I haven’t been indulging in midday naps lately, but today I made a rare exception and lay down for a couple of hours.
It seemed like a waste of a beautiful autumn afternoon, but my body and mind were crying out for it. Also, I had some imaginative work to do.
Seeing my therapist yesterday afternoon (straight after seeing my psychologist – what a busy psych-girl I am!) I realized how wounded and scared my inner child is, particularly at the moment. I saw her hiding in a cave in the night, and not just in a cave, but tucked up into a tiny hollow off a shelf, out of sight but still rigid with fear. When the older, more resilient parts of me found her, she was so petrified that one could feel the tension in her little body just by placing a hand on her shin.
This afternoon, I imagined gently coaxing her out of her hiding place and into the arms of the wisest part of me. There she was gently yet firmly held, and told over and over: “You are safe; you are safe”. After a very long time – half an hour or so – her body relaxed until she could straighten out her legs, even though her arms were still clutched in a rictus-like shield across her chest. Images came and went: of ants being squashed by a hammer; of her being picked up and thrown bodily to the ground, skin splitting and bones breaking; of mice scurrying from the slightest sound into darkness.
None of these things have happened to me in life – I’ve never squashed ants with a hammer, and the only times I’ve been thrown to the ground were in sport or jest, not abuse – but these are symbolic of the traumas she is dealing with, continually.
The mice image came from the session with the psychologist yesterday, after he had me write down self-beliefs which may lead to my nine leading maladative strategies/behaviours for homework last week. He read them and said he saw evidence of a “self” which had been smashed by life. He asked me what I saw, and I said that if life is a home, then I’m not longer a person living in that home, but a mouse who’s frightened of everything and continually runs away from any light, sound or other creature.
I wish I could end this post by saying that my child feels healed and at peace, but it isn’t so. Hey, if such profound trauma could be healed by a simple half-hour’s visualization, I’d have been ‘cured’ years ago! Still, it was restorative, and a step in the right direction. It was also part of my homework for the psychologist, to go super easy on myself this week and do things which pleased me. (I think it freaked him out a little when I explained that my hair was coming out in fistfuls because of the continuous and extreme stress I’m under. My therapist, who knows my story, simply took this news in with a nod, as though to say: “Of course.”)
In an aside, my morning routine was disrupted today, as I had to get out to my GPs and wait to see him for a prescription before the Easter long weekend. I missed posting my usual morning blog! I mean, I missed it in my heart. My day was diminished by its absence. That’s what you get for sleeping in and messing with your routine, Dysthymia!
Be well, my friends.