I went back to see my therapist last week. So far, so ho-hum.
We’d had nearly three months off. I shouldn’t have let it go so long, got myself so wound up … so much pain and then the inevitable wait before she could slot me back in. Why hadn’t I gone back sooner? I was ashamed. She’d asked me to try something over a New Year break and I’d made a complete balls of it. I admit this. The sky doesn’t fall it, of course not, I am the one paying for her services after all but this then becomes the start of another uncomfortable hour when she tries to get me to stay to the point.
We talk about disappointment, we talk about being let down, we talk about my fear that if I do ever have the argument I should have (whichever one screams out of me first) then no one will come after me when I walk away. We talk about the constant anger and simmers, and roils and eats away at me … and now I think that I feel it so much because I am the one who lets me down the most.
She sets me more homework and makes me write it down so I don’t do my usual wriggle on semantics: What do I need? Not a treat, not a want, but what do I need that would be beneficial to me. A sentence beginning “I need …” (a common tendency is to avoid “I” when it’s something important, kind of a drawback when needing to update a CV).
This probably doesn’t sound too difficult … mmm. The inside of my head can be a random place at the best of times so trying to get me to think coherently and consistently about myself tends to be an exercise in cat herding. What do I need? Cue a jumble of random shite ‘cos I really do have trouble sticking to the point and can over think things as simple as ‘would you like a coffee?’
Would I know real need if I fell over it?
Is a want just a need but without the commitment?
If you don’t have needs you can’t be let down … oh, could be getting somewhere, can I grasp that or will it slide away again?
If I don’t have needs I don’t have to put myself first. If I don’t have needs I don’t have to say, “no, don’t talk to me now, I need to [insert activity] … “. All the time, the words sliding away because my head can’t hold on to them and I have to sit and pretend that it’s ok … no, don’t mind me … no, whatever you want to talk about … no I really don’t mind you distracting me from the one thing I’ve waited hours to see and you come in and talk all over it so I can’t hear any of it (ooh, that sneaked under the radar, I wonder if it showed on my face at the time?)
Then I remember she came at me, from left field, with a question about this bloody albatross of a book. Was I making progress / would I have anything to show her?
Maybe that is my answer, my sentence should be “I need an hour every day with no distractions so that I can work on my book”. It doesn’t sound much, it doesn’t mean that an hour of writing would get done (honestly, you do want to know how long this has taken – thank you internet explorer for crashing just as I made a breakthrough here and I didn’t have a draft saved so I’m now trying to get my head back where it was). It’s a kind of nice, non-threatening statement that shouldn’t trigger, you know, that argument and gives me a space without guilt.
Who knows, it could even lead to articulating other needs … steady on there, dangerous territory. They bubble up, unbidden, scenting a hint of freedom, the odd background noise of my head throwing images at me that I’ve tried so long to supress. I think about odd lines from the book, when Gihon is afraid I think he is me, when he says he feels old and fat and ugly and unwanted … he is me.
For some reason this was the image I had as soon as the words were said, “What do I need?” I just want someone to look up and smile. The image itself is nothing but a distraction, the feeling is an ache that could finish me.
Gihon is desperate to change. He is incapable of confronting his need and taking responsibility for it. He waits like it’s not tearing his heart out.
Maybe I just need to be needed.