There’s crying. Then, there’s the I-am-so-distressed-that-I-can’t-stop-bawling-and-my-sinuses-are-blocked kind of crying.
The latter was me today. Almost as soon as I sat down, I told S that I was not in a good state. That last week leading up to today had been so rough that I can barely hold myself up. He was concerned, as evident by his body language.
I told him of the incident last night where I was up all night trying to comfort Hubster because he was distraught and experiencing a psychosis-like anxiety attack. Every time he closed his eyes, horrific images would fill his mind so he couldn’t sleep. I stayed with him all night and tried everything I knew to help. We both finally fell asleep at 7.00am. I got up again at 8.30am to get ready to see S at 10.00am.
So on top of my already unstable state, my lack of sleep opened me up to feeling more vulnerable as well. S and I have both learned that I become more suicidal when I haven’t had enough sleep. I think that was why when I saw S today and when I entered my safe space, I couldn’t stop bawling as we talked. I hadn’t felt safe and in control of myself for a week since the last time I saw S and I was feeling raw.
We dealt with the pain of loss – the intense fear that I have of the people I care about leaving or dying. I personally have no fear of death for myself but I grieve deeply when it’s others’ death or whenever I feel the loss of someone. I told S the I didn’t know why I felt that way.”I just don’t understand why I need people so much…” I had responded, trying to get my crying under control. “I don’t know why…”
“It goes back to the need for protection,” he said, speculating the reason. “There’s no one there to protect you. It’s probably more complicated than that, but I would guess that that’s connected…”
“Yeah I think so…” I said.
“It seems like there’s something about… Between love and loss, they’re two sides of that connection or relationship coin… And the loss piece just really seems to hit you really hard and personally and you take a lot of that responsibility on yourself. But really, the reality is that whenever anyone that you feel connected to strongly, anyone you feel that positive connection, you’re going to to lose that person at some point. Whether it’s just someone you meet in class, or someone you spend your whole life with and eventually one of you is going to die first. I mean that’s the reality…” S said, giving me a very hard truth that I almost can’t bear to hear.
I felt very despondent. I knew he was right. I knew that was the truth. I was thankful that he didn’t sugar coat it. But at the same time, I wish I hadn’t heard it. It was too painful to think about.
“And it seems like you take it so personally when that happens. You identify the regrets from your past. What you could’ve done differently so they didn’t leave,” S continued.
He was right. I do take on some kind of personal responsibility whenever people leave me. I can’t seem to help it. Whenever I make a positive connection, I want to try and keep that for as long as I can. Somehow, it doesn’t work that way. I almost always lose the people I care about. I always then feel lost and confused. The pain of loneliness is so deep and I’m so afraid of being alone that I need to cling on tightly to everyone around me.
But S was right. The reality is, not one person is permanent in our lives. And that’s a reality that I want to throw a tantrum over. I was to scream that it’s not fair, that it sucks, that I hate it! In this instant, I feel like a child. I am a child trapped in an adult body – a lot of my ideals, hopes and dreams are rooted in a child-like mentality. I want to be friends forever, I want to be loved and protected, I want to hang on to the golden moments forever – the things that children wish for and want.
It makes me feel ashamed to realize that I am such a child. Being 30 and finding out that you’re really just a vulnerable 4-year-old who needs and wants her mommy is so humiliating. Being left alone to just work it out yourself, because you’re an adult, really sucks.
S noted that my sense of responsibility when I can’t protect people or when I feel like I’ve failed in my ‘duty’ is so great that it affects my sense of Self.
Last session, I told him how I felt responsible for everyone I’ve ever met and when things don’t go well for them, I feel sorry and I feel like somehow it’s my fault that they aren’t happy. I told him that I carry this huge burden of pain for everyone else.
“I must’ve sounded like a lunatic,” I said to S. People often only care about those close to them like their family or spouse or friends but I go out of my way to care about strangers too.
“No! Absolutely not!” S said firmly. “I was actually thinking how it made sense kinda given what we had been talking about. I know you mentioned how talking to your brother, you were thinking about just how you want to protect people. How that’s just a very strong pull for you.”
“Yeah” I said, nodding.
“And it sounds like you’re almost… That instinct is so strong, it’s like if there’s anyone out there that you can’t protect, you feel like you’ve failed personally…”
“Yeah…” I agreed again.
“Seems like it’s very hard for you to kinda embrace your own limits…” S noted. It never occurred to me before but he was right on that too.
I guess in my mind, I think of myself as a superhero who doesn’t need to rest, who always need to be on guard, who is ever vigilant, who can handle everything by themselves. No wonder I’m so tired. No wonder I feel so burdened and so over life. At some point, even superheroes need a rest, right? I just wish this was something I can internalize and not just intellectually agree with…
*This is just a short post because I am extremely tired. It sums up the gist of the session anyway. There are lots of details missing but at the core of it, this was what we talked about.