? 

I don’t know why I’m concerned Dr R is going to care, I’m sure she’s seen lots of them. I’m sure some of them are hairy and some of them were smelly and I’m sure some of them looked different and why is anatomy such a taboo topic?

I’ve done all I can to care for myself in this situation, and I find myself more angry today than anything else. Angry at the people who hurt me, angry at my parents, angry at the fact that the word vagina isn’t something we feel we can’t say out loud. Angry that being a woman is so fucking hard sometimes. Angry that I still don’t feel like I deserve this support I’m giving myself. 

Angry that I felt I had to write ‘shower and wash that part’ on my to do list this morning. 

So you know what? 

This is my rebellion. This self care and support is me saying – fuck all of them. I’m taking care of myself, and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

Cranio Session #2

Cranio, if nothing else (and it is much more) is an exercise in letting go. I let Sal hold the space and I am supposed to patiently allow things to happen for me.

Patiently. I am not very patient.

This session was very different from the first, as Sal pointed out afterwards. I kept waiting for that big expel of emotion, that big letting go, or the flashback or the images. But no, that’s not what my body wanted or needed. I’m learning to move with it and what it needs, not against it. I’m learning to try not to exercise control over these experiences, and let my body guide my mind, not the other way around.

I’ve started to learn to live with my resistance, the duality of wanting and not wanting. That defense mechanism screaming not to do things. I got that feeling this morning, checked in about any real danger, and once I realized the alarm bells we’re about resisting the emotional experience I was expecting, I thanked it and told it it was okay. I’ve been doing that a lot recently. 

This session ended up being about strength gathering. My body, once I stopped trying to control what was happening, was more interested in gathering it’s strength, drawing resources from the supportive, space holding hands literally and emotionally holding space for us, than it was about letting something out. 

I was in this weird but beautiful soft space between sleep and alert. The therapy space Sal uses is busy on Sunday and the noise faded away, and I was treated to the occasional soft light show behind my eyelids or positive images from the past. It was like my body knew exactly what I needed. 

Sal got me water after, and we hugged before I left. I enjoy Sal. I trust Sal, their philosophy on the human experience and how we grow and become who we are as people is comforting. 

But more importantly, I think the part that doesn’t trust anyone – the part that lives and protects that cavern inside of me – that part trusts Sal. And that’s new. 

Sal’s calm care and the fact that they don’t ask questions or say anything other than to remind us to be gentle with ourselves, provides space for that really hurt protective part of me to just be. 

This is going to continue to be good for us, I believe. 

Now for a nap.