I was stubborn again in therapy today. My morning was busy and stressful. I had to give a presentation at work on where I want my department to be in five years. Naturally that led me on to thinking about where I want my personal life, my real life, to be by then. And honestly, I don’t know.
Therapy feels pointless when you don’t know what you want. It seems like a huge and painful waste of energy to sit there are dig into horrible feelings and thoughts, stirring everything up, when you’ve no idea what you’re working towards.
Since I had my breakdown 18 months ago I have stopped wanting anything. I haven’t dared to hope for a future. My drivers have all been self-destructive. In fact the only thing I have really wanted with any sense of conviction is oblivion. I have fantasised about and dreamed up my own death. I’ve visualised every possible suicide scenario, how it might feel and play out.
At J’s today I was silent and stubborn. The walls went up and I couldn’t coordinate my thoughts or access them to share anything. So she decided to be interested in why I am stuck. That made me feel even more obstinate. When I did manage to try and explain the hopelessness and directionless place I am in, I came to realise there was another roadblock.
I am terrified of my feelings. I know there’s this mass of darkness inside me, a deep and swirling pool of latent sadness, grief and anger. And I also know that by cutting myself off and not speaking, I feel almost in control of it all. Today, when I thought about sharing something of it with J, I just felt incredibly afraid.
After sitting in my stifling silence for a while, feeling this fear and then more fear about talking on the fear, I did finally create some words from it. I told J that I don’t think I can handle my feelings, and I am frightened that going into them won’t be safe. She tried to reassure me that she could help me ‘manage’ my feelings, but it didn’t make me feel better. Because we both know that I can’t. And she can of course keep me safe in our sessions, and occasionally in between when I have the courage to call her for help. But I am notoriously bad at reaching out in a crisis.
So I feel like maybe we made progress in understanding why I get myself stuck in a corner like I am right now. But at the same time, I don’t feel less stuck or less stubborn. I feel confrontational and defensive. I am fighting the urge to lash out. And I have to fight it because I know that if I lose control I will only end up hurting myself.
Photo: B4bees, Creative Commons.