I see suffering
‘Too much suffering!’ I say, quickly, determinedly, almost angrily, in response to the therapist’s question. She wants to know what my biggest problem is right now. She wants to figure out how to focus down on what we try to deal with this session. Which strand of wool shall we pull from the tangled mess in front of us that is me, today, here, now?
My answer hasn’t really helped her.
She smiles sympathetically and lowers her eyes. Mine are radiating challenge, fury, and acres of self-pity. Right now, I want to lay into anyone I can justifiably blame for my suffering. Anyone, that is, apart from the people that caused it – that still doesn’t feel safe. But I’m hot with agitation, I’m aching with abandonment, and I have that edgy, dangerous sense of wanting to destroy something. Preferably myself.
The therapist pauses, waits, calms. She’s sucking the energy out of my fight. She’s not looking directly at me, but slightly off to one side, and her upper body is languidly angled away from me too. There’s a soft gaze on her face, her wrinkles crumpled together full of pink lifefulness. She’s present and real and human and here, and it’s all I can do not to be defused by her. I want to fight her, I really do. She’s just not rising to it.
Find the complete article in Carolyn's new book, 'Unshame: healing trauma-based shame through psychotherapy', available now!
A word of explanation
I had therapy mainly between 2006 and 2015. These blog posts are not verbatim accounts of sessions, but rather the client equivalent of ‘case studies’ - amalgamations of various sessions, ‘narratively true’ rather than ‘historically true’. Although often written for stylistic purposes in the present tense, they are very much from a past period of my life. Ideally they should be read within the wider context of other blog posts, articles and my book, to give a more integrated and rounded sense of where I was at, where I’m at now, and the process that took place between those two points. I have been on a journey of recovery, and the difference in me from when I was in therapy (especially at the beginning) to now is testament to the brain’s ability to recover from even the most appalling suffering.
My primary work now is writing, followed closely by training therapists, counsellors and other professionals to support survivors of trauma. Regrettably I cannot provide one-to-one support but our charity framework PODS (Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivors) provides a helpline and a range of other services: please go to www.pods-online.org.uk for more information, and https://support.pods-online.org.uk/start-here if you are looking for support.
For training, please see our range of live courses at www.carolynspring.com/live-training, and our online courses at www.carolynspring.com/online-training. We also publish a range of resources to support recovery from trauma, which you can see at www.carolynspring.com/shop. My first book, Recovery is my best revenge, is available to buy at https://www.carolynspring.com/shop/recovery-is-my-best-revenge-paperback/