Therapy, Tantrums and toothpaste.
The sun is shining, frustratingly directly in to my right eye, through the murky double glazed window hanging like a mass produced hotel painting depicting a token scene of freedom, from just above my left shoulder.
Outside, the biting wintery bluster is blowing the forest of trees bordering the mental hospital in uncontrollable reckless abandon. On the pathways winding themselves between therapy buildings, numerous patients can be spotted wrapping their arms around themselves in an attempt to keep away the icy bite of midmorning frost. The sun, as we all eventually find ourselves sitting, dotted about in various therapy session across the campus, provides no heat at all, serving only as another addition to the endless list of disadvantages we have accrued since first taking steps on our journey.
Even the bloody sun is a nuisance. No, not a nuisance, it is unwanted.
Annoyed by its stupid presence, I try to escape the temporary loss of sight it is causing by leaning forwards and then pushing my self backwards further down in to the sling back chair. All this does, however, is cause puffs of dust to rise upwards from the ancient upholstery with each failed shuffle, and renders me hot bothered, severely unimpressed and still partially blind.
Eventually I give in and raise my hand to just above my left eye, as if now saluting my therapist, in an attempt to shade my entire face from its overpowering useless glow.
The room is what the brochure (if they have one, which I am pretty sure they do) would probably describe as a cosy and perfectly sized haven for intimate and groundbreaking therapy.
There are four thin pre fabricated walls creating a rectangular shape to the room and it is as quiet as would be expected except for the loud ticking of the white and black wall clock hanging above my head, a constant reminder of how monotonous I find the passing of time.
There is a tiny brown table holding aloft a box of tissues sat in between James and I, who of course, are facing one another. Intimate does some it up I suppose, but I would have to say, stifling, claustrophobic and too small (as you have no where to hide) is also a pretty accurate description.
James is sat opposite me, as always, like an illusive angel sent from planet Psychotherapist, partially hidden behind the dancing dust and sinister shadows now lurking in his corner of the room, his bright blue eyes piercing in to the very depths of my soul, like they always, seemingly effortlessly have done on so many occasions leading up to this one.
He is waiting for me to respond, but his question has distracted me and sent me on a journey of the past year, searching out a thoughtful answer.
I close my eyes and drop my salute. I need to think about this one.
Remembering back to the first time I entered this room does me no favours, but I do, I think about it often. I think about the years I have talked through, the moments I have faced and the fear I have felt that I would break if I were to trespass on memories long locked away in a hidden but never forgotten, but not through lack of trying, chest, somewhere in the deepest corners of my brain. The corners which are protected by monsters so ferocious I am afraid to even approach them to ask permission to open the box, never mind delve in to it.
I sit with my eyes closed; knowing he will patiently wait for a response, and I think back, with the approach of the New Year, to the start of this year and all that has passed.
The things I never expected to say;
‘I am attempting to rescue Spiderman from the U-bend. Why what are you up to?’
‘Hurry home there has been a poop emergency. I’m mopping the ceiling!’
‘I just found the tail end of a helicopter in my pocket. Addy will be pleased.’
‘At what point am I meant to draw the face on the banana?’
‘Dyson have been on the phone. They recommend we call a plumber.’
‘I matter. I really do. Hallelujah.’
The things I wish I had never said;
‘I can’t wait to taste your cock.’ (Damn you autocorrect, I meant cooking!!!)
‘I need help.’
‘I’m sorry boss, I can’t talk right now, I’m about to be admitted in to a mental hospital.’ (Oh. Right. Er. Oh. Right. Er. Oh. Right…)
‘I don’t love my son enough.’
‘I can’t live anymore, I need to die.’
The things I pointlessly worried about;
‘Holy hell I hope the Dr doesn’t find my vibrator’
‘I don’t want to be blindfolded in a room full of insane people. What’s the worst that could happen? Seriously? They are all insane!’
‘I am scared of the bathroom door. It is out to get me.’
‘What if when I come out of hospital Addison doesn’t remember me?’
‘Is there something wrong with my son? He’s sucking a worm!’
‘I don’t think I love my son enough.’
‘What if everybody hates me?’
‘If I start crying I will never stop.’
The things I wish I hadn’t had to say;
‘I have poo in my eye ball. Can you pass me a wipe?’
‘Addison, do not put toothpaste up doodle’s bum again!’
‘Can you hurry home? I have a marble stuck up my nose.’
‘I was wrong. You were right.’ (I only said this ONCE!! But he has never let me forget it…)
‘I have yoghurt in my ear. Can you pass me a wipe?’
‘I need help.’
‘It isn’t my fault.’
The most important things I have learned;
God gives us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to fight for the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
If you steal my chips I get uncontrollably annoyed and that is ok!!
Arguments with friends do not signal the end of the relationship, they signal the start of a higher intimacy.
Depression is an illness we cannot control, no matter how hard we try.
I am not a drama queen, I matter.
Boundaries are important when it comes to self protection and self preservation; although they are not always successful on the first try.
Toothpaste gives dogs a terribly runny bum for days, (Although the poo is minty fresh. *Twinkle*)
Little boys eat worms and it won’t kill them. IT’S GROSS THOUGH!
Self punishment is a hard habit to break but it can be broken. Take the stick away.
I have always loved my son enough, and have always been good enough.
Relapse doesn’t make us failures.
I exhale a long and exhausted breath which strangely and most unexpectedly causes a small smile to stray on to my lips for a moment before disappearing up in to the long corridors of my brain and causing a little light to filter through the rooms which used to be filled with laughter and cheer but whose curtains have long since been drawn, and therefore laid forgotten and dusty for a long time.
He, with his ever supportive presence and incredible eyes, stays silent in the corner. I accept the support he is offering without unnecessary acknowledgement. A first.
‘You are smiling.’ His kind and gentle voice punctures my bubble.
‘I am.’ I say opening my eyes and looking at him, thankful also, that the sun has now disappeared behind the trees and I can see him in all his calming glory.
I used to be scared of him when I first started my treatment as I just knew if anyone could help me, it would be him. He used to terrify me. Now though, I like him and can relax around him.
Ok that is a total lie. I like him but there is no way on gods green earth I could ever relax around him. He has this look, the kind of look cats have, like when they know something you don’t, and are about to inform you they know all your secrets even though you never told them. He even knows what you did behind the bike shed at the cheese and wine festival with a boy called Hubert, and you’ve never told anybody that! He’s like the therapy version of David Blane. I like him and admittedly he helps me but relax? Not so much.
‘So?’ He asks again.
‘Could you repeat the question?’ I ask politely momentarily distracted by the reminder of me and Hubert getting up to no good and feeling my face flame in shame, just like it did in 1996 when Mrs Alameda caught us. (Horrific.)
‘I will repeat the question.’ He laughs. ‘I said; How are you today?’
‘I am ok.’ I respond finally, slowly. ‘It’s been one hell of a year.’
‘Has it?’ he responds. (Groan.)
‘Yes. But I’m ok; I don’t want to talk about it ok? We’ve been there and done it. Let’s move on. In fact, it must be nearly time now for me to go?’ I turn around and glance up at the clock.
‘Lexy we just started. You just sat down!’
I sigh. Damn it.
‘How was Ireland?’ He asks with that knowing look, a look which silently informs me he is ready to hear my admittance of relapse and asking of support. He wants me to get it all out.
‘Well,’ I start, ‘I will be completely honest ok?’
‘Ok.’ He replies ‘That would be good.’ And he nods, crossing his legs and getting ready to listen.
‘I had to share a single bed with the Irish one and every time he farted I could feel it on my leg. It was horrifying. Then Addison got poorly and Doodle emptyed his bowel on my mother in laws best rug, my glands swelled up, I killed a slug and the boat crossing made me want to…’ I pause, considering whether to admit the truth, before rushing on ‘vomit.’ I finish.
Some things, like my avoidance to discuss how I really feel, will never change. Even though many things have changed this year. Including but not limited to; my neurological pathways. (The bits of my brain which tell me I don’t deserve care.)
I know he will get it out of me though. The man has magic powers.
My new year’s resolution?
To put absolutely no new pressures on myself, to keep being honest and to stay alive cos no matter what happens, I matter.
Oh. And to buy my mother in law a new rug.
Happy New Year.