Yesterday I was feeling a bit down.
Save the day I was told I can’t do psychotherapy it’s been a while since that happened. It just kind of came over me when I got in from work. Some sort of heavy, foggy sadness that I couldn’t quite make sense of.
Initially I felt ever so slightly panicked by it. Not only because it came on so suddenly, but because my first thought was naturally Am I getting worse again? But then I sat down on the bed.
With my tiny green backpack still slung over my shoulder and my Doc Marten clad feet dangling over the edge, I probably sat like that for about ten or fifteen minutes, trying to stay in the moment, doing the exact opposite of what I would normally do; I allowed the feeling to just wash over me, engulf me, and although I didn’t actually cry I felt like I could have.
That probably doesn’t sound like much to you. But to me that’s absolutely huge. The last time I cried was in November last year. Around my birthday. With my sisters and some very close friends around. Before that was August 5th. A year ago today.
This time last year was my last evening in Sweden before returning back to London. I had had a really lovely time. I’d collected a lot of happy memories. I’d done things I’d been looking forward to all year.
And then it all fell to pieces.
I had a long conversation with my mum that night. About a lot of things. About the reason why I had chosen to spend so much more time at my sisters’ than at my mum’s house. About the fact that I feel my family don’t understand how incredibly difficult it is for me to know that whenever I go home it means I’ll have to put up with seeing my oldest brother. How near impossible it is to go back to playing the role I’ve played for so many years of my life. The Everything Is Fine role. The Of Course I Understand How Hard It Must Be For Everyone Elsegame. To pretend that the non-verbalised Can’t You Just Get Over It? attitude doesn’t get to me.
That night, a year ago, I tried my very best to explain it all to my mum. I tried as hard to explain to her as she tried to understand. But, unfortunately, the two didn’t meet.
It’s very hard to write this. I keep wondering if I’m being unfair, if I’m being too hard on my family. But, I guess, in short what happened during that conversation – even though I didn’t come to realise it until several months later – was that I understod that I simply can’t move on as long as I’m tied to my family the way I have been. That the chains can’t be replaced by loving ribbons until I find a way to heal. And that I can’t heal unless I allow myself to feel how I really feel, both about what actually happened – the abuse – and the way my family has (or rather hasn’t) dealt with it. And, probably most importantly, how I feel about them. Each one of them. Individually.
Because, the truth is that right now I can’t honestly say how I feel about them. I love them and I hate them and I care and I don’t care, and it keeps changing all the time. And I need time to figure it out. Figure out what they mean to me, and what I mean to them.
All of these things I was thinking about yesterday, sitting on the bed.
And it dawned on me that maybe this is it. Maybe this – me sitting on the bed, just feeling – means that I am coming closer to healing? That feeling sad, or angry, or scared, or confused – maybe that’s a sign that my journey back to myself has finally begun.
I have no illusions. I don’t for a second think that dealing with my complicated feelings will be easy. I know that it will be damned hard work.
But – and I’ve said this more than once – I don’t think it’s meant to be easy. It’s meant to be worth it.
So, I leave you with a few lines from a song by Melissa Etheridge:
“..I will crawl through my past
Over stones, blood and glass
In the ruins
Reaching under the fence
As I try to make sense
In the ruins
But if I am to heal
I must first learn to feel
In the ruins..”