Torture

Things have been a little rough lately. Friday’s session was no exception.

I had no plan going into it except to get through it. I felt so guarded and vulnerable after Wednesday’s flashback session that I was terrified to even breathe too loud. I sat as far back in the corner of the chair as I could, scrunched up into a ball.

We spent a little bit of time chatting casually before I allowed a window to go deeper. I was talking about starting my first clinical affiliation in the Fall and I ended my thoughts by saying, “All of this is assuming I don’t implode before then.”

“Hmm. Why don’t we talk about that for a bit?”

We were building on a conversation from both the previous session and the post-session check-in phone call, but I still struggled to be clear. I could tell I was holding something back, but I didn’t really understand why or how. I just felt pissed. Not at her. Not at anything. Just at myself. She asked me to talk more about that.

“I just…I find my own existence to be intolerable. Being self-aware? Yeah, that is excruciating for me right now. Every moment is so hard. I feel like I spend all day jumping over obstacles only to find myself at yet another one. I muster up all this energy to jump over these HUGE canyons, and what’s waiting on the other side? Another fucking canyon! I find that I’m constantly redirecting myself from self-harm. I’ll be walking to school and think, ‘Eh. Just walk into the street.’ but I don’t know where that thought even came from! So then I’m like, ‘Well, no, don’t do that. Just keep walking. Just go to school. It’s fine.’ until the next time I want to hurl myself into traffic. And this is constantly happening! If it’s not active, it’s passive. Like a fantasy. I imagine throwing myself into a vat of acid or a wood chipper. Something violent.”

“Wow. That is a lot of self-hatred.”

“It is! And I don’t just want to harm myself, I want to destroy myself. No! I want to OBLITERATE myself. I want to cease to exist on all levels. I wish I could disappear into absolute nothingness.”

“That sounds like torture…”

“Yes. Torture. This life is torture. This existence is torture. These MEMORIES are torture!”

She tried to reassure me that this feeling won’t last forever and that this is all “part of the process” but that was so hard to hear. To me, it was like being stabbed in the stomach repeatedly. It’s excruciating and terrifying and you know you’re going to die, but someone is standing around like an asshole, saying, “I know it’s bad right now, but it won’t last forever.”

Sure, buddy. But in the meantime I am still being stabbed to death!

I know that is exceedingly dramatic, but my life feels exceedingly dramatic at the moment. Not all of it, just most of it. I think. Maybe. Who knows?

I’m too frustrated to even keep writing about this. I’m not sure I have a fucking point anyway…everything sucks. The end.

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21 thoughts on “Torture

  1. Rachel says:

    I so get this – I often, like on a regular basis, have thoughts of killing myself in some dramatic way (bridges, traffic, my ice axe, a large dangerous animal), and wonder “what the hell!” Walking around with passive SI makes life feel removed, unreal, not *normal*. Mostly I just want to say that I hear you, I hear your pain and despair, and how hard it is to keep going. Sending lots of support. xx

    Liked by 2 people

      • Rachel says:

        You are very welcome. I really do experience it, and I hate it too. It feels so powerful. After this last time (Friday morning), when I survived it, I realized that maybe that feeling of ‘dying’ or wanting to die is an indication that I am doing a really good job in life and therapy of not repressing, not suppressing, allowing those deepest hurts and wounds to surface. And it feels like total shit, but without experiencing it, I am now convinced it will never heal. I know this is an intellectualization and your mind isn’t really able to intellectualize much right now because of the trauma response happening, but I wanted to share. Likely because I want to make it go away for you and am trying to be helpful, but I know I can’t make it go away nor would I deny you your experience. OK, done now. :). xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andi says:

        I see your point. And I think you’re right. I just wish this felt less…torturous. It’s so hard to hold onto the process when the pain seems insurmountable. One breath at a time, I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ellen says:

    It sounds very frightening and yes, tortured. Hope you get a little relief soon.

    I related to feeling like the T doesn’t get the total badness of it at all. I feel that sometimes, and then for me, I get really mad at him. I totally understand your frustration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tessa says:

    I, who pride myself on being rational most of the time, have those out of body moments when I wonder what it would feel like to jump off the roof or crash into a tree or bridge abutment. Other strange things run through my mind. I don’t think it is totally rational, but I don’t think I will do it, but it does bother me to think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amb says:

    I am sorry that you’re struggling so much. I wish that I could take away your pain. As much as it hurts, please hold on. Sending you lots of positive thoughts and gentle hugs your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cat's Meow says:

    Andi, I don’t know if this would help you at all or not… I have learned to differentiate between ‘now suicidal feelings’ and ‘remembered suicidal feelings and ideation.’ In fact, that’s the way that I talk about it both with my therapist and my psychiatrist.

    For me, the remembered SI is triggered by those times when I am in immense pain from the work that I am in and I know that I can’t make it stop. It panics parts inside that remember being trapped in unbearable circumstances with no possible avenue of escape. I wanted to die so it would all stop. From things that you have said, I suspect that the abuse may have also reached this level, too, but there were things that my grandfather did that my therapist has labeled torture. (And she is the type who would do that only after a lot of deliberation.) Torture makes a person so desperate for escape that in that moment even death seems like an appealing option.

    There have been times when the only thing that kept me alive was my daughter. I have learned about the life long effects that a parent’s suicide has on a child and I refuse to pass on the abuse by doing that to her. I remember the times when every breath felt painful and I told my therapist that her belief that I would get better had better be right, because that’s what I was holding on to, since I had no hope of my own.

    I was at a point when I was struggling with really letting her in. I had known her for 2 decades, she had never intentionally hurt me in that time, although I eventually realized that young parts of me felt abandoned by her the three times that I moved away from here and stopped seeing her. Parts can be really unreasonable, can’t they?

    I remember trying to open up, being miss attuned in some slight way that felt excruciating and intolerable to me, sobbing at home, and promising myself that I would “deal with all of the hard stuff on my own, because I can’t trust anyone to really be there when I need them.” I did this over and over during a period of six months or so. It was terribly hard on me and it was hard on my therapist, too, because she hated to see me suffer so much and she was becoming increasingly worried about me.

    I felt that I had to hide how suicidal I was through that whole time, which only made me feel more alone and made things worse.

    Basically, I had a really powerful transference dynamic going on. Just like with my mother, I knew that she wanted good things for me and I knew that she wouldn’t hurt me on purpose, but I couldn’t bring myself to trust her to see the full me. I was desperately afraid of being abandoned.

    I’m not sure what allowed things to change. The fact that she encouraged me to express anger at her and that she never retaliated was part of it. Slowly taking chances was part of it. Reading a book, learning more about my parts and becoming less afraid of them was part of it. Learning that my really young parts don’t connect well through words, but they do connect when they hold her hands helped.

    Eventually, I could feel the connection of her caring and support as I worked with my most wounded parts. I learned to feel compassion for them through the compassion that she modeled. I learned to not be afraid of them because she wasn’t afraid. She never backed away when I told her something disgusting, instead she would ask if I wanted for her to come and sit closer.

    As all of these things came together, the suicidal impulses went away, except for right after I experienced a new flashback. At least they did until the last couple of months when I seriously started to tackle dealing with what happened with my father. The difference was that I could now observe it enough to say, “This isn’t something that I really want. It’s an old desperation response. I know from experience that it will get better in a day or two or maybe a week. I will be ok”. The impulses were no longer so alarming or disturbing. When I went through a complete internal upheaval and really Got It that my dad raped me, the self harm and suicidal thoughts went over the top for a few days. Part of the problem was that my therapist was out of town at the same time, I didn’t have my safe base of support present, and I didn’t see her for 10 days.

    As hard as it was to learn to really open my heart and fully feel my pain and grief in the presence of my therapist, the emotions were so overwhelmingly strong that I couldn’t tolerate them on my own. She and I have learned that I need to spend part of each session just crying, with her bearing witness. If I do that, then I can handle the next few days until I see her again. If I don’t, then the emotions start to feel unbearable, I start to feel all alone and helpless to escape, and I start to want to die.

    So, I think that you are going in the right direction to eventually feel relief. You are building your relationship with your therapist. You are learning to begin to express what you need to express. From my own experience, I really do think that you will experience relief. It will probably happen sooner than you think it will, but not as quickly as you want. It also probably won’t be a case of having the suicidal thoughts go away completely. It may partially be a matter of learning to tolerate them.

    I wish that it was easier. I am so very glad that you are strong enough to keep on going and give the process a chance to work.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so very much for this comment. I will read it and read it again. It gives me both a realistic and hopeful glimpse into how this process can work. And that is invaluable. I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts. It means the world ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anxious Mom says:

    I can relate somewhat with the suicidal ideation, really sorry that shit is plaguing you. I wish she would have had something more helpful to say for you than she knows that it’s tough but won’t always be. Sending you love and support ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      You and I both. There was actually a phone conversation later on that evening between Wife and Therapist about sending me out into the world so uncontained. But that is for another post lol. Thanks ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. dianetharp70 says:

    Andi, I JUST started following your blog, so I haven’t read alot of your posts yet. I’m sorry about all the shit you’ve gone/are going through. l def identify with the frequent SI & self hatred. Looking forward to following you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Hi! Thanks for commenting (and for reading!). I’m sorry you can relate to the darkness of this, but I always appreciate when people share that. Knowing we are not alone in this is so powerfully healing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sam Ruck says:

    Andi,

    I’ve been thinking about this post since yesterday. I know you’ve got a great therapist and my wife has a great counselor, but they can only do so much. I hope some day spouses, SO’s and such are taught to help in a way that therapists simply can’t.

    If you were one of my girls, I would tell you something like this:

    Honey, you aren’t alone anymore. I’m sorry you are hurting so deeply that you want to obliterate yourself. But I will go into that acid vat and into that chipper with you and I WILL bring you out on the other side with me. We will get thru this together because we belong together. You are my girl and I’m your guy. I know it feels overwhelming right now to you. But I’m not overwhelmed, so you hold onto me and we’ll make it together.

    It’s basic attachment theory. And the nice thing is, as I’ve helped each girl in my wife’s system thru the healing process, they’ve learned what I modeled and now they are starting to reciprocate when I face things that feel overwhelming to me. It’s like the old song: We all need somebody to lean on…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Thanks, Sam. My wife does something similar. Interestingly, I think a spouse can provide in a way a therapist never can and, vice versa, a therapist can provide in a way a spouse cannot. My hope is that the two, together, can provide enough attachment support to heal those primal attachment wounds.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sam Ruck says:

        Yes! I wish there was more cooperation between the two. But I’m largely left out of what my wife’s counselor does with her. I’m once again glad to hear that your wife is helping you thru this.

        Liked by 1 person

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