July 31, 2005

New Beginnings... maybe

I had quite an interesting therapy session yesterday. Yep, on a Saturday. At my T's house. It was a long session-- about 4 1/2 hours, and going into it-- I had no idea what to expect. I was a nervous wreck for two weeks. Part of me was somewhat looking forward to it, but the other side of me was terrified. It's hard enough sitting in session, having to talk face-to-face an hour a week, but wondering if that's what I'd be doing for 4 1/2 hours freaked me out.

Luckily for me-- my therapist understood that it would most likely not be beneficial to me to have a session like that. Some things are too overwhelming to face all at once, for several hours at a time. Emotionally-- I don't think I'd be able to handle that.

Started out the session by doing a bit of art therapy. I had to draw a picture of what my "prison" looked like. (I'll try and scan it in later). Basically, I ended up drawing a picture of me, sitting in a very large room. In one corner, up at the top was a small window looking out onto the outside world. It is the only place in the drawing that contained color. The rest of the picture was all in black, gray, and browns-- to symbolize the darkness of my 'world'.

The room had solid walls, but also bars-- made of tape measures. Mirrors covered the walls, along with words I either constantly tell myself, or feelings. Stuff like, FAT, or lonely, or perfection, etc.
The things I normally feel.

Also on the walls were numerous pairs of eyes, to symbolize how I feel like I'm always being watched-- not in a paranoid sort of way-- but in this perfectionism sort of way. I feel like everyone is just waiting for me to screw up, to fail. The eyes also represent the anorexia-- cause it is always watching.... I also drew a scale (duh) and razor blades (represents the cutting). Inside the room, inside the bars, I'm sitting inside this prism, which represents two things: 1) depending which way the light hits the prism, the image changes. I'm the same way. Depending on the day, the situation, the person-- I 'become' someone different. I become what everyone else wants me to be; and 2)a prism is what makes up the inside of a kaleiodoscope. That's how I feel my life is. Just at the moment I think I've finally gotten everything in balance, everything in perfect control-- it all changes, shifts, and the pieces are rearranged in such a way that no matter what I do or how hard I try, I can never get those pieces back exactly the way they were before.
Welcome to my life.

Anyway-- back to the session. Spent some time working on my picture in the sunroom. Peaceful setting. Just me and the sunlight and the little garden right outside the door, some 20-feet away. And the quiet sound of nature. My T lives on this acreage, so I'd occasionally hear the whinny of one of the horses, but that was about it. For the first time in a long time-- I actually felt somewhat calm, relaxed. It was sorta peaceful out there. I'd love to have a place like that as my art studio!

After I finished, we talked about it for a bit. Then we walked over to the barn to do what Remuda Ranch (ED Tx center in Arizon)calls "Anger work". J had this hay bale set out, and we talked for a bit. Then she went and got these long pieces of twine that were to represent different things or events or people that I was angry about. The thing is, I've avoided anger all my life. My stepfather was an angry, hateful person and to me-- any expression of anger, even admitting it, meant that I was just like him. And there is no way in hell that I would ever want anyone to see me even remotely in the same light as him. So the second those sort of feelings come up--I do whatever it takes to put them away again. Whatever it takes in order not to feel.

Turns out-- I guess I have a lot more anger inside than I ever realized-- or allowed myself to realize. Anger at Kent for the verbal abuse, his drinking, the fact he was never a father of any kind, the way he treated my mom, etc. Anger at my mom for never defending us kids to Kent, and then for leaving when things got too tough at home. She'd leave us with him, but take herself somewhere safe. I remember numerous nights, standing there at the window watching her pull out of the driveway. And I was terrified that she would never return. There was nothing to calm the fear or make me believe that she was coming back. Also, for closing her eyes and ignoring the reality of our family life. For ignoring my eating disorder, my cutting, the fact that I was falling apart right in front of her and she never acknowledged it.

Anger at my grandmother for all the ways she's encouraged my eating disorder. Whether it's by her little comments (constantly) about weight or looks, or direct actions like sending diet pills to the house. Her need for absolute perfection and unattainable standards.

Anger at my twin sister for encouraging my eating disorder. Even though she was just as sick as me-- sisters aren't supposed to do that. If she had encouraged me in the other direction--recovery-- rather than competing with me to see who could be the smallest one, maybe this all would have ended years ago. Maybe.

Anger at my brother for things I still can't quite bring myself to talk about. And at Clint-- a former 'friend'-- both of whom had a part in stealing my innocence, my childhood away-- if you get what I'm getting at.... I'll leave it at that for now.

Anger at the anorexia, even though there are days I really do want to hold onto it. For all the things it's taken from me, all the ways it's lied to me. All the things it's made me believe that were really false. I could go on and on.

I didn't realize just how much anger I really have inside. I think I don't allow myself to feel it, because it scares me.

So anyway, J and I started out by giving each piece of twine an event, a memory, and incident etc. that brought up anger. Then we more or less beat the shit out of them... I felt really ackward and out of place, out of character beating up this hay bale. But in the end it was worth it. I somehow felt... lighter.... like all that stuff is still stuff I need to deal with on some level, but it's not that overwhelming stuff that consumes my entire mind 24-7. At least so far. Let's hope it stays that way.

Afterward, J said she didn't want that stuff in her barn (lol), and asked what I was going to do with it. We ended up burning the twine/memories. It was quite interesting the way they all burned. Pretty symbolic, actually. A lot of them ended up melting together in this huge, gooey mess, with no distinction of where one left off and the other began. That's pretty much how my thoughts are. One big jumblefuck of feelings and emotions and memories I can't identify or sort out. When it was done burning, the interesting things is that even when all that crap in the middle was gone and burned away, there were still a number of pieces and parts on the outside of the burnt section that were untouched, unburned. Another metaphor for my life. Even when I deal with some of the issues, and get through some of them, there are still other things that need to be faced and dealt with. One day-long session isn't enough to get rid of a lifetime of abuse and neglect and starvation and self-destruction.

Actually--- I think watching it burn was good for me. Maybe this is what it feels like for Teresa, when she's in her "Burning room". That metaphorical place she allows herself to go to for a specific time period. She deals with what needs to be dealt with at the decided time, and then leaves it in the 'burning room' and shuts the door.

J and I talked for a bit afterwards and then the session was over. I actually sort of wished it could have gone on longer. Imagine that! Sometimes my sessions feel like we just reopen old wounds, then stick a band-aid on it quick after the hour is over. The wound never heals. And then I go back the next week and either that 'wound' is reopened, or a new one is. It's this endless cycle, and sometimes I feel like I don't get anywhere. I have such a hard time talking in session when it's face-to-face. I dunno... maybe after yesterday's session, my othher sessions will be easier.

I'm still trying to process the whole session. I'm not quite sure what I think or the magnitude of what yesterday's session meant or accomplished. Perhaps the answer to that can only come in time...

I guess overall-- it was a good session. I feel more hopeful, more positive than I have in quite some time. I've missed it.

Posted by Wendy on July 31, 2005 9:47 AM

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