Posted by: Marie | December 4, 2014

(969) The power of a simple heartbeat – Part 3 of 4

Post #969
[Private journal entry written on Friday, October 5, 2012 about a conversation with my therapist – continued from previous post]


Edward: (After a pause) You said that you know things will be bad if you hear your dad ask where you are . . .

Me: Yes . . .

Edward: Let’s say that you just heard him ask where you are . . . what happens then?

Me: He is walking back to my bedroom . . .

(I focused in on my senses . . . how did I know he was coming . . . could I hear his boots on the floor? Wait . . . was there carpet on the floor or did we have hardwood floors . . . ?? Maybe it isn’t something I hear . . . maybe I can just feel the energy of his body getting closer . . . )


Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: (Interrupting my thoughts) What happens when he gets to the door of your bedroom?

Me: I don’t know . . . I don’t know . . .

I’m getting angry with you again for asking questions I don’t have answers for . . .

Edward: Would you like to stop? We can stop . . .

Me: No . . . I’m okay. I want to keep going . . .

Edward: Okay . . . take your time . . . we have all the time we need . . . I’m still here with you . . . you are safe . . .

(I nodded my head in acknowledgement . . . then I refocused my attention back to my body memories . . . I kept trying to feel what would happen next, but things kept going fuzzy and gray . . . I’d back up and try again . . . the same thing would happen again . . . again and again . . . until my ability to remain connected with my body dissolved and I started floating . . . I felt my body slide down even further into the corner of the couch, into the fetal position with my head on the arm of the couch . . . I was trying to become as small as possible . . . )

Edward: Where are you? Are you still hiding or have you gone away?

Me: (Letting out a groan) I’m not sure . . . I can’t remember what happens . . . I mean, I have little snippets of memory captured from a distance, but I can’t remember the details of what happens next. I’m fighting to stay here, but I’ve gone a little bit numb . . . I’m floating a little bit.

(I spent the next few minutes with my eyes closed, trying to ground myself again. I felt the tension start to drain out of my body. My body went limp. I was so tired . . . I knew I needed to say something to Edward . . . check back in with him . . . )

Edward: Where are you now? Can you tell me?

Me: I want to sleep.

Edward: Tell me more about that . . . what’s happening with your body? Is it easier for you to breathe now?

Me: Yes . . .

(After a thoughtful pause) I hurt.

Edward: Your body hurts?

Me: Yes.

Edward: Where does your body hurt? Does your bottom hurt? The backs of your legs?

Me: No . . . the inside of my body.

Edward: What part of the inside of your body hurts?

Me: My lungs are burning . . . my muscles are exhausted.

Edward: What do you mean your lungs are burning?

Me: You know how you feel after you’ve run a long way and you’ve had to breath really hard for a long time . . . and your lungs burn from trying to pull oxygen from the air . . . ??

Edward: Yes.

Me: That’s what I mean.

Edward: Tell me about your muscles being exhausted . . .

Me: They are tired from being so tense . . . and frozen . . . they are tired from having to fight . . . not fighting to stop the bad stuff, just fighting to be compliant without being annihilated.

Edward: Is your dad still with you?

Me: No, I’m alone . . . I’m in the time afterward . . . it’s all over . . . it’s the time after. I’m trying to pull the pieces of myself back together again – I’m trying to find all the pieces.

Edward: Can you tell me what happened when your dad came into your room?

Me: No . . . I can’t remember that part . . . I kind of skipped over it just now and fast-forwarded to the time afterward . . . the main part of what happened didn’t get recorded in my memory, I guess.

Edward: Is there pain on the outside of your body?

Me: No.

Edward: Do you think you don’t feel pain on the outside of your body because there is no pain there to be felt or because you cannot feel that part of your body?

Me: I’m not feeling that part of my body . . . right now, I’m only my head, lungs and heart . . . and I have a general sense of my muscles.

Edward: Do you think you maybe dissociated during that time?

Me: Yeah . . . that’s probably why I don’t feel any pain on the outside of my body.

Edward: You are probably correct . . .

Now that it is over, are you able to leave your bedroom and join your family again?

Me: Well . . . I can once I pull myself together and can behave appropriately . . .

Edward: Once you can act like nothing happened?

Me: Yeah . . . once I can be compliant and “good”.

Edward: How do feel as you are trying to pull yourself together?

Me: I’m just numb – or I want to go numb. I don’t really want to pull myself together . . . it is less painful to stay in my room . . . to be numb . . . I only pull myself together and go out to be with my family when I am commanded to do so.

Edward: That seems like a very lonely place – a painful, lonely place.

(I nodded my head)

Edward: Have you ever wanted to just want to run away from it all?

Me: Maybe . . . I guess sometimes . . .

Edward: (A tad playful, like we were kids having a childish conversation) Where would you like to run away to? There are so many places to choose from . . . where would you like to go?

(I realized that I really had no desire to “run away” . . . rather, my desire was to die. I understand he was trying to be helpful . . . but . . . )

Me: (With another wave of sad tears) I want to go nowhere . . . I don’t want to run away; rather, I don’t want to “be” at all . . . I’m sorry . . . I can’t play your game with you . . . I don’t want to run away . . . I want to die.

Edward: Okay . . . I’m not sure what you mean by “my game” . . . what game is that?

Me: The game where you’re trying to get me to be playful, like a child . . . when you’re trying to get me to play a fun game of “pretend we can really run away” . . . I’m not able to be playful when I’m feeling the weight of wanting to die.

Edward: Oh . . . okay. That’s okay . . . you don’t have to be playful. There is space here for you to feel the pain of wanting to die . . .

And, of course it makes perfect sense that you would want to die . . . can you tell me what relief dying would bring to you?

Me: It’s not so much that I really want to die; I just don’t want to exist at all.

If I die – or if I didn’t exist at all – I wouldn’t have to experience the pain. I wouldn’t have to experience anything – good or bad. I’d rather feel nothing than to experience what I’m experiencing.

Edward: Of course feeling nothing is preferable to feeling this much pain.

Marie, I am so sorry that there wasn’t someone there with you to comfort you in those painful moments. There should have been someone there for you – someone to hold you safely and take your pain seriously . . .

(That comment struck me hard . . . and I started going through the list of people who might have provided that comfort . . . my mom? No, she was a source of abuse, not a source of comfort. My sister? No, she would rather get me into trouble and then rub my nose in it . . . and there was no one else around . . . )

Me: (With a new rush of painful emotion) But, who would do that for me? There is no one to do that.

Edward: Would you like for me to do that for you?

(That took my breath away . . . I did want him to do that . . . I wanted him to hold me and comfort me . . . but . . . that’s only a fantasy . . . but maybe not . . . I decided to say “yes” and see what happens . . . I nodded my head . . . )

Edward: You didn’t deserve to be treated that way – you deserved to have someone protect you. And, you deserved to have your pain taken seriously . . . you deserved to have someone there with you, comforting you, when you were experiencing pain . . .

(Once again, emotions overtook me . . . the craving to have someone hold me – to feel safe – was so strong. I sobbed a bit . . . then caught my breath again . . . but Edward had already moved on to a new topic . . . he was sitting all the way back in his chair . . . he was so far away . . . )

Edward: There are some things I would like to say to your dad . . . would that be okay? Would you still feel safe if I did that?


I realized he must not have been offering to hold me; rather, he must have been offering words of comfort and to take my pain seriously. My heart sunk . . . the window of opportunity had passed . . .

I nodded my head in response to his question about his saying some things to my dad . . . what else could I do?

Then, I got hit with another overwhelming wave of needing to have the physical contact and wanting to feel safe . . . I struggled with my breathing . . . more tears came . . .

Several months ago, I had asked Edward if it would be okay for me to move in close to him and place my head on his knee or shoulder, should I ever get brave enough to do so . . . he said it would be okay . . .

I’ve never acted on that . . . but now, my need for that kind of physical contact with him was unbearably strong. I decided to ask for that kind of contact . . . I took a deep breath and tried to form the words . . . I couldn’t . . . I took another deep breath . . . another . . . Edward watched me with concern as I struggled to speak . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


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