dissociation, eye contact and finding myself in an uncomfortable place

Last week I sent the following message to T:

I’m not crazy.

I’m not crazy, yet, I just saw it flicker out of the corner of my eye. I know something is in this room. Waiting. There is something that haunts the daytime and fills the nights with fear and dread. And as much as I will it to go away, it has high-jacked our life and is holding on.

I could sense it yesterday and all the days before it. It is always clinging to us, to who we are, mimicking our every move, chasing after us or leading the way. I can sense it when it comes too close. I thought we could escape it but you can’t lose it, you can’t escape it and you can’t change it. It’s part of who you are. It’s lurking right beside you, reaching from behind you, pulling you along in front of you, grabbing, following, attaching itself to you. It makes you feel helpless and weak taking your voice and spirit wherever it goes. It blocks out the light, hiding you in the darkness.

It’s more than just a shadow.

It feels like a real, tangible thing.

T said it’s just the dissociation and that’s why it feels the way that it does. He says I do it all the time. And then out of nowhere he brought up eye contact and the fact he is keenly aware that I never look at him. Cue the panic and waterworks.

Why the tears? So here’s the thing. I thought I had mentioned it to him before but apparently not. When I was younger, and I was being abused, I was forced to look at my abuser. ‘You will look at me’ was whispered in my ear each and every time. It was another way they had power over me. Ever since then I’ve pretty much avoided eye contact with people, especially men because it feels like it gives me power over the situation. I told T through my tears and he went quiet. He says it’s another step forward and an important piece of the puzzle even though it’s difficult to talk about.

The other piece of the puzzle? Now I feel like I need to look at him since he’s decided to bring it up..ugh.

I texted after my Friday session as I’d felt worthless and ashamed by it all. He replied and also sent a check up message on Saturday asking how I was and telling me we could meet earlier than Wednesday if I needed to. I texted Sunday and for the first time ever I took him up on meeting sooner and will see him tomorrow. It’s only one day earlier than my normal session but it feels better than waiting.

I’ve been trying to get my words right for our meeting tomorrow because something is telling me that we’re sort of reaching that do or die part of therapy where it’s speak now or forever hold your peace. So far I have this:

You ask me how I am. My automatic response is to say that I am fine however both you and I know that’s a lie because otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting on your couch on a Tuesday. I’m struggling. There, does that sound better, I wonder. I’m tired. But that’s nothing new. I feel frustrated. Trapped. I want to put space between what happened to me then and who I am now, although sometimes I feel like I am stuck in the olden days where they had all the power and I had nothing. ‘It’s not fair’, I want to whinge like a small child. Trauma is unfair. Nobody deserves to be traumatized. I want someone to save me. I want to feel like someone in this world is putting as much effort into helping me feel valuable as they put into making me feel worthless. I want to still believe that the world is just and that the unfairness of my trauma can somehow be balanced, and made fair again. But I’m not sure that’s the case. It’s dark. It’s cold. All this weight’s getting heavy. I’m left here alone and afraid with these broken memories. Sometimes I don’t want to be here at all.

I’m not sure if I’ll try to memorize it or just bring it with me. And I’ll try to look at him without making it awkward. Wish me luck.

5 thoughts on “dissociation, eye contact and finding myself in an uncomfortable place

  1. You are a brave warrior Mac. A beautiful soul who deserves every ounce of healing a human can get.

    Your writing always touches me and I bet it must do your therapist too. I am so glad he is there for you; with you, through all of this.

    Liked by 1 person

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