My text to Sienna on Thursday evening 90 minutes after my session ended was this;
“ Sienna, I really badly need to leave therapy for a while. I need to go away for a while, I don’t know where but I have to go. I have to get away.”
I rarely ever get this urge to flee but it was overwhelming. If I could drive and had a car, I would have packed some stuff and just left that evening or the next day. So I suppose it’s lucky that I’ve never learned to drive as it curtails my impulsive moves.
I don’t know what triggered this need to run away, to just get out. I wanted to be by myself. My whole body needed to run. I remember the moment I sat down in my session I heard a younger part saying “ I want to go home, I want to go home!” And it took a lot to sit there and not say it out loud. I knew as big as that impulse was, as much as that younger part instantly wanted to leave the session. There were other parts who really needed to be there and leaving wouldn’t have been good for them.
10 minutes into the session I left the room, I excused myself to the bathroom. Weirdly, I decided to go to the restroom on the lower floor and as I was going down the steps, my pace quickened and I had the urge to run out the building. I didn’t though.
Embarrassingly, I had an upset stomach. I’ve noticed over the past few months that very often I have to go to the bathroom urgently. I do not like doing anything other than a pee in public places and strive not to do anything else. But this urgent need to go and often have a pretty upset tummy is happening with more regularity that I’d like. And it only happens on session days. Before sessions I seem okay or at worst a bit constipated and by the time I get in Sienna’s office I have to excuse myself to the bathroom! It is horrifying to me!! I don’t know what is happening but it has to be psychosomatic. I find it so embarrassing and shaming.
Anyway, I digress. Sienna didn’t reply to my text that night. But she did the next morning. She asked who was wanting this? (break)
I text back “ I don’t know.”
Because I really don’t know. Was it a part? Was it me? Who even is me if there’s no “core self”? I feel bewildered and like I don’t know anything anymore.
That was Friday and I haven’t heard anything from Sienna. I fucking hate when she drops off radar like that. I don’t know what her silence means. Is she annoyed? Is she needing space from me? Did she take my text as confirmation that I won’t be back for a while? Is she just busy and “forgot”? Is there things going on in her life that mean she can’t reply just now……? I just don’t know.
What I do know is that her non-reply, brings me significant worry and confusion. And the transference increases as I fill in her silence and space with my own stories, my own suspicions that she’s literally sick of the sight of me. Sick of supporting me (which she has been a lot), is she resentful of all the time she’s had to give me lately and she literally can’t muster up enough empathy or kind thoughts about me to be of any help and therefore is staying away until she can be nice to me? Has she had supervision and been told to back off…. And she’s trying to do that under radar (which never works bytheway, clients like me sense that a mile off.)
All those thoughts have been circling my mind all weekend, and I’ve felt desperate for her to take charge. Desperate for any sign that I am not being abandoned, because that’s how it feels. I’ve felt very young and vulnerable and so anxious and sad and time has slowed down to a snail’s pace. I’ve constantly checked my phone, and my heart skips a beat as I hear a notification and it soars with hope that it is Sienna, only to be dashed a minute later when I see it isn’t her.
Yet I won’t reach out to her. I won’t end my own suffering by asking her to clarify what’s going on. Most of it is about fear. Fear that I am piling on pressure, or taking advantage of her or burning her out and one more text might be the straw that breaks the camels back. Not contacting her is about self-preservation – about not breaking my therapist.
But somewhere in the background is white hot rage. She knows I hate when things are left in the air like this, when she just goes off grid and I don’t know what it means. We’ve been through this a million times. Which is why it makes me wonder whether it’s an unconscious communication of “ give me space”. The white hot rage raises up every now and again for a few seconds, but it’s muted… the impulse to act on it isn’t there, I think because the rage is lying a few layers down so it feels muted, I’m aware of it, but not fully feeling it.
And pride. My pride won’t let me reach out. Thoughts of “ Fuck you Sienna, if you don’t care then neither do I. I am not going to ask for anything from you. I won’t take anything you don’t want to give. I am doing this on my own, I don’t need you, I don’t want you. Leave me the fuck alone.”
I have felt so dissociated since God knows how long. It feels like weeks. I feel like I don’t know what’s up or down. I feel like I’ve lost memory somehow, everything over the past while is hazy. I can’t tell which parts are ever present anymore. I can’t remember parts names, it makes me wonder if I don’t even have parts. And when I feel like that, I resolve to start being just “me” “ Sirena” one body, one person… no more talk of parts/alters/D.I.D etc. And I feel a bit of relief at that idea. And then a bit sick, like maybe I made it all up. But it’s never long before something happens or I switch and I feel a part or several of them so keenly that once again I start talking about “we” or about what a certain part wants or is saying or one of the younger ones will draw.
Sometimes it all seems so far-fetched and other times it feels so real and it all makes so much sense.
I don’t know what this memory loss thing is about. Sienna has been asking lots of questions about the parts lately, what they like, what they do, “ what part is here tonight?” “ Who is saying that?”
And I never have answers. I always say I don’t know or I shrug. I can tell there’s parts hanging around the surface, but I don’t have any information on them. I hear their thoughts, I feel their impulses yet I can’t seem to verbalise them. It’s like being immersed in an experience but not being able to describe to someone what you’re seeing or feeling. Like being lost for words or rather, experiencing something that doesn’t even have language, and doesn’t have any way of describing or communicating its presence.
It’s all making me feel very hazy around the edges and not real.
I haven’t listened to my audio recording of my sessions for a few weeks. And I think that might be increasing my level of dissociation. I don’t know if that’s possible, but not listening to them means I am not remembering what happened fully and I’m left with only the feeling sense and we all know feelings aren’t accurate accounts. So, last night I decided to listen to Thursday’s session.
Before I listened to the session, what I knew about it was that I had felt disconnected to myself and to Sienna. I felt like the session had been awful and that Sienna didn’t make much effort to help me out of the state I was in. She failed to make a connection with me and that felt terrible.
After listening to the session, I heard that Sienna tried a lot to draw me into conversation. She tried to connect with me, and she told me that she still had the tiny silver owl charm that I’d given her as a transitional object before the holidays. She had told me that she kept it in her purse (wallet) because she always had her purse with her, so she took my owl everywhere with her.
She asked me what I needed from her. She tried to get me to draw, to stop me anxiously picking at my fingers. She asked me if I had something I wanted to say but just couldn’t get the words out?
She tried. At the time it felt like she was really missing the mark. I felt frustrated with her because she wasn’t helping me. She wasn’t asking the right questions, it felt like she wasn’t “there” with me, not properly, not in the way I needed. Yet I couldn’t and still can’t tell you what that thing I needed was. I felt like she wasn’t attuned to me. I still feel that. Yet I can also see a lot of that was maybe me and how cut off I was.
Now that I think about it, I think I was feeling that she wasn’t holding the space the way she normally does. Like, you know that space feeling, that feeling that is specifically created in that therapy room that is unique to just you and your therapist? The air is thick with attuned energy, maybe even oxytocin, you can virtually reach out and touch this thing, this womb-like “holding”. Well, that was missing. It felt like I was there, she was there, we were there together, but not mixing. We were two separately defined people in a room and there wasn’t that therapeutic energy. We were there together, separately. And there was a whole lot of space between us.
That’s something we co-created. And I don’t know why. I haven’t felt like Sienna has been fully “back” from her holiday. I don’t know if that’s true or just because I’ve been quite unreachable.
It’s killed me (metaphorically speaking, obviously) not hearing from her this weekend. It’s felt like a lifetime of waiting. Today I’ve felt a bit more with it and today I had a new thought.
Has Sienna not replied to me because I’ve said I badly need a break? Is she waiting for me to take the lead in this? Maybe she doesn’t want to intrude if I am such breaking point and I did tell her I badly need a break from therapy. To be honest, if that’s the case then she still needs to be clearer about that. And I’m not sure that’s even it… I think it’s more likely she’s busy or has forgotten (which brings its own issues over being forgotten about.)
I don’t need a break from therapy, I NEED therapy. But I need a break from our relationship or more specifically, I am not coping with the intensity of trying to stay in a close relationship with someone. I think I’ve been somewhat sabotaging it for a little while but I’m not sure as I don’t have memories to corroborate that, it’s just a feeling.
I simultaneously want to push her away, kick out at her, leave this hard complex relationship before it leaves me AND cling and grasp and keep her close to me and never let her go, never let her out my sight.
Recently, I haven’t been getting what I need from Sienna, last weekend, although she kept in touch, and replied to all my texts and all my worries, again, something felt missing. My needs weren’t being met, I sensed a distance in her. And the more I didn’t get what I needed the more I reached, grasped, clung, desperately to anything she could offer me. Every text she sent triggered me more, and even though I recognised it and partly wanted to stop the communication because it wasn’t helping and was in fact escalating my behaviour and need for self-harm…. I was scared to cut it off because I equally felt so awful and scared and needy that just knowing I had access to her, that there would be another chance to get my needs met, was comforting. A small comfort but one I didn’t want to let go of.
It was painful and confusing that the person I love and trust and am attached to and who normally can settle me, wasn’t doing so. She wasn’t attuning to me, she wasn’t “there” in a way I normally experience her to be. She wasn’t holding the space in a way that I could feel and I still don’t know why. She felt distant. We spent a whole weekend texting back and forth and me never being comforted or settled by her replies and therefore becoming more upset, more dysregulated and more desperate for something to help, so I’d text. I’d wait hours for her to get back to me in which time I’d start to settle myself and then her text would come through and it wouldn’t be/say what I needed and it would kick off all the dysregulation again, like one big nightmare circle.
It felt like she was determined not to speak to me on the phone (which is what she’d normally offer) and I couldn’t ask for it, because it felt like too much. And that distance she put in was upsetting to me. Because not only was she keeping her distance, but her replies weren’t attuned, they weren’t helpful and she kept just telling me to breathe or that I’d be okay etc.
Finally on the Sunday (maybe when she had time) she suggested we speak in the afternoon. And we did that and finally she sounded like her, and it helped a bit to connect to her.
I think last week was a terrible week, but I’m not sure because I can’t remember it properly. But I do remember…. Maybe the week before thinking “ I only have one session this week, I am not going to make it, it’s too hard.” I felt panic that there was too much space, too much need and only one session.” But it was a passing thought and I never latched on to its importance and so never told Sienna that’s how I was feeling and I think that week was pretty bad and I maybe needed a lot of input from Sienna…. It’s all mixed up, I don’t remember how or what transpired.
I just have this sense that Sienna has been helping me a lot lately, kept in touch a lot. But that nothing seems to be settling me.
This all feels very shadowy and mixed up and mired in murky complexities that even I am not following… and I know from experience that when that is happening that it is pure transference and dissociation that is happening. It is so strong and real and fuzzy. So my thoughts while I have this clarity is that I should speak to Sienna, tell her what I am experiencing.
I would love to know what her experience is right now. What she is sensing. She must be aware of something.