Digging Deep

What a weekend it has been.

…I felt like I was barely going to make it. The sense of loneliness, the sadness, the anxiety, and the injustice hit me like a train Thursday and Friday, and assaulted my senses. I couldn’t shake it off. I needed to vent it–find support, in the way wanted it–before I exploded all over the place.

The problem? I couldn’t find the support. I tried, in my way. But it didn’t happen. I started drowning.

My therapist was aware, thanks to the multitude of SOS text messages I kept sending her. I hated myself for sending so many, for getting frustrated at my inability to just feel better, and for feeling panicked at being unable to see her and talk. I felt like I was sinking.

Luckily, I am completely blessed with the most giving therapist ever. She gave up part of her weekend to see me today, on a Sunday. I needed it more than ever…I needed to know that she wasn’t angry at me for being overly needy, and simply knowing that I could see her today helped calm my anxiety down. But, oh…I felt so guilty and selfish about my need.

In my session today, I learned that I do not know how to ask for what I need. At least, not in a direct way. I tend to beat around the bush–I put hints out there, and hope that the person catches them and can just do it without making me ask.

The problem? Most people don’t catch the hints. And then I feel even more let down and lost.

I struggle, immensely, for asking for what I need. Why is that?

I’m not sure…I’m sure it has something to do with being a pleaser–I don’t ever want to inconvenience anyone, and I don’t ever want someone to realize that I am insecure and clingy and have them abandon me because those are undesirable traits. So, to most people, I seem put together and “fine.”

This actually played out in a rather comical and painful way in my session. My therapist knew what I wanted…but she made me literally ask her for it.

I. Couldn’t. Do. It!! I found myself feeling stubborn. Feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Feeling pissy and frustrated.

Then, to simply stop all of those feelings, I just grudgingly–and with plenty of annoyance–asked her to do what I know I needed.

…And that was all it took.

So–why is is so hard to do?

It requires me to really dig deep.

First, I have to identify what it is that I need to begin with. Sometimes, I totally know. Other times…it is harder to articulate. Most of the time, I feel full of shame for having the need to begin with.

Then, I have to do the hardest part. I have to be vulnerable. I have to ask. Asking is scary–asking means putting myself–my heart and feelings–on the line, and giving another person the opportunity to crush them both.

I would almost rather never ask–instead of risking the embarrassment, the hurt, and the insecurity that can come from someone saying no.

I’m sure I’ve learned not to ask. I’m sure I asked for plenty as a child, and didn’t receive…and, rather than continuing to endure the pain and the hurt, I learned to just swallow it down. To help others in the hopes that that might mean they would turn around and help me too.

But–where has that gotten me?

It has gotten me to a place without real connections. A marriage, where I feel lonely, even when we share the same space. Casual friends, but few deep connections. A sense of constant need, without the reciprocity of anyone ever needing me. And the loss, the loneliness, and the hurt, that comes with all of it.

I know I need to find and deepen my connections. Trust me–I’ve been trying really hard. It is not an easy thing to do. And, for an impatient person like myself, it is not a fast process. Today, I learned that, to help the process along, I need to be more direct in my requests.

That is hard, too.

I am more grateful for my therapist every day, but especially today. I continue to struggle with my reliance on her. For awhile, I felt much better–and, I think that was because I had a powerful realization that led to some healing and I fooled myself into thinking that she could be my friend and that I was a “special” client. I felt like she was proud of me. And that I would always have her. And that really empowered me. But then, I began to struggle and, at my request, we had our boundary discussion–and everything became fuzzier for me.

When I connect with someone, the way that I have with her, learning to not need that connection–her validation and kindness and concern–remains a constant struggle. It is important to me–so important–and it is hard to not want it. 

I know she wants me to build my connections with other people. And, I very much am trying. Seriously! I would love nothing more than to find a person with qualities like her who could ACTUALLY be my friend. Someone I could send a text message to without feeling guilty. Or wondering if I am being annoying. Someone who I know wants to hear from me, as opposed to feeling like I am interrupting her life and being a total pain in the ass. A needy pain in the ass.

These are my issues. She tells me, repeatedly, that I am fine. She is here to support me. But a deep part of me remains terrified at really being that annoyance and someday hearing the words–Stop! or This is too much…I can’t see you any more

And, a deeper part–the part that is, recently, drowning and gasping for breath–completely panics at the thought of not having her to help me. 

Because, quite frankly, if I don’t have her right now, I feel, at times, like I have no one…

And that feels overwhelming and terrifying.

I need her support. (And the fact that I have it makes me feel so grateful, even when I often feel unworthy of it.) I want her support.

But…I also know I need to learn to live without it between sessions.

I need other connections. And, I am going to continue to work harder towards them, forcing myself to ask for the things I need, even when it is hard as hell and the last freaking thing that I want to do. 

All I can hope is that people hear me–that they understand. That they are willing to help, in the ways they can, and in at least some of the ways that I need.

I just have to keep digging. Deeper and deeper into myself. Finding my self compassion. Accepting and releasing my feelings. Waking up everyday and just continuing to live, to breathe, to hope.

It’s all I can do.

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