Therapy Break – 1 Week In: Struggling to Find Peace

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I’m really struggling to find peace right now – both literally and metaphorically! It’s very early (5:30am) on Monday morning and I am trying to steal myself a little quiet time to write, collect my thoughts, and drink a substandard cup of coffee before the day kicks in and I am thrown fully into the demands of being a mum and wife with the family all on Easter break – which basically means shelving all my needs and doing my best to put a lid on my issues until bedtime when I can hide under the duvet and let the little ones have some time to be how it is.

This waiting is not as easy as it may sound – waiting all day to allow myself to really feel what’s going on inside feels exhausting, especially when right now my dreams are filled with my therapist and leave a lingering sense of being ill at ease for a good part of the day. I am experienced in ‘hiding’ how I feel, I do it week in week out, but sometimes it feels like a ridiculous amount of effort to keep up the appearance of being fine when I am really not fine at all. I am so not fine. Not at all. And whilst I don’t want to sink deep down into the pit of sadness that the young ones feel about being left, I don’t want to deny them space to express how bad it actually feels.

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Sadly, I am not just a mother and a wife trying to enjoy time off with my wife and kids (that on its own wouldn’t be a problem); I am also a therapy client with CPTSD on a three and a half week long break from my attachment figure (therapist) and I feel lost, alone, abandoned and desperately sad. Or rather, the little ones are struggling massively and all the old wounds are exposed, sore, and weeping; and yet again adult me is a fucking chocolate fireguard when it comes to self-soothing and nurturing the vulnerable parts.

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When it’s like this I need to write. Well, actually what I need is a nurturing hug that holds the child parts but that’s not possible now and even if I were to see my therapist it still wouldn’t happen…not touch rule…argh!… and so here I am, once again, trying to let it all out on my blog! I am not sure what to say, but I absolutely need to try and find words for some of how I feel because I am struggling. Really struggling. Have I mentioned that I hate therapy breaks before?! Ha. It’s so boring now.

It’s not even funny is it? It’s painful. I feel mental and unsettled and generally all over the shop.

Clearly, I’ve not found this last week particularly easy, but I think today is going to be especially hard because, whilst I have now effectively ticked off one week of this mammoth Easter break (well done me!), today signals my first ‘missed’ therapy session. In theory, today is just another day of the break; like any other day, it’s a day to try and make the best of things. I need to live my adult life as best I can, enjoy being with my family, despite struggling with the underlying feelings that the child parts have about being abandoned and their fear that something bad is going to happen whilst my therapist is away.

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It’s just not that simple, though. Today already feels bigger… harder… longer than yesterday because today is the day I usually go to therapy and today I can’t. My body clock is set to be in that therapy room at 10:30am on a Monday and, frankly, being anywhere else feels plain wrong! I can feel the anxiety rising in my body knowing that today I am not going anywhere. That today, I can’t let anything out or take anything in with my therapist.

Today I am here and I have to hold my shit together for myself. Yeah, sure, I know, this is no different to any other time, but usually I have a sense of being supported: I usually have a scaffold around my structurally unsound building (the one that I am steadily dismantling bit by bit in order to rebuild a better, more sturdy structure for the future). The thing is, for some reason the scaffolding has disappeared and it feels like bits of the building are now breaking off and rapidly crumbling away. Some people might say, the scaffold is still there, I just can’t see it right now because I am not looking in the right place; either way, my sense of things is that the building is breaking and it might completely fall down if I don’t get that frame back in place soon.

I wish it felt less desperate.

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Lots of people don’t like Mondays. Monday signals the start of the working week, the end of the weekend, and a stretch of time until the next rest period. For me, however, Monday is the day I hang on for each week, the day I look forward to, the day where I can go and be myself for 50 minutes and have someone listen to me and help me work through my issues (and man there are plenty of those!). It’s more than that, though. Of course, it’s partly about having a meaningful chat and unloading some stuff with a safe and empathic person but it’s about taking some important stuff in, too.

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Monday signals the day that the young parts get to physically see that my therapist/their attachment figure is ‘still there’ that she hasn’t ‘disappeared’ or worse, ‘left me’. It’s the day where I try and top up that supply of care and love and nurturing that leaks away each week between sessions.

Therapy consists of various types of work for me but so far as the attachment stuff goes: 1) is trying to refill my leaking bucket and 2) patch the holes that are in the bucket to stop the leak from happening in the first place. I’m talking just about the need for care and love and my inability to hold onto any sense of it. Of course we do lots of other work too. But right now I’m stuck in the shitty attachment spiral and so, of course, that’s what I am going to talk about today.

Sometimes I manage quite well in the week: the holes my therapist and I plugged in session hold reasonably well and so there is a slower trickling away of the content of my bucket. I feel ok-ish. I miss her, yes, but I can get through the week because there is still some ‘evidence’ of her care left in my bucket and I can see proof that we are ‘ok’. Sometimes, I can have a really good therapy session where my bucket gets filled right to the top and so it takes longer for the contents to slip away – these are the better weeks.

Unfortunately, on breaks I am onto a losing streak because despite plugging holes and filling up the bucket to the brim in preparation for the holidays, there are still areas of the bucket that leak. A longer period of time without a mend and refill opportunity means the bucket has more time to empty out. It gets even worse though, because the bucket is pretty empty there’s a great deal of slipperiness on the floor around me. When I’m approaching the desperate stage where my bucket is nearly drained, it’s not uncommon for me to slip and slide about, lose my footing altogether and then eventually fall on my arse, drop the bucket and lose all the remaining content I have been trying so hard to protect….

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I apologise for the long and winding metaphors today!…essentially, I am shit at breaks, I miss my therapist and I can’t maintain a sense of her.

Ugh.

Shoot me now!

To be honest. I don’t really have much to say other than I am struggling a lot. I know this is not an insightful or interesting read. It just is. It’s how I feel. I am moaning and whiny. I am stretched and struggling. I am very aware that the mother wound is starting to seep through my layers of clothing. To the untrained eye it’s barely perceptible, but for me…well, I’m exposed now.

I am going to try and patch myself up, keep calm and carry on. I cannot afford to sink down into that place where anxiety and depression lie in wait because I know who else is down there…and right now I don’t have the strength to battle the Critic. There’s still 17 days to go of this break and so right now I am trying to dig deep. I need some resources to stop the bucket emptying and the walls from disintegrating.

I’m going to go and grab my pebble and shove it over one of the holes in my bucket to stem the flow, or shove it in a weak part in the wall of my building to replace a crumbling part.

‘When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.’

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Author: rubberbandsandchewinggum

Mid-thirties. Mum of two. Procrastinator. Therapy and mental health blogger.

13 thoughts on “Therapy Break – 1 Week In: Struggling to Find Peace”

  1. I LOVE your blog. I feel so similar to how you feel and the way you describe it is really accurate. I like your metaphors so don’t think your blogs are crap, because they are great. I had quit therapy because I felt so upset with her….but then I had a crisis because I didn’t have her anymore 🙈 so I saw her and we planned that I’ll start working with her again…but she’s off for the Easter holidays so I’m having to wait till the 13th April for therapy to restart. It sucks! It’s so hard and I hate the fact that I’m here looking after my kids but feeling like I’m not being looked after by my pretend Mum. I feel pathetic….and I don’t know how to resolve it. My bucket is leaky too. Ugh. I relate 💗

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    1. Ah love! Sorry you’re also part of the leaky bucket club right now 💜. Feeling your pain. Totally dog shit piles isn’t it?! Do you know what, though, I’m really proud of you… you’ve found your way back into therapy and are going to find a way to address what caused the rupture in the first place – so now you’ll be able to repair it – that’s the work. So good on you for being brave and being willing to go face whatever has upset you. It’s just an agonising wait right now isn’t it? I’ve eaten half a large Easter egg and a chocolate cornflake cake for breakfast – feeding the inner child’s desire for treats and giving the finger to the critic simultaneously … it maybe just continuing with the eating disordered behaviour by resorting to binge eating 😳😬. Do what you need to go to get by. With you all the way x

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      1. I think this is where I’m going wrong. No chocolate so far for breakfast….only dumb cereal 😁😂 It is dog shit piles YES. I felt like a right idiot crawling back to her. I only quit therapy because she said I’m not ready for emdr….which is quite pathetic when I look back…but I went into such a deep grieving thing without her….then she rang me unexpectedly to talk about my disability assessment and I totally FREAKED. I still feel like I love her….and am absolutely obsessed with her…though try and appear nonchalant when I see her, obvs. I am starting cognitive based trauma work as a compromise so hope that helps. I hope you continue to tolerate the difficult feelings like a badass 😊😎 I’m glad you got your feelings out in your blog…they’ve helped me feel less alone 😊 X

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      2. Clearly your breakfast choice is a rookie error. Get on those Easter eggs!…even if you have to steal from the kids!! You are in no way an idiot for going back to your therapist. I’ve thought about leaving mine a lot around tricky times/ruptures but I can’t leave (don’t really want to!) because I know deep down that the hard stuff and the feeling of miscommunication etc is where the work needs to be done. It takes time. Lots of time! Ha. Totally get the playing it cool thing! I’m so bad for that. Perhaps you might see your T saying you’re not ready for EMDR as a demonstration of her care for you. She doesn’t want to expose you to something that can be very hard when maybe you’re not quite ready? My T keeps asking me if I’d like to do EMDR but I keep declining because I’m worried I don’t yet have the resources to handle the fall out of it. Hugs x

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      3. I know in hindsight that it is care…and that’s why she doesn’t want to expose me to the difficult stuff….but I lost hope in that moment as after six bloody years of safety and stabilisation I hoped that would be enough! I’m just disillusioned with how long the process takes but eventually I’ll get the payout and payoff I hope 😊 I hope it’ll be the same with you. If you are not mentally ready for emdr then it probably isn’t wise to proceed…listen to your gut. Hugs back 😊 X

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  2. Great post, I can empathise with the whole having to keep a handle on your emotions until the kids are in bed, it’s so hard to live in a fake happy way and go through the motions of “normal mum stuff”. You’re doing great x

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  3. Your words don’t have to be insightful or interesting, they are genuine and honest. That is why we love and support you, especially when that bucket is leaking. Because we get it and we care. We see the little ones struggling with this loss of time with their attachment figure. There’s water all around you, don’t be afraid to scoop some up whenever you need it, however you need it, to sustain yourself. What I’ve noticed is that you have never actively decided to just dump it and toss it aside. You always just keep on keeping on. Still so sorry you are struggling; the pain of therapy breaks is just so difficult to overcome. You made it through one Monday! Hang in there! ❤

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    1. Thank you my lovely 😊. I’m off to see Peter Rabbit with my kids this morning at the cinema and hoping it also engages my inner child a bit. I just want to stay in bed and sleep! Am in that place where I usually get to on a Tuesday which is ‘argh it’s ages til my session’ but actually it really is ages this time. Ugh! Hope you’re hanging on too x

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  4. (Sorry for not commenting sooner, I was avoiding all previous blogs for a number of reasons but I’m back now) I know the ‘waiting to fall apart till the kids are in bed’ feeling. It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Giving and giving when you’re running on emotionally empty till 7/8pm and then feeling so exhausted you collapse under the weight of mothering without your “mother”. So hard. I am with you. I really wish I could offer more support. I know the pain of breaks all too well. I also know there’s not a great deal I can say or do to make you feel better… but damnit I so wanna give you a hug! I hope that it helps in some part to know I am thinking of you, I am silently sending my good thought carrying fairies to you and I 100% believe you will get through this. Just keep going hun, because you can xx

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    1. Thanks lovely. It’s certainly a challenge managing these feelings on breaks isn’t it?! Still two weeks to go til face to face and today has felt incredibly difficult for some unknown reason. I want to take to my bed and wail! Ugh! Thanks for the hug 🤗. Sending one right back at you x

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