I had a rather frustrating therapy session this morning. As anyone who’s read the blog recently knows, May has been Grief Month for me. I’ve successfully managed to calm things enough to carry on with daily life, but therapy should have been a great opportunity to air some of the icky stuff. I’d even thought long and hard about what it was I wanted to discuss with the therapist. The abuse stuff will have to wait until I get through some practical issues in my life right now– the ‘normal problems’ as I jokingly referred to them this morning. Grief, albeit delayed, falls into that category. It’s something we’ll all face eventually.
In my defence, we did discuss grief this morning. We just discussed it in really sterile terms. Not sugar-coated really, but distanced. I used all the right psych terms and talked about the pain as if it was something in the past. I sounded so healthy that I almost tricked myself.
Kathy, however, was prodding me a bit, and internally I felt like screaming for the therapist to help. I mentioned feeling like trains were running through my chest and needing to do something about that, but the therapist didn’t pick up on that as something that needed to be discussed– my fault, not hers. My stoicism is, for the most part, flawless. Even my FOC have trouble picking up on things like this with me sometimes.
So what did I feel like saying? I felt like telling her that I need to be able to cry about this when I’m sad, yell when I’m angry, and ask for help when I’m scared of it all. I need to experience this some way other than intellectually, and I am absolutely stuck as to how I can help that along. It’s not something I can just let happen naturally. Reacting emotionally is not a natural instinct for me anymore, thanks to the lovely folks of SRA.
In recent years, especially with a particularly jarring loss I faced about 18 months ago, people have been rather put off by my reaction, or lack there of. Part of it is cultural– my fellow Englanders will likely relate to grief being seen as a very private experience meant to be shared with only those closest to you. Growing up in the hands of satanists, though, has had a much greater effect on my ability to handle emotions. You learn early on to suppress emotion at all costs. I knew to some extent that this was abnormal to society outside of SRA, but it’s only been since that loss that I’ve realised just how different this actually is.
People *expect* reactions from those who are grieving. My first instinct, and it’s not altogether bad, is to say sod them. I won’t react simply out of someone else’s expectations. The hard lesson I’ve learned, though, is that this expectation is, in its benevolent form, permission to grieve openly. And the huge step is trusting that the offer will lead to comfort as opposed to further pain. I’m definitely not there yet.
So I spent this morning chatting lightly about grief with my therapist, saying all the right things and hoping she wouldn’t notice that my jaw was clenched so tightly it was sore by the end of the session. It’s still sore now, three hours later. I couldn’t find the words to say what I needed to say. It’s times like this when I wonder if this grief monster is going to completely overtake me, but I know it’s my responsibility to stop that from happening.