A Delicate Balance

I have been thinking about writing here several times for the past few weeks. I don’t quite know what has stopped me.

Actually, that’s a lie. I do. I fear that when I detail out my life, my most intimate thoughts, that I’ll go to places I don’t want to go.  It’s part of the reason – or maybe the reason – I have not been to therapy in about a year.

I think about my therapist often. I go by her office nearly every day on the way home from work. Sometimes her car is there, sometimes it is not. I like to see her car and have the reassurance that she’s still practicing, in case I feel the need to go in for a session.  It’s been nearly a year, and I still like to have that small comfort; the thought that I have someone safe to talk to if the need arises.

My life lately has been completely engulfed by medical issues. I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease earlier this year.  It is suspected that I have actually had it for at least 12 years, which explains so many of the odd problems that I’ve had for so long.  It could have even been a cause, or major factor, in the onset of my depression when I was 15 (I currently don’t think about any other possible reasons why. That is my state of mind at the moment).

My heart rate is increasing as I write.  Why?

I am afraid to face the thoughts that always nag me….They are always there, ready to pounce during moments of emotional weakness.  And the thoughts have been coming on so much stronger. The question. Always the question.  And again, why?

Because of my life. Because of the way I’m living it. Because of who is in it. Every day. And the fact that I don’t mind it.  The fact that a part of me – and a larger one at that – is happy about it.

My heart rate is reaching its peak now. I feel myself starting to mentally drift away, like a small boat being hammered by relentless waves and pushed out to sea.  And so begs the question: should I be as okay as I am that my father is now such a large part of my life?  The even more horrible, intolerable question. One I’m not ready to face yet.

So I won’t. Not yet.

I have had time to come to terms with why I stopped therapy, and why I did it so abruptly.  While I had been going a bit less often, I simply told my therapist at the start of what would be our last session that I was thinking about quitting therapy.  So I did.

I’ve come to realize why.  I had been experiencing more and more medical problems during the time I was seeing her. I’d been seeing different doctors because something just seemed wrong.  And while my therapist was supportive that I get everything checked, she (to me) seemed just as supportive of telling me that all of my symptoms could also be psychosomatic.

I realize now, whether she really noticed or not, that I rebelled against that. I couldn’t handle the thought that, after everything, I could not trust even what my body was physically telling me.  I had such a fight going on in my head with one side telling me that my symptoms were legitimate and I shouldn’t stop trying to figure it out, and then the other side questioning every decision I made, whispering “it’s all in your head!”

It turns out that I was right to trust my body. Something was wrong. And it was and is effecting nearly every system in my body.  I wasn’t creating the arthritic type pains in my hands (at age 27). I wasn’t creating all of my extreme neck and back aches.  The shooting pains. The constant barrage of migraines (although those do get worse with stress). I wasn’t creating the sensitivities that made it painful to be touched.  It wasn’t psychosomatic issues that have caused my joint tissues to break down.

For that, I harbor a small amount of anger and frustration with my therapist, although I still think of her as being wonderful.  I get why she suggested those things.  But it caused me to question my own sanity. I would’ve gone on for years, continuing to suffer, while being told that if I moved past my mental demons, everything would go away.

My mental demons are still there, hidden way back in the recesses of my mind, but the pain is slowly getting better as I continue intense antibiotic treatment that will last approximately a year.

The result? Now I’m just left with my demons. I’ve gotten a good handle on them, though the way I’ve handled them is by ignoring them.  Constantly.  It’s worked for now, but somehow I know that things aren’t done. No matter how happy I may be at times, there’s always this question of whether that part of my life – the part I’ve pushed away – is still there.  Or even if it was real.

The more I push it away, the less real it is.  More and more often I find myself thinking, “No, that never happened. How could I ever thought it had? We have a relationship now. He clearly loves me very dearly.  It’s not possible. It’s a sin that I even think it was.” I questioned myself a lot while I was in therapy. Those questions eased a bit once I stopped.  Now I find myself facing those questions with a renewed fervor.

What if? What if? What if?

I know what she would say. She doesn’t know if it happened or not. She can’t tell me.  But OH, how desperately I wish she would.  How else do I come to terms with this?  I remember one of the things I told her in my last session – a big reason why I stopped – was that I felt I would never be able to answer that question for myself, so why keep up the torture?

Now the question is, which torture is worse? I can’t believe it happened, because he’s so much a part of my life now. That is irreversible.  He’s back in my life.  But I don’t want to reverse it. So what does that mean?  It means either that I’m a sick person or that I know it never happened.

And this is why I don’t know that I’d have the courage to see my therapist again.  What would she think? Sure, she’s not supposed to judge and all of that. But everyone – everyone – has opinions. No matter how much we try not to, there’s always some part that thinks about whether something is “right” or “wrong” based on our own personal standards and those of the general norm of human existence. It’s human. It’s inherent.  She will judge, whether she realizes it or not.

I guess I should call. My little boat is so far from shore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “A Delicate Balance

  1. Hi Kashley –

    It was good to see an entry from you. I wasn’t surprised to see it pop up – you had been on my mind suddenly, and I wondered how you were.

    In short, I want to tell you that you aren’t sick, and you don’t have to convince yourself that it never happened, just because he’s in your life.

    But I get the question.

    I didn’t speak to my mom for over 5 years. She had done enough damage to me, and I was trying to be my healthiest self, trying to raise two kids, trying to escape her. She was estranged from everyone in our family, too, because I wasn’t her only target.

    But then my uncle, her brother, died suddenly. They hadn’t spoken in a couple of years because when he lived with her, she beat him.

    Our whole family was totally devastated. He was our patriarch. He was, in all the ways he could be, my stand-in father. And yet, no one was telling her anything about what was happening. So I reached out. First, just with details about what was happening, and then with more familiarity. I even went so far as to stay with her, in her house, in the same room that saw all of my terror, because she was alone during the days leading up to her funeral, she was scared, and she asked me.

    I came home from those two weeks, and utterly collapsed. I wasn’t able to teach, I wasn’t able to get out of bed.

    But why? Why was I doing it? No one in the family understood. No one liked it. Everyone told me this was crazy, this wasn’t okay. Everyone wanted to know how I could do it, and why? Why? Why?

    It’s quieter now. We goes weeks without contact, and then it’s just a quick text. I like it better this way. The daily or frequent interaction was, I totally admit it, pushing my feelings all over the place.

    In my life, I have to work hard, every day, to try to reach some state of okay. I fight anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic, an eating disorder, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. I’m 41, and I’m realizing that this is how it’s likely to be, every day, for the rest of my life. And that’s her. That’s her legacy. That’s what she’s given me.

    I asked my therapist once, how do we even know this happened? Or if, big if!, all of this happened, how do we know I’m not stretching the truth of it, or making it bigger than it was, how do we know I’m not just a big, overly sensitive baby who overreacts to everything. How do we know whose fault this is? Maybe it’s mine. Maybe it’s mine. Maybe it’s mine.

    Because that’s the real fear, right? That it wasn’t them that’s bad. It’s us.

    And of course that’s what we think.

    First, that’s what they taught us.

    And secondly, what does it take for us to know, to really know, that it’s them? What do we have to sacrifice when we accept that they, our parents, the people who are meant to love and protect us, were actually the people who caused us the most harm? Accepting that means so much loss, so much grief, so much loneliness. It means saying goodbye to the parents that we, deep down, desperately want to have, deserve to have, and endlessly hope will eventually have. We have to accept that they aren’t coming, they are never coming.

    It’s easier to think we’re the bad ones. So, so much easier.

    And I’ll admit it. I like being able to text and say – hey, what’s the name of that song that Dad used to sing sometimes? Or – hey, here’s a picture of the kids doing something adorable. I like it, because I want my mom. I like it, and I hate it, because my mom is never coming.

    So I get this. I do.

    You’re therapist would, too.

    I saw my therapist in a Whole Foods, once, after a break of about a year. She told me that she thought of me often, and wondered how I was. I was shocked – I never conceived that she thought of me outside of the office.

    I’m sure yours thinks of you. I know it’s scary to think about having to sit in that chair and say – he’s in my life. Because it’s scary to think about what she would think if you did say it.

    But she’s not your terrible parent, ready to think you bad for having a need that’s real, and understanble, and human. Anyone with a soul would understand why he’s in your life. I think she’d understand.

    Maybe you give her a call?

    1. MMM it’s great to hear from you. You do totally get it, don’t you? And I’m sorry you do.

      I like to think that my therapist hasn’t forgotten about me and thinks of me from time to time. Then I try to decide what that means…If I just want her approval, if I am (and had been) playing the victim so someone would care, or if I believe my support system with my friends isn’t enough for me. I do, and likely always will, have issues with full and absolute trust in someone. My mother and I repaired our relationship, but we both know some things are off limits. And I know that she has “decided it didn’t happen” since I’ve been better lately and don’t talk about it with her. But I still feel guilty for feeling somewhat unfulfilled and on an island when it comes to all of my personal relationships. I am still terrified of my mind and what it does.

      Thank you for the reminder of who my therapist is. I believe I may call her. Now I wonder if she’ll be disappointed that I took a year off when we both knew there was more work to be done. Realistically, I know she won’t, but boy, it’s hard to believe that!

  2. Ah – I think you’re allowed. You’re allowed! You’re allowed to want your therapist to have thought of you. You’re allowed to take a year off from therapy! You’re allowed to have wants and feelings! And then, you’re allowed to have wants and feelings about your wants and feelings! You’re allowed! Everything you feel is OKAY. XOXO.

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