‘Sarah, let me say that again. Healing is not linear’.
My therapist is patiently telling me as I sob on her couch for the 1000 times that I am a failure. I ave been having a really hard time these past few weeks. I have a lot of family stuff going on and my memories have come up, some new and some old but are peeking back up like demented pieces of my past.
We had been trying to move past the memory work and start to work on real life coping skills. Such as, how to feel more connected to my children and how to not be so nervous trying to be affectionate with my husband that I initiate sex, have a flashback and scream running out of the work. These are pretty important pieces of the work but I cannot focus on them. I can only focus on those memories. The ones that pop into my head at random times of the day to full blown flashbacks that leave me exhausted and emotionally torn to pieces. I had tried to move forward, to push them back and put them in the proverbial box where they belong but nope. They are saying fuck you, and your brain too Sarah.
I feel like a failure. I want to let these memories go. I want to get better. I love my therapist but there are other things I could be doing with my time and money rather then sit on her couch twice a week. But right now, I don’t think I could live without it. I’ve always thought of therapy as building a house. I thoughts I had cut down all the old junky trees and bushes (memories), laid a foundation (meds, eating well, exercise, trying to sleep but that will never happen, using/learning coping skills) and on that foundation I will build a house. I have an image too. I have the house in my mind. Right now all I have is a chair. A blood red leather reading chair which will be soft as butter that I can put in the reading corner of my house. Now, I’m trying to build the walls but these damn memories keep tearing them down or stopping me from building them up.
I keep crying on the couch. I have no words. I have failed. My catastrophic thinking is in full effect. I am sure she will now fire me as a client because I am too difficult. She asks what I’m thinking and I tell her about my house (we have talked about my house many times).
‘Sarah, if you were building walls to a house and there was a fire outside, would you keep building the walls or would you stop and put out the fire’.
Put out the fire.
‘The fires are your memories, you have to put them out and then go back to building your house.’
I liked that analogy. Because healing isn’t linear. Most days I feel as though if I’ve taken 1 step forward the next will be 3 steps back. I can just never get any traction on my healing goals, my coping skills, my symptom reduction. My emotions are all over the place and in each therapy session there’s a new crisis. Nothing is in a straight line. Plus, I am tired. I’ve always told myself this is not a sprint but a marathon but damn, this is hard work. So hard and so unforgiving and no lonely.
I know this is not an uplifting post but I wanted others to know there are a lot of bad days to be had with some good days sprinkled in. I treasure the good days, I do, but they are fleeting. Try not to give up, it’s so hard, I know. The only thing we can do is keep pushing forward through the pain and loneliness to build our house and find a safe place to call home.