Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Therapy and Haircuts

Tuesdays are therapy day. I see my counselor once a week as we continue unwinding my history. It's a good news, bad news scenario. I'd like to say I always feel better after that meeting, but of course I don't. Like yesterday, I thought we were going to talk about one thing, but in the middle of it things shifted to something different. Something I've never talked about much with anyone, because I'm ashamed of how strongly I feel about it.

I've been pregnant twice and given birth to 2 beautiful, healthy children. They are all grown-up now at 24 and 21. I used to joke that I'm bad at pregnancy, but at least I make great kids. 

The reality is there is some really deep pain with those difficult pregnancies. I felt like a failure because here was the most natural thing in the world -- bringing new life into the world -- it's what my body was made for -- and yet, I struggled with it both times. So much so that my ob/gyn practically begged me to never get pregnant again after my son was born. 

I spent a lot of my life feeling like a failure. An outsider. The one who didn't get the instruction manual. Now, at 52, I understand that much of that feeling was the result of the abuse I suffered as a child. But it's also from the resulting relationships I built after missing out on some basic sequential development. Abuse stunts development. Survivors go on growing physically, and we do a really good job of masking and pretending we're just like everyone else, but there's significant damage that's been done, and left alone it festers and grows. 

Yesterday I opened up another chapter to look at and understand pain and loss. It caught me off guard, and I sat sobbing trying to explain between gasps that while I felt better about what we had been talking about to begin with, a whole new area of pain had opened up in the process. My therapist looked at me and let me explain. She sat back and listened and we regrouped. Made some new plans and she gave me homework. 

I left her office still trying to calm the tears, but I didn't really try to hide it and I didn't internally run from the feelings. Instead I sat in my car and thought about what had happened and what I needed now. I took care of myself and made a plan.

Later in the day I had a hair appointment. I'm blessed with a stylist who is smart and caring, and for good or ill a survivor herself. It's another mixed bag having a hair appointment on therapy day. I had another round of discussions with her. Mostly about different things, but still intense. And here's the thing -- it was good. I got a clear cut reminder that I'm not alone in my fear and insecurities. We laughed about scheduling hair appointments for any other day in the future, but it might have been a blessing yesterday.

So today I'm feeling a bit wrung out and I didn't sleep well, but I still feel better. I took something out and looked at it. I'm not carrying it by myself anymore and that is always a good thing.



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