I decided this week that I’m going to take a vacation in a couple of months for my birthday. Yes I am, yes I am, yesIamyesIamyesIamyesIam (Friends reference).
I haven’t taken one in 6 years, and even though I hate my body right now, I am going to go to the beach. I don’t have many friends anymore since most moved away after graduation, and I’m about 10 years younger than everyone at work – and they all have families – so I toyed with the idea of going by myself. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about being in a bathing suit around someone I know and worrying what they’ll think. I’ll think that of complete strangers, but I won’t ever see them again.
But I couldn’t make the leap to go ahead and book a room and plan to be by myself. While it felt liberating and I was excited to just do whatever I wanted for a few days, it also depressed me. I would feel too self-conscious to go to restaurants by myself. I would probably feel very self-conscious in general being by myself, wondering what people thought of me. I know I should get over that, but I couldn’t rationalize spending money on a trip that I may spend being utterly miserable…If I want to get rid of my imaginary audience, I’m sure there are cheaper ways.
So – and I feel absolutely stupid, pathetic, and relieved at the same time for doing this – I am going with my mother.
I told her that I would probably want to go to the beach by myself because of my body, which she is fine with. She’s actually been very supportive, because she knows I need a break (and she doesn’t know the half of it!). She’s coming along not to make it her vacation, but to keep me company and allow me to enjoy myself. I had worried she would reprimand me for spending the money to go, but she’s actually made me feel much better about my decision to take a vacation.
But I do feel pathetic for several reasons. First, I just spent several weeks dealing with anger toward her. It’s not resolved. Far from it. I just buried the anger again, and now I am fine with her. Second, I feel pathetic for going on a vacation with my mother. I feel like it shows I obviously have no life and no friends. Sigh.
I feel like I’m sliding backwards. T just says that I’ve taken two steps forward, and now I’ve taken one step back. And it makes me feel so guilty. Like I’m doing a disservice to her…that I should never have lost a step, because she’s such a wonderful T.
She’s too good to me, and I don’t deserve it.
I was open with her about my fear that I was taking too long to “get better” and that it felt dangerous to take too long. She teased me about “getting better” and then said that I shouldn’t have had to go through this journey in the first place, but that it takes a long time, and it will take as long as it takes. I think I’d secretly wanted her to say she wouldn’t leave me. I didn’t realize I’d gotten so clingy. Telling her all of that triggered me a lot, because I was on the verge of saying, “I need you. I’m scared you’re going to leave me, but I’m also scared to stay.” And I think that tipped the balance. I had already been dissociating as we talked about suicide stuff, but I guess that was just too much.
I started falling further and further into a vortex of numbness and blurriness and utter nothingness, but my chest swelled with feelings of dread, sadness, fear, and frustration at the same time. My arms and legs tingled like they were taking on a life of their own. Somehow, the past and the present had suddenly clashed and I hadn’t really realized it. I felt like I was fighting the dissociation because something would happen to me if I wasn’t present. And so these enormous emotions came forth – desperate ones. But I was too scared to express them. My session was, of course, over by the time all of this happened, but T stayed with me for a while afterward. She kept encouraging me to share with her, if I could, what was going on inside. I told her about the emotions, and she encouraged me to allow myself to feel them, but it didn’t feel safe enough.
So I just kept falling down the rabbit hole. T tried telling me the date and time and had me speak out loud about what year it is and where I was and wanted me to look around and process where I was, but it was no use. I eventually told T that I thought I just needed to go outside, because nothing else was working. She offered to go outside with me, so we went and sat outside for a while until I was in a place where I could drive home. She kept trying to convince me that it’s ok and understandable why I’ve taken this step back because I’ve had so much to deal with. I just felt guilty that we were back in a place where she has to work out a T that I can talk to if I need to while she’s out-of-town. Before I left, she asked me if I had a plan or intent to suicide, and I said no. But I thought about it afterwards. No, I don’t have intent…but I will always have a plan.
So, even though T says it’s two steps forward and one step back, to me it feels like two steps forward and four steps back.