Friday, August 27, 2010

letting go

As a person who believes I stop existing when I'm not in the same room as another person, I have a very difficult time saying goodbye.

Making the decision to say goodbye to my therapist Sue yesterday was one of the hardest things I've ever chosen to do. I don't let go of people unless I'm forced to; I will drag it out until eternity to keep from having to face change or face who I am -if I am- without that person. Whenever I am left or forced to leave someone, it's as though the part of me that was known by that person no longer exists. It honestly feels like a death, the loss feels so extreme.

As much as I deny that I've changed/improved very much, when I look back to that October six years ago when I first met Sue, I wasn't completely the same person I am today. I was scared, even more guarded, had even fewer words, knew even less about myself. Yesterday Sue said, "A lot has happened in these 6 years. Boy, has it-every time we turned around something happened." And it's true; the first few years were spent in constant crisis. ERs, hospitals, programs...there was no time to work on anything other than just staying alive and making it to the next session. Even with as hard as things are now, it's easy to forget that things have been worse. Sometimes it's hard to believe.

My tears flowed throughout the whole session. I talked about how I disappeared this summer, so non-present that it's all a nightmarish blur. Is this how I will continue without her? Sue has been my witness. What happens to my words and experiences without her there, holding onto them with me, caring more about me than I care about myself?

Yesterday and the months leading up to it I believed this was the right decision, that after 6 years this was as far as I could go. Too much had happened, trust was broken, and I was stuck. It would be so easy to stay with her, week after week in the same room, reporting the same symptoms, refusing to budge from the sick little girl I cling to. It would be so easy and I wish that I could.

How do you even begin to say goodbye to the person who has seen you at your most vulnerable, snotty and speechless, hyperventilating, bleeding and weightless? Who has heard your darkest secrets and suffocating fears? Who has witnessed your shame and your guilt? Sue was there when I had no one, when I was crumbling in my bedroom at home, and no one would hear me or question. You can't trust in someone like that, be heard and seen like that, and not be changed.

We decided not to drag it out, that there is no magic way to say goodbye that is complete and painless. That's new for me, someone who is paralyzed by the finality, the crushing feeling that I have to say everything I needed to say. But I realized that a lot doesn't need to be said; it's just known, present in both our tears, our first and final hug.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How To Be Alone

"Society is afraid of alone though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them.

But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Pain grows and the world shrinks. Loneliness isolates in a different way: rather than destroying the world, it establishes a barrier between the self and the world, leaving the world intact as a torment to the isolated person. Loneliness grows and the world recedes, eventually disappearing over the horizon. Will the world ever appear again? Was it ever there in the first place?"

-Loneliness as a Way of Life

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

chances are there’s a reason we’ve been left here

"If you're going through hell keep going.". Those words have been playing in my head when there seems to be no way out. I don't keep going; I panic and freeze where I'm standing in the flames, burning alive and unable to breathe. The obvious way seems to move forward, but that means continuing through the flames and darkness, not knowing if it will end or keep getting worse. I could turn back the way I came, but it's been a lifetime of stumbling and falling; the way back was lost a long time ago. I take steps forward, but they are tentative, fearful, and often more painful than staying where I am. What I really want is for someone to reach down and grab me, to pull me out or send for help. I have spent a lifetime with a throat worn raw from screams gone unheard, nails filed down to the quick trying to claw my way out. No help is coming. I know this and yet I can't seem to let it go. It is a frayed rope dangling from my waist, and I cling to it even with the knowledge that there is no one at the other end; no one but the idea of a person, a force, something that will hear me and see me and reach me, giving me permission to let go of hell and push forward.

But maybe that's an excuse too. Maybe at this point it doesn't matter that no help is coming; it's too late. I am the one who can't let this go,who spins around in circles in and out through hospital doors pretending this is better than dying.