One of the hardest things for me to do is cry. It scares me. I feel like something horrible will happen if I do cry. I feel like it’s losing control and if I let myself do it, I’ll never regain control. As much as I know those thoughts are irrational, it’s still the way I feel.
When I saw my therapist on Tuesday and we talked about “The Drive”. I was so close to tears. In trying to stay in control, I was digging my nails into my arm to the point of peeling off skin. I wasn’t really aware that I was doing it. My therapist saw this and gave me a stuffed fish to squeeze. It wasn’t so much doing something with my hands as it was using the pain to keep my emotions in check. I could focus on the physical pain rather than focusing on the emotional pain. I left there completely drained and exhausted from keeping all of those emotions from bubbling to the surface.
I saw my therapist again yesterday and we talked quite a bit about crying. I know in my head that nothing bad will happen in there here and now if I cry. But it feels like the universe will collapse if I do. Nothing about this is rational. But what I learned growing up is still very powerful. The hope I hang onto is that behaviors are learned and thus can be unlearned.
We also talked about safe places where I can cry. Her office is one of them. Unfortunately, my time with her is quite limited now. For some reason, my car feels somewhat safe. I’ve tried hiding in my closet. Sometimes it feels safe and other times it doesn’t.
Yesterday my therapist and I also talked about “Cleaning up”. I didn’t go into a lot of detail because I spent a long time sobbing. I was trying very hard to let my guard down and let the tears come. When I wasn’t sobbing, I was silent. It was extremely frustrating for me because I’m normally a fairly verbal person. I don’t have huge amounts of problems coming up with something to say. But I just didn’t have the words to explain what I was seeing and experiencing and feeling. It took me forever to formulate simple sentences. There were times when I had something to say and I couldn’t get the words past my throat. A large portion of the time, I was screaming “WHY!!!” in my head. I’m not sure what the “why” was referring to. It was just there. And even though it was in my head, it was hard to get that one word out of my mouth.
I left there completely exhausted. Letting some of it out was as hard as holding it all in. Nothing bad happened. The sun didn’t explode. The world didn’t stop turning. The galaxy didn’t fall apart. But it was still frightening.
I sit here now writing this and holding Tedders. I’m trying to get myself ready to go to bed. I can still feel the anxiety in my body. I’ve gone through the progressive relaxation tape three times, but as soon as it ends I tense up again. I want to sleep, but I’m afraid to close my eyes. Writing this has helped, but I’m still scared.