Processing Part 2
The Art Therapist:
So, like I said yesterday, I don’t remember much about that appointment. Here’s what I remember:
- Shortly after I got there, the AT said he had expected me to walk in dissociated and was remarking that I was not, or I wasn’t as dissociated as he had anticipated…I don’t remember the specifics.
- He looked at my paintings from Wednesday and then put them up in a circle for an exercise about trauma states. I really didn’t even want to look at them, but they were in my line of sight, so I spent time staring at the floor or to the left or right of the paintings.
- I thanked him for talking to me on Wednesday
- He tried again to get me to hear that I matter.
- He looked at one of the paintings (the one with the pieces) and talked about the fragments/broken pieces…I have no idea what he said, but I do remember thinking about the Me figure in my Inside/Outside Box (a very early Art Therapy project)
- He gave me an art directive about the Fragmented Me pieces and planting them and how would I nurture them and get them to grow?
And that directive is where it all really fell apart. I moved to the art table and got a piece of paper and I felt like I was moving through sludge. I pulled colored pencils out of the pencil jar and put them over the paper and I started to draw me, torn into pieces. Only, I felt soooo slow in my drawing. I don’t know if I was being slow, but I felt like I was moving in slow motion, or like I was dragging the pencils through playdough. And then he didn’t have a red colored pencil, I so got out the watercolors…And I finished the body pieces and then I went to paint the dirt…For which I chose the black watercolor and I painted all around the body pieces in dark black. I kept dipping the brush in the paint to make the black as black as possible. And then I added another round of black to the edge and I realized that the picture wasn’t of something planted but of something dead being buried. And somewhere in there, I started to feel like I was watching myself painting, rather than me doing the painting. And I kept adding black around the edge so that the blackness around the body pieces was spreading away from them…I think I would have kept going until the whole page was black.
But…the AT said something to me. I have no idea what he said, but it pulled me back into myself and I realized what I was doing and I stopped painting. The AT asked me what had happened and I didn’t have an answer for him. I was still trying to slide back into me. I don’t know if I answered him or shrugged or what. Then he said something else…again, I have no idea what, except that he was worried that he had offended me or something and that’s why I stopped painting. No…I stopped painting because I had come back into awareness and I didn’t need to fill the paper with black.
And then he tried to get me to talk about the drawing. I remember telling him, “She’s dead.” And talking about the picture in the third person…but I don’t remember what I was saying to him. Then at some point he pointed out that the picture was of me. I think I said, “No” or shook my head….Ugh…I just don’t remember…But I didn’t want to own the person in the picture.
The last thing I remember talking about was that it was my fault. That there must have been something wrong with me and it was my fault I was sexually abused. The AT told me it was the abuser’s fault not mine, but I couldn’t hear that, so I said no…or shook my head or something.
And then, it was the end of the session and the AT was telling me that I could contact him if I needed him before my Monday appointment. And I joked that I couldn’t do that twice in a week because it broke my rule. And he said something about my rule breaking his rule of being available….Again, I am fuzzy on this and what exactly he said…Except that I remember feeling kind of jolted by the idea that my rule broke his rule…Not in a bad way, just like I had never thought of that before.
And then I was putting on my coat and leaving.
And the rest of the day was me being a total dissociated mess.
At this point…I am pretty much calmed down and present in my body again. I think I am probably back to my baseline.
And life goes on.