And The Tears Kept on Coming….
Realising that the predominant emotion within my depression was in fact anger -and so very much of it- a couple of years ago was a massive turning point for me. For anyone trying to heal and move forward or overcome some trauma or inner struggle being able to recognise and articulate precisely what is going on within you is vital for any kind of progress, even if its just for themselves. In recognising whats what as accurately as we can we better understand ourselves – our minds, our emotions, our boundaries, our ticks and quirks and our demons. We can better understand what we experienced , how we experienced and why we experienced it in the way that we did and what our brains and bodies are currently going through as a result. And with this understanding comes an enhanced ability to cope, to nurture ourselves when needed and to address the issues which in turn allows us the possibility of beginning to recover and heal. Finally…
Ive known for awhile now that I am an angry angry person. Furious in fact. So the concept of my being angry is nothing new to me. I’ve verbalised it and written and spoken about it and now it just exists inside most of the time as a fairly placid metaphorical ocean that rarely becomes stormy, at least these days
I have also known for some time that a massive chunk of the trauma I experienced was because of the “knowing but not-knowing”. I knew something was happening, but I was repeatedly told otherwise. Or offered half explanations – just enough information to make it appear as if an answer had been given when in actual fact the full picture had been cleverly hidden beneath a veil of logic and word play.
I was always sensitive. I was never stupid.
The result was I felt confused and helpless and uncertain and out of control (not to mention the intense emotional hurt) and I became a scavenger for information. Obsessed with finding out ever more titbits of information; insatiable in my quest for crumbs of factoids. Never convinced. Never satisfied. Always needing more. Stashing it all away in my mental armoury should I ever be in need of it. A compulsion that has stayed with me for years and years long after the events had ended and has only began to fizzle down fairly recently, though I still often feel a bit of an urge even if I don’t act upon it.
It never occurred until yesterday however how easily triggered I would be when this particular aspect of my trauma would be touched upon, quite gently, during joint counselling
“Did you want me to be honest?” He asked, taking me by surprise after all of the very many times I had begged and begged and begged him to be over the years. He knew this!
“Did you want me to be open?”
Oh so desperately …
I feel the beginnings of something creeping up inside me
I hear the counsellor in the background saying something to him. I may have said some things to, I can’t recall now. There’s a shifting going on inside me that’s distracting
I feel that creeping feeling edge ever closer to the surface and then all at once, sheer rage floods the forefront of my mind. Like a tidal wave it comes crashing through and sweeps everything else away. I am consumed and my head is filled with it. It can’t be contained. The flood spills out in the form of tears, hot and salty and so very many of them. No dam could have held these back…
I have never cried during any therapy before. Not once.
My sobs are quiet, as quiet as I can make them. But I’m hot and I’m sniffling and they just keep on flowing and flowing and flowing and so it is very noticeable
I turn my face away, using my hair as a curtain to hide behind (an old mannerism from my teens) and I stare at the potted plant next to me. Teeth gritted. Chin up. Im proud enough to not allow it to drop even if I can’t look at anyone yet.
Im asked gently what Im experiencing right now
I choke out, through teeth still gritted
I look back, still crying.
I glare at him
“Know that Im not sad right now. Im not hurting. Im raging”
I look away sharply again trying hard to compose myself. Swimming through this rage of mine and trying to find coherent thoughts
I become aware that the fingers on my left hand which had been relaxed and resting on the arm of my chair a minute ago are fidgeting, twisting, flicking and rubbing against each other furiously as I describe to our counsellor how through his not telling me what was going on I became obsessed – literally obsessed – with finding information. How my heart rate spiked if ever an opportunity to find out ever more presented itself. How I poured over every detail no matter how minute. How it stayed with me for years and years…Long after the circumstances passed
My head turns again as I try to gather myself and I hear her tell him
“You see an obsessive compulsion such as this is a kind of anxiety dissorder…”
And I sob some more because nobody has ever acknowledged it as such before now
Im so grateful to her for that
Immersed, another wave hits me and I see one very important thing that I hadn’t before.
I press down even harder on my teeth as I try not to scream at him
“The thing is, Im not even this angry because of the damage it did to us as a couple. Im raging -utterly consumed by rage-because of the damage it has done to ME AS AN INDIVIDUAL!!!’
And my brain screams silently and furiously
“HOW DARE YOU!!!!!!!”
And from then on out the rest of the session all I can hear is my mind shrieking like a Harpy
“YOU DAMAGED ME!!!! YOU DAMAGED ME!!! YOU DAMAGED ME!!!YOUDAMAGEDMEYOUDAMAGEDMEYOUDAMAGEDMEYOUDAMAGEDME!!!!!”
And there’s a Mini-Me inside my head who flits between an adult teen and child at turns who is screaming and screaming and screaming at him. Whose mouth is a wide cavernous O ommiting piercing shrieks again and again and again. Teeth bared. She is stamping, hitting, kicking, clawing, smashing, biting. Arms flailing, she is twisting and writhing. And screaming and screaming.
And there are no other thoughts in my head as I think how much I’ve struggled and fought and suffered mentally emotionally and physically. How its impacted so much of my life and prevented me from reaching my full potential as a person and, worst of all, as a parent
How I’ve been blamed and penalized for my failings so many times over the years when they were reactionary to abnormal circumstances inflicted upon me by him that I never ever asked for. Inflicted upon me – albeit not intetnionally-for loving him so much
The names I’ve been called
The judgment and condemnation and contempt
At some point I’m asked by her if I’m “available”. I am not.
And the tears keep on coming
She encourages him to be there with me in my rage. To find compassion for it. He admits to struggling. He can’t, not right now. I’m not hurt by that. I didn’t expect him to. I know him well enough to know that he would struggle in that and what’s more it’s writtain all over his face and body language. I can see it.
I appreciate his honesty very much. Had he tried to say “the right thing” I’d have known it was bullshit
He had his reasons of course. At the time he had been in difficult and trying circumstances himself. He’d come through some exceptionally tough shit, and it had left him a big bag of complicated, painful, emotions that he’d been trying to work through. He was struggling back then greatly and his behaviours and actions were never intended to hurt. The counsellor stated at some point that I could have been his ally, had he let me. I loved him and would have taken anything that came with him. But in his attempts to protect himself and also me, he ( well We actually, because of my unprecedented reaction that couldn’t have been anticipated) caused so much damage to us and to me.
But its not for me to talk about him, what he went through or his perspective. Its not my place and I don’t have the audacity to try.
Besides, Much Love Kirsty is my story. My perspective and my experiences. Nobody elses. How can I possibly talk with somebody elses voice?
The rage in my brain subsided fairly quickly after we left the session. I felt empty, hungry, tired but also bizarrely kind of good if a little delicate
And all I could think afterwards was
“Well, that was new!”