Sitting on the floor of my therapists office, knees curled up to my chest, I try and stop myself from shaking.
“I am really triggered” I tell her in a whisper.
“I can see that” she replies. “I can see you have been cutting your hand. Do you want me to hold your blades?”
“OK” I reply. My bloodied hand hesitantly handing her the razor blade.
“Take some deep breaths and tell me why you are triggered” she says calmly.
I inhale and then slowly explain that the bus that I take from my house to her office took a diversion this morning and went right passed my abusers street. I passed my family’s house. A house that, until this week, I had not seen in over a year. Not since reporting him.
A house which is full of fear and pain. A house which holds nothing but horrible memories.
She asks how it made me feel, already knowing I am struggling.
“My head is fuzzy” I say quietly “There are lots of bits of memories. Seeing the house makes me remember; my room, his room, him creeping into my room in the middle of the night”
My breathing speeds up. Panic. I don’t want to remember.
“Can you try and tell me one of those memories?” she asks. A question I have been dreading since starting therapy.
Scared and fragile I think to myself that I have to at least try.
“My bedroom had a sliding door” I whisper.
“So you couldn’t put anything behind it to keep it closed?” she says calmly
“Exactly” I whisper. “He used to sneak in at night. I would hold my breath so he would think I was sleeping but it didn’t work” I say. Wishing the ground would swallow me up.
She listens, telling me she understands how scared I must have been. I believe she really does.
Then something happens. Something horrible. Something I have never experienced before.
I can feel him. I can physically feel him touching me. Stroking and kissing my neck.
I squirm. I roll my head to try and stop him. I mean he isn’t really here is he?!
“What just happened?” my therapist asks me, seeing me squirm.
“I can feel him” I tell her. “I can feel him touching and kissing my neck”
Without thinking I begin using both hands to scratch at the back of my shoulders and my neck. “I have to get him off of me!” I tell her. All the while my hands are scratching deeper and deeper into my skin.
“It is OK” she whispers “You are safe here” slowly moving towards me.
“No!” I shout back at her “I have to get him out of me!!”
Tears are forming in my eyes as my hands move to the front of my neck, drawing blood as they do so.
My head is hazy. I can’t stop clawing at my skin.
“I’m scared” I tell her “What is happening to me?! I don’t understand!”
She moves closer, calmly telling me that I am having an intense physical reaction to a memory I supressed. She explains that it is the child within me experiencing the memory as if it is happening today.
I panic. Dizziness and disorientation take hold and I feel like I am going to pass out. My heart is pounding and I am frozen to the spot, unaware that I am holding my breath.
“Breathe” she whispers. My hands still trying to get him out of me.
“I want you to look at the clock” she says calmly, asking me to tell her the time and date. I do as she asks.
“What colour is the room?” she asks. “Green” I reply.
My breathing starts to slow.
“You are safe here” she says, handing me some water.
She continues to ground me as our session comes to end.
Today was one of the worst experiences of this journey so far…..and I can honestly say one of the worst of my life.
I have realised that my inner child has remained locked inside me for so many years, trying to survive. Unable to express her thoughts and feelings. Somehow, to protect us both, I put her into a time warp. There she stayed until today when she was finally unlocked.
I am exhausted. I am vulnerable. I am fragile and I am fearful. I never want to experience that again.
However, as I run a boiling hot bubble bath to scrub myself clean and get him off of me, I feel she is not done. As I look at the scratches running from my shoulders round to my neck down to my chest, I cannot help but think that my poor, sweet, innocent inner child is only just getting started…..
And I am truly terrified!
Thanks for reading.
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