I have a lot of insight, now, into last weekend. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to say that it was, without a doubt, the most terrifying experience of my life, after the most activated week I’ve had in a long time. But it has led to something… incredible. Indescribable. Although I will try.
This session, with A, was the most intense one I’d ever had (has it really only been a week?). And looking back now, I realize how big of a shift it was for me – it threw the fact that I am not responsible for my trauma into the light. Which threw me and Little PD closer together, and it took the grief and the shame away from me. It took away the shield I had built. I had been shielding myself from the past, from the trauma, from the emotional pain of it all, that has been buried in the centre of my being for years, by blaming myself.
When I could no longer blame myself, it opened the floodgates. That emotion was no longer protected by the fortress I had enacted. It wasn’t contained.
Couple that with the physical act of cleaning out my closet and getting rid of all these attachments to the past I was holding on to, and the flood of grief was suddenly and irreversibly unstoppable. To top it all off, my brother continued his offensive that same day, and throughout the weekend.
I am at a loss when it comes to explaining this grief. Words don’t seem like enough. I have never, in my life, felt like this before. The closest I can come to pinpointing the feeling is when my grandmother died. But that was a fleeting moment. This was at least 80 hours.
One thing I know for sure is I will never again use the word “terrifying” unless the pain I am in approaches the pain I was in last weekend. It was like my body was purging its emotional memory. Emotions that I had refused to feel for upwards of twenty years were flooding me all at the same time. I was literally writhing on my bed in emotional pain, the anguish was that strong and that real and that visceral – that deep rooted. I could no longer turn away from the reality that was my life. And I have been through many hard things, but this, it takes the cake. Nothing was getting rid of it, it was whole body, I had the shakes, I’d be hysterically crying and then hysterically laughing and nothing would help. My husband holding me didn’t help. Alcohol didn’t help. Hot baths and reading and Disney movies, didn’t help. Blanket forts, didn’t help. Sleeping didn’t make it go away and I would wake up the next morning drowning in the same emotions I had had the night before. I would wake up crying.
I was crying, and then laughing, then silently shaking. It was all encompassing. I wanted to give up. I wanted to call A and be like “I quit, I did not sign up for this.” Because I knew, I knew that this would be hard, this process of moving through – I knew the choice I was making to actively show up to counselling and do this work was going to be difficult. But I did not know that it would feel murderous, like running my heart repeatedly through a paper shredder. Like every day would feel like some sick form of torture. Like each minute would feel like an hour, like each day would feel like a year. I am a talkative person, I rarely run out of words to say even if there is no substance, and I didn’t speak with my husband for almost 24 hours during that weekend. In a row. I couldn’t find the words.
Last weekend tested my emotional limits in the way nothing has ever done before. I have been sad before, I have grieved before, but it was protected by that guilt and shame I always put on myself — when that barrier came down – this was raw emotion of 28 years rising up from the depths of my soul and finally escaping, my entire body tense from head to toe.
I wanted to quit. I knew I wasn’t okay. I emailed A and asked for an earlier appointment – I wasn’t making it to Thursday. I had given my husband all the things I could think of to indicate that alarm bells were going off, that I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to survive this emotional onslaught… after three days I was at the end of my rope, I was at the precipice. Thankfully I knew enough to let him take control. Thankfully I trusted him enough to be there in the important ways.
I was ready to quit in more ways than one. I was done.