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Invisible string

And isn’t it just so pretty to think, that all along there was some

invisible string, tying you to me?

Somewhere inside me is a deep knowing that this is not the end with K. There is so much fear and worry and anxiety over all the things that could conspire to keep us apart next year, but when my mind is quiet and I listen to my heart, I know we will meet again, work again, and that it will be the same between us. I know each of us will have grown and changed in our time apart, because being part of this beautiful universe means also being part of its endless waves of transformation, but I also know the essence of what we have together will remain unchanged. Each of us will be playing our part in preserving our connection during this time apart. Each of us is holding this time as a pause, a reprieve, not an ending. It didn’t feel this way last week, or at times in our session last night, and I know it won’t when it is time to say goodbye on Monday, but alongside all the noise and confusion and uncertainty within me, there is a sense of peace and a sense that we will not even be away from K, not really, no more than we have been.

I know in life we never know what is going to happen and that control is only ever an illusion (I think this year has shattered the last bastion of any delusion of control for all of us), but I also have a deep sense of trust that our work is not done and that the universe wouldn’t take her from me when we had only just reached a place of safety and stability and trust in our work with her. Today it feels very much like a pause, not an ending, and I feel in a good enough place that I will be able to spend the next 6 months honouring all the work we have done together and integrating it into my life. What K and I have is sacred. It cannot be broken. Bigger than that, though, is that our work will never truly be over – it is the foundation for all the rest of the healing and growth that will take place in my lifetime and so our work will continue forever now. And it is this that is stopping me rushing to fill the void she will leave – I want there to be a space in my life and to notice what it was filled with, and find ways of honouring our connection even though we are not meeting or speaking.

There were so many things K said last night that helped us all feel like this really is just a pause. She kept saying ‘in our work so far’ and about things that will be a big part of our work in the future. We were making cards to post to each other and then open together in our last session next week and when someone little worried if she would remember our favourite colour is purple she held up the purple glitter glue she had mixed up ahead of our session and said she definitely wouldn’t be forgetting that. So I know she believes it is just a pause and I try to hang on to her certainty even when my own wavers. And we both know I am doing the right thing even though it is not a choice I would ever have willingly and freely made at this point in my journey. It is still genuinely one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and stand by in my life. Being forgotten is really all of my system’s biggest fear, and so I guess it will be a big lesson in trusting that we are memorable if we get to the other side and she remembers, but it is a long time to get through until then, not knowing if she will remember us all. She said last night ‘I am never going to forget you guys. No matter what happens’ and that sometimes you meet someone in your lifetime that it is just not possible to ever forget. ‘Even till you die?’ we asked and she said ‘That’s right. It has been such a big journey, such a big journey, it’s just not possible’.

I feel like a different person than I was when I first emailed K (5 years ago on Friday) and said I needed help to work through what I thought was complex-PTSD after memories of abuse and neglect had come back to me just a few months previously. I am a different person. I expect to a lot of people who have known me throughout this time I seem the same, and in many outwards ways I am the same, but the shifts within me have been and continue to be profound. It is incredible to think back over how far we have come together. And I really hope more than anything that ‘the time when we couldn’t meet because of the pandemic’ becomes just another chapter in our story that we will look back on together.

It does hurt. A lot. When I allow myself to go there it feels like such a huge loss. K has been a recurring appointment in my calendar since 26th August 2015. Not knowing when we will speak again after Monday is strange and unsettling and scary and I know the waves of grief will come again. We’ve also agreed that if I need to go back sooner I can, that if we email and say we want to start again it will be non-negotiable and we won’t have to justify it to her or try and convince her. If we reach the point where we email it will be because we’ve tried to sit with things for a significant period of time and have become too dysregulated and/or something big has happened with my mum or brother or something else and we have a sense that even working remotely would be better than nothing. Making this decision was so hard, I’m not going to put myself in the position of having to make it again by rushing back to remote therapy and then encountering the same issues. I hope I won’t need to go back sooner, but I’m not going to force myself to cope if it does feel unmanageable and I think working with K again would help. And I know she knows me well enough to know if I reach out to her it’s because it is the right thing to do, and not a knee jerk reaction to emotional discomfort and overwhelm.

I don’t think it will be easy. I think I will find it hard over the winter without her, when there is little sunshine and painful anniversaries, less space for me and always a lean towards overwhelm. I know some parts will miss her intensely, but in many ways this doesn’t feel much different for them than seeing her via a screen for nearly 5 months. And we have made it for a set period of time – I will email at the end of February with the intention to recommence work in March. We need to know we are going definitely going back, but we also need to be able to stop scrutinising the news to try and work out the subtext of what the latest developments might mean for in-person therapy. If we were to leave it that we wouldn’t see K again until she started in-person work then we would just be watching the news anxiously for the possibility of that and it would defeat the purpose of the break. Living like we have been is exhausting and we need some time off from it. She is going to contact us straightaway (like, the next minute after she has decided!) if she starts to work in-person again before that, and we also have to be prepared to return to remote work in March next year, if things are still as they are now. I don’t know how that would be, but things will be different by then – in the human world and in my internal world – so I don’t need to think about it yet.

After our session last night I felt much more at peace with the decision and a strong sense that our connection can endure this time apart. (That is what attachment is after all: a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space). After the session I made K a card with two hearts joined together with red thread and a card explaining that it is because of a Japanese legend we read about because of a new Taylor Swift song (I love her for releasing such an exquisite album during lockdown, proof that great beauty can be born from isolation and solitude). According to the legend, an invisible red string connects us to those whom we are destined to meet, no matter how far apart we live or how much our life circumstances differ. Destiny connects us to these people, and whilst the red string may stretch and tangle, it can never, ever break. This song and its story brought me great comfort during the recent short break from therapy and it is helping me stay strong in this decision and trust that K will be there waiting for me on the other side of this strange and uncertain time, because our journey together is not yet over.

18 thoughts on “Invisible string”

  1. This post is absolutely beautiful C.
    I’m so glad you have that knowing, even though it will be so hard,and you will doubt it a lot, the knowing is there and will be there, too. It’s a testament to all the work you’ve done together. I’ve no doubt you will meet again.
    I hope the space doesn’t bring only pain, but settlement, the space to absorb and internalise all the work you’ve been putting in. And more time and money. Winter is definitely a harder time of year….
    Sending hugs and sunshine and peace…
    💕🕯✨🐬

    Liked by 2 people

  2. you are seriously one of the bravest and strongest people. I honestly don’t think I would be able to make the decision you’re making. You should be so proud of yourself. Big hugs to you…xx

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Your strength is amazing. It’s inspiring to see your journey and how far you’ve come, to be able to get to this place. It’s such a big step and you’re proceeding with such care and attention. I am hoping with every little bit of hope that this not only works out for you as you planned, but even better so. Because you deserve better than you dare even hope. Will you still write, or will that also be something you step away from for a while?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you LS, this was a lovely comment to read. I honestly have come such a long way. I think I will keep writing as there are things I want to work through and integrate, and I love the support and shared understanding we have here in this little community, but I will see how it goes I think xx

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I am glad you’ll still be writing, at least for a bit! Obviously it has to work for you, but if you stopped for too long you’d be sorely missed!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I love this vision of an invisible string connecting you and K. It’s a beautiful image. I’m glad you can hold that image, even with the hurt and fears coming up. You are seriously so brave. Incredibly brave. 💗

    Liked by 3 people

  5. You know I think you’re very brave but also sensible taking this step. It’s not reactive, it’s considered and thoughtful trying to make it the least painful for all your young parts right now. It is only a pause and K will be there whenever it feels right to go back. Sending you love…and yes, Taylor Swift’s new album is really good isn’t it? The red thread story was something I came across a couple of years ago. KT Tunstall also wrote a song about it…only more rocky! Hugs to you x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh the album is so good. When I first listened I was absolutely blown away. We were supposed to see her in Hyde Park in July – Nina asked me which I would choose, seeing her or the album! Such a tough call but I’d go with the album – it sounds dumb but it’s honestly one of the things that has given me the strength to make this decision. And K says this is my Taylor Swift time – to create something beautiful from solitude! I agree, it’s brave but also wise – it is bloody re-traumatising for young parts not to be able to physically reach K and I just need to protect us all from it and help them hold on to what we had with her, whilst also building better internal safety and communication. Hugs and love to you xx

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I know! I heard it when it came out and listened through three times on repeat! And I am not even a fan…but I do like this album a lot! I think you are doing the right thing, and yes, take some TS time for sure! Sending hugs right back at you x

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Although I know this separation is going to be so painful, I’m so proud of you for the peace you’ve been able to find and the clarity in your voice here. Trust your instincts, because I believe they are telling you something important. I look forward to seeing what healing processes stand in for K while she’s not actively in your life. As L tells me about J, the relationship isn’t ending, it’s just taking on a different form for awhile. All of that love and care doesn’t evaporate.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. As you said it with the red bond and destiny.
    Maybe you will meet new people during this time. Maybe here or where ever you are.
    And so you might not be as lonely or anxious after all.
    Songs can really give hope and comfort, in times of darkness.
    Music brings people together and helps us to fight through the darkness.
    And you can do this! ❤ 💜 ♥

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I agree, songs and music are such a source of comfort and inspiration. I do have lots of other people in my life, but K is my attachment figure and I know young parts will struggle without her (as they have been already really, as they can’t take in her presence through the screen). Thank you for the encouragement – I also believe I can do this! xx

      Liked by 3 people

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