Therapy with my individual therapist last week was pretty intense. I used an entire box of tissue on Wednesday. That’s quite a lot of tissue for someone who went years without crying. I never used to cry and now it seems like I’m crying every day. I cried so hard in therapy that afterwards I came home and fell asleep. I’ve been trying to write about last week’s therapy for a while but it was so intense that I’m having a hard time remembering everything that happened or how she responded.
ME: I just don't know why she won't try to work it out.
CT: It doesn't matter...
ME: It does matter. Maybe it doesn't matter to you, but it matters to me.
CT: Of course it matters. I used to wrong word. That's not what I meant… (I don’t really remember what she said but she talked quite a while about torturing myself and ruminating).
ME: I don't know. Maybe it doesn't matter.
CT: No it matters.... (She went on another tangent).
LOOOOONG SILENCECT: Are you shutting down because I said it doesn't matter?
ME: (voice cracking as I hold back the tears) I don't know. It does matter. No it doesn't matter. None of it matters anymore. I just don't know why I fuck up every relationship in my life and I don't know why. Please tell me why.
CT: Every relationship is different. You can't compare what went wrong in this relationship to other ones.
ME: You don't get it.
CT: What don't I get?
ME: That every relationship is different but it's the same. I'm still being dumped. I'm still messing up. It's still happening.
CT: So it’s like every abandonment feels like a continuation of the last?
ME: I don't know. Maybe.
We talked more about my friends and what matters and what doesn’t. I wanted to discuss what is wrong with me so I can fix it and she refused to tell me what my problem is…what is wrong with me that I can’t keep any one in my life.
CT: It doesn't take away all the good memories. You still created a beautiful little boy. You still did that.
ME: But it doesn't matter. He won't know me. He won't remember me. I won't know him. I won't matter to him.
CT: You might not be able to be in his life right now but someday he might come looking for you.
ME: Never mind. It doesn't matter.
CT: What doesn't matter?
ME: I guess I don't matter.
She goes on a long tangent about mattering to people and self-worth. We argue about how myself worth isn’t dependent on my relationships and what other people think. She kept talking about how I need to matter.
ME: I guess it’s impossible for you to get it.
CT: Why is it impossible?
ME: Because you’ve lived a very different life than me.
CT: Does it mean that I can’t empathize with you because I haven’t lived the same life you have? No one has identical experiences in life.
ME: I’m not looking for identical experiences but you just can’t know what it’s like to grow up like I have. You have people who love you just for existing. I’ve never had that. I’ve had people hate me just because I exist.
CT: You’re right. We have had kind of opposite experiences, but your experiences don’t define you.
ME: You don’t know what it’s like. You keep saying that I have to find a way to grieve my loss of never having a family but I don’t know how to do that. How do I grieve something I’ve never had?
CT: That’s not what I mean when I say that…
ME: You don’t know what it’s like to go to bed every night praying for a family and waking up every morning without one. You don’t know what it’s like to have slept in over 42 beds in your life. To wake up in the morning and not be sure which home you are in. You don’t know what it’s like to be a guest in someone’s house and hope that they are going to keep you. You don’t know what it’s like to have your biggest dream in life to have a family—something most people are just born with.
CT: You’re right I don’t. We’ve had quite different lives. When I say that you need to grieve the loss, I’m not saying that you just need to get over it. I’m saying that there has to be a way that you can stop torturing yourself.
ME: I don’t think that it’s ever going to go away.
CT: It’s like a huge void.
ME: I guess.
We talked some more about self-worth and who I need to matter to.
CT: We need to get you to know that you matter.
ME: To who?
CT: To you.
ME: I don't matter to me.
CT: I know but we're working on that.
ME: Oh my god. I used a whole box of tissue.
CT: It’s okay. We have more.
Therapy on Thursday was just as intense but with fewer tears.
ME: I don’t know what to talk about.
ME: What do you want to talk about?
CT: I’m wondering how yesterday was for you.
ME: I used a whole box of tissue.
CT: I know. How did you feel about therapy yesterday?
ME: I don’t know. It was kind of intense. I was kind of exhausted after I left.
CT: I can understand that.
ME: I just don’t know why it’s so easy to hate me.
CT: What do you mean?
ME: So many people hate me. My mom hates me.
CT: Your mom is ill and we don’t know why she feels the way she feels. Even if we had the opportunity to ask her, she probably wouldn’t be honest about it.
ME: But she’s hated me my whole life.
CT: We’re never going to know why.
ME: Tim hated me.
CT adjusts in her seat and kind of perks up a bit. We’ve never talked about this before.
CT: You probably reminded him of what he was capable of. He took advantage of you.
ME: (crying) but why did he hate me? What did I do? It’s not like he was gentle about it. He was violent. Why does someone hate me that much? Why is it so easy to hate me?
CT: It had nothing to do with you. People like him pick children they know are vulnerable.
ME: But he didn’t pick me. I was kind of just placed in his home. I mean they came to watch me at the shelter but I’m sure they were assigned to me before. I don’t know.
CT: Either way it was unfortunate that you were placed in his home and he was capable of doing that to a child. Nothing that happened was because of you.
ME: But I really did push him to the edge.
ME: I was kind of a difficult kid.
CT: In what way?
ME: I was hyper active...
CT: Uh huh
ME: I went mute when stressed. The first time it happened I pushed him and pushed him until he just exploded.
CT: Okay. How did you push him?
We talked about how I was throwing tantrums about not being able to stay over at my foster mom’s mother’s house. We talked about how I was refusing to go to bed and pushing his buttons on purpose. I was amused about irritating him. I was pushing him for hours on purpose because I was upset about being left out.
CT: It doesn’t matter how big of a brat you were. Nothing justifies being physically violent or sexually abusing someone. Say you were being kind of a brat and I got upset and yelled at you to sit down (smiling because that happened) and I would never do this but then I started to beat you up. Would that be your fault that I lost control?
ME: I could totally take you.
ME: I know what he did was wrong but I know that I also pushed him until he just lost it.
CT: It doesn’t matter. Would you say that to a friend who told you that something like that happened to them?
ME: It’s easy to say that when you weren’t there.
CT: I wasn’t there so I’m able to objectively see what happened. He was already capable of doing what he did. It doesn’t matter what you did. It’s never the kids fault. Ever.
I don’t say anything and CT continues to talk about how what happened had nothing to do with me, but how can it have nothing to do with me when it happened to me?
ME: And then I let it happen for three years. I’m crazy.
CT: He knew how much you wanted a family. He picked you because he knew you wouldn’t tell anyone.
ME: I’m crazy. I have let people do horrible things to me in the hopes that they would keep me for my whole life. What is wrong with me?
CT: You said it quite eloquently yesterday. I have people who love me just for being me and you’ve never had that. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with wanting loving relationships.
ME: I’m just tired of living this way.
ME: It’s easy to judge me for overdosing. It’s easy to say that suicide is selfish and weak when they don’t have to live like I do.
CT: uh huh
ME: I’m tired of being out with my friends, having fun, and then thinking about Tim.
CT: (soothingly) Yeah
ME: Every time I walk into a closet I have a short burst of panic.
CT: That makes sense to me. When you’ve been locked in closets for hours and days at a time, you’ve been conditioned to be afraid of them.
ME: I panic when someone has a certain tone of voice even strangers who aren't talking to me.
CT: That makes sense to me too.
ME: Yeah but it happened so long ago. I keep thinking about things that are over. I am always anxious about the future and the past. And the present isn’t so great either. I’m tired of feeling panicked and having panic attacks. I’m really tired of living this way. I can’t feel comfortable when I’m sleeping or when I’m awake.
CT: I know.
She continues to talk about how my all of my symptoms make sense to her and how they are all part of PTSD. I know this, but it’s useless to continue to dwell on this stuff. It’s useless to be afraid of closets. It’s useless to panic at people yelling on the street. It’s useless to have nightmares. It’s useless to kind of disappear when things get too stressful. It’s more than useless. None of my symptoms help me today. I’m torturing myself for no reason. I just want a break from all of it. I want to sleep without nightmares. I want to actually be able to sleep without being up for days at a time... and be able to have fun without being reminded of things for no reason. I want to be able to relax sometimes.
My last two therapy sessions are the first time I’ve talked about my symptoms in more than vague ways and the very first time I talked about Tim in over a year of therapy and three sessions a week for most of it. The only other time he was mentioned was when I shared my emails to and from my foster mom with her. I’m still shocked I did it. Not sure it was such a good thing since my brain kind of tortured me for days afterwards.