The depression has been big these last two weeks, my internal world inhospitable and frightening. Lies and faulty thinking I thought I’d corrected long ago are back. Mindfulness is out of reach. I do what I can—move through the water every morning, go someplace that smells like coffee, write in my journal, call a friend. But I can only poke holes in the darkness. And as my therapist and I start using the tools in Radical Acceptance, I’m catching glimpses of—something—on the periphery.
There’s a terror within me that I’ve never touched. I’m being asked to do that now. Intellectually, I see this as therapeutic and full of potential. But in our first session doing this Work, so much resistance came up that my body went numb. Everything in me wanted to run out of Megan’s office. When she talked to me, it was as if she spoke a foreign language. I could not comprehend what she said.
I’ve tried working with difficult aspects of my illness before—the compulsive eating and spending, the anxiety, the insatiable longing. I’ve noticed that when I start challenging one of these pieces or bring awareness to it, the others thrash around like two-year-olds. To me it feels like a kind of pressure valve. When I pay attention to my feelings of loneliness and wanting, I eat everything in sight. When I put structure to my eating, my credit card starts smoking from all the on-line shopping. I feel like one of those rubber Martian Popper dolls.
But I’ve not really had a partner in doing this work. My previous therapists were either traditional, ineffective, or so flaky that they never should have been practicing in the first place (I’ve had some whack-os. That’s another story). But now I have someone who feels safe and competent, someone who shares my view of mental illness as a spiritual path, someone who knows more than I do about this Work. I don’t have to figure this out alone any more.
And while I’m scared, I’m also relieved. I’m trying not to have expectations, just face whatever comes the best I can.
But I think I’ll have to find one of those Popper dolls to take with me to my next session.