Monday, 29 September 2008
So. First therapy session has now been and gone - this morning at 11am.
The dread I was feeling prior to this morning dissipated during the night and I woke up feeling numb, unwell and hollow. There had been a few 'Will she? Won't she?' moments, I must admit. I think, upon waking today, I had just resigned myself to the inevitable, but not in a defeatist way.
I really have felt unwell today. I cannot begin to express the pain which is searing through my legs and hips. Every step I take is like having a red hot poker going up through my pelvis. Sitting, standing, lying down, walking. I don't get any respite, no matter what position I attempt. It was a bit difficult for me to get comfortable at the therapist's. Although she had a huge sofa chair and also offered me a cushion, it just wasn't happening. Added to this, my bowels were on fire from the laxatives I had held off from taking until the very last thing, last night.
I allowed myself some pride in my efforts yesterday. I didn't go near the scales and had it in my head NOT to take any Dulcolax. I nibbled on 'safe' foodstuffs through the day and drank quite a lot of milk. So, I retired feeling pretty pleased with myself. But the slightest thing can make me feel inadequate and an ill-perceived slight led me to the Dulcolax and the fridge...then the toilet...And it was all my fault, and I know that to be true.
The therapist was everything I hoped she would be. Her name is Susan. Her room was like a sparsely-furnished living room, but not so austere as to make you feel cold and uncomfortable. And she was approachable, warm, understanding, pertinent and competent. She didn't make me feel a time-waster like some therapists have. And nor did I think she would feel I was fabricating things - indeed, I asked her that after she remarked that I had been surrounded, for many years, by people who had criticised me and dragged me down.
It's a strange thing when someone acknowledges this. Although I want someone to understand, the minute they do, I feel inordinate guilt - as though I have been 'naughty' and ratted on someone. She remarked on this, too. It's normal to respect your parents, and therefore, when you have no respect for them, it goes against the norm...if you know what I mean?
We talked a lot about Anal, actually. Probably more about him than my family. We also talked about my relationship with Ian and the girls - I think these mentions were the only ones at which I smiled. I also confessed the one thing I have 'achieved' at which I do, secretly and quietly (but not any more, I guess!) give myself a pat on the back for - and that's the integrity I have instilled into Beth. Beth has more moral fibre than any person, adult or child, I have ever known. She looks out for the underdog, is fierce about right and wrong, and is not frightened to stand up for the 'right' side, either. She's as vocal and adamant as I wish I could be. We've talked morals together for hours on end. I've tried to teach her right and wrong; about love, care and consideration - about unconditional love. She's soaked it up like a sponge. Rosemary also has these morals - I am sure of that as I witness the way she defends her friends when they are in trouble...but she, at the moment, is absorbing boys, make-up and education more than 'fighting the good fight'. And that is how it should be for her, too, at this time of her life.
I must confess that this first session was quite draining for me. I had to use the bathroom part-way through and suddenly found myself wanting to 'grey out'. Some deep breathing cleared my head and didn't make me lose my sight. It left me feeling very nauseated, though, and I admitted to Sue that I felt somewhat unwell. She offered to end the session, but we ploughed on.
These spider webs of memories can be painful. Ian and I went to the pub afterwards for a chat. And I tried to relate to him as much as my tangled head could recall. So much junk in there which needs taking to the bin and destroying, once and for all - no recycling here, thanks!
When I was little - I can't think that I was much more than 7 or 8, I ended up in hospital. I had made myself ill with my own thoughts, I guess. My mother was constantly threatening to desert me; impressing upon me that her own unhappiness and malcontent with my father was due to my existence - "I'd have left if it hadn't have been for you being born" - and I started to fear that every time I left the house, I'd return to find her gone. I stopped coping with food due to the nausea. I found eating very, very difficult. And I also started pleading sickness in order to stay at home and keep an eye on her. Ensure that she didn't leave without me. I lost a lot of school that year. My mother took me into her bed with her at night because I was sick so much. I liked that even more - I had her under my beady eye 24/7 in effect.
When I started vomiting blood regularly, I was taken into hospital. The medics suspected kidney or liver damage but tests revealed nothing of the sort. I had hospital schooling for a while and pleaded to go home on what seemed like an hourly basis. My mother had been told she could stay with me in her own room if she wanted, but she decided that she didn't. So, I didn't have her anyway.
Upon my discharge, tensions were very high at home. My father was sick of me; my mother was, too, and I was just so bloody terrified of my own shadow that the nausea was there on a permanent basis. I started vomiting, involuntarily, at school, too. I'd only have to have a drink and it'd come straight up. And I could never get to the toilet on time. The amount of times my teacher berated me are numerous.
My mother has mentioned this time to me only once and described it as when I was 'a total pain in the arse and going round the bend...' Then again, she has often described me as a 'useless bastard'...
I did get over it. My father threatened me with all sorts of punishments if I didn't 'straighten [myself] up'. So I had to as he terrified me. One particular night, when he had really had enough of me whimpering for my mother's return, he smacked my backside so hard, it was raw, and then threw me into a scalding hot bath from which I was not allowed to move. The heat was so high it was like ice, almost. I cried quietly, not daring to move as this would mean the heat circulated even more. He roared at me to stop crying, but the pain was intense and I didn't know what the hell to do. I will never forget that night as long as I live. I remember staring at my face in the bath overflow, all distorted and strange-looking, sitting on my hands, attempting to protect my buttocks.
My mother has denied this event ever happened. That my father would never do any such thing. But how would she know? She was out dancing with her fancy-man.
Ian has referred to this, and other things, as 'abuse'. It doesn't sit easy with me. I often remark, At least I wasn't abused as a child. He refutes this. It's hearkening back to my statement above. One doesn't want to think ill of one's parents, and to do so goes against the norm.
I told Sue today that I really miss 'A Mum'. Not her - A Mum. She discussed this with me very empathetically and perceptively. I got a lot out of her empathy there as I have often felt a bit of a wuss admitting it. Many people are unlucky enough to lose their parents and some struggle to get over it. A close friend of mine is still heartbroken at the loss of her lovely Mother and I have wrestled with my guilt at divulging my own feelings towards my mother to her. Thankfully, she is an objective woman and can see big differences in my upbringing to hers. (And thanks for that, Melon.)
So, the start of new and hopefully good things to come. I explained to Sue that I want to get rid of this rubbish once and for all. She has told me, honestly, it's going to be a long journey. I know that - I'm not daft! 38 years of incessant degredation and criticism don't disappear in six weeks, do they?
Ian told me today that he was proud of me for taking this step. He told me he wondered if I would go through with it as twice I had threatened to cancel. I have asked him to turn Captain Caveman on me if I wobble, sling me over his shoulder and club me. But get me there. We got into a bit of a debate as to 'who should be thanked/praised the most'. I have agreed to disagree on this one and asked him to tell me he is still proud in about four weeks - perhaps I will then have the grace to accept it?