Unsurprisingly I spent today’s session with J discussing what happened with my family over the weekend. After dwelling on my anger for a few days it felt no less raw when I explained it today. I’m pretty cut up about it all.
What came to the surface today was a deep sadness. It’s always lived quietly in me, on some level I have always known it was there. It seemed like today I was finally letting myself feel a little of it.
As I told J what’s been going on, I kept being unable to catch my breath. As I spoke of the rejection, abandonment and hopelessness, I actually connected with those feelings. They became more than just words for once. That connection made it hard to breathe, it felt like my lungs were flooding with emotion and there was no space left for air.
It’s hard not to despair when I feel like I can’t belong with my family anymore. Apparently this separation, the learning to be my own entity distinct from my parents is something most people manage to do in childhood or adolescence. But I didn’t. I’ve been caught in an unhealthy web of managing everyone else’s feelings for too long.
Knowing that doesn’t make it feel easier though. J drew a little diagram of islands that therapists use with kids. You’ve got your own little island, then one adjoining that you put people on and allow them through across a bridge if you feel like it. I couldn’t even put my family on the other island. The picture turned out something like this.
That’s my family all in a boat together far out at sea. Yeah I’m not great at drawing in paint. But you get the gist. They are all together, miles away from me. The worst part is that’s exactly where I want them right now, I am so angry with them all. I guess that’s the conflict. As the old saying goes, I can’t live with them and I can’t live without them.
That takes me back to the dark place I know so well. The place where I’m not sure I want to live at all. I ended up wondering today how many people must go through their whole life without having to choose, without needing to argue against the urge to end it. I’m trying to stay strong, distract myself, be better than all this, but it takes so much energy. Every time I feel beaten, and survive, something bigger comes along and hits me even harder.
I’m tired. I want to switch off. I want to stop struggling. Today J asked me what I want when I feel suicidal. I realised the answer is simple. I want nothing.
Photo: Ed Borstein, Creative Commons.