I managed at the last minute to drag myself to therapy today despite feeling like absolute shit.
Last night was difficult for me. I have had so much going on, and I’ve kept it all inside. Stress about home, about grad school applications, about how I’m going to afford grad school, about how I’m going to afford living. Then add issues about my family, an overall lack of sleep, and the seemingly constant chaos inside of my head, and I wonder how I am not locked up in an institution somewhere.
The pain was just too much for me that my heart was actually hurting. Yet I was completely unable to express any emotion. I was numb and in pain at the same time, and I know that is impossible but that is how I felt. I couldn’t take the pain any more. I ended up hurting myself just so I could feel something real. But that only works in the short-term. I woke up the next morning with the same emotional pain, plus the physical pain from what I had inflicted on myself the night before.
I didn’t really want to be in therapy. I didn’t want to be anywhere. But I knew I couldn’t skip out without causing alarm. So I went, sat in my usual spot on the couch, and looked at the floor. My therapist asked if there was anything I needed to talk about. I told her no, that she could talk. I didn’t really want to get into anything. I just wanted to sit there and pretend like everything was fine and dandy.
My therapist started talking about managing my DID better. It is something I know I need to do, but I’ve been at a point where I just want to ignore it and hope that it goes away. She said if I take time and communicate with my parts, it won’t be so chaotic inside. Right now, my parts are running amok like a child who is being ignored and wanting attention. I know that she’s right, I just don’t have the mindset to deal with all of that right now.
I wasn’t into the conversation, and my therapist could tell. I couldn’t tell her what was wrong, though. I tried to reveal minor things in order to avoid the major, but even that wasn’t working. I had put my walls up, and she was not getting through. She asked if she was the problem. I told her it wasn’t her. And it’s not. The problem is with me. Part of me is still scared to talk. Part of me is still afraid to say how I’m feeling.
Then, in the middle of the weak back-and-forth we were engaging in, my therapist asked if I could try to not apologize whenever I say how I am feeling. It is something she has brought up before; she tells me regularly that I don’t need to apologize, but I still keep doing it. I told her I couldn’t do that. She asked why it was so hard for me to stop. I told her I’m not supposed to have feelings. Feelings get you in trouble. Feelings get you punished. Then my therapist asked how I would be punished, and I managed to nod my head yes when she asked if it was physical.
I started to think about all of the times I had to suppress my feelings, and all the times I accidentally made them known. Whenever I was upset or cried, she’d make it hurt more. Whenever I showed my anger, she’d tell me anger was the devil coming through and I needed to be punished. Then there was the incident that finally broke me. When someone from my high school called my parents and told them I was feeling depressed, my father sat me down that night and told me he’d give me something to be depressed about. I sat there and took the beating and tried to be stoic, but after a few minutes, the tears came and all I could do was apologize and beg for mercy that never came. I never cried during a beating again.
On an intellectual level, I know my therapist isn’t going to hurt me for expressing my feelings. Yet, I still find myself apologizing dozens of times each session. I even apologized for crying after the group workshop the other day. Being sorry is part of my programming. I should be sorry for feeling. I should be sorry for expressing emotion. I should be sorry for breathing. My parents made me feel as if I should be sorry just for existing and taking up space in their lives. I am sorry. I am sorry I was born.
In addition to my apologetic programming, I also have a tendency to tell everyone I’m okay. In therapy, those words tend to follow right after I say I’m sorry. It’s almost as if I’m trying to convince myself that I’m okay as much as I’m trying to convince the other person.
Towards the end of our session today, I felt myself becoming overwhelmed with emotion. As a defense, I must have said “I’m okay” at least five times in succession. Then my therapist told me that I don’t have to say I’m okay when I’m not okay. She said knows I put up a facade and that’s how I’ve made it through life so far, but I don’t have to put that mask on anymore and I don’t have to put it up when I’m with her. She continued to talk about it and I finally just burst out and said “I’m not okay.”
I don’t think I’ve ever said those words out loud before. I don’t think my therapist expected me to say them right then, either. I don’t even think I expected to say them. But I did. And now the truth is out there.