I hate Christmas this year. I am so emotional, so easily caught off guard. I’m so triggered by contact with my family. And it’s that time of year, you know. I tell myself I have family in <my husband> and I know that’s true… but Christmas was always a joyous time around the family house. At least, most of it. There were traditions that I could count on. Stability that existed, if only for fleeting moments. Plus Aunt Sandra’s really really delicious stuffing.
You don’t know this but I have this engrained belief that everybody leaves me this time of year. The last two therapists I have worked with quit over the holiday break. We had a session, like you and I will today, and they said “see you in January.” We had another appointment scheduled. I trusted that they would come back. The first told me she can no longer continue working with me due to urgent family matters and would no longer be running her practice – via email. The second moved to New York City and never came back and told me in one closing phone call. And I wasn’t as close to them as I am to you. I hadn’t let them in nearly as close.. we weren’t emotionally attuned the same way. So thinking of you leaving feels more monumental than when they did.
So on top of all this emotional uncertainty with my family I don’t think I can trust that you’re returning. I need something to hang on to and I don’t have that. Well, I have the one recording you made me and the note you gave me but I am way too embarrassed to ask for anything else.
And somehow my brother cutting me off and not speaking to me has remained my fault. Any contact with them is so incredibly triggering. I’m crying all the time – I had a panic attack over the best way to post MY wedding photos – and I can’t go backwards to the place where I thought this was normal, yet I can’t separate their actions from who I am. I’m in the thick of this message and I can see it for what it is but I can’t move. Grief permeates my every moment. I might as well be grief right now.
And I dream of the handprints and of the staircase and of the constant noise. And sometimes I hear it in the daytime. Sirens make my heart race and contact with my family literally physically hurts part of me. I know, I know this is part of the process, but it feels like I’m breaking more, not like I’m healing.
I wanted to write you a letter full of joy and hope and well wishes today. I can’t. I simply don’t feel like it. I’m terrified and constantly on edge when I speak to them. I’m scared you won’t come back, and I’m so emotional. I feel like all I wanted from the wedding has been taken from me by others. Again. I feel like no matter what I do I’m going to be continually shit on. Standing up for myself makes me literally physically shake for hours. It takes me a while to come down, and then I need to rest. I’m exhausted.
But I suppose writing the truth to you instead of pretending I am okay is progress. Having feelings and being able to name them and acknowledge them is progress. Putting my foot down with anyone is progress. Connecting the dots is progress. Facing grief, even if for fleeting moments, is progress. We have made a lot of progress in 8 months. And for that I am truly grateful and so thankful. I achieved a level of emotional awareness this year that I’ve never been able to access before – and I have this relationship to thank. So even if you do leave me over Christmas and my worst fears come true – thank you for everything so far. And I genuinely hope you have a wonderful holiday and we get to reconnect in January. Because I can’t stay like this – and there’s so much more work to be done.
PS – I thought about getting you pom poms. Still might.