One More Sleep: Therapy Break Is Over

Sooooo I have made it – just about – through the therapy break and bloody hell…what a ride it’s been! This last week has been a real emotional rollercoaster.

Adult Me has been completely fine.

I’ve got on with work, been reasonably productive and ok…but the parts inside… CRIKEY! Talk about internal push and pull. One minute the protectors are certain that we need a break from therapy because this attachment work stuff is just too painful and exhausting,

the next the young parts are counting down the sleeps until Monday when they can see Anita.

I get that that was GIF overload but it kind of demonstrates how much varying stuff is going on – it’s not consistent at all!!

Last week when I wrote here, I was saying how disconnected I felt from Anita – and how the level of interaction we’d had (minimal) had felt really upsetting for the young parts who struggle so much with object constancy… and fearing she’s died. It had totally set the Teen off! Whilst it wasn’t ‘zero contact’ the GIF Anita has sent the day after I messaged her felt really empty – and impersonal (it wasn’t!).

I guess it’s because I am used to ‘more’ and usually if she sends a GIF there’s some kind of personal message written around it. I think, too, it felt a bit jarring because last year A was more communicative on her holiday. Anyway, it just felt bleurgh and by the time it got to writing last week I just felt off.

I just want to say before anyone starts getting their knickers in knots – that I do get that Anita needs her breaks and doesn’t need to contact me at all when she’s on holiday. If she does contact me there’s no ‘rules’ to how many or few messages she sends. Adult Me is absolutely fine with this and am just grateful that she even considers taking time to contact me at all and allows me to contact her if I want. BUT this blog isn’t just about Adult Me. Adult Me is capable and copes…this is about all of my parts and how they/I experience this stuff.

Of course, I’m not going to go in tomorrow and moan that she ‘didn’t message me enough’ or anything like that. I’ll certainly tell her I missed her (a lot) and that the first week felt unbearable, but it won’t be a ‘grrr you didn’t do this…’. It’s not going to be a rupture…

And this is partly because after I posted up the last blog, I got a massive, long string of photos that Anita had taken of where she was, telling me where she’d been and saying she was looking forward to seeing me when she got back. Then this last week she’s sent me a couple of GIFS, a few more pictures and last night some video clips. And it’s felt really nice – although some parts have had a trouble ‘trusting it’ because they’re wondering what happened in week one…?

Nothing. There was nothing wrong… but I felt like there was.

I just need to chill the fuck out, don’t I?!

This is my stuff to work through, though. It’s my process and it is how it is right now. Anita and I will work through it bit by bit. This embarrassing stuff is the experience. And sure, I could keep quiet about it here, or maybe I could drown in shame about being so needy and pathetic – but I’m not going to because I know that it’s not just me that feels like this. The one thing I have learnt through writing this blog over the years and the emails I get from readers, is there’s more people in therapy experiencing this kind of toe-curlingly mortifying stuff but not finding the words for it than you’d imagine.

So…I’ll keep telling it like it is…warts and all.

The photos definitely helped some parts this week, but I think, generally, the first part of breaks is the hardest anyway, as the time seems to stretch out endlessly ahead of us. Once I reach the half-way point of the holiday it becomes slightly more bearable (pictures or not). I think this is for a few reasons. First, the beginning part of the break feels like a huge shock to the system and the youngest parts really suffer and are really activated, “Where did A go?”

After about a week, the pain and distress experienced by the small ones eventually triggers the teen and other protectors come online and their protective anger (RAGE!) at the little ones being left kind of gets me through. “Fuck it! Fuck her! Fuck it all! I’m done” sort of thing. And so, the second half of break is always a bit easier because I am more disconnected.

Well, kind of.

Like I say though, it’s like a bloody rollercoaster. It’s up and down and round and round…and push and pull… and I can cycle through so many feelings in next to no time. It’s often not just one part feeling something at one time – it’s like layers – all the parts are there feeling and saying conflicting things. It’s a nightmare!

Last night I felt really sorry for myself, though. Anger was gone and vulnerable sadness washed over me in waves. The young parts got so activated and I had a little cry in bed. Every night before sleep I either do a guided meditation or listen to a story on the Insight Timer. Last night my wife suggested we find a new story. I scrolled down and picked a long one as we were fairly early to bed.

Only what I picked turned out to be a paraphrased rework of ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’. The characters were given names and it was modernised but lot of it was exactly the same and ugh…all the stuff with Em came flooding back. I wrote that blog post last year about how I had given her the book for Christmas and then how she’d rejected it and how I felt like it was a good analogy for therapy. And ugh…wonderful timing RB! Just what you need to be reminded of when you are on a therapy break and feel disconnected from A and anxious about going back to the room.

I finally fell asleep and went on to have graphic nightmares: one with a teenage girl drowning and I couldn’t save her, and then another one in the early hours of the morning where I (seven year old part) was looking for Anita, “I can’t find her anywhere”, I said. And someone told me she had gone away for good and I needed to go away.

Arse.

So yeah. It’s felt a bit shite really.

This morning I woke up and was really battling with myself. Part of me wanted to just text Anita and tell her I didn’t want to go tomorrow. But then of course lots of parts do want to be there. The overriding fear I have about tomorrow is not that things will have changed but rather I will go and not connect because I am in self-protect mode. I also know that after breaks I can go in and do the False Adult thing where I will talk and talk about stuff that appears like priority stress: finding out my friend has weeks, maybe months to live; having to contact my oncologist because things don’t feel quite right in my throat; shit with my wife’s ongoing health that’s really not good; work stuff…there’s enough to be going on with.

And yet, while of course ALL THOSE THINGS ARE BAD AND STRESSFUL AND NEED TALKING ABOUT Adult Me can handle it for now. What Adult Me can’t handle is the fucking mess that’s happened internally because my attachment figure went away on a holiday.

I really need to go in tomorrow and reconnect. I need to be close to A. I need hugs and reassurance. But there’s a very real possibility that I might go in and glide through the session and then land with a thud about ten minutes from the end, dissociate and then leave feeling even more disconnected.

FUCK.

PLEASE DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN!

I decided to text Anita this evening to tell her that I feel unsettled, that things felt off and my system was in meltdown. I told her that parts of me really want to see her but the protectors think it’s stupid. I said that I have been having nightmares all break where she’s either left or died. I finished up with, “It’s too hard. I missed you.”

Anita responded with a really warm message, saying she understood, telling me she was very much alive, home safe and sorting out washing in the rain. She asked me if I wanted to start 15 minutes sooner in the morning so we could have a longer session. She told me everything will be ok and that she promised nothing has changed and then signed off with a heart and some kisses.

Thank god.

That message has done a lot to settle the parts that were freaking out. I feel like she’s home. I feel like tomorrow it’ll be ok. I know, too, that there is enough time to land in the room after the break and reconnect.

Wish me luck and I promise I’ll come up with some sane posts again soon!

30 thoughts on “One More Sleep: Therapy Break Is Over

  1. LovingSummer June 20, 2021 / 10:29 pm

    Ah well done, you made it! I know I always say this but it never ceases to touch me how amazing Anita is to you. It must just be so healing for you and it’s lovely to read ♥️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Claire Louise June 20, 2021 / 10:55 pm

    I’ll keep everything crossed for you too. Sending massive hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

      • Claire Louise June 21, 2021 / 6:00 pm

        I hope your session was as OK as it could be.
        I’m so so… I seriously think I need to start a blog so I can share what’s going on, rather than taking over people’s comment sections! No idea how though!
        Big hugs, I really hope Anita got it and could help xx

        Like

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 22, 2021 / 2:32 pm

        Ah do it! It’s easy to set up a basic blog on WP and then you can adapt is as you go to suit your needs. I always write my posts as a word doc first….so you could technically start writing and then post later! Session was really good. So lovely to be back…total meltdown at the start with a panic attack but it was ok!! lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      • JH June 22, 2021 / 4:09 pm

        I would follow your blog xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Claire Louise June 22, 2021 / 10:58 pm

        Well I’ve took the plunge and made a start on building a blog. I will let you both know when it goes live. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clara June 23, 2021 / 9:05 pm

        I changed my name from Claire Louise to Clara, just in case you were thinking whose this stranger!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. mialeanne June 21, 2021 / 10:20 am

    Also, just wanted to say that you’re not alone with how your parts feel, especially the younger parts.
    I can identify with every word and thought. Hoping you have a lovely session today ❤ xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 21, 2021 / 1:57 pm

      Thank you. It was intense at the beginning as I arrived, sat down, asked for a hug and basically had a five minute panic attack in her arms – heart was racing, could hardly breathe. Fuck! Fortunately things settled and I feel much more connected now. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sara June 21, 2021 / 4:59 pm

    Thinking of you and hoping you have an incredibly reconnecting session today. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 21, 2021 / 5:02 pm

      Thank you. It was really nice to be back and once I’d stopped shaking and could breathe after about five minutes we just spent the time reconnecting and spent entire 75 cuddled into her. Lots of emotion so now I’m tired! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sara June 21, 2021 / 5:09 pm

        Oh I’m so glad your system was able to settle in and absorb that reconnecting contact. 💗

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sara June 21, 2021 / 5:32 pm

        Yes, I know that feeling…and the shaky panicky one upon re-entry too. You describe all of those familiar responses so perfectly.
        So relieved for you that all parts could come up for a breath of fresh air today. Rest easy today and hold onto that comforting feeling. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 21, 2021 / 5:36 pm

        Thank you Sara! Got a blog to write this week about it but am flat out with work now til Thursday. Hope you’re ok. I’m going to read your post tonight xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sara June 21, 2021 / 5:47 pm

        💗

        Like

  5. SunsetCherryBlossom June 21, 2021 / 9:54 pm

    So glad the break is finally over, and it sounds like today was intense. Hopefully this is the worst bit over and things (and everyone) can begin to settle down again. And yes, there are definitely lots of us wading through the toe curling stuff we can’t find the words for – so please continue to be open and honest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 22, 2021 / 2:34 pm

      Things feel sooooo much better inside now. Little parts are sure she’s still alive, nothing has changed, it’s all secure, and it’s only a few more days til Friday (although right now I wish it was tomorrow!).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Q June 22, 2021 / 8:42 pm

    You are doing so great, RB. I wonder if you see that yourself?

    Yes, you still suffer when Anita is gone—the little ones haven’t magically lost their fear. But you have so much self-awareness now. You notice the different parts, their concerns and maneuvers. You know the protector parts can be trying to help and yet still can make things harder. All that awareness is amazing and shows so much growth and wisdom. Plus it starts to give you choices. You COULD let the self-protector parts take over and focus on adult stresses. But you recognize that ultimately you’d be left without the connection you long for, so you choose to allow vulnerability, because that will allow for connection.

    I know it’s still really hard. It takes a long time to get easier and probably is never actually easy. But still, it’s beautiful to see the care and acceptance of different parts, especially the little ones. 💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 23, 2021 / 11:50 am

      Ah thanks so much Q! Yes- it is a relief being more able to see and understand what’s going on and why, rather than being activated and then act on it. I left the protectors in the car on Monday and just let what needed to come out come. This week feels more manageable as a result of how things went. I do have a lot more compassion for all my parts now… even the Critic who is only trying to protect me in a very sadistic way! 😂 Hugs to you xx

      Like

  7. Lucy King June 24, 2021 / 7:45 pm

    Ahhh I missed the past couple of posts. WP has been weird for me recently. Anyway, big love to you for getting through the break. Bloody hate holidays! I really hope you’ve reconnected with Anita and things feel solid there 🌱❤️

    Like

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