I’m not sure what I will write about in this post but please be aware it’s likely to talk about abuse and suicidal thoughts in case that’s a problem for anyone.
I just got back from my first proper visit with my psychologist since before we moved to Scotland. I was anxious before I went an, now I am out, it has thrown up a huge amount of stuff I didn’t even realise was there. I’m sat on a wall outside the parents in law, music on, watching cars zoom by. Bit mindless. I couldn’t go upstairs right now as I have too much in my head. I don’t know quite what I will achieve by rambling here but it offends my sense of order to not try and organise the thoughts and memories and this I hope will help me try to make sense of it all if I write in the moment so to speak. Before I go upstairs and play act whatever role it is I have to do to get through the day. I can’t fake it right now. I called DH and told him where I was and he can see me out the window. I know he’s worried and wants to sit with me but I need to know he is with my baby and they are both OK.
I had to take my daughter for the first part of the session. The idea is to help me be used to talking about the sexual abuse whilst with her and help me realise the same thing I had won’t apply to my child. It was quite interesting to do so.
We talked today about sleep. I talked about the problem I have when she doesn’t go to sleep properly. I don’t know if I explained it properly so here goes. I struggle during the day when she sleeps. I don’t have to worry about nights so much as DH does those. But when I am on my own I find it hard so I avoid being overnight with her as night is when the gremlins come out in my head. But the problem is acute during the day. At least once a week if she does not go down for a nap, I completely freak out. Not at her I have to add, in my head – she’s there standing in her cot beaming at me or howling because she wants out. In a crazy way I know she is safe there so I can have this freak out in my head which is strange. Last week she refused point blank to sleep and I cuddled her and sobbing asking why she wouldn’t sleep. She HAD to sleep otherwise bad things would happen. If she didn’t sleep I would immediately want to die. In that moment I was not me, I was someone, somewhere else entirely. I am almost hysterical with the need for her to sleep. I can’t describe it. I say to myself as I’m hanging over the edge of the cot, I can’t do this, I can’t cope, I have to leave. So I leave the room to take this poisonous thinking away and because I am also shit scared.
This lasts maybe 30 seconds or a minute because I get my ass out of there so fast. I am the one who needs to take myself out of that and go back to her calm and, more importantly, sane. She needs me that way. We go have a bottle or play or watch Pieter Konijn (aka Peter Rabbit if it was in English). Then when she’s ready we go back and she’s happy to sleep.
I, however, know it is absolutely not normal to react this way. Last week a memory also returned of my abuser and nap time. It’s a fleeting memory as they all are, and I was just three as I remember the house we were in which was just before my parents separated. She used to watch me through the blinds, waiting to see if I was asleep or not. I remember dark eyes flicking left and right as I tried to hide in a corner and pretend I was asleep. I remember pretending to be asleep a lot and it I didn’t sleep bad things would happen. I remember being frightened and wishing my brother was in the room instead of outside playing. I remember the room being shaded and being an icky green. And hiding in the corner pretending to be asleep hoping she would go away.
And that’s it. Which doesn’t sound like much does it? I do also know that I used to get abused when it was nap time at the back of our other house. And it only dawned on me last week that the issues I have around naps for my daughter could be linked to the abuse I had as a child.
My psychologist confirmed that, yes they definitely are linked. I see my daughter and I see myself, desperately trying to sleep so I don’t get abused. I have this completely irrational reaction to her not sleeping because I think she is going to get harmed in some way if she doesn’t sleep.
I also realised my hatred of napping during the day comes from the abuse. Who knew that my refusal to sleep then stemmed from that?
I also feel like a failure if I don’t measure up to some impossible standard of motherhood. Because my upbringing was so shit I am now over compensating for my past by trying to follow some misguided standard I have in my head. So I look at this screaming unhappy child who unsurprisingly won’t sleep on command and I think I am crap and not needed.
So we explored this a bit, then the baby went to her daddy to go home and we explored some other stuff. Like how I am still putting too much pressure on myself to do things – my daughter’s first birthday party is an example – and how I go into a meltdown every time I have to do something. We also talked a bit about me not talking as much – in my last episode four, gosh nearly 5 years ago I stopped talking for a week and only communicated with DH by text in hospital. I also found myself separating so just going through the motions of looking after my daughter and being a shell.
I left with strict instructions to find a way to get some daycare so I can have some time for myself one or two days a week or, failing that, even a few hours. Not having the time or space to process what has happened in my life, let alone the last year, is taking its toll. I also have to not do much and go with the flow. I try to control everything about me as a result of abuse and bipolar and the rest of it, and the obsession with planning is making it worse.
The problem with the sessions is that it invariably raises so many more thoughts and emotions than I can cover in that hour. Thoughts also sounds a bit of a lame description – it’s more a state of being. There is also invariably a language barrier even though my psychologist’s and (hopefully my new psychiatrist’s) English is excellent. I also don’t think people can truly comprehend how my brain operates.
People who haven’t experienced how mind-bending it is with bipolar -the lack of control and my ability to depart from normal actions at the drop of a hat, the permanent state of fear and flight from the abuse, combined with the ability to detach myself and disassociate completely from my surroundings and only remain in reality attached by a tiny thread – cannot understand. They can’t get potent and dangerously intoxicating thrill of doing what I want with no restriction whilst not really being there, and they certainly don’t get the pulsating black that seeps through my brain and body, that clawing frantic need to escape anywhere and anyhow, the seductive voices telling me it will be better if I don’t live. That I can’t fucking do this. It’s not because I’m tired. I can’t do this anymore. It’s my brain. How could anyone understand.
I feel emotionless sometimes. I cannot relate to this baby who is now practically walking and I can’t move on from that moment nearly a year ago to wake and be told she had been taken away to intensive care. There is something here I need to explore when I feel able to, this belief that if I was there then it would have been better. I can’t deal with it right now.
I love her like I can’t believe. I am thrilled to see her every day, her huge grin lighting up the blackness in my head and heart. I can’t let go of the fact that I am superfluous to her needs, that other people can take care of her better than I can. I am not needed here. I make everyone ill. DH is not well physically because he’s working two jobs to try and provide for us. I love my husband to distraction and when I think of what he has been through because of me – and yes me as this illness is a part of who I am – I physically hurt at the damage and havoc I have wrought. I can’t even walk my bloody dog without feeling scared of going outside.
I walked out of the session feeling raw. I could easily have walked and walked and found a way to end it earlier. What kind of living do I call this? I feel like the walking dead most days. The crux of the issue is I feel so much pain and believe I cause too much pain to everyone else. I can’t convey that in a therapy session. I have to pretend I’m not that bad because I live in fear of my daughter being taken away. But fuck I am so tired of faking it.
But that thread holding me here is pretty strong. It is called family. It is the good Diva whispering do I want my daughter to grow up without a mother’s love just like I did. Her need for me will change and grow as she gets older. I am not convinced yet but perhaps, just perhaps, she will need me a bit more as she gets older. Who will talk about boys (or girls), periods and clothes to her? Do I want my husband to be a single dad? Do I want to give him even more to worry about? I can’t stand the thought of another woman giving him head and neck rubs. The bitch. Who’s going to make sure my doggie is groomed and looked after properly? DH would forget to take him for his yearly jabs.
It’s a strong thread keeping me somehow partly in reality. I will have to figure out a way through. That is not even half of what is running through my brain (thank you racing thoughts) but it has helped massively to have had some time to write it down and get it out there. I think I’m going to go and play Dragon Age and do something that takes my brain away from it all. And watch my baby sleep a bit. She is mine isn’t she? I feel such disbelief sometimes……
Oh and some good news. I’m good to wear sunglasses. Before I fell pregnant I was working on trying to use them less as they were a shield for me against the world. Between those and a headset with some form of music device, I blocked out pretty much the whole world. I am allowed to do so again. The fact that this is now allowed again means I am a bit unwell much? But here’s to 8pm being sat on a wall with sunglasses on. Right now I will take any small win I can get.
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