Yesterday I saw T. It felt like a bit of a disaster really.
I had sent him a message on Tuesday evening explaining how sometimes I’d like things to go back to the way they were before. He seemed a bit concerned. I guess he didn’t really realize how much harder things have been (god, I’m shit at explaining things). While he was reading the text, he wondered what had actually brought me to therapy in the first place. Most people, he said, come because they wanted to change something. So, what was it that I wanted to change he wondered?
So, I went home and thought a bit about it.
I don’t even know if I wanted to change something. I think it was more of a matter of wanting to find something. I guess I thought that maybe someone could help me find what was missing—that one piece that it feels like I need.
Then I wrote him this letter and sent it to him.
How do I explain it properly, so that I feel understood? And maybe you already understand, but I don’t understand that you understand. I don’t know.
I think I used to be pretty okay with me. I almost never felt angry. I was sometimes happy. Sometimes I would be sad. Sometimes I would have nightmares. For the most part though, I didn’t feel much of anything, I suppose. I always remembered the things that happened, but I was really good at keeping them in the background. I think it’s almost like I could recognize that something in my life wasn’t right, but I didn’t really see how wrong it all was. And I went through life feeling a bit different, but I still had friends and I still went to school and I still made it through things. I think it’s almost as though I had convinced myself that everyone must have lived the same way that I did, otherwise all the things that happened, wouldn’t have happened. Does that make sense?
So maybe I went through life thinking yes, this is the way it is. What’s the right word? Resignation, maybe. You sort of tell yourself that if you can’t change it, and if nobody around you is willing to change it, then you either need to sink or swim. You find ways to do the things you need to do. Even though you feel like something is missing, you just keep going. If you just keep going, you’ll eventually find it. You don’t know what it is, but something isn’t there. And it will show up eventually.
Then maybe one day you meet a person you think might be able to help you find that missing piece. After awhile though, they start to remind you of someone else in your past—someone not safe—but you try to put it out of your mind and you stay anyways because that old thought is always there ‘if you try a littler harder, you’ll find that missing piece’.
Then maybe you have kids and it’s hard to describe what happens. You don’t know why but all you can think is that you somehow need to take care of them and protect them. But, it feels too hard. It’s like you’re constantly grasping at straws and absolutely terrified that you’re going to get it wrong. You don’t know why, it just always feels that way. As they grow, you start to notice things about yourself—they need too much and you can’t provide it. You want to love them but you don’t know what that means. They need what you don’t have—that one missing piece. All you can think is that you’re going to fuck it up somehow because you are inherently flawed—incomplete. You are only 499 pieces of a puzzle. Not the 500 that’s needed.
After kids, you can’t run. You have to stay. Not because you want to, but because you need to. Because for whatever reason, something inside of you is telling you that you need to do whatever you need to do. You can’t repeat the mistakes of your past. But, it just feels too hard because it’s like you’re just making things up as you go along. You have to make it all up because you don’t have feelings or memories of how it’s supposed to be.
So, then maybe it gets too hard. And you decide that you need a little bit of help. And I guess, I thought maybe you could help me find that missing piece. For a while I suppose, I even thought maybe you were that missing piece. But no. That wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, was it? And that just felt unfair. And hard. Familiar maybe.
It’s like growing up, you didn’t get what you wanted. No, that’s not right. You didn’t get what you NEEDED. Then when you grow up, it’s like you’re not supposed to need those things anymore. Because when you become an adult everyone assumes you have what you need and you can take care of yourself. But, that’s not how it feels. Because that one piece is still missing. And you can pretend it’s not, and you can try to tell yourself that it doesn’t matter. But it does matter, and it’s all you care about. You just need someone to find that piece for you. Because once you find it, everything will just feel so much better.
That’s all I wanted. But while trying to find it, there were the other 260 pieces that weren’t right either. I wasn’t prepared for those. I wasn’t prepared to be angry. I wasn’t prepared for the hurt. I wasn’t prepared for bigger and scarier nightmares. I wasn’t prepared to push back.
It’s doesn’t feel right. To be angry. Or sad. It doesn’t feel right, to feel like everything was a lie. It doesn’t feel right to wish the things that I write upon another person. I feel like a different person and have a hard time recognizing myself. Everything is bigger and feels out of control. The anger and impatience for it all to be over. The tiredness and lack of motivation. The big, loud, booming thoughts that invade every second of my day. The nightmares.
I feel like this is what hell must feel like.
So, that’s what I meant. Sometimes, I’d like to go back to the time before. To the time when it didn’t seem to hurt so much. Where I didn’t feel so much. Where even though I felt a piece of my puzzle was missing, it wasn’t an all-consuming bottomless pit that just couldn’t be filled. Where feeling nothing was something. Where things didn’t have to get worse, before they got better. Where being alone was not the same as feeling alone. Where shitty, hurtful love was better than not feeling loved at all.
But, perhaps going back to the way it used to be is simply a child’s wish after all.
I haven’t heard back from him yet, but I’m sure he’ll send some sort of response along the lines of ‘thanks for the email, we’ll discuss tomorrow‘. Then I’ll let out a great big fuuuuuuuuuccckkkk!!! and feel like crap because it won’t be the response I think I need or want. Although, frankly, I don’t even know what I need or want in a response anyways right now.
To top it all off it still feels like that goddamn little fucking piece of the puzzle is missing and that perpetual hole that lives inside of me remains unfilled.