I love being in therapy. The nature of the conversations we have is sometimes unpleasant, and painful, and unceasingly dark, but still I come away from each session amazed at what we’ve covered. In three weeks I have managed to explain my life story to this person who I’ve never met before, and I’ve got him to understand what I’m saying. That must be down to his training, but it feels like a very positive thing quand même. Today’s discussion went deeper than the last; I guess next week it will go even deeper. I talked about the feeling of being trapped in a glass bubble, that strong sensation of being separate from everyone in the world that occurs when life is getting too much for me. I sort of already knew it was a feeling I first experienced at school, and when it happens to me now I’m regressing to that part of the past, I’m not really my adult self in those moments. I also sort of knew that I can draw myself there, and that I use the bubble for protection sometimes, it’s not just some external factor that traps me against my will. I had never said these things before, to anyone, and I’m discovering that saying something out loud is qualitatively different to writing it down. Until now the only place I was expressing these things was on my laptop.
We explored the link between the bubble and my inability to form romantic relationships, my constant use of porn and fantasy to shelter myself from my lonely reality. Through the discussion the therapist kept asking me how it felt to talk about it. I couldn’t just say what I was thinking, I needed to delve into my soul and name the feelings as well. My therapist seems acutely attuned to the two conflicting parts of my personality, the adult and the child. He knows that my adult side is the one doing all the rationalising and analysing, trying to find the logical answers to things, while my child side is the one still living in the 90’s, experiencing the constant powerful tug of emotions such as fear, anger and lust. The therapist seems keen to keep pushing me there, gently of course, to find out what the child thinks about things and how it sees the world. Normally I wouldn’t like to ask my inner child’s opinion on anything, because somewhere along the line I’ve learned that it can’t be rational about anything and therefore it can’t serve me any purpose. Today I’m starting to give the child some airtime because my therapist wants me to.
The fifty minutes zoomed past today, so that we had to end just as I was experiencing a surge of anger and felt myself close to tears. My child side is still angry about the trauma it suffered twenty years ago; furious that I was cast aside at school for being gay and left with no one to talk to, made to feel it was my fault. I thought about the paragraph in my autobiography where I imagine being at school, turning around to the bullies who are castigating my sexuality and saying “So? So what if I’m gay?” I would never have had the self belief to do such a thing at school, and I still wouldn’t.
I left the session with the conundrum of self belief on my mind. To get better, to be able to do the things that scare me in life (such as getting a boyfriend) I need some element of self belief in me – but where do I get it from? In AA we learn about higher powers, and letting go, and taking care of ourselves, and that’s all wonderful. Yet this doesn’t answer the question deep down in the core of me, the question of whether I’m really worth loving.
Lots more work to do.