I can’t even begin to explain the details of what’s happening to me right now. Saying I’m triggered would be an understatement. Triggered? I feel like I’m losing my fucking mind.
My therapist told me the other night that he’s been seeing changes in me — a willingness to be open and honest and connect — and he also told me he was moved by our session (he’s always saying things like that–he’s an emotional empath and that is so important to me right now). I can’t go into specifics about what has triggered me so profoundly, but he thinks what’s happening is good, and that it means I’m approaching a big breakthrough. He sees me trying to connect, trying so hard to access buried emotions. But I still get so frustrated because I feel like there’s a great wall holding back the flood. I’m so sick of being emotionally constipated.
Today the flood happened. I could barely get through my workday because of all the crying that just came out of nowhere. It made me mad, because although I desperately need to cry out all that shit that’s keeping me from being able to really live my life and connect with others, why can’t it happen in my therapist’s office? Why does it always happen in some fucking inconvenient place, like while I’m at work? I mean, at least I work alone most of the time, so that’s a plus. But still, it makes me so mad I just want to go break a bunch of things. Of course I don’t do that. It’s not that I don’t have emotions, but why can’t they OBEY ME? Why do they go into hiding whenever my therapist and I try to coax them out, and only come out when they know they’re going to shame and embarrass me? SO annoying.
But it’s fine when it happens at home, more than fine actually. I had to choke back tears all day and wait until I got home before I could really let myself go. I’ve always been highly responsive to music. On the radio this morning, I heard Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” and starting bawling in the car. I don’t know what it is about that song–is it the melody? The somber and sad arrangement? The lyrics? I don’t know. But it’s a song that always gets my faucets turned on full blast. A lot of music does that to me. In my recovery journey, I’ve found music to be one of the most powerful tools for healing and that’s why (on Lucky Otter’s Haven, mostly), I post about music so much.
Everything triggered me today. This morning on the way to work, the lady at the convenience store where I pick up my snacks and coffee was short and rude to me today. She usually is very nice. I felt personally attacked and thought she hated me and the tears started again. Why does everyone have to be so mean? I felt as vulnerable as a de-shelled hermit crab.
I was in so much unbearable pain I finally called my therapist (something I try to avoid doing because of my fear of overstepping anyone’s boundaries, including his). He wasn’t there but I left a message. I was nearly incoherent because I was crying so hard while trying to speak. I begged him to call me. I didn’t hear back from him until tonight. I felt like he was ignoring me.
When I finally got out of work, I went home and uploaded the Radiohead song and put it on speaker, cranking it up as loud as I could make it. And the tears started, probably a hundred of them, along with uncontrollable sobbing. I lay on my bed crying like this for at least an hour, just letting all the pain and sadness and loneliness and emptiness wash over me and out of me. I tried to stay mindful while this was happening, acknowledging the feelings, and observing myself as if from a distance. I realized it was good, even though I felt like I wanted to die. I didn’t make any clear connections to a triggering event in my past, but I think it was a lot of things, just a lot of trapped pain that had to be purged.
My therapist called me finally, acknowledging my earlier, desperate message. He apologized for not calling earlier, but he was out of service area all day. He wasn’t ignoring me, as I had feared. I told him about all the crying and the Radiohead song. I told him about the rude lady at the convenience store and about how I drive everyone away with my tendency to be high maintenance (or more often in recent years, reject them or be cold when they try get too close). I talked about the excruciating emotional pain and that I felt like I was going crazy. I talked about how alone I feel, how disconnected from other people, and all the regrets I have due to all my bad choices. I don’t want to be like that anymore! I hate it.
But every time I try to connect with anyone, I worry that they will wind up hating me and leave. That’s why I avoid people. That’s why I don’t have any real friends in the physical world. I won’t allow myself too because I think I’m too worthless and they will abandon me, the way my own family abandoned me. My therapist reminded me that the meltdown is because my abandonment depression has been triggered. But he also congratulated me and said that this was huge and that watching me unfold touches him. Of course that got me bawling all over again, but this time in gratitude and happiness that someone really does care. It always surprises me when someone lets me know they do care and my feelings are valid. I’m so not used to that. “You’re not crazy, Lauren,” he said. “You’re breaking through and it’s supposed to hurt.” Like a shot in the arm?