If I hadn’t been convinced that my therapist is able to perform magic already, the session today would have shown me that there is no other explanation for what she’s doing.
After two weeks that mostly consisted of dissociation and sadness I came to her at the end of my tether. It didn’t even take three minutes until I started crying.
What’s making me so sad, she asked. I couldn’t tell. Nothing happened, no incident that could explain the emotions.
So it had to be something from the past, an old thing that surfaces now. Where do I know the feeling from? Or when was I supposed to feel it but couldn’t allow myself to?
And then the dam burst: My parents. I am annoyed when therapy looks exactly like you imagine it from cliches. Well, at least it wasn’t about the fact that they divorced – concerning that I can honestly say that it’s okay. No it was about the brokenness I started to feel a while after the separation. For us there was no fight, no drama, no feud. There was just a before, than a cut and then an afterwards. And I get that one can need a clean break when a relationship ends. But it’s possible that we kind of overdid it. Now, for this you need to know that my parent couldn’t be more different from one another. My father, totally head, my mother, totally heart – not compatible. Me? Maybe a decent mix of both. After the divorce they started developing even further into opposite directions. Me with them. A mama-version and a papa-version of myself. Both real, both authentic – and both never whole. Nearly as if I could only be with my dad if I chop off my right arm and only with my mother if I amputate the left. Being whole only when none of them are present. I used to have this “world problem” in every aspect of my life but I got rid of it everywhere save for the parents. If I imagine them being in one room…well that was exactly what I had to imagine in therapy and then had to say what I felt. But I couldn’t even utter the simplest of words. Is it possible to dissociate and have a panic attack at the same time? I still don’t have words for my feelings, I can only say what my body did: shake, hyperventilate, roll eyes, cramp, feel headache, gasp for breath, not see…
“It is the ninth of September. We are here in therapy street number so-and-so and there is no one here but us. Nothing can happen. Take three deep breaths.”
A down-to-earth voice that was sure about what it said. Indeed, there was my coffee cup and there was sunshine.
“Let’s stop doing this today,” my therapist suggested, “Can you remember a time before it used to be like that?”
I had to smile. Yes I can. And before I noticed what was happening I started talking about a thousand little every-day things. About cooking and being read to. About cake and board games, about hikes and cartoons. About being together and about safety. About “before”. My therapist addressed how my gestures started being more animated and how my eyes started to shine and asked how I perceived myself at that time. The answer was easy. “I was just…being me.”
My cynical side has often tried to tell me that all that had just been an illusion – after all it stopped working at some point – and that bubbles just tend to pop. Everytime I thought of this beautiful time I told myself that there is no good in holding on to past things. My therapist was able to convince me that it’s possible to draw a lot of strength from such memories. Like a Patronus Charm 🙂
I’m sure we will continue to work an my getting whole again and maybe on being able to face both parents at the same time. But my homework is much easier: I have to play board games and take my teddy bear into bed with me and go swinging. That my therapist mentioned swinging of all things…the only thing that has given me light-heartedness in the hardest times. She is just awesome! Whatever, I have to take care of “little Nina” and give here something of which today made me realize that I would have needed it after the divorce: A constant, a point of reference that just stays in spite of all tha back and forth that life can bring. And as difficult as I often find it to enjoy when there is still much left to do, as easy it will be now that it’s an official useful task 😉
And now…I am cheerful. Powerful. Inside my body. And not sad at all.