If there was one opinion I couldn’t have heavily expressed more about my current mental health counsellor, it would be ‘Bitch doesn’t even know what she’s talking about.’
Today’s session, session number 3, changed that opinion.
It’s been a journey of 8 and a half years of comfy chairs, stuffy rooms, hours staring blankly at the clock on the wall, nervous first sessions, last ‘we have to pass you along to somebody who trains in specialised areas’ sessions, missed appointments (accidentally and/or on purpose), awkward silences, arguments, practical sessions, sessions that consisted of more mindfulness breathing than actual talk, one way exchange of thoughts, two way exchange of thoughts, denials, denials, denials, agreements and acceptances (and a few occasional tears). Counsellor, after counsellor, after counsellor, and handful of therapists, psychiatrists and *cough* “drug workers” mixed in for the added flavour.
I can still say that every single one of them to this day has had some kind of effect on me.
‘There’s a difference in believing that you can’t, and knowing that you can’t…’ – David number 1, 2008
Today, with Jan, we got on to the topic of emotions.
It is no secret between myself and my past workers, that I have grown up from being a child all the way in to adulthood with an extremely overbearingly amplified range of emotions. Emotions that my brain somehow isn’t wired to put the chemical barrier down over. Emotions that I express as a physical element that balls up in my chest and has attempted (and suceeded a few times) to tear apart my heart and rip my sanity to shreads. Those pretty butterflies in your heart that delicately flutter around and make you weak at the knees when you start to fall in love? My butterflies have somehow evolved in to heavy, black moths whose wings are embedded with sharp razor blades which cut deep in to my soul and breed in it’s wounds. These are the sort of emotions that have resorted to me physically harming myself with sharp objects, or poisoning my body to manipulate the sensations brought about by fear, joy, anxiety, love, hate, anger etc because the pain I bring to myself physically gives the sweetest relief to the burden of what I feel in my chest.
So today, we talked about (and challenged) my persistancy to feel. For the past few months I have had my head fairly straight, I have left my heart behind. I have constructed the most solid walls around me, built ‘Fort Megan’ and camped out there all safe and snug from the NASTY world around me. Untouchable. Safe… This is my control.
All this time I was hiding from the rest of the world, I didn’t realise that I was also hiding from myself.
Today, Jan put it in to words that I can visually imagine in my mind. I have closed the flood gates to my emotions and down right REFUSED to deal with them. I have managed to somehow, inhumanly, switch off from my own feelings. I have dissociated from the fear of dissociation (or in other words, my blackout’s – *read my ‘Blackout’s post’). I have chosen NOT to feel instead of attempting to healthily handle these feelings. This is my control mechanism and i am enjoying being in control. I have the Power. Just how healthy that power is could become a growing concern the longer it carries on. I am living my life as seperate components. Work mode for a few days. Mother mode for a proportion of the week. Me time mode for the rest of the days I have to spare. Nothing blends in to one. Its like I am on autopilot for each section of my week. And I am pushing everyone out of my many ‘lives’ as I do so.
Back to the Visual. So she asked me to imagine what would happen ‘if’ I was to open these gates.
It hit me hard just thinking about it. I took the sharpest breath of air and automatically drew my hands to my chest. These are where my emotions are and they are representing themselves as a vicious and energetic ball of raw fear. It struck me just how physical and how strong it grasped at my chest. I shut it off and said No. I can’t do this, my flood gates will remain shut.
Now Jan asked me to think the niggling anxiety that has been lurking over my shoulder the past few weeks. The anxiety that is strong enough to be aware of its presence but I am still holding my guard and refusing to let it in. I am ignoring it and switching off but I know it is still there and it is heavy. Its like it’s creeping in to sneakily steal my control that I have worked so hard to build up. “Resistance leads to persistance”, she quoted. This made alot of sense to me. Ever get that feeling that just wont go away because you are refusing to admit that is it there and tackle it head on?
She then asked me to let it seep through these flood gates a tiny little bit – no need to open them fully. Just let the little niggly energy in. How bad does this feel in comparison to the emotions you feel when those flood gates open wide? The answer that I gave back, was nothing in comparison. I don’t like it, but I can deal with it.
And then a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. A weight I have been carrying around for weeks.
Jan brought me out of my usual negative perspective of ‘all or nothing’ – I chose to feel absolutely nothing and switch off completely from the world around me, than to feel and lose that control (which ultimately leads to the vicious and dangerous attacks on myself). She made me realise that nobody is telling me i have to either shut off completely or suffer the concequences, only I have managed to convince myself along the way that this is the only way forwards as a protective mechanism to keep me safe.
“Take each day as it comes. Moment by moment. Don’t jump the boat and predict the future, just deal with the small happenings of the day and deal with them there and then…”
And it was something as simple as that that for the first time in a few weeks, allowed me to breathe freely again.