Mental Health

The Ceaseless Work Of Healing

The more time I spend on healing the more life I have lived, the more damage that has been done in the process of repairing myself. It feels like a never ending battle. Sometimes it feels pointless. I’m subjecting myself to this life, volunteering to risk becoming more damaged. The anticipation of the pain from the past and ahead of me feel like too much. And for what? So I can spend the rest of my life trying to repair that damage in order to live the way I want, which might also hurt me. This is a bleak view of life, I know. But it’s where I’m at.

I recently spoke to my therapist about ending our work together. Over the last year and a half we have figured out the root of most of my worries, the things that hold me back. It’s control which resulted in dissociation, the ultimate control. If you expect everything bad nothing shocks you, so it doesn’t hurt. In order to stay in control I have disconnected from myself and reality. Feelings, memories and reality cause fear. I exist, my story exists and my memories exist. Sometimes it feels like I’m a rebellious teenager who snuck out of the back door at 3am. I know I existed, that something happened, but I don’t know enough. I’m just not here. And the memories went out the back door too. They were there once for a little while. But gradually they executed their escape. Having myself and my story be a part of me leads to fear. Fear that it’ll get worse. That I’ll lose everything. That I’ll drown in the feelings. If I have fear I can’t continue on. I’ve never learnt how to handle my feelings because I had such big feelings about so many too big events at a young age, that all my brain could do was hide them from me. This worked well so it continued to do that resulting in many forms of dissociation. Children do not have the cognitive processing skills to understand the reality of their experiences or how to cope with them so the mind resorts to other options. I have it stuck in my head that in order to end this cycle I have to talk about the worst moments of my life. The ones where I was supposed to feel and learn from it but I floated away instead, like a balloon above a valley.

Hot air balloon above a landscape

I have barely spoken to my therapist about my past because I know it’s a safe space. Which sounds lovely. But trust and safety are dangerous. They lead to feelings. Safe spaces are only safe if you trust yourself. I do not trust myself. In the times I have practiced using my intuition I have let myself down. The pain has taken over resulting in serious harm and neglect of myself. I am not willing to do that to myself. I want to live. I fear that letting go, letting the flood gates open will cause me to drown. I don’t want to drown. I want to live, not like this but not like that. I don’t want to just keep swimming. I don’t want to keep treading water. I want to be on the land, looking back to the ocean which tried to drown me. I want to be able to visit the ocean in a boat safely without drowning. To spend time close and in my feelings without being dragged under them.

A small boat on a big ocean

I don’t know how to do that. The Therapist has tried to teach me. I’ve tried to practice feeling the feelings. But when they come up it turns into anxiety, which isn’t a real feeling it’s a response to feelings. Later it turns to dissociation before I can even hold the feeling and inspect it. I don’t think I’m ready to do the rest of this work. I’m so scared of spiralling even deeper into myself. If I stop therapy I’m not trying anymore. I’m a control freak. If I’m not trying to fix someone else I’m trying to fix myself. I’ve tried seeing this as a proactive positive move that I have the skills for the issues I can currently manage, which I believe is true. But if I’m not trying to get better, if I’m not forcing myself to do the scary things where will I be. Everything from then is my fault. If I let myself get incredibly depressed that’s on me. I don’t rely on my therapist to fix me. I know that’s not his job. With that in mind I have taken that responsibility on to myself to the point that every decision is carefully calculated. This is not living. Living sounds so scary. Better the devil you know and all that right.

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