I’ve regained a sense of equanimity this week. K and I are not broken. I am okay. And it turns out I didn’t need her to help me work through the painful and conflicting feelings about my brother, or work out what to do. Turns out I had it all inside me. Turns out every conversation we’ve had about him, and every feeling she’s helped me understand and verbalise and process, was all in there and I was able to draw on it even when I didn’t know I could. I sent a simple email reply in the end, saying I understood and would be in touch next year about returning to therapy as planned. What else was there to say really? I knew I needed to do something that stopped the internal rupture becoming an external one. And I mended it myself by reconnecting with my internalised sense of her.
K will have known how much I was hurting about my brother and how painful I will have found her response. She also knows me and my system inside out and she knows so well what is and isn’t helpful for us. She knew that returning to online therapy so soon wasn’t right for my system or our relationship. She probably also knew that a few sessions, even if she had space, would have caused as much difficulty as they solved. With young alters things are never straightforward, and something that might have helped adult me likely would have triggered young parts and made a mess. I had to dig deep to find the place in me that knew she wasn’t intentionally hurting me or rejecting me, that she hadn’t forgotten me and moved on to the concerns of new clients, that she wasn’t going to say I can’t go back next year, but I found it and hung on tight to it until I came through the other side of the attachment storm and found some kind of peace again.
She was right that a return to online therapy wasn’t right. It wouldn’t have helped longer term but I also think if she’d offered some one-off sessions over the next couple of weeks then it would have soothed me at the time but also may have prolonged things around my brother. As it is, I’ve been able to let things settle around this situation in a way that might have been difficult if we’d had a few sessions booked in. It would have been nice to talk to her about it but I knew what she would say and I’ve been able to move forward with the situation in a way that feels manageable. I’ve also been able to switch off from it again, and it is testimony to all the healing I’ve done that I am not consumed by fear and guilt around him, and that I can sit with the situation and let it work out over the coming weeks and months instead of needing a resolution immediately.I also feel clear and resolute in what I can and can’t manage around contact with him, and that is new for me too.
On Saturday I went to see my best friend for the day and we walked in the woods and it was so beautiful. I want to write soon about how our friendship has evolved through our own healing journeys, and how a friendship that was always so important to me but often left me overwhelmed and dissociated due to our shared trauma history has now become a source of nourishment and connection that I’m not sure I’ve ever had in a friendship before. I don’t get flooded with shame and dissociate anymore when we talk about ‘my stuff’ – it feels like a normal conversation. For me this is wonderful because of what it means for our friendship (she has felt the shift too, in terms of how it is to share her authentic self with me this past year also) but also because it means I now feel safe enough with her to show all of me and not feel ashamed or need to disappear, and so this can happen with the other friendships where I do still dissociate a lot when I share. The day really helped me remember who I am that is not about K or my brother. And it was really lovely to be able to talk about it all and to be understood, but not lose myself in talking about it or let it consume the conversation all day.
On Sunday I was still quite a mess and hadn’t slept more than a few hours a night since Thursday when my sister text, but I felt a change in me and a determination not to spend the next 5 or 6 months waiting for K. I have to accept that we don’t know what is going to happen next year and I have to be okay with not going back, if that is what happens. I cannot put my life or healing on hold. I don’t think I am or have been, but I also need to move forward during this time, even more than I have been. So I made an appointment for a one-to-one TRE session on Monday and it was amazing – the practitioner was so safe and warm and we went really gently. I only did the shaking part for a few seconds a couple of times but will go weekly for a while until I feel safe to do it by myself at home. It feels like the right next step in my healing and it is wonderful to have the resources (time and money and space) to do it now. I switched out for the first time in public for really a long time during the tremors part, probably because we felt so safe with her, and a young part checked that no one was going to shout at us for shaking. It makes me sad how much fear there is around being seen and about how our body responds, but that is a focus for another post as I want to write about the session soon.
It feels empowering to be using this time to try something new. We all miss K so much, every day, and it is so hard knowing we have no idea when we’ll see her again. Getting her email response was so painful. Seeing the news that it could be summer before a vaccine is rolled out is difficult. Not knowing if she’ll have space when we want to go back or she returns to face-to-face is very scary and unsettling. But at the same time I have to be okay with not knowing, with possibly not being able to go back, because life changes all the time and I can’t control K or the virus situation. Since last week I feel liberated from the constant umming and ahhing about returning to therapy now too. I can’t go back to working remotely, I really can’t, and so I just have to hang on until the situation changes. Being able to pay my Dad back next Spring also feels liberating and important. And even though we said a 6 month break and that I would email at the end of February, really if K isn’t returning to in-person work then (which seems likely, given the vaccine situation) how can I go back? Surely it would be better to wait till I can go back properly, when our first session would be in-person with a hug and being reunited with the dogs as well.
And I don’t need K in the way I used to. It hurts but it is the truth and there is healing and growth in opening up to the truth. And I am tired of handing my power to someone else. Sometimes I worry if I grow too much over the next 6 months I won’t need (or want) to go back, but that is so clearly attachment trauma talking and so I have to calm those fears and reassure everyone that if that were to happen – and I don’t think it will; our work feels so unfinished – it would be for our highest good. I have to do what is right for everyone in my system now because the future I am often so focused on controlling doesn’t yet exist.