I am having an especially difficult few days.
The upside of this might be that I seem to be more inside my body. It was hard to respond to people in the present who were living kind of normal lives while I am overwhelmed with grief I don’t even understand, and I shut down a lot. So this might be good that I am feeling more.
It does not feel good. It feels horrible and like it will never end or get better.
I have been watching a BBC series called, “The Fall” which I had watched a few episodes of before leaving the country in 2014, and now I can get back to. It is about a serial killer and the detectives trying to catch him. I have finally worked out that, partly, this reminds me that people care about victims of crime and abuse. I don’t know what attitudes really are in law enforcement, but TV detectives always care about the victim, and it is nice fantasy to expose myself to even though it might not be real. It also makes my experiences speakable, when they feel unspeakable and disallowed from polite, social discourse.
I think it has helped me to make sense of my dad a little—not specifically because of anything about the show—but just sitting with a reminder of what he did. There are a lot of times when I wonder if what I think I remember really happened. It doesn’t help me to know, but it allows for whatever I remember to be there. I suppose.
Anyway, the line of thought this brought up for me had to do with my dad’s treatment of me and others as objects, physically, as objects that did not have sensations, as though he needed proof that terror was real and that pain was real, because his little boy self had not known whether his pain and terror were real or not. It reminded me of how shocked I felt to discover that C was warm to the touch. This seemed to really be news to some part of me, as though I honestly believed everyone thereafter to be dead. I had sat at the side of a dead body, and had never expected to move from there again.
It made me think being in my body does not feel safe, because bodies seem so vulnerable. When my mind goes wild, it seems to help to come back to my body. It’s like the thoughts are trying to make up in quantity what they lack in a sense of reality. I don’t need to tell myself about emotions I can actually feel, and yet that’s hard to do, because I don’t really know what I will find if I come back to my body. I don’t realize my body can be safe to be in. I think this is about sensation as well as something very literal. I have seen bodies lose their arms and legs—but are mine still there? I think a part of me has been afraid to find the answer.
I have felt a lot of shame and hopelessness this morning and I actually don’t know why. I don’t know what sparked it, if it is my friend’s presence or the adjustment to the US, or not getting much response from C, or my non-starting job search or something else altogether. It occurred to me it might simply be having more feelings in my body. The thing I might feel isn’t allowed—and which is communicated to me via the emotion of shame—could be having felt emotions in my body. It might not actually be complicated at all, and the answer to that would be to gently lead myself back to my felt sensations every time I flee from them and to “teach” myself this is safe by controlling what I can of my fear reaction—by breathing deeply and slowly—and whatever else helps me feel I am safe.