I sat in the waiting room of my therapist’s office this afternoon, fighting the urge to get up and leave. I looked at the door, then looked at the clock, debating if I could dash out without running into her. I can’t leave. She’ll worry. I have to leave. I can’t do this today. I spent so much time debating with myself, that before I knew it, my therapist came out of her office and my option to flee was gone.
I was scared. I wanted to run away because I was scared of what was going to happen. I knew my therapist would know something was wrong. It doesn’t matter how many times I say “I’m okay.” My face always tells the truth, and today my face was telling the world that something was wrong.
Sure enough, my therapist knew I was not okay. She asked when it all started. I told her. I told her how I couldn’t stop crying. I told her I couldn’t sleep. I told her about the memories that were (are) not stopping. I told her I didn’t want to remember anymore. I couldn’t take anymore heartbreak.
My therapist talked about memories and what memory loops mean, and all the things I already knew. Therapy was a safe place to talk about it. I knew that. But I was still scared. I tried to process it anyway. I knew that hiding it and avoiding it was not working; that was obvious to me given how I’ve been the last few days.
He knew. He was there. I started crying. Uncontrollably. I felt the pain in my heart come back. My head was hurting in a weird sort of way, like a pressure was building up inside with no way to release it. And I just kept crying. I didn’t want it to be true. I wanted that little bit of hope I had been holding on to that my father was just the tiniest bit of a decent person. But that is shattered now. That hope is lost.
It was too much for me to accept. I started doubting everything. Maybe these memories aren’t real. Maybe I’ve just made this all up in my head. I knew in part that these memories were real, but I didn’t want to accept them. I wanted my hope back. I wanted my innocence back. I wanted my father back.
I’ve had memories before where he is there, but not really there. This was different. It was clear what was going on. There is no doubt in my mind. He knew. And he didn’t protect me. He didn’t help me. He helped her.
Why? I don’t understand. My therapist says not to focus on the why, not to stress myself out trying to understand people who cannot be understood. But I can’t help it. I don’t like it when I don’t understand something. I don’t understand my life. I don’t understand the people who raised me, although I’m not sure saying “raised” is really accurate at all.
I struggled to stay connected to the present. The difficulty of working through flashbacks and memories is realizing that you are in the here and now, and not back when the trauma happened. Sometimes I am afraid of reliving it, so I push it down and try to forget about it. For the record, that never works.
My therapist has to constantly remind me that I am safe there, that no one is going to hurt me. So why is it so hard for me still? I want to feel safe. I just want to feel safe for once in my life.