The last week or so has been horrible, really, really horrible, although if you've been reading I don't need to tell you that. But today, something is different. The cloud has lifted. I'm trying to work out what it was that helped, because the change is sudden and dramatic and oh so very welcome.
I think there were a few things. First off, Therapist. Credit where credit is due, I pushed her hard this week, more than I should have, and I didn't respect the boundaries of the counselling relationship. But she did. I've talked about this before. Those boundaries aren't just in place for me, they protect her as well. If every client pushed as hard as I have this last few days, she'd be a wreck. But one of the big problems I have when Bitchface takes over is that I believe, 110%, that the only person in the entire world who can help is Therapist. Not Hubby, not my family, not any of the many friends who've offered support. Only her. And that is a really scary feeling, because I know that really there should be no contact at all between sessions. It makes me feel powerless and so very alone. So I spend hours agonising over whether how I feel constitutes an emergency. I draft a mail. I discard it. I redraft it. I save it and think about it for a few hours, knowing in my heart and soul two things - the last thing in the world I should do is send that mail, and at the same time, ultimately, I will send it, it's just a question of when.
So, after a few hours, I crack. I send it. The comes the instant, crippling shame and guilt for having let myself down, again. This is followed by a period of inbox watching. If a mail is appropriate, she will respond quickly. If not, the silence is deafening and the shame just builds and builds. I feel like a child who's done something horribly wrong, and knows it. There won't be punishment. But it will have to be talked about, she will have to remind me about the boundaries and that leads to a whole other complex world of rejection and shame and embarrassment.
Some of you might recognise what I'm talking about, although I hope most of you don't. But if you don't, I can almost hear you wondering how I can possibly cause myself so much angst over something so small. Enter the big bad D. This is one of the things I mentioned last night, one of those irrational actions that I can't seem to control but that ultimately cause me so much harm. Because the shame, the guilt, the embarrassment, the rejection - it's like Christmas for Bitchface. she can and does use all of these things as evidence that I ultimately deserve to feel as bad as I do, and that it's all my fault.
I mentioned there were a few things I did that helped. Another was to reassure Hubby that the nasty, angry, withdrawn person he's been living with wasn't his fault. I know he already knew that but he needed to hear it, and saying it helped me to realise both how bad things were getting, and the impact that it was starting to have. I think that was the start of the ice cracking, and I'm really grateful to him for managing not to snap at me.
There was one more thing. I finally managed to reach out to an appropriate source of help. Last night I felt particularly desperate, and I knew I had overstepped the mark with Therapist, but I badly needed to talk to someone. I'm lucky enough to work for an organisation that provides an employee assistance programme, which means I can speak to a counsellor on the phone if needs be. Last night, i needed that intervention. I spoke to a lovely lady who asked the right questions, got me to cry, and helped me to realise what I was doing in trying to get hold of Therapist. Then I went to bed and I slept, determined that I would get up early this morning and walk, that today would be better.
Guess what? It is!! I got up and took my dogs out for a 40 minute march at really early o'clock this morning. I had a good chat with Hubby on the way to work, but not about anything big and significant. Just chat. I could feel as soon as I stepped into the office this morning that today was different, and I just noticed on my way back from lunch that even colours seem more vivid. I've stepped back from the brink. The fog is lifting.
I do regret that I wasn't able to keep it together the last few days, that it got bad enough for me to do things I know are wrong and ultimately just make me feel worse. But I can't change that. All I can do is apologise, learn from it, and move on. Which is exactly what I'm going to do! Thank you so much for being so supportive of me, for all the comments and mails encouraging me to keep going. You were right, and you've no idea how much I appreciate it.
Labels: angst, bitchface, boundaries, change, dogs, family, friends, guilt, Hubby, regret, rejection, shame, support, therapist, walking