Back in December I attempted to be a bit more sociable. I admit it was a tad scary and I was acting very guarded, but I met some lovely people and actually had a good time. It made me think… I surround myself with women and gay men. I do this as it is ‘safe’ for me. I suffered serious abuse when I was a kid and it has left me scared and guarded. The What Ifs started – what if I spent more time with heterosexual men? What if I opened my mind more to the possibility of enjoying my life? What if I made the leap and actually ‘moved on‘. I didn’t know where to go or how to move on.
I entertained the idea of a little counselling and made a self referral to a local women’s centre for therapy. Now, I need to rewind just a touch. In the past two years I had been listening to Jillian Michaels’ podcast. She talks a lot about therapy and reasons people are overweight (disclosure – I was 220lb at this point). I’d thought back about when my weight became an issue and it coincided with that ‘event’.
So, my self referral went in and I had a call a few days later for a pre-counsellig assessment. A further three month wait for my sessions to begin took me to March.
March – I have been given 12 sessions of counselling. How did I feel?
a bit stupid
I would only need a few sessions as I have done most of the work…
T was my counsellor. She was lovely and calm with a tendency to laugh easily which I loved. I went into that first session knowing what I wanted. I reckoned a few sessions would do it, get my head past this bump in the road to get me back on track. Nothing wrong with my self worth, self esteem, no guilt issues, pretty healthy state of mind and generally happy with life. Bloody hell – how WRONG could I have been. It only took one session to realise I’m going to use these 12 sessions and then some. I extended my therapy to 15 session but I was done with it at that point.
15 short weeks to dig through emotions and understand behaviour that has been ingrained since the tender age of 10. Taking down the intricate walls that had been lovingly built with booby traps, reinforced with bad behaviour which has served me well all this time was tough. In 38 years it has kept me emotionally safe, save for the odd person who managed to breach it for a short time. I had grown to love that wall. Had it really been 38 years in the making? I think not. The more I talked to my therapist, the more I began to realise it had been there a lot longer than 38 years. It looks like I had managed to quietly begin building foundations at a much tender age.
In my family I had always been at the bottom of the pecking order despite not being the youngest. The youngest had been nurtured and is strong enough to fight up to the top of the pecking order. I have struggled for affection and acceptance but at a very young age I discovered my intellect and I found that I could use that as a bargaining chip to get myself noticed. My wall is mortared with that intellect. This wall won’t budge I will make damn sure of that. Nothing and nobody out there is worth taking it down for. The loneliness when it comes cuts me to the bone but it is so fleeting I can handle the rare assaults to my wall. I stand happily behind it knowing I am safe.
I did’t just have a wall though. I had a box to keep my rape in. I keep it in there because I know I can never let it go. A physical assault that leaves a huge emotional scar never leaves me. Its a heavy box huge and lovingly carved. It makes a noise occasionally and rattles but most of the time it keeps quiet. Its heavy though and awkward to carry around. I have to consider the box in most social situations I cant just go and enjoy myself. It is exhausting to look after and if I had to give it a character I would say it was a demon and its colour would be dark grey.
So I have my demon box and my wall and the sheer amount of physical energy I am using in the upkeep is exhausting me absolutely. I have been physically feeding myself in order to sustain the emotional energy to manage the wall and the box.
In 15 weeks I learned how low my self esteem was, how I de-valued myself, my self worth was non-existent. I had completely cut myself off from the 10 year old me. I hated her and blamed her for everything. I was cold and indifferent to her needs. I never realised it was ME. I found my way back to her and she became my little Warrior.
In 15 weeks I learned I could build my self worth, self esteem and acceptance. I felt liberated. I had a smile on my face that was truly from a place of happiness. The biggest realisation was that which came from an encounter with a friend. She was stunned when I told her about what I was talking about to T about how I felt I am just tolerated. I realised with a sudden smacked in the face with a pan realisation – I am loved and not at all tolerated. That was the biggest turning point in my journey. That was the pivotal moment when I started to walk taller, my shoulders were no longer hunched over. I was no longer trying to make myself smaller and hidden. I was making eye contact with people. The most surprising side effect of this therapy was my relationship with food. I was no longer craving sugar and fatty food. I lost 14lb.
Control was something I became the queen of but through therapy and a renewed desire to learn I figured the opposite of control was vulnerability. I needed to understand what vulnerability meant to me and how I could address my issues of having to control every situation. I decided in the end it was exhausting controlling every situation and to allow myself to be vulnerable was to allow myself to be emotional and to feel rejection and fear. So I am currently in training to be vulnerable…