Getting Back Into It

The hardest part of writing is knowing where or how to start.

This has been one of my biggest challenges. Not only in writing new blog posts, but business emails, text messages, and social media updates as well.

It’s not that I don’t know what I need to say, or what I want to write about. It’s in organizing those thoughts in a coherent and logical way, and then finding the words to begin.

I’ve been having a particularly hard time with this lately, which is why I haven’t posted here in a while. My brain power has been going toward business emails, proposals and calls, which has taken a lot out of me mentally. One day when I can afford it, I’m going to hire someone to do those aspects that I struggle with. But for now, I’m on my own.

So, yes, I have two new clients (thanks to my therapist), and two more potential ones lined up. All of them psychologists—my ideal market. It’s been great to have work again and that sense of purpose.

I also got an unexpected cash deposit from an old pension fund I was a member of in my first “real” job many moons ago. It’s a long story, but I’m glad I got it now and not when I was supposed to earlier in my life. I would have wasted it back then as a lot of us do when we’re younger. It came at the perfect time and was very much needed.

Therapy has been going well. My therapist came back the day after I wrote my previous post, just like she said she would. She’s technically still on maternity leave, but working a little here and there. The first day back I got to go to the practice. I was anxious and wary. The first while I couldn’t even look at her, and didn’t want to take my mask off, even though that’s the first thing I usually do when sitting down (I hate wearing those things—but they’re great for hiding behind). The thought of taking my mask off felt like I would be getting undressed in front of her. Eventually, I started feeling more comfortable and my walls slowly came down.

It was a good session, and I’m glad I got to see her in person the first time back. She had come in about 5 minutes after I had arrived, and left to go home after me. So I was the only person she saw that day. I think that fact helped me feel closer to her again, and like I do actually matter to her. Since then we’ve had two in-person sessions, and the rest has been online.

There have been a few frustrating and sad things happening in my life too, but I’m just grateful that some good has come as well.

The past three days have been difficult. I think I pushed myself too far, and over-did things. I tend to jump into work in an almost manic way. Not giving myself much time to rest or relax. So I burn out. There was also so many other things to do and places to go. A lot of anxiety. It’s only now settling down.

My startle response and sensory system had gone haywire the day before yesterday. The smallest thing made me jump. Even those things that are a regular occurrence, such as the fridge making it’s “settling” sound every now and then. Everything was too bright, too loud, too rough or too soft. I’d hear the lady next door talking to her daughter, or the man speaking on his phone, and I’d be both irritated and fearful (every slight voice level above what it’s been and I felt the same fear at the anticipation of a fight).

So now I’m in a mental place where I can’t do any of my work. Even forming words to reply to voice notes or talk to anyone out loud just isn’t happening. Spent most of yesterday sleeping. I’m in shutdown mode. Good thing it’s weekend so I have an excuse to stay in bed and not do anything.

I need to learn how to balance things better, and protect myself from reaching this point.

Maybe I’ll get there one day.

I Am (Alive)

I don’t want to be alive in a world where our sexuality, gender, religion, race, disABILITY, is a source of division rather than curiosity and acceptance.

Where wars are never ending and threats of war constantly hang over us like the clouds in a dark sky.

I don’t want to be alive in a world where fear and uncertainty, hatred and greed, replace security, belonging, and love.

Where instead of embracing and working in harmony with the natural world, we destroy and turn against it, wondering “why?” when it turns on us too.

But I am.

I am alive in that world.

And it’s hard.

It’s hard to be alive in a world where little makes sense. Where the beauty of a sunset illuminating and colouring the landscape below it, is just as real as the blood of innocent lives tragically taken.

This world is also filled with beauty and grace. With hope and joy.

Focus on this good, they say.

But the good and the bad are equally real.

You can’t have one without the other. That’s the world we live in.

We’re alive. And we have to play our part in helping to make a difference. To being a beacon of light among an endless sea of darkness and despair.

We’re all human. We ultimately all come from the same place.

The difference is what each of us do with our humanity.

Nightmares & The Dark

I’m having a hard time with my sleeping routine.

I’m naturally a night owl, so go to bed quite late. I try to go to bed before 2am though. Sometimes I manage that, other times not so much. I usually wake up sometime between 10 and 11am.

At least that’s how it used to be.

I’m craving the blissful state of non-existence for a while, but instead I’m bombarded with nightmare after nightmare. The really bad ones wake me up in a panic and it takes me a couple of hours to be able to turn the light off again and go back to sleep. The dark is deafening. Terrifying. I’m acutely aware how alone I am in those moments. At night the monsters are lurking in the closet, under my bed. Sitting on the edge of my bed, watching me. Waiting.

My longest continuous sleep time over the past two weeks has been 3 hours. This broken sleep is obviously making things worse. Sleeping until 3pm, because I was up for hours, too scared to go to sleep. Or having fallen asleep and woken up after yet another terrifying dream. So many people from my past in some of those dreams. Lies, betrayals, violence, death. So much blood and death.

Saturday and Sunday were two of the worst days I’ve had in years. I honestly don’t know how I got through it. Maybe I didn’t after all, and I’m not actually alive right now. I wanted to go into the clinic, but couldn’t get there. I didn’t know where to turn. Everyone seemed to have abandoned me. Unanswered messages. Cancelled visits and meetups.

New complications with regards to my uncle. I just want him to come out of this already. He has to. I can’t lose him, I just can’t. I had spoken to him a few days before he went into hospital, because he had sent me money for my birthday, which was so appreciated (more than he could ever know). I need to hear his voice again. We need him.

I need my mommy. There’s that. Even though everytime I’ve been with her, there’s never that mother-daughter bond and feeling, more like just a friendship. But she’s my mom, and I love and miss her. I’ve never been able to cry in front of her. But still, I long for that comfort of not being alone when I cry. When I’m not feeling good. The reality is never quite like the imagination, is it?

Remembered on Wednesday that my therapist had told me that I could email her while she’s gone if I need to. So I did just that. I wasn’t writing from a very present state of mind and it wasn’t a long email. I told her I was angry with her for reasons I can’t quiet think of. Told her I was thinking that maybe she wasn’t coming back. That she didn’t feel real anymore.

She replied that same evening. That didn’t feel real either. I wasn’t expecting a reply, since I wasn’t all there when I sent it anyway. There had been genuine moments during the day where I was so confused, believing that I had made her up the entire time. That nothing was real. That I wasn’t alive. Or human. The next morning I had to make sure that it hadn’t been a dream. She is real. She actually sent me an email. An email that let me know that she’s proud of how I’m managing, and encouragement to keep going even though it feels tough. Letting me know that she is coming back and we’ll have our video consultations soon. I don’t deserve her.

I don’t want to be alone anymore. Being bombarded with messages and photo’s of people finding new jobs, starting families, new relationships, it seems that nearly everyone I know is moving up in life. And I’m just here. Stuck. Trying to keep my head above water. Trying to build a business that’s just not going anywhere, no matter how hard I work, how many things I try. Seeing all these new businesses in my field that have sprung up with sub-par work, yet they’re the ones getting all the clients, using techniques that aren’t working for me. I’ve been trying for years now. Am so tired, and feel like a failure. A fraud. Maybe I’m just not good enough.

So far away from everyone I know. Longing for a hug. A warm hand to hold. If only for a day.

A Lifeline

Last week my therapist cancelled our session due to a personal loss.

My heart went out to her.

It was a strange experience. Usually a cancellation would trigger my abandonment issues. But this time all I could think and feel was an intense sadness for her. What this cancellation means to me didn’t even enter my mind (at least not consciously). For the rest of that week I carried on with life as normal.

Of course, I thought about my therapist often, and experienced those same feelings of sadness for her situation. Along with a deep sense of care, and hoping for comfort for her.

Something inside me shifted on Monday. Certain frustrations in my life intensified, and I received some bad news regarding my emigration (a new plan has since been made however). I was feeling extra intense pressure from my dad and everything starting going haywire inside my head. I felt overwhelmed. To the extent where I just wanted to end it all, just wanted to make it stop.

And then the panic set in. The desperation. I wanted my therapist. She would understand. She always does. She was the only one I feel safe with emotionally. Our session was a couple of days away, but what if she cancels again? What if she doesn’t come back? What if our relationship changes due to her loss? Yes, now the attachment demon had arrived. Now it was about me again.

I felt ashamed by these new thoughts and feelings. How could I be so selfish? That’s when the self-hatred kicked in.

On Tuesday came the message I feared. My therapist was cancelling our session this week too. This brought back the memory of another attachment figure, my OT, cancelling two of our sessions back to back, and then sending an email weeks later terminating our work. The reason for the new cancellation was also a trigger. The memorial service was on the day my session was supposed to be. My therapist had said that she would be back in the office this week. So the thought that she was going to be seeing some other clients this week, but not me, felt devastating.

In panic mode all I wanted to do was beg her for a time, any time this week, even just a 10 minute call, which we had done before. I wanted her to know how badly I was taking this. The effect it was having on me. I felt like I had been on the edge of a cliff since the previous day, and now I was slipping. But despite the frame of mind I was in, I resisted my urges. Because I didn’t want to make things harder for her than they already were. Because I care about her.

But I knew I needed to do something because at that moment I didn’t trust myself with myself. I knew I needed to talk to someone. A professional. I thought of the therapist who I had two sessions with when my therapist was on leave. While I had been comfortable with her, I wasn’t comfortable enough in this situation. I didn’t want anyone that was even remotely connected to my therapist. I wanted A. Other than my current therapist, A knows me best and knows how to work (and deal) with me. We worked together for more than two years after all.

I reached out to her and asked whether we could schedule an appointment for sometime this week. I was worried that she wouldn’t have time available. But thankfully, she did. So we scheduled a video session for the next day. And even though I was in a horrible place for the rest of that day and evening, there was that little sliver of hope peeking through. Keeping me going. Keeping me safe.

Still, leading up to our session, fears that she would cancel as well, kept showing up. But she didn’t cancel. She showed up. It was like coming up for air.

We’ve had contact since we stopped working together when I moved over to my current therapist in 2018, but they were just text messages here and there. She still reads my blog. This has all been enough to keep our connection strong.

I didn’t know what to expect after such a long time of not seeing her. I thought I’d be nervous. That it might be weird. But it wasn’t. It was as though no time had passed. It felt familiar. Comfortable.

For some reason, my distress of the past few days and hours fizzled out as soon as I saw her. We caught up a bit. Some nice moments.

It was easy to open up about everything going on. And it felt so good to be able to talk to someone about this situation with my therapist. Especially with someone who is a therapist herself, and at the same time, knows me well. She provided different perspectives. Possibilities. Got me to list the evidence for why I can trust my therapist and know she cares about me. This exercise was extremely helpful, and not something I had been able to do, or see, in my distressed state.

What was also helpful was when A told that I’ve grown since we worked together, and pointed some of it out. It helped because I’d been feeling like a failure. A therapy and personal failure. Like I had regressed completely. It also felt really good when she said that it was nice to see me again. A much-needed boost to my self-esteem.

Ever the ethical professional, she asked whether I would be okay with her contacting my therapist to let her know that we had a “emergency” session. I actually really appreciated this because like she said, she doesn’t want to interfere in my work with my current therapist. Feeling protective though, I asked her to rather send her that message next Monday. I want to give therapist some “space” this week. She doesn’t need to be thinking of me right now. I’m seeing her on Monday (still struggling with the fear of yet another cancellation), so then we can discuss it as well.

This session was exactly what I needed. It felt like a warm, comforting hug. It was as though I had been stuck in a pit of despair and negativity, but had been pulled out of it. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m completely okay. I’m still struggling. But I’m coping.

We do what we have to in order to survive.