Day 211: Decompressing My Doctor Visit and T Session
I have essentially three chapters of writing tonight: (1) Today's T session; (2) The Doctor Appointment; and, (3) The Well.
A therapy session and an unplanned doctor visit in the same day . . . it was intense. But it was good. Not to say I didn't experience fear, sorrow, and pain. However, the fear, sorrow, and pain were appropriate under the circumstances. Every day I feel a little better about having these emotions, less ashamed, less self-loathing.
Today's Therapy Session:
In my session today my T talked with me about my posting from last night and I also read my posting from last Thursday about extracting another splinter. She was pleased for me about starting to make a new friend. She said I am exhibiting the transition out of the denial stage of grief because I was able to tell my story to this new friend without too much trouble. My T also talked with me about being held by AF. She said it is serving the function of attachment therapy. She described how they will have mothers hold their children, even as old as age 9, and help the child learn to attach to the mother.
I said, that does sound like what happens for me with AF. I am learning to feel attachment. We talked about motherhood transference and she said what she has said before, "It's OK as long as you and AF are talking about it." I reaffirmed we have talked about it. And I decided I would tell AF about the conversation with my T, just to make sure we continue to talk about it. I also talked with my T today about crying with AF. She wanted to know why I don't cry in T, but I am able to cry with AF. I explained there isn't time in a T session. It takes two to three hours for me to get through it when I break down. I also said it requires touch. The key for me is that AF can hold me. I said, "You can't do that for me." She agreed.
I told AF about this conversation and we both wondered if other survivors have this same need. If they would experience healing more readily or more completely if they could be held by someone safe, like in attachment therapy. We both think so. She was pretty annoyed with the notion that a child can receive attachment therapy but not an adult. I have felt many forms of annoyed about the strictures against an adult holding another adult outside of a spousal type relationship. Now that I have found a safe person, I am thankful it is outside of a spousal relationship. It is far, far better for me that AF and I are friends. There is no confusion about whether her touch and affection is sexual. It is not. I can trust she will never ask that of me. Because of that trust her touch is deeply healing to me and I can be completely vulnerable with her.
Today's Doctor Appointment:
AF came with me to the appointment, which was shortly after my T session. At the start of the appointment the medical assistant (MA) stepped up to me to measure my waist circumference. I jumped back, even though she said she was going to do that. I wasn't prepared to be touched today. She gathered other information from me and stepped out. I sat leaning my head back against the wall. It was too much to be in an exam room, looking at the white paper on the exam bed, and having been touched unexpectedly. I felt like I was going to fall asleep. The room felt like it was getting smaller and I felt like I was getting hot. AF said, "Hon, open your eyes. You can do it. Come on. Open your eyes and look at me." It was really hard. I wanted to lay on the floor of the exam room. It would be cool, like the bottom of a well (like the well in my dreams). I was so strongly tempted to lay down and let myself fall asleep. But, I heard AF's voice and felt her hand on my back and on my arm. I also heard my Pandy's friends in my pocket, "You can do it." I managed to open my eyes. AF told me to take some deep breaths. I did. "You're doing good. That was very good. Keep breathing, sweetie."
The doctor came in then and I was able to focus on her. She immediately apologized for the MA touching me. I said it was OK but she said she was still sorry. She hadn't told the MA about my history. We talked through my labs (all good news!). She then asked if there was anything else I needed. I swallowed and took a breath. "I want to ask about urinary retention." We had a thorough conversation about my bladder, why I have the stricture, what I've tried in the past to treat it, options available now, etc. She explained for self-catheterization I would have to come in for an appointment and be shown how to do it. She recognized how challenging that would be for me. She agreed, however, that it sounded like a good option for me in light of my history and symptoms. We agreed I would think about it and let her know.
I asked AF afterward if she would come with me. She said she would. When we were in the car getting ready to leave she asked me what I was feeling. I said, "Afraid." She asked, "What are you afraid of, hon?" I said, "What comes next." She then asked, "Is that all your feeling?" I said, "I feel sad and angry." She responded that it makes sense for me to feel afraid, sad, and angry. She said those are reasonable responses to what happened to me and what I'm going through. I leaned into her and she hugged me. And then, once again, I cried. I cried about spending many years believing I deserved the pain I experienced from my bladder because I couldn't hold it. I believed that because my parents said it to me so many times. They never believed me about the pain. They made me hold it until I wet my pants or passed out and then they would punish me. I cried as I thought about these things and AF reassured me, telling me, "Let it out. It's OK. You're going to be OK. You're safe. I'm with you."
I didn't cry for very long. I was conscious of time and needing to get back to work, especially since AF had a meeting she was supposed to be there for. I said this to her several times, but she dismissed my concern.
After leaving the doctor's office AF took me to a convenience store nearby to get a beverage (probably also to give me more time to transition into my professional self). We sat outside the convenience store for some time talking. I told her about these dreams I have where I am at the bottom of a well. I said there is a good dream and there is a nightmare. In the nightmare I am trying to get out of the well, trying to climb the walls. But the rocks are damp and slippery. I can't get anywhere and there is no one up above to help me. In the good dream the well is a cool, dark place where I can sleep because I'm safe. I said in both cases I don't really have hope. But, I accepted the hopelessness in the good dream and make the most out of my situation. Besides, the abusers are out there. Being in the well is better than being up top.
She said, "Well, now we've lowered a ladder and you can climb out when you want. You can go back in when you want. It's up to you." I nodded, seeing what she meant. With the healing process I have learned the abusers aren't up there waiting for me. There are people up there who love me. They are happy to see me and also understand when I need to climb back down into the cool darkness. I really liked that image. I said, "You know, the well is situated in the middle of a green field in a forest." She said, "That's exactly how I have seen it too." (She knew about the well from other things I have said and written.) I did a double-take when she said that. I have never described this place where the well is located. "How did you know that?" She just smiled at me as if to say, "Of course that's where your well would be."
She added, "We can build a house when you're ready and you can live in this beautiful field in the forest."
I took a deep breath, practically smelling the pine trees. "I would like that very much!" I thought for a moment and added, "We will fill in the well when I don't need it any more and build the house over the spot where it was located." I added, "I think I would like to do something in real life along these lines to mimic this idea." She said she would help me with it. So, at some point, when I feel safe enough to no longer need the well as a hiding place, we will give Little Intrepid a home, where she is warm, loved, and safe. There will be cookies in the oven, milk on the table, and Mamma Intrepid ready to let her up into her lap any time she wants.
In fact, maybe we'll keep the well. We'll fill it with clean, clear water. She can draw from it when she wants. She can see the reflection from the sky. The well can continue to be a source of life, but in an entirely new way. Little Intrepid can hope. She doesn't have to accept a life of hopelessness any more.