I have been sending C texts in the morning the last week or more. There was a point when I felt worried about her, and it seemed like the Teen needed support and acceptance and the little parts needed warmth and understanding, and I so I just sent a message to her trying to express that. Then after it had gone on for a few days, I realized she would be expecting them. She would wake up and look at her phone and wonder if a text was going to come and she would feel abandoned and rejected when one didn’t. She would live through that, but I didn’t want her to have that to deal with too. And I didn’t want her to have the feeling I am there when she is in crisis, but not when she is fine. Getting less support when you are fine does not feel good, and it makes the crisis seem necessary.
So I sent a text yesterday. Just something like I love you and I believe in you. I sent a text again in the evening, but I think that was more for me, because in the evenings I miss her. I miss the feeling of knowing she is safe in her own house, and I know where she is and what she is doing, because I used to know her routine. We didn’t used to chat much in the evenings—either the Internet was slow on her end or she was busy chatting with other friends—but I used to say something to her online and usually she would answer. I would get one or two words out of her. I don’t get that anymore. I know more or less where she might be, but I don’t know her routine exactly and there is not that evening check-in. Anyway, I sent a text that said more or less the same thing as what I said in the morning.
I got a response back, “Recharge me plz.”
It sounded like Detached Mode. She was hiding her vulnerability. I mean, she has tacked on the word “please” to her command, but it’s fairly harsh, and there is no acknowledgement that I just told her I loved her. Detached Mode makes me worried. It is like an announcement that she is in too much pain. It has become unbearable and she has tripped the “off” switch.
Then I felt worried. I don’t know why she needs more credit on her phone at 7 pm on a school night when she is not supposed to be using it even, and that is worrying too. But the tone alone was worrying. I also had all these feelings that she had asked me for something. She very rarely asks me for anything. She has asked for recharges before and I used to give them to her when she lived with her parents because I needed her to be able to contact with me, and because I know sometimes that connection to people outside of her own family really helps.
As it happened, I had a voucher with me and I recharged her right away, but I was worried. I just asked if she was okay.
I couldn’t interpret that. There was no instinct inside telling me where she was emotionally, except that she wasn’t too fearful to answer me. I felt really worried she had some idiot plan to talk to a boy in the middle of the night. Which isn’t the end of the world, but it is against the rules and she could get in quite a lot of trouble for that. I felt worried mainly she felt needy enough to do some idiot teenage thing.
So I sent another text. Take care of yourself. You are really special to me. Something like that.
A few minutes later, I felt that wasn’t really the right note. I hadn’t expressed something. I was worrying about boys. You have to understand that here a student having a boyfriend is very much frowned upon. C has had boyfriends since she was in Class 7 and she is in 9 now, so it is not a new thing, and it is also pretty much what most of the girls are doing. But she is a boarder. The school is responsible for her, and the punishment for her having a relationship could be very harsh. Her parents might also punish her harshly, but they are basically deaf, dumb, and blind. They would never have any idea. I am not really scared that she will have a boyfriend, but I am scared that she will be punished harshly for having one.
She also makes terrible choices generally—the last one seemed okay, but I don’t really know. It didn’t last long. That’s not surprising, but it’s sort of one more brick in her wall. One more person who doesn’t care about her, and suggests to her she cannot be cared about. Anyway, I sent another text telling her to take care of her heart. Do not give your heart to people who will break it.
And that didn’t seem right either.
So a few minutes later, I sent yet another one. I said I get really mad when anyone hurts you. Just be careful. Not everyone is good or cares truly. Then I also wrote some general things. Be good and study. I love you.
That seemed better. That seemed like the right note: what I wanted to say, and what she might need to hear at that moment. When I read it later, I had a sense of being settled and of being protected. I think it gave me that sense because I was imagining how she might feel reading it.
But it was very hard to sleep after that. I was very “little” and someone inside kept saying, “I want my baby.” I really wanted to scream and to thrash around like I was myself a baby. Nothing was clear in my head, just pictures floating around, a lot of them not very pleasant, and this feeling of wanting to scream. Eventually, I slept, but I woke up an hour later and couldn’t sleep again. I was awake for an hour, unable to settle down. I was too stirred up in my body. After that I did sleep, and now it is morning.
I have this thought about it that that happened after a 10-hour day at school. I was in charge of refreshments for the evil football tournament and had to stay for the entire match—1 hour and 45 minutes in total. It was after 6 when I got home. I was overstretched, and when that happens, at some point, I lose all ability to cope. I appear to myself to regress: I dissociate, switch, become unable to really regulate. And this is going to happen I am going to be overstretched for a while, because we have these football games and the day is too long for me.
When that happens, I think probably not a lot of healing goes on. I am just treading water. It is really hard because the dissociation flattens my whole experience. It is like a vampire comes and sucks all the life out of my days, because inside I am shut down. I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but it tends to happen. So there is this depressing grayness that seems to fall over everything, because the only way I can cope is to stop feeling again and because I cannot regulate my fear enough to connect to life or to people, and it also means I do this other weird-feeling stuff in my head that scares me and makes me feel I am losing ground. I am not. I am just outside of the range of what I can cope with. As soon as the stress goes back to the level I can manage, I will stop doing those things. My capacity has not changed, but circumstances have. I have to be patient through the period of being overstretched. I don’t have another choice about it. There is very little I can do to make things easier on myself. I am doing pretty much everything it is possible to do. I just need to be patient. The workload will at some point recede again, at least for a short while, and I will eventually be able to breathe a little bit and to heal again. What I need to do now is hold on, just keep getting through the days, function as best I can, and wait for that window to open up again.