I will start by saying Christmas was awful. My internal landscape was fractured and I felt either smashed up inside or aware of the gaping hole in me and something missing inside me for basically the entire week. Such a strong sense of not belonging in my own life and not being a whole person. It was pretty excruciating and I did feel suicidal on Christmas Day. The difference this year was knowing this pain was not about K – in some ways it was easier when I thought and really felt as though the pain was about her because now I know this pain is me, is mine, is about me and what has happened to me. It was nice not to be pining for her though and it is obviously a huge mark of progress.
Despite the difficult feelings and body sensations inside me I kept it together all week. I coped and didn’t fall into crisis and we did the things we planned to do – two cinema trips, walks in the forest and at the beach, watching some nice films, seeing friends. Nina had a wonderful time which of course is really important and a huge achievement as a single parent with hardly any family. We saw a starfish on the beach on Christmas Day which was pretty special, and I didn’t somatise beyond a bit of aching from time-to-time. In previous years I’ve had excruciating pain in my head or spent the day vomiting and hurting everywhere, so today K said this is clear progress and that even though it was difficult I am feeling the feelings more now. The absence of my Mum and brother was less present this year which is also good, and Nina said she never thinks of them anymore which is also very important. It was a huge struggle though, for me and the parts, and it is nice to be out the other side (although also disappointing because young parts really would like to have a nice Christmas and are sad it is over).
I had therapy this afternoon which I was worried would trigger me again but it has left me feeling more settled and intact. Phew. We met on the 21st so it wasn’t really a break but, as K pointed out, last week was not an ordinary week and it did feel like we had been away for a long time. So it took a while to settle and reconnect with her. As a system we had fallen into a place where we couldn’t feel if we were real or not, K and I. It felt like I had made it all up, what K and I had built together. And there was a lot of wailing when we realised in session that this still happens for us, but K was calm and firm and said it’s okay because we know about this now, and we are real and special and we always find each other again. Always. Every time. We reconnect quicker now and we didn’t lose her completely, and after our session we are all left feeling more solid in ourselves because of our connection to K.
We processed Christmas and talked about what I need and want this time next year and going forwards. With her I have slowly worked out who I am and what I want and need, and I am building that life for myself, and the progress I’ve made over the past 3 years is really apparent after our session today. There is no comparison between this year and the Christmas 3 years ago when I was first in therapy and I lay awake most of Christmas Eve in a state of utter panic and despair convinced the only way out of this mess was to kill myself and Nina. It was completely and utterly horrific that year and I have made so much progress since then. It feels really important to hold on to that when the past month has been a particularly dark time for me and the parts that live inside me.
Towards the end of the session we talked about some of the things I want to leave behind this year (in K’s shed right at the bottom of her huge and wild garden to slowly seep out as the months go by) and the things I want to open to as the new year begins. This year has actually been really quite horrendous but I also know there has been A LOT of healing and A LOT of finding myself and A LOT of growing bigger and more central in my own life. I’m not setting resolutions but there are things I am hoping for and aiming for next year, both in therapy and out of it. K and I have plans for our work next year and it was so nice to hear her say when we sobbed about not wanting to go home because we only just feel safe again “we are meeting the same next year, every week, and we have this time and space dedicated to healing and well being”. And I replied “it is safe now. I know it was always safe, but now it feels safe.” And it is this that will enable us to do the depth healing I really need around #themotherwound this year.
She said to write the things down this evening that I want to leave behind in 2018 and open up to in 2019 as it would be a cathartic way of drawing a line under the past 10 days, which have been so difficult despite some moments of magic. I might make a separate post once I’ve done this, I’m not sure, but for now I will just include the two main things I want to leave behind in 2018: K going away and my Mum. I want to open up to the newfound safety I have in my relationship with K and let go of my Mum’s pain and her judgments around me and what I have done so I can feel my pain over having her as a mother. These things feel very linked – K is here and safe and so it is safe for me to focus on myself and how I felt when my Mum was being crazy and abusive, rather than on what she was doing. The time for trying to work my Mum out is done and next year my healing will involve matching up the flashback pain I experience with what was actually happening, and beginning to own that pain as MINE. K is very prepared for this work, she says, and I know it will be tough because it will involve re-visiting times from my past we’ve already worked with but shifting the focus on to what was going on for me. I also know it is needed and I am ready for it, and that it will be possible because I can feel K beside me nearly all the time now. I wrote in my journal on Christmas Eve how it was comforting to think that K was out there, under the same sky, living her life, and that it didn’t matter that she wasn’t thinking of me because the strength of our bond endures through time and space and it holds me steady – it is inside me, it makes me who I am, it makes me able to be who I am. I may not be part of her ‘real life’ but she is helping me be part of my own. This feels so different from previous years when being excluded from her real life has been excruciatingly painful.
K saved my life, and Nina’s, or helped me save myself at least, and I end this year with hope, knowing K is holding hope and light for me also so that it is still okay to wobble and fall apart completely sometimes. I am not where I want to be yet but I have hope – I have friends and Nina is happy and K is there, in the background – a shining light that I know is always with me. I am staying in tonight watching Taylor Swift on Netflix with Nina and drinking ginger beer. I got absolutely off my head every new year’s eve from when I was 13 until I was 31 (apart from the year I was pregnant) so I’m done with that and this feels like the perfect way to end the year. It has been a very hard year but I have grown so much and processed so much trauma and I am ready for a little more living in 2019.
Thank you everyone who has shared my journey this year and commented on my posts and supported me in my darkest times. I wish you all peace and light and a happy new year.