Note To Self

Life doesn’t own you.

You own life.

Stay alive. Don’t allow the darkness to win. Because if you do, your suffering might come to an end, but the suffering of those you love, and left behind, will only begin.

Be strong. Be brave. Just keep breathing.

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Words

I haven’t been on my blog much these past few days, and I know there’s still comments I need to reply to. I’ll reply to you guys as soon as I can. Thanks for all the support. I appreciate you all so much. 

These quotes are obviously not my own. But they say enough.

Feeling The Grief

I’ve never liked that word. Grief. Even as I’m typing it out, I’m cringing inside.

But as a friend recently told me, words are just that. Words.

The morning after having written my post ‘Basking in the Sun‘, I woke up with this feeling of intense sadness. It’s followed me through the entire week, and I’m still feeling it.

Random spurts of crying accompanied it. Even at work, while focused on what I was doing, I was acutely aware of the aching inside me. And sometimes I couldn’t contain it any longer and the tears would just spill out. Obviously not wanting anyone else to see, I would go the bathroom, and let it just come. But only for a minute or two, and then I’d compose myself and walk out smiling, as though nothing had happened. I’m grateful that it’s not easy for people to tell that I’d been crying. It only becomes noticeable if I’d been crying for a long time.

Even while out with a good friend yesterday, I couldn’t get rid of this sadness. I was spending the day with her, her new boyfriend and his family. At one point I pulled her aside and told her that I was struggling emotionally. She gave me a big hug and told me that it’s okay to feel the way I am. That it’s normal. She was so caring and and supportive. I felt safe. I don’t usually tell friends or family that I’m struggling with something, but I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to be vulnerable with people closest to me. I’m glad I told her, because she helped me realize that it’s okay to feel these emotions and to deal with them.

The reason for my sadness is I’m missing someone that was a constant part of my life for years. I’m grieving for the life I had. It wasn’t the good life, but it’s familiar. I miss the place, the people, the person… Just everything. Now I’m in a new place, new environment, and nothing is familiar. I know I’m starting to build the life I want, that I’m slowly starting to find my feet, but I’m overwhelmed. I feel as though I shouldn’t hope too much, or allow myself to feel happy, because it will just come crashing down around me anyway. I feel like I don’t deserve to be happy and to have a happy life. That it’s just not meant for me. The day after having written the above mentioned post, I felt guilty. What right did I have to feel that good? What right do I have to feel good, when so many other people are suffering and in pain?

I haven’t really allowed myself to fully experience the loss of all I left behind. I thought I had. I thought I had let it go. But I haven’t really. Because most of the time I would just push it away or play it down when the thoughts and feelings would surface. I would tell myself that I’m fine. But I’m not fine.

I’m allowing myself to really sit with, and experience these emotions today. To sit with the sadness and grief. With the unbearable pain. With the thought that I made the biggest mistake of my life. That what if all we needed was this break? I’m sitting with the longing to go back to my old life. To the person who’s love was conditional, admitting that she took it away sometimes in order to punish me, but at least I had that love sometimes. I never felt safe when I was living that life. But that life feels safe now. Safer than where I am at this moment. But I know it’s just the grief talking. That if I go back, nothing would have changed. Maybe it would be different for a little while, better, but then what? So many ‘what if’s’ consume my mind, and I’m allowing myself to ask and answer those difficult questions.

It’s so hard and painful. And I’m so unsure about my future.

The Healing Bond

In my post ‘The Therapeutic Relationship‘, I wrote about my connection with my therapist, and the fear that often accompanies it.

On Monday morning, in preparation for our session later that afternoon, I asked her to open up that post for our session (she has access to my blog). I wasn’t sure whether she had read it, but I thought it was important that she does.

Most of the session revolved around talking about our relationship, my fears and things I had left unsaid for so long. I didn’t run away from it this time. I fully embraced it. And I’m so glad I did.

I got to see a side of her that I’ve never seen before, a more vulnerable side, and it was absolutely beautiful. My heart just softened. I felt this overwhelming love for her, and warmth filled every part of me. That moment right there… That moment is one I’ll never forget. It’s etched in my memory forever.

One of the things I told her, is that I sometimes worry that I’ll be replaced by her other clients. That I won’t be important to her anymore. She put that fear to rest by saying that she’ll always make time for me. That she cares about me. It felt really good to hear that.

I also asked her whether she thought I was still making progress. Because I feel like I’m not. But I spent some time thinking about this since that session. And I reached the conclusion that I am making progress.

I’ll give two examples.

I never really had boundaries with people in my life. In my head yes, but I was unable to communicate and enforce them. Now, thanks to this healing relationship, I’m starting to become better at it. I wasn’t even aware of it at first, it came so gradually. I still have a way to go, but there’s definitely progress.

Since I started seeing her at the beginning of March this year, I had this obsessive attachment to her. I would bombard her with emails. When she went on vacation for about a week, late in April, that didn’t stop me. I even sent her an angry email. I felt so embarrassed and ashamed, and what did I do? More emails. I was in crisis mode.

She always had an open policy, where I could contact her anytime. But I took it too far. I misused it greatly. In the last email she sent me during her vacation, she wrote that she feels strongly that we should have no contact between sessions, or have two sessions a week. But I couldn’t afford two sessions a week, so that was out.

I was devastated. I felt that the connection we had, had just been shattered. She had broken my heart. She had taken something away from me. I felt rejected and abandoned. When we had our next session, she was open to discussing this, and we reached a compromise. I could contact her during working hours. No nights or weekends. I still wasn’t happy with that arrangement, but it was better than absolutely no contact between sessions.

In our session on Monday, we revisited this topic. I told her that I don’t want this boundary anymore. That it hurts. That I’m jealous of all her other clients who don’t have this boundary. As usual, she listened and took to heart what I was telling her. She said that April is long gone, and she’s willing to give it a try and drop the boundary. I asked her whether she thinks I won’t misuse it this time. I liked her answer. She said that we know one another well by now, and she believes I won’t.

And I don’t plan to. I don’t want to use it unless I have to reschedule a session. It’s not about a boundary. It’s about me respecting her time. I want her to have her evenings and weekends to unwind and enjoy. And you know what? I’m actually glad she had set that boundary, because I grew from it. I learned from it. I learned to hold myself between sessions. To sit with my emotions and thoughts. To self soothe. I don’t feel the need to contact her in the evenings and on weekends, even though for some reason those are the hardest times for me. That is progress.

After this session, I feel an even deeper bond, a closer connection.

I want to encourage all of you going through therapy to be open and honest with your therapist about your feelings regarding the relationship. It’s so important for the healing process.

The universe has handed me a lot of shit, but it seems to have made up for it by connecting me to this amazing therapist.

Can I Sleep Now?

I’m beyond tired.

Exhausted, is a better word.

I’ve struggled with insomnia for as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I’d struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. When I would finally fall into a deep sleep, I’d have nightmares most nights. A lot of them were recurrent, with a few new ones thrown in now and then just to shake things up.

For almost two months now, I’ve been having nightmares almost every night. At first I remembered them all. But then it became a case of waking up with a racing heart, drenched, and in a panic or fearful state, but unable to remember the dream. Sometimes I’m completely disoriented and not even sure where I am. One morning I woke up with my hand clenched into a fist, my nails digging into my skin. It was painful trying to open my hand, and the marks it left reminded me to cut my nails before going to sleep that night. This has happened before. But I didn’t learn my lesson. Long(ish) nails don’t work for me.

It’s been 3 nights of having had hardly any sleep, even though I’ve not had much these past two months, it was at least a little better than these past few days. And boy am I feeling it now. Yesterday I was still perfectly fine. I was even in a hyperactive state. Having had insomnia as a regular companion throughout my life, I like to think that I deal with it pretty well and can cope with less sleep than a lot of other people. But right now I’m not handling this lack of sleep very well.

I went through the day feeling completely ‘out of it’. Nothing or no one feeling real. I’m not depressed. I’m just exhausted. Work was so excruciatingly stressful and hard today. All I wanted to do was come home, put the covers over my head and sleep until tomorrow morning.

I didn’t even know how to respond to an email my therapist had sent me today. And right now, I can’t even remember what I wrote back. I’ll check it tomorrow when I can actually make sense of things.

On the note of my therapist, I was planning on writing a little bit about our session from Monday, but my brain just can’t work that hard right now at remembering things. And it feels like a lifetime ago. I’ll write about it tomorrow or Friday.

My mind is so fuzzy, I’m surprised I’m able to write this post. Honestly, I’m not even sure why I’m writing it. It doesn’t even feel real. Maybe I’m dreaming that I’m writing this?

If it wasn’t for the fact that I just started my job at the beginning of this month, and am still in the probation period, I would skip the alarm clock tomorrow morning.

I want nothing more than to sleep. With no nightmares. No struggling for hours to fall asleep. No waking up 20 times. Just pure, glorious sleep.

Is this too much to ask?

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Basking In The Sun

I wouldn’t refer to myself as a sunshiney (I don’t think that’s a word, but it is now) person. That honour belongs to my friend Summer… You know who you are.

But today I feel like I am the sun. I feel the sun shining down upon me, the warm glow filling every part of me.

And damn, it feels good!

I can’t remember when last I have felt this good, and had it last almost an entire day. It’s such a welcome relief.

I know there’s a lot of you out there who feel the opposite today. And to you I’d just like to say this:

The darkness feels real right now. It is real. But so is the light. And you will experience that light again. When you feel that sunshine, don’t spend it fearing the darkness that might come again. Just allow yourself to be present in that moment, without thought of what might come tomorrow, or even a few hours later. Enjoy it. Because it’s these little moments of sunshine in our lives that keep us breathing through the worst storms.

The Therapeutic Relationship

Most of last weeks session with my psychologist was spent discussing our relationship. I had started the session by telling her that I didn’t want to be there. She wanted to talk more about that. I got angry at her after a while, and felt a lot of agitation and impatience. I wanted to tell her to just stop. I felt there were other things I wanted to talk about instead. Things I thought were more important.

She told me that this relationship is important, so if I feel a disconnection with her, it’s really important for us to discuss it. That if I ever feel that something she did or said hurt me, I must tell her. She doesn’t want things to be left unsaid. I told her I would, but told her that I want her to do the same thing. Because one of my biggest fears is that she feels negatively about our relationship, but keeps it to herself.

I care about what she thinks of me and how the connection feels to her. I really do. Perhaps a little too much.

Since that session I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all of this. I came to the conclusion that she’s right. It is important to discuss the relationship. A month ago, I would have loved to have spent an entire session talking about our connection. But I’ve become uncomfortable discussing it lately. Uncomfortable feeling this attachment. More and more I’m feeling this need to pull away from her. To keep her at a distance. To withdraw.

Because now it feels very real. Before, I loved the connection we shared. But lately, while I still love it, and need it, it’s become more solid. More real to me. And that scares me. I’ve never had this level of connection with anyone before. I’m terrified. The potential for getting hurt is huge. I know she’ll still unintentionally hurt me. She’s only human after all. But it’s not just that. It also comes down to my own shame. I feel embarrassed for wanting her, for needing her. At feeling this bond. There’s a lot of shame attached to it, and I don’t fully understand it yet. I long to reach out sometimes, but it also stirs up those feelings of shame. Reaching out feels wrong. A pattern from my childhood, where reaching out was met with negativity. Now it feels like a boundary violation, not just a boundary crossing. I feel like I don’t deserve the attention. That I’m not deserving of her time. That I’m not worthy.

I always thought I allowed certain people relatively close to me. But looking back this past week, I was sad to discover that that wasn’t the case. I kept everyone at some distance. Never allowing them too close. And now it’s coming out in my therapeutic relationship. Even the most important relationship in my life, that with my grandmother, reveals that pattern. I just wanted to spend time with her, be with her. But never talking about my deeper feelings or fears. Never connecting on a deeper level.

On Tuesday I sent my therapist an email with a one of the rare pictures I have of me when I was a little girl, the only one I have of me and my mom together. I also attached a ‘personality’ profile I have taken when I was 19 and in college. Feeling the need to push her away, I decided to use a DBT skill instead, that of opposite action. So I sent her that email to pull her close again. It was important for me to reach out.

I’m grateful now that she pushed me to talk about it. There are a few things I want to discuss with her in our session on Monday. And I don’t care if we spend the entire session working through these things. It has to be done. It is important.

But I’m scared.