My session with “K” yesterday was an amazing journey. I was feeling very numb. I'd been in a numb disassociated place for 3 days or so. I was also feeling very nervous. I was fidgeting profusely and could not keep still. I also felt very self-conscious, unsure of myself and of the environment I was in. Additionally I was pouring sweat. Pouring sweat is something I do when I'm feeling extremely nervous. “K” asked me if I was hot and I realised the best thing to do was to admit to my nervousness – and so I did rather nervously.
Admitting to my nerves, to my fear, was amazing in itself. In admitting that I took a massive risk!
Admitting it also helped me explore why I was so nervous.
As I began to talk falteringly I realised I was scared of being vulnerable because being vulnerable means you get hurt. I knew I was going to have to pull myself out of the numb place I was in and feel if I was going to gain anything from the session. I was scared of feeling because feeling often feels so unsafe to me. I was scared because although I know it's safe and I'm safe with “K” I was scared in case it wasn't safe. I was scared because although I know “K” is not going to mock me, belittle me or put me down, I was still scared she might. I was plain scared and had to reaffirm for myself that I was safe and in a safe place.
So I had to take a risk and admit exactly where I was at.
When I started talking I was rather shocked because I began talking at the place I'd been thinking when I fell asleep the night before. That kind of spooked me. Before I went to sleep I was thinking I wish I hadn't ever spoken to the police because otherwise I wouldn't have all the additional hurt of the outcome together with the trauma of how the news was broken to me to deal with. That was my last thought before sleeping. Since waking up I hadn't really thought about anything other than getting myself to my appointment with “K”.
The phone call which told me the CPS were taking no further action against my family, my abusers, had very deeply shocked and traumatised me. My world shattered in that moment and I don't really know how I'm going to live with it. I don't really know if I'm going to find all the pieces. I don't know if my world can be put back together.
It was good to say all that.
As I discussed my feelings about the case outcome and how the news was broken to me I began to come out of that numb place and to feel very powerful emotions and to think very powerful thoughts. The real “me” slowly began to emerge. The real “me” who is utterly bewildered, shattered, disillusioned and hurt beyond hurt. I was rocked to my core as everything I'd ever believed about justice shattered. I was traumatised very deeply.
As I talked I realised how deeply ingrained in my memory and my emotions every detail of that phone call is. I realised how much was triggered in me. I realised that 6-months on there is a part of me which is frozen in that moment of immense shock, disbelief, bewilderment and trauma.
As I talked and felt I discovered I can feel and be safe. I think for the first time in my life I felt and was safe. I cried for the first time in front of ”K”. That in itself was amazing! Wow!!
As we talked I was increasingly honest about the depth of my feelings. How I really feel about the events of the last few months and how those events have really affected me and affect me every single day. I realised the depth of the trauma and what it had triggered for me and taken me back into – all the powerlessness, helplessness, unfairness feelings, everything I felt as a kid about the appalling situation I was trapped in.
It's really hard having all that to process and live with on top of the original abuse and the damage it caused to my life. It's also hard to talk about the abuse when I have all these issues going on. It's getting in the way a bit.
I mentioned how “G” had said to me last week that everyone who's engaged positively with me during the past few months had actually been valuing me as they did so. I went on to describe the visual “G” gave me of imagining each of those people lined up in front of me with pieces of paper saying “I value Fi”. I said how powerful and helpful this had been. We finished there, which was a good place to end.
I've been quite hard on myself because I don't really see myself as having any value and I don't seem to be making any progress in that. “K” said my lack of value is tied in to the messages the abuse gave me and I understand that. My first step to valuing myself is accepting and recognising the value people place on me and taking strength and building belief from that. Up until now I’ve not been able to accept the valuable things people say to me of how they see me, but now I can hear those things and receive them, and that is enormous progress.
I believe one day I'll begin to realise and eventually accept that I intrinsically do have value. But if I have to pull on other people's valuing of me as a stepping stone to that, then that is ok.
I'm realising there are no hard and fast rules to the healing process and I need to break it down into manageable steps and cut myself some slack.