The writing prompt from Nablopomo today is “freedom”, which is rather lovely from a survivor’s perspective, but not what I want to talk about today, sorry kids. Perhaps I’ll return to this next time the folks at Nablopomo offer me “poetry”. 😛
I had Group again tonight, so I want to talk about that.
Our topic this week was “coping when you just can’t”, which I thought would be practical and easy and interesting. It was interesting, and in some ways practical, but it certainly wasn’t easy.
We started off having to think about a time when we couldn’t cope; when coping seemed utterly impossible… and then we had to think about the ways we got through; all the ways we had coped. We got to do some creative work, making a kind of collage of things to represent our coping mechanisms. That was all ok, and the collage was fun (though I ran out of time and had to rush in the end), but when it came time to talk about it, I just fell apart, even though I’d picked a time I thought would be safe for me.
I thought about the time around 18 months ago when my life fell apart. Everything just seemed to slip through my fingers… my career, my sanity, my health… it all seemed to evaporate in the blink of an eye. And the harder I held on, the faster it seemed to slip away. I was doing a lot of trauma processing work with the Wonder Therapist at the time and I was overwhelmed – flooded by memories, flashbacks and nightmares. So anxious I could barely leave the house some days. I really couldn’t cope.
I tried to talk about taking time out – about escaping to my safe haven, and the healing power of the ocean. But I was overwhelmed, I could barely speak. Great big tears just rolling uncontrollably down my cheeks. I hate doing that, especially in front of others. Ugh.
There are eight of us in the group and we each got to talk about our collage and about when coping seemed impossible, and the ways we got through. Listening to others describe times in their lives and how they fought the darkness just made me worse.
And then listening to the Pregnant One talk about her childhood and how she used to hide in the dog’s kennel to try to escape … it brought up all this other stuff for me about my own childhood.
So there I was again, totally overwhelmed, feeling completely unable to cope. Thankfully the facilitators are on the lookout for such moments and one of them spent a bit of time with me afterwards to let me talk it out and make sure I was ok. I am ok; I just have all this messy emotional garbage stirred up. Damned emotions, they sneak up and whack you just when you least need or expect it. Talk about elastic bands. Bleuch.
In talking to the facilitator, she said something that was like a baseball bat to the head, but in a good way:
Facilitator: “I bet you see seven inspiring people in that room, right?”
Facilitator: “Well, I see eight.”
Thank you, V, that is pure gold.