Yesterday’s session was rough.
Not because anything went wrong or there was tension or rupture. It was just one of those days where everything felt off. I had a difficult morning and afternoon at school. Very busy, very interactive. Very triggering. Then my professor stopped me after class to chat, putting me behind schedule and (of course) the trains were all wonky, so I had to take a different route than normal and although I ran to the therapist’s office, I was still late.
Which left me in this incredibly vulnerable/agitated space before I even opened my mouth to speak. Then, once I did, my voice sounded foreign and odd to me which only made me more agitated and nervous. I felt spaced out. “Floaty” is the word I think I used. I told the therapist I wanted to crawl up the walls to the ceiling. She said that wasn’t particularly surprising to her.
I can’t remember much of what we talked about. I do remember that she asked me if there was anything “pressing” that I wanted to discuss. I remember thinking that was a great question because it seemed like she was trying to open up space for difficult subjects. So she’s listening to me. She’s acknowledging my needs and trying to find a way to meet them.
But there wasn’t anything pressing. There wasn’t anything at all. I felt blank.
She then asked me to just talk about my day. What had been hard about the day? I didn’t know. It all seemed so far away. She then suggested I simply list what I did before I came to her office. That was helpful because it was detached from emotion, which gave me a place to start.
I quickly went from talking about something seemingly innocuous to finding myself stuck in two realities. A memory had made it’s way through. In that moment, I understood why nothing felt real. When I am trying to keep memories out, I have to dial down all of my senses in order to do so.
Somehow, this one made it through anyway.
I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted to be strong. But I felt a lot of things. So against my instincts, I told her I was remembering something. She asked me very basic questions about it. We walked through the things I could see, hear, feel, etc. I kept it sanitized, but it was enough information to give a clear picture.
I felt heavy. Suffocating, really. I remember watching the therapist wipe tears away from both of her eyes out of my peripheral vision. It terrified me.
I held in the emotion until I couldn’t anymore. My body was shaking violently. I kept pulling my knees into my forehead, arms wrapped as tightly around my legs as possible, willing myself to disappear.
I did not. But I did later find mascara on my arms.
Because I finally just let myself cry. Like, really cry.
“There you go. It’s okay. You’re safe now.”