Noose

There it dangles, the tiny skeleton,
dancing on its tiny noose, haunting me.

It hangs from your rear view mirror,
reflecting the past into the present.

Skeletons are meant to remain hidden
under layers of skin and despair and false hopes.

But you drag them out,
grinning, heckling, getting off on reactions.

Getting off on pain,
you brag about your conquests of physical and psychological and sexual

abuse.

There it dangles, the tiny skeleton
dancing on its tiny noose, haunting me.

Bobbing in front of the mirror,
dragging the horrors of the past, screaming back into the forefront of my mind.

You are the noose,
wrapped around my neck.

Can you see the scars? They linger still,
finger-shaped bruises in a pretty purple painting on my ghost-white neck.

You are the noose,
wrapped around my heart, my mind, my soul,

my past.

You are the noose from which I dangle,
kicking, jerking, clawing at the frayed edges.

I’ll cut this fucker down, one of these days;
I’ll cut you down.

And then I’ll take those frayed bits and fashion the noose anew,
giving it a new home around your splotchy, bloated, corpse-like neck,

fathermine.

~

P.S. A big fat thank you to everyone who offered up ideas and made banners for me. I’m saving all of them and may rotate them out from time to time. Y’all rock my socks. All the damn time.

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Prelude to a Shrunken Head, AKA Stephanie Prepares to be Therapized

P.S. I’m pissed that “therapized” is actually a word. Seriously, I googled “therapize,” and that fucker exists! I was so proud of making it up! Google defines it as “subject to psychological therapy” which is exactly what I meant by it!

Hmph. That’s a buncha bullshit right there. Anyway, yes I totally started this post with a postscript. Deal with it.

So, as you’ve probably guessed by now, this post is about the time I made a class of third graders write haiku about pickles. Except it’s totally not about that. Didn’t you even read the fucking postscript?

I’ve been considering therapy for a long time. I’m talkin’ years. But over the last year or so, my mind has gotten so dark that it frightens me. It’s time. It’s past time that I seek help.

The phone calls were hard to make. But I got help and was also told where to go if I need urgent care. I have an appointment for next Thursday, a week from today. And…and I’m proud of myself and also freaking right the fuck out. I need to get some things off of my chest, because I still can’t think straight. I can’t think of any funny anecdotes to share or anyone to slam in a humorous way. So I need to purge some darkness. Here goes.

~

MEMO

To:          Therapist
From:    Basketcasephanie
Date:     I don’t think that’s allowed between us, but thanks.
RE:         Things I wish you knew but will never be able to tell you in forty-five minutes.

MESSAGE

Trust – I don’t trust you. I’ve never met you, and I don’t trust you. You’re a woman, first off. And I’ve never not had my trust betrayed by a woman. I know you’re a therapist, and you have rules and blah blah blah. But you’re also human. And I don’t trust humans. Especially female ones. I know there are some great ones out there. I know. But I’m scared to open up to you, and I wish you knew that. I don’t want to spill my guts to you, only to find you either can’t help me or are dismissive of me. And I will live with the fear that you’ll tell all of my secrets. I don’t think you can help me. I think you’re a waste of my time and money. But as a dear soul recently said to me, I know what I’ve got right now. And it’s not working. So why not give something else a shot? So I’m giving you a shot. Please don’t break my trust and abandon me like everyone else has.

Please prove me wrong about you.

Lost and Afraid – I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to do therapy, and I don’t know how to do life anymore. I’m afraid if you can’t help me, no one can. I did go to therapy once. I was a child, and in some set of circumstances (the details of which I’m not privy to), my mother was required to take me to therapy. She took me and my sister to a counseling center for battered and abused women and children. I know we went several times. I remember the dark wood staircase and banister. The narrow foyer. The closed doors and hushed voices. I remember shaking and being afraid to speak.

I had to do Rorschach tests – I had to do a lot of those. They asked me a lot of strange questions. But the last thing I remember about that place is when they required us to draw pictures of our family life, specifically anything that upset or worried us. My sister drew this simple, common little family picture. A house in the background and a line of stick figures holding hands. I remember backing into a corner, going mute and refusing to move. I had this mixed feeling of fear that I would be punished for disobeying and fear of the consequences of drawing what was in my head. So I shook and stayed quiet and fought the urge to pee on myself. That’s the last time I remember going.

I’m scared you’re going to make me open up wounds for you to stare at and leave them to fester and rot. You’re going to ask me to draw mental pictures for you, then you’re going to send me on my way with a bandaid and an invoice. But I don’t know how to do life anymore, so here I am.

I’m still that scared little girl, cowering in the corner and trying not to piss her pants. I will have a panic attack in your office. I’m going to shake and sob and choke and dry heave.

Please help me.

Depression – You should know I’ve been depressed for so long that I don’t remember what it’s like to be free from it. You should know that I’m severely depressed. I have suicidal ideation, and the imaginings in my head are specific, planned and visual. You should know that I have no support system in my daily life, so I’ve reached out to people online. The loneliness I feel has seeped into the marrow of my bones, spread itself out and taken over my body and my mind. It’s rooted there, and I don’t think I’ll ever be free of it.

You should know that I hate myself, and I expect you to hate me, too. You should know that sometimes, when people talk to me, instead of listening, I’m smiling on the outside but screaming “FUCKYOU FUCKYOU FUCKYOU FUCKYOU SHUTTHEFUCKUP LEAVEMEALONE” over and over in my head. This will happen when you talk to me, too. Another reason that I don’t think this talk therapy bullshit is going to work.

I’m unhappy with myself. I’m unhappy with my job. I’m unhappy with my past. I’m unhappy with my present. I’m unhappy with my stagnation. I don’t want to get out of bed in the mornings. I sleep all weekend to escape the maddening loneliness and the dark thoughts. I don’t take care of myself. My house is a wreck, my clothes are wrinkled, my hair stays in a messy ponytail, and I don’t give a fuck. I don’t give a fuck about you or anyone else or what you think or whether I live, die or grow mushrooms out of my ass.

But I do care. I’m drowning, and you’re my last hope.

CPTSD – You should know I suspect I’m suffering from CPTSD as well. I’ve never recovered from childhood abuse. I’ve never recovered from being emotionally, physically and sexually abused. And I hate myself. I hate myself for being weak. I hate myself for not getting over it. I hate myself for not speaking up when things happened. I hate myself for not holding people accountable for their crimes. I hate myself for considering it crimes, when so many suffered so much worse. And I hate myself for diminishing it. I just hate myself.

Every time I’ve seen him, even as a woman in my thirties, I feel an urge to piss my pants. I shake. My voice shakes, my body shakes. I shake all over and I have a visceral reaction. I get nauseated, tense and void my bladder. I’m scared to death that you’re going to tell me to confront him and refuse to continue treatment with me when I refuse to do so. I will not confront him. I will not go to him, regardless of what he’s going through right now. Fuck him and fuck you for suggesting it.

Please help the terrified little girl inside of me. Please don’t make me talk to him.

Bipolar Disorder – My uncle is a severe Bipolar I. My mother is Bipolar II. I’m afraid and also hoping that you will tell me I’m bipolar as well. I suspect Bipolar II, like my mother. I’m afraid, because I swore I’d never be like her. But fuck me if I haven’t turned into that depressing, reclusive, manic crazy person who shuts out the whole world. Except she’s a selfish bitch. I at least missed the boat on that, mostly.

But I’m hopeful because it would make me feel relief to know that what I experience is happening for a reason. That my severe depressive episodes, intermingled with swings high up into the rafters, laughing, playful, energetic and making grandiose plans for my life, then back down to hyper anger, then back down to deep dark suicidal depression, that all of that is happening because of a real condition.

But I’m also hoping that’s not it, because I know I have real, valid reasons for being depressed. Loneliness does things to a sensitive, emotional person like me. It fucks me up. It really fucks me up. And yet it’s hard to let anyone in because of severe trust issues. But…but…does that explain the intermittent mania and mixed episodes? The incredible difficulties with sleep?

Whatever it is, please tell me it’s treatable. I can’t stand this suffering anymore.

Social Anxiety – I can’t stand to be in public. Just being in this room with you right here and right now is making my skin crawl. Are you looking at me askance? I saw the way you looked at my size. I saw the way you looked at my unkempt hair and wrinkled shirt. I know my hoodie isn’t professional like your pressed blazer. I’d live my life within the confines of my house if I could. But I can’t. So I exit the premises, each and every day, with great reluctance and lead in my stomach.

I hate grocery shopping and put it off until there’s nothing but tap water and moldy cheese left. Because of the people. They look at me. They think hateful thoughts about me. They whisper to each other about me. They accuse the contents of my cart. They snicker at the way I walk. This is how I feel, everywhere I go, in public. I don’t have friends; I don’t talk to my neighbors; I don’t socialize with my coworkers. I don’t leave the house unless it’s mandatory – work, grocery, fuel, etc.

As I entered the door here, to this counseling center, I wondered how many people I knew saw me. I wonder if the insurance company will report to my employer that I’m a headcase. I wonder if you’ll go home and tell your spouse about the neurotic woman who wasted your time today and dirtied up your couch with her presence. I fidget, I shake, my heart races. Can you help me coexist with other humans, without thinking everyone is out to get me? Can you help me not want to literally run and hide when some coworker asks me to lunch?

Can you help me be normal?

Self-Harm – I hurt myself. Not with knives or scissors. Not with booze or pills. I pick and rip and tear at my skin. Around my nails, on my chin, on my arms, on my thighs. It’s disgusting and shameful, and I can’t fucking stop. It hurts, and it scars. I don’t like it. I’ve tried hitting myself when I do it. It doesn’t work. I’ve tried coating sores in ointment, but I just wipe it off and do it again. The scars I have will always be there, but I’m tired of making new ones. I just don’t know how to stop.

I don’t want to hurt myself anymore.

Self-Worth – I don’t feel worthy of your time. I don’t feel like I deserve to be here, when there are people in greater need and more deserving than I am. I’m afraid you’ll find me insipid and petty. I don’t want you to tell me to fucking love myself, okay? If you tell me that, I may fucking walk out. Don’t do that. You’re a therapist; don’t fucking talk down to me with canned bullshit. You don’t tell someone who thinks she’s a piece of shit that everything will be right as rain if you just start loving yourself. Don’t you think I would if I could? I don’t feel like I deserve anything good or nice or lovely or pretty or sweet. But I’m here anyway.

I’m here anyway, because no matter how fucking hard I try to kill off my last piece of hope so I don’t get hurt. Again. For the zillionth time. I can’t stop hoping. Hoping for something better. Hoping someone will prove me wrong about myself. Hoping I’m worth it. Hoping there’s a reason to this charade called life. So I’m here. Talking with you.

Please give me reason to hope.

~

Forty-five minutes isn’t enough time. And I’m upset and anxiety-ridden that I have to return to work after this. You will rip things open and send me back out into the world. Please. I’m begging you. I’m begging the universe. Please make it worth it.

Please fix me.