I’ve always struggled to really understand the feeling that comes from cutting yourself. To inflict pain on yourself as a way to release pain.
But I feel closer to that more recently in what I am experiencing.
I knew when I did the assessment that this particular client would open up a big infected wound.
I spoke about it at supervision before I even had my first session.
I may not be the most educated of this profession but I am very self aware. And self awareness, for me, is more important than the lot. Of course it is being able to separate yours and theirs, But more so, it also dictates the various ways and levels that I relate to each individual person while being able to provide the core and most genuine version of who I am. it’s the only way for them to be able to do the same.
If someone isn’t real with me I know it. I can feel it. It’s why my real circle is so small. Friendship minus the bullshit.
We relate to people every day of the week. But to really reveal the ugly stuff it requires something completely different. I don’t even have that with my own therapist. I feel her boundaries and I create my own.
I talk a lot about how important my few close friends are. The ones that I chose and who chose me.
I only ever need one thing from them. And that is to care. To really genuinely care. The rest I can muddle through and find a way. But if you don’t truly care then for me you may as well be a.complete stranger.
“Why are you so kind M”. Words said to me by P last night as I fetched him a fresh glass of water, some paracetamol and sat on the edge of the bed and stroked his hair.
He has been unwell and bedridden for ten days now. Of course my girl panicked of c virus. Anyone could have got in his cab she said. Something quickly quashed with a phone call to the NHS. But ill he is. More than I’ve ever seen him. Exhausted, weak, not eating looking so grey and feeling completely dejected. With the anniversary of J’s death a couple of days away I’m trying everything to provide some extra strength for him to find his way through another reminder of his pain. All locked up and held like a scared little kid who saw things he can’t Unsee. He just can’t feel it. Something I felt this morning as he grabbed my arm to stop me walking past. Frustrated in how he is feeling.
“Don’t do that” I said as I waited for him to let me by.
As I walked to the station I found myself questioning so much. One of which being the workings of a counselling relationship. 6 sessions and off you trot. I wonder how many counsellors feel like they have made a difference as their client trots on. A lifetime of stuff all neatly corrected and packaged up in 6 sessions. The best you can really provide in 6 sessions is a place for them to talk, be heard and feel like someone gives a shit. I’ve had a lot of clients who have talked about having CBT. Reframing their thoughts. Yeah it worked for me for a bit and then life carried on. They didn’t forget what they learnt. It’s just the plaster fell off and they saw the wound was still there and had become a little more infected. In a world that is completely run on money I find myself often wondering whether some of those counsellors would have any remote understanding of what it feels like to be some of the clients I see from less privileged backgrounds. They didn’t understand me. They would quickly hide behind their theory and use the get out of jail free card by saying, perhaps the client isn’t ready to change. How very convenient and complete bullshit. I feel more irritated by that world every time I listen to someone hiding behind their theoretical books.
At some point I think every counsellor will get that client that takes them to a place that books can’t take you and will find themselves learning something way more valuable through that experience. If they aren’t so boundaried to be able to feel it.
Why? A question I have been asking alot. asking it of myself but also of others. Interested in the things they share with me beyond what that thing is. Reading and then rereading to try and see what sits in the layer below that and the one below that. Because I care about those details. The details not easily evident. The ones that hide between the lines and underneath the words and tell a story far beyond the simple ness of what is given. Because that is where special lives. All of it not just the “good stuff”. I question beauty alot. What constitutes beauty. I have never been a girl who has had my head turned by the archetypal versions of what that is. I am bored and disinterested in beauty in plain sight. Like a uniform worn by the many.
I feel like I am cutting myself with this client. It is hurting me but I’m feeling my own. creating a release for all I have been holding. I have had to reengage with my past and in doing so finding myself disengaging from my present. I feel like I’m fighting it but I’m not. I’m just letting it happen. I don’t want to let it happen but it just is. And I need to feel that. I want to feel that so I know what that feeling is. So I know why.
In the quiet tranquility of the forest where I felt safe it felt ok. I could hold it. Even as I swam up and down quietly in that pool.
But I could feel the moment I walked into my normal life, in an environment around others where I have to be “me”. I struggled. I’m not ready to be that at the minute. I need more time. I am inhabiting a 12 year old girl. Not the dreamy version that creates a beautiful world in her mind, but the ugly version who is all alone. And I need to inhabit her to remember what was really existing inside her.
Without a quiet adventure to escape in or anyone to throw kindness or beauty my way to distract me. I need to feel ugly and alone. Anything less isn’t real.
And Im feeling it. As I neared the end of my day yesterday and got ready to go home I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Choking them back because I didn’t want anyone to see them.
I am feeling very strange. While everywhere I go everyone is talking about this virus that might spread I’m feeling the one that is already held inside me.
Peoples fears are relative to their realities. When I think of all the third world counties who have lived with disease and is part of their existence, and no one cares, I find myself irritated by those that normally don’t have to worry about such things. How they panic, and talk endlessly of it and make contingency plans in spreadsheets, and bulk buying up everything so they will survive it.
I’m trying so hard to describe all that’s in my mind but it feels difficult to put into words that make sense . I am connecting with a time that I’ve spent a life time being disconnected from until a few weeks ago. Knowing that this is the opportunity to connect to this, in a time I am ready to feel it. I felt it rising slowly. Hidden behind another’s that was so much worse.
Unimaginable. Only I have imagined it. Feeling such unbearable pain that didn’t belong to me and has made me find it difficult to even function. Feeling completely empty, broken and used up in a world that didnt care.
But it has made me see that I am strong enough now to feel my own. Not that strength like others like to describe it. More a strength in being able to feel. To be able to harness it like a wild horse that doesn’t want or need to be tamed but is able to heel of its own free will and yet still remain wild. Feeling guilty in being strong enough to feel mine but so very aware of every tiny detail in it. I was scared before I started. I knew as soon as I finished those initial questions. I felt it. I flagged it. I talked about it. I knew. I knew what I was walking in to and I was worried. But I still walked in.
I’ve had therapy for this. Looking just like my client as I talked about events as though they happened to someone else. As though I was providing a witness account of what that looked like. She looked as though she had paved my way to better and yet i never felt a thing. But I assumed that because I talked about it, I shared it with “an expert” that I had dealt with it. What did I know. Going through the motions, and probably leaving that person thinking she had made a difference. And yet I realise she didn’t get anywhere near it. I never got anywhere near it.
As I got off the tube tonight I felt so very small. I felt completely vulnerable in amongst the crowd. Glad to be lost in it but feeling like if I disappeared no one would even notice.
I can feel the ache in my chest and swallowing hard to push it back down. But telling myself I have to feel it or carry it inside me like poison. A poison that is making me feel sick. I feel like I just want to be sick so I can get rid of it all.
On my way yesterday morning I read three messages from people I really care about. I liked reading their explanations of different things. The why. But I felt like I didn’t want to reply. Feeling like I wanted to push them as far away from me as possible whilst feeling like I wanted to keep them as close to me as possible. Trusting them from afar.
I replied to keep them close.
I feel lost. Like being in a bubble with life happening around me but not wanting to engage in it. Wishing I could stop the world just for a moment and freely walk through it. Feeling just the way I feel and not having to hide it.
Not needing to be invisible or vanish. As though I never existed. Erased from history.
I felt like I wanted my mum. To feel her cuddle me and tell me everything will be ok.
I couldnt wait to get to my car and get in and lock the doors. Just sit there and turn the music up and drown out the world. Will this last forever?Will this be over soon so I can go back to who I was? Trying to remember who I was before this happened.
But as I walked to my car I felt so angry. Like I wanted to punch a shadow. To stand up and face it and tell it that it doesn’t scare me. A shadow that sits nonchalantly with a smug smile on his face. That brushed past me on the stairs to let me know it was there. That followed me as I went to the bathroom and was behind me everytime I went to the kitchen to talk to my mum. Never having a single moment to myself with her.
How I wished for girly chats with my mum. To talk about the things that worried me, or I was finding difficult or to tell her that I was feeling so very scared sad and alone.
Coming home to that horrible film about a stepdad that comes into a home and murders all the children. My mum sitting there by his side not knowing what to do. I saw her face in not knowing what to do.
Wanting to scream at her for not being stronger. But I didn’t want to hurt her.
Feeling like I hated him with every single bone in my body.
Feeling my skin crawl and my throat dry and poison ripping through my body at his very existence.
As I sat in my car I thought of that tree that was shared with me. How perfectly beautiful it looked. The sort of tree I would wish to be. That stands there proudly and owns its place in this world with the sun shining through its outstretched branches. Saying “see me” Look how beautiful I am” while people walk past and marvel at my magic.
That’s what the 12 year old girl will imagine and dream tonight. For a moment today she felt the sun in her hair and and she closed her eyes just to feel it.