I am finally starting to find myself. I’ve been seeing my counsellor every week for a year, 5 times a week for the last month. I feel really bad, I hate it that she thinks I need so much of her time. At the same time I am so grateful to her. She is not like any counsellor I have ever seen in the past. She is down to earth, funny, kind, caring and most importantly she is really helping me.
Despite the guilt I carry for her feeling obligated to speak to me daily, it is allowing her to see the real me. Or perhaps it is allowing me to show her the real me. Usually so much happens in a week, in-between our sessions. I see her for 50 minutes and either dominate the session with what I want to say, or she asks a leading question. Everything else stays floating around in my head or disappears until it rears its ugly head again. That said I am not sure I really want anyone to truly know the real me, mostly because I am scared of who the real me actually is.
A different side of me is emerging
I cannot really explain this different side of me, I think it is more the inner me. The me without the fronts, the pretence. The inner me that is hidden from the real world, that only exists in my head. I realise that although I don’t know myself today, in respect of what I like, want, or need, I used to. At one point I felt freedom, made choices, and knew what happiness was.
When did I switch off from the world? Or from my existence? When and why did I stop feeling? At which point did I accept defeat and accept that I could/ would never have what I wanted or needed? When did I stop knowing what I wanted and needed?
Today I saw something incredible, I watched a crow and a buzzard battling in the sky, a truly remarkable sight. I was mesmerised watching as the battle unfolded. Afterwards I googled it and it is highly likely the buzzard had ventured into the crows territory. It was like a sign or a message – like a reminder. Just because I stopped looking for things I love, it does not mean they stopped existing. I used to love bird watching, they came to me because I stopped going to them.
Watching the birds, I realised I still have passion, that I can still feel joy and excitement – however fleeting or brief. That an older version of me, the one who lived, the one who loved, she is still alive, she is still inside me – like everything else have I blocked her out or locked her in? I have not seen the sea for months, but I know that it’s still there, waiting for me. I can hear it, see it, I can even smell it and feel the sea breeze. These senses must be able to work for other aspects of my life. Perhaps I have just forgotten how.
A letter to myself
I discussed disappointment at length we my counsellor. We specifically discussed the elements I wrote in the Did I shut myself down section.
She gave me homework, words I actually dread her saying. Not because I don’t feel compelled to put the effort in, work hard. It’s more that her homework always challenges me, makes me look at things from a different perspective. Homework for me is frequently revealing and upsetting. I had explained when I write it feels like it has been written by a different person. She now wants me to write a letter to myself! I mean why?
I found it very difficult, verging on impossible. So I wrote two questions:
- You don’t sound like me. The way you write is not how I speak or express myself, so why when you write is it so different? You are more expressive, more feeling and potentially more open. I wish I could verbally articulate in a similar vein.
- I didn’t remember what I had written, it felt like I was reading a letter from somebody else for the first time and I usually have a really good memory. Why did it feel like I hadn’t written it do you think?
I couldn’t just write to myself, because obviously it became more of a dialogue or I suppose more accurately a monologue.
A written dialogue / monologue with myself:
Inner me: Well you see I write the words straight from my head, I don’t have to second guess or restrict them or change them for my audience. Very few people read my words and those that do like in the blog, well they don’t know me. So I am not under any form of threat, I am free to express things in the way I see fit. People would laugh if you spoke in the same way as I write, because that isn’t you. The danger comes when the words are read by someone who knows me.
Outer me: Yes! That’s when the fear comes! But you send them to Heidi (my counsellor) and in a strange way she knows you really well. Or she at least knows the you /me/ us that talks to her every week. I suppose you have more time to compile the words. When I speak and I hear the words, and often I am surprised as my brain didn’t warn me they were coming. I spend so much of my time wishing I hadn’t said things or had worded them differently. If I had a superpower it would be invisibility and or the ability to retract most of the words I have spoken.
Inner me: See I can write them, reflect, revise, and delete and no one knows they were ever there, they never existed. However mine remain, stuck to the page and people can read it many times, your words, well they dissolve only existing in memories and they may not be accurate in those.
Outer me: I see that, so both mechanisms are risky but for very different reasons.
I think I like you, the inner me, more than the outer me. I wish I were more like you, which is mad because we are the same person and yet you feel different. Your words sound nicer, calmer. Your explanations are much clearer. You sound like a nice person; a person people might like.
Like a database the outer me is the live transactions, I exist in real time, but you the inner me holds all the updates, all the transactions ever made. So you, you hold onto everything and bring it to me, and I frequently don’t want you to, but you have all the control.
Inner me: Well yeah that may be true, time is on my side, but like you I have no control, the thoughts spin for me too. That is why I write, to get them out of my head, to help me stop them spinning. Perhaps I write them too quickly for you and that is why you do not absorb and remember the words. I don’t know!
I don’t randomly bring stuff to you! You ask for them! You tell me what to retrieve and I merely fetch it for you. Remember I am you! I cannot work independently! How can you want to be more like me when you are me? You have the choice what you portray to the outside world. I tend to be more honest about my softer gentler side. You always pretend to be someone you are not! You laugh, joke, and swear, you pretend to be strong and we both know you’re not! I write to people, I tell them what they mean to me, why can’t you do the same? Why do you want people to see you as an unfeeling person?
Outer me: It feels like you bring stuff to me, you open files and folders I don’t want to see. You / me/ us think about things I don’t want to think about. It’s easy for you to show your soft side, because I have to face the consequences for you! You say you love someone, I have to face them, feel the dread and embarrassment. What if they don’t even like me, what if they laugh, you make me suffer when you are open and honest. Why can’t you keep it inside and help me to stay safe. You hang me out to dry!
Inner me: And that is why you feel we are different. We think and feel the same, but I on the inside remain true to myself. You change everything to what you think people want to see or hear or to hide your true self. I think that causes pain. Why when you feel attached to people, when you love and genuinely care, do you refuse to show it? If you can’t show you care and you cannot believe people care about you, how can you feel their love? How will you ever believe you are loved? Believe that your fiends see something in you, that you are worthy. You deprive me!
Outer me: Oh like you believe you are loved or worthy, FFS you are me!
Inner me: Deep inside I do, not always but sometimes. It is in here, but you keep burying it with other stuff. You can’t face it, don’t know how to manage it – you rewrite history. I may store all transactions, but they are always stored below the last transaction. The transaction when you change all the good things to something else! It is you, outer me that is causing the problem. Just take things at face value, stop all the doubt and questioning and we will be fine!
Tell people how you feel that you care and you love. Be comfortable with who you are if the audience doesn’t like you change the bloody audience! This is what Heidi meant, when she said she would challenge what you said about the friendship with Alison. She comes to sit with you, she messages you and asks if you want a visit, she spends hours with you. You chat and you laugh. She says how much she enjoys your chats and yet you don’t believe her. It’s really rather simple, why does she keep coming back?
It might go wrong in the future, wait and see. If and when it goes wrong fix it. Don’t shut yourself down by convincing yourself you cannot have or maintain a friendship because I know you can. I see the original transaction, the fun, the laughter, I know how much she means to you. Also I see the updates and how you try to change the original transaction. I don’t want the original to be overridden, live in the bloody moment and if it comes into your head as a memory or thought, relive it, enjoy, but will you please stop changing it!
Outer me: I feel as though we are arguing, but I can see your point, you are challenging me or actually I am challenging myself and I know you are right. I know I strip away the good, I know I relive the bad and I know how hard I make my own life. You make it sound so easy and it isn’t. I don’t make a conscious choice to do this to myself, to us, it just happens naturally. I will try hard to be more like the inner me – you. However you need to help me when the outside me starts to panic and the fear gets too much. Stop calling me an idiot and support me, comfort me when I need you the most. We have to work together to make our life easier. We have to align the inner and outer me.
Inner me: We are aligned on many things, there is only one true sense of humour, one true sense of self. It is you that laughs when you feel pain, it is you that is happy to show your anger but hides the tears. The world is not the same as it was when you built the walls around you. You, we are not the same and yet that is what you still show on the outside. You proved your intelligence, yet you hide that. Stand tall and start to show the true person that we really are, for we are not stupid, we are not an idiot, we are not always at fault. We have compassion, empathy, we care and we are worthy!
Is it any wonder, that I feel like I am mad?!?