I haven’t been sleeping well, and I have been feeling off. Nothing serious but self harm urges here and there. Just not… myself. And I can’t pinpoint it. And I know the lack of sleep isn’t helping. I also know that the anticipation of having a conversation tomorrow with A isn’t helping. I’m anxious. I’m something else, too. I’m off.
So I settled in to a bath tonight. Baths are my safe place. They always have been. Nobody can get me in the bathroom. The door locks. I think I even wrote a post about it in the early days of this blog. I put some lavender essential oil in the bathwater and picked up my book.
I’m reading about compassion – and how about practicing compassion with ourselves brings us face to face with our fear. And that the key to approaching fear is to do it slowly. To observe from afar. To experience it, but not to the point where your guard shoots up. And I’m reading about this and trying to practice it – eyes closed, heart open, what am I afraid of – when I hear a door slam in the apartment building hallway that my bathroom is adjacent to. People yelling.
And it happens so fast I almost don’t catch it. My heart rate increases and my breath catches in my throat. The yelling and slamming of the door has thrown me completely into this place of fear. And I start wondering how often this happens where I don’t notice that something small and relatively innocuous like apartment building noise (only happened once, not fighting yelling but a ‘BYE’) upset me so much that I didn’t feel safe.
And that got me thinking about the word, fun. It bothers me. It bothers me that A used it. But to be fair, sometimes we do have fun. We make each other laugh, sometimes. I genuinely like A as a person. I know she appreciates me. She wasn’t in the counselor mindset when she said it because I had just given her a gift. It was the end of session. An emotional session. I think I’ve boiled it down to four reasons why the word fun bothers me.
1) I often felt like my whole life was a game and I was expected to figure out the rules as we went along. Games are supposed to be fun. This one wasn’t and still isn’t. Her using that word is reminiscent of me constantly trying to figure out the rules.
2) Our time together is a lot of things. It is educational. It is informative. It is raw and painful. It has been healing. It is intimate and attached. And occasionally we have fun. But when she used it to describe our sessions together I cringed. Because I don’t want her seeing my most serious, protected memories as something fun to do… and that’s how it came across. And right now, I honestly do not feel like I can share with her over it. Does she sit there before I show up and think ‘oh what fun we will have’? Because I don’t. I think about how raw and intensely emotional things are going to be for me. It’s so upsetting to think that when I shared my most secret moments, she thought “what fun”. And I know the word doesn’t translate to what happened in those moments but it sure as hell feels like that’s what she means.
3) I didn’t realize it until tonight but it’s a word my brother used. My parents would come home after being out and he would tell them we had ‘so much fun’ together. He would use the phrase ‘but I’m just having fun’ to describe behaviour of his that was crossing the line. It was an excuse that was bought. This big memory I’m trying to work up the courage to share, the one that is haunting me right now, he used the word fun. My mom asked him what he thought he was doing, and he said ‘but I thought she would find it fun.” And he got away with his behaviour over that word.
4) If these sessions are fun, what happens when I am boring to her? There has to be an opposite. I’ve been catching myself wanting to make things up… as if once I’m out of ‘fun’ memories she’s going to not want to deal with me anymore. As if the rest of my life is too mundane and I need to make it more exciting for her.
These are all things I thought of earlier tonight, and yes, they are all things I intend on trying to share with her tomorrow, along with the scheduling thing. It feels nitpicky, but if what we are doing is about our relationship I need to share this and I truly believe she will be open to hearing it. It just opens this can of worms I don’t really want to discuss.
I am going to take an Ativan and get at least 8 hours of sleep. And tomorrow I’m going to be like “I need to talk to you about why I can’t sleep and that memory we discussed last week, but it doesn’t feel that safe to share with you right now. There is a word you used in session a while ago that I am hung up on. I think it’s valid and I need to share my feelings around this word before we get into any other memories.”
I’m scared. And anxious. Hence the Ativan. But I think I got great insight into that word and it’s deeper meaning for me tonight.
You may have noticed the sober day 1 count beside the title. I’m going to keep track of the days I drink and the days I don’t for a bit. It’s an accountability thing but also a reminder for me to always keep the sober number higher than the drinking number.