When I’m Alone

I have been struggling tremendously lately, with many things.  I still have 3x a week physical therapy, which means more people touching me, I now have an MRI for my knee on Friday and have opted to take a Valium (or two) and be vulnerable rather than panic from being in the machine, and work is picking up pace at the same time I’m missing at least 6 hours of work a week for PT.

The therapy group that my T has wanted me to join for a long time started up last week.  It’s exclusively for sexual assault and abuse survivors.  There are three other women and then two co-therapists, one of whom is in training.  I think she’s trying too hard to talk in that soft, soothing therapist voice, because I was secretly wishing she’d stop the act and talk like a normal person.  It’s not the voice  that makes a good therapist, it’s who the therapist is as a person.  The group is terrifying, and I was triggered just by being there.  The other women seemed to be OK, so of course I left feeling so much more messed up and worried that I’m too sensitive to be in the group.  The next time we meet, I’m considering talking to the therapists afterward and just mentioning that I’m finding myself easily triggered in the group.  Although I’m not sure what good that will do.

With all of this going on, I’ve had a lot of emotions come up.  And I’ve had a lot of times where I’m completely numb.  Many nights, including last night, I’ve longed so deeply to just end it all.  The scariest moments are when that desire comes on suddenly and very strong and turns into an impulse that is hard to resist.  I feel like I’m stepping closer and closer to the edge.  I have started to feel more dangerous to myself, too, because the main reason why I haven’t done it already is because of my mother, but I can feel myself losing the strength to care.

My T and I have a contract about this, too.  She asked me to reaffirm the contract last week, because she’s out-of-town this week.  So now the thing keeping me from doing it is to not hurt T.  A couple of weeks ago when I first mentioned that I was feeling suicidal, she asked if I had any concept as to how it makes her feel when I say that.  I said no, so she said that it makes her want to cry.  And she said that she wanted to tell me that not so that I can take care of her, but so that I can know that someone gives a shit whether I live or die.  So if that’s really true, if she really does care, then I guess it would hurt her, and I wouldn’t want that.

Reading what I wrote above, about T wanting to cry, brought up this question of why?  It’s still just so inconceivable that she could care that much.  Maybe I sound stupid saying that, but it’s true.

Regardless of everything I’ve written, I’ve still felt so trapped because it’s been so hard for me to find the words to explain what is going on in my head and body.  Driving to work this morning, I was listening to songs on my iPhone.  There’s a particular Christian song that I’ve always liked and have appreciated the lyrics, but this morning, they seemed to speak to me even more.  They’re the words that I can’t find.

When I’m Alone – Nevertheless

It’s been years in the making
In my skin I am shaking from the cold
I am tired from the taking
And my heart it won’t stop breaking and I know… 
Moving forward can’t be this hard

I’m just trying to find out
Who I am on my own
I had you right beside me
But now you’re gone and I know
That when the room clears I’m still here
Who am I when I’m alone?

They say time is a healer
But it’s more like a concealer for a scar
‘Cause it never really leaves us
But it can always find us where we are, we are
Who thought it could ever be so hard?


6 thoughts on “When I’m Alone

  1. That is scary. I find that anything physical to do with my body brings up memories. Maybe that’s happening for you? It’s important that you do the therapy, both psychological and physical, at a pace you can handle. Could you get support from your T or someone else after the PT sessions?

    Thinking of you.

    1. Hm, it hadn’t occurred to me that maybe I’m having memories come up, maybe in the form of body memories.. Some of the positions that they have me in for stretches and such are *very* triggering for me, so it’s certainly possible. At the end of each session I get to lay down for 15 minutes with, essentially, a big ice pack on my knee. That time helps me calm down and ground a bit at the end so I’m okay-ish by the time I leave. I think it’s just the repeated appointments, constantly having to go through that, that’s wearing me down.

      Thanks for the support, Ellen. xx

  2. Hey there Kashley –

    I want you to know that I could have written your post, myself, about a year ago. I can’t help but notice that you are in that really hard spot where the more work you do on your stuff, the more you dig down into your stuff, the harder it gets. That’s a terrible place because it makes you feel like – “Why am I working this hard to just feel worse?” I know AG has written about this, and she talked about when she realized she was going to be in pain no matter what – she could stop and hold still – freeze in the pain, and stop moving, or she could move forward through the pain in the hopes that it would lessen. She knew, at least, that by moving forward with her work, that by holding on, that there was hope it would change and there was no hope if she froze in her pain.

    So, you are tackling some of your hardest, most difficult stuff. You are peeking around a corner at something scary. And it’s making it feel really impossible to stay in your body, to stay here. I remember that panic I felt (and still can feel in shorter bursts) that was just really about “go”. It was painful, it hurt, it was terrible, and sad, and the feelings were so big, so awful, that I just didn’t want to stay.

    But it didn’t stay. The feelings didn’t stay. I held on, I did my work, I felt my feelings (of terror and grief and sadness), and it moved. I started to get little tiny blinks (that’s what I called them) of feeling okay. And I’d hold onto that feeling with my whole brain – I’d write about it when I felt it, I’d use my whole concentration to try to lock it in my mind. So when I felt that I was in that black place again, I could (only barely at the start, but then more and more) feel the memory of the times that were better. I would chant to myself, “this isn’t permanent, this isn’t the truth of now, now is safe, now is safe, I am NOT my feelings, my feelings will change”. And slowly, slowly, I got to have more blinks. And then the blinks started to grow longer. And then, over time, it started to feel like it was the black that was the blink – I was spending so much time in color that only the black was only flickering in.

    Your feelings are going to change. They are going to dissolve. You are doing the hardest work now, but it’s the best work. This is the work that is going to help you be more free. And the feelings are so terrible, I know they are – it’s totally okay to say, “This sucks, I hate this, I don’t want this, this isn’t fair, this hurts too much, I feel like I can’t”. Because of course you feel that way. Of course this is terrible, of course this is more than you should ever have to do, more than anyone should ever have to do. But really, a lot of what you are feeling are your little Kashley’s feelings, from little Kashley’s time, and big girl Kashley is strong enough to take care of the little one. Big girl can hold on to let little girl feel her feelings, so that both of you can feel the safe that is all around you right now. Now is safe, now is nice.

    You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. You are doing the hard work now, and because you are so strong and so brave in feeling those feelings, your feelings are going to move, are going to change.

    And you are not alone – we’re cheering for you!

    1. I guess I have no insight as to what I’m actually going through right now, because I was reading your post thinking to myself, I’m doing work? I’m facing things? And I don’t know what I’m peeking around the corner to…I just know that where I am now is torture.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with this…I like your description of your “blinks.” This is all unspeakably hard, though I know I don’t need to explain to you how hard it is. You’re incredible – thank you.

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