When I was a kid my grandmother taught me how to make origami boats. I loved making them. I remember being with her in my grandparents’ kitchen, making origami boats, then taking a tub of water and putting the boats in the tub of water. My grandmother would then sing this song to me, about a small boat that couldn’t set sail. And I would watch all excited, hoping the origami boats would stay afloat. Eventually I realized there was no way a paper boat would float for long in a tub of water, and they were always going to sink. Then my grandmother died…and I grew up…
I feel this story is a perfect mirror image of my life. I float for a little while and then I quickly sink. It’s predictable and it repeats over and over again.
As you can tell by now, I’m not exactly feeling marvelous. I have so much in my head, and I’m still feeling the residual stress from the pediatrics rotation, even if rationally I know it ended and I passed. I felt good for a little while there, and then I quickly sank again. I’ve been sleeping terribly, and obviously that’s the #1 culprit, but I’ve also been dealing with some difficult subjects in therapy with R.
Two weeks ago I went again into panic-attack-like mode during my session with her. We were talking about The Ex, and I was trying to tell her things I hadn’t told anyone before (things I’d only hinted at G and had never even considered to talk about with M). As I went into panic-mode she asked me to look at her, and when that didn’t work she told me to remember that “it” (the abuse) was not happening now, and that I was in my safe place. But I was drowning in panic and I wanted to run and scream. Instead I just sat there, glassy-eyed and staring into nothingness, afraid to move.
I really want to be able to say these things out loud, to address them in therapy, and so far R has been great at pushing my buttons but only enough to not send me running away. However, I just can’t say them out loud, period. She asked me to write in my diary, especially when I’m feeling bad, but even writing them down is difficult. I want to talk to G and R about these things pertaining to The Ex and the A-word, but I have no idea how to spit them out. I want them to know, but I don’t know how to tell them.
And then this week R told me to not be so hard on myself, because I only recently recognized that what happened was abuse. She’s right, but ugh, it’s so difficult when you really just want to get all of this out of your head and be able to live your life. I feel The Ex is like a tumor that keeps growing out of control and in the way is destroying me system by system. He’s the cancer that lies in my head.
And I have this vision of him laughing at me, just laughing hysterically at me, saying: No one’s going to believe you. No one’s going to believe your sad little story because you were just a dumb teenager.
I told R about this “vision” this week. I told her: “I’ve already established and accepted that it was abuse. I’m not in denial anymore…but I need some validation that it’s not just my crazy perception. Lately I’ve been falling in this trap where I keep thinking others have had it worse than me, why am I complaining?”
And R answered…she said that some children go through horrific situations that are more obviously shocking to society, and that my experience was maybe not as shocking because it was more easily camouflaged as something harmless. But, she said, it was as much abuse as the more shocking situations are.
“Yes, it was abuse. And I’m under the impression G agrees.”
I really needed that. I really needed that validation from an external source of wisdom. I needed that validation so I can take The Ex’s laughing face and crush him with the truth: you abuse teenage girls, you sick shit.
All of this and more is in my head these days. These are the thoughts my neurons come up with when I make an origami boat at 10pm on a lonely Saturday night. I really want to go back to simpler times, but no amount of origami boats is going to help me with that. Only facing the truth and dealing with it can keep me afloat and make things simpler…
In the meantime I just keep sinking again and again.