Why I Cried and Philly

Why I Cried

Yesterday, I showed the AT a piece of art I made while in treatment.  It was the day my lovely friend, Biebs was discharged.  As a matter-of-fact, she left about half an hour before that particular art therapy group.  I took her leaving really hard.  I really grew close to Biebs (and still keep in close contact), she is smart and insightful and caring and we spent many hours together in the late afternoons walking back and forth on the sidewalk in front of the facility.  When she came to say good-bye, I just totally melted.  She and I had started the same day, and I was the last of us left.  Everyone else I really cared about or who were from the core group I hung out with for the first month had already left.  And now, my amazing friend, Biebs was leaving too.  It was just too much.

By the time I got to art therapy, I had not pulled myself together.  It was so bad that even people who never offered hugs offered me hugs.  And there was nothing anyone could do to make me feel better.  I was just broken.

So, I went into art therapy and cried.  I cried for the whole session, even while doing my project.  The art therapist running the group put a box of Kleenex beside me and I just grabbed tissues and cried and worked on my project.  It was horrible. And then when we were done, the art therapist asked me to stay after the session and we talked a little bit and I cried some more.

It was just an afternoon of raw, unrestrained sorrow.

Yesterday, while I was showing the AT the piece of art from the day Biebs left, I felt that deep aching sadness again.  Of course, not as strongly as it was a while ago but it was enough to make tears spring to my eyes.  And for that sadness build and come right up to the surface.

And then, I realized something.  Or…I didn’t realize it, it was something I already knew, but I guess it was just really driven home for me.  One of the reasons I hate dealing with the childhood trauma stuff is that I can’t bear to feel all the feelings that come along with it.  All the feelings that I had as a child who had been sexually abused.  All the feelings that I refuse to feel and that has led to a life of stamping out and not allowing feelings. All those feelings are still there.  And if looking at the piece of art from the day Biebs left evoked the feelings from that day, looking at the me child-me will surely do the same.  And I can’t do it.  I can’t feel those feeling.  The overwhelm of pain and sorrow and all the rest of it is far beyond my ability to handle it.

I was able to articulate my concern about the art triggering the feelings of that day and how I am scared about dealing with child-me stuff triggering those feelings.  And I did it between tears and dissociation and terror (and I am impressed that I was even able to be articulate in all that emotional mess!).  The AT was very compassionate and reassuring. But I am still terrified of the mess of feelings I am going to have to deal with at some point.  I don’t know if I can do it.  However, it seems to be the key to everything….Or at least to lots of my dysfunctions.  But how do I deal with the agony of it without engaging any of my maladaptive coping mechanisms?  And how do I manage the feelings without restricting?  How do I stay safe?

Ugh.  Too much to think about!


This morning, I am off to Philadelphia.  The treatment facility is having their annual reunion and I am going.  I am really excited about it and looking forward to seeing friends and staff and feeling the safety bubble that is Renfrew.

Join us on Saturday, June 4, 2016, to reconnect with old friends, reinvigorate your recovery and discover new ways to seek support. We invite you to experience a new reunion schedule where you will have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops and activities that will stimulate new thinking and further support your journey in recovery.

Look out Renfrew, here I come!



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