Today I have been mostly sighing.
I reiterate – sighing.
Despite things not going so great of late, I was doing OK. I’ve been doing a bit of buddhist meditation and trying to accept my fate and was staying on a relatively even keel, until I went to my first Schema Therapy session.
To clarify, whilst this was my first session, it was the group’s second meeting, because, after all that angst filled waiting, I managed to miss the first one because I’d got the dates mixed up. I’m pretty sure they (the two shrinks) thought I’d done it deliberately but I hadn’t.
One day seems very much like the next when you don’t have a life.
So, when I rocked up last Thursday, they were very effusive when welcoming me to the flock.
But I don’t trust them. Partly because (as the scorpion said to the frog) it’s my nature, and partly because I haven’t forgotten them pretending my financial situation didn’t exist and that this would ensure that I was going to be there for the entire two years. I was quite frankly amazed that someone so intelligent and well qualified would resort to behaving like an ostrich. Well I’ve told ’em and if they still choose to pretend that my imminent departure isn’t happening, that’s their funeral.
Also, the list of participants they showed me were women and there are men in this group. That’s going to be awkward further down the line.
The first, my first, session started with the ‘bubble’ exercise where we had to close our eyes and visualise being in a lovely bubble that none of our worries or anything bad could penetrate and where we were safe, at least for the 90 minutes we were at the hospital.
My friends, there are only so many things that a bubble can repel. And an gang of burly baliffs would smash that motha to pieces, so I stared at the carpet by way of compromise and played along.
We then did this thing with a ball of yarn where we had to say our name wrap the yarn around our hand then throw it to someone else, until everyone was tied together, thus illustrating the unshakable bond between us.
Oh God, how I itched to take the piss out of it, so when they asked us what it looked like, I kept schtum.
But then they had to ask me, of all people, what I saw.
‘It looks like a pentagon.’
‘Ah yes’ enthused Shrink No. 1, ‘I can see that, so it’s like we’re points on a star?’
‘No. A pentagon.’ As used in black masses? Fortunately I managed to keep that bit in my head.
Then, ten minutes in when one of the girls got emotional, Shrink No. 2 broke out some lengths of felt fabric for us to cuddle and link between us to signify softness, and a comforting bond.
What the absolute fuck? Is anyone actually falling for this shit?
Well yes they were. From what i could tell, I was the only cynic amongst them. And that’s when the penny dropped.
Even in an entire group of misfits and outsiders, I’m the outsider.
That’s no mean feat is it? Practically something to be proud of.
Except all I felt was despair.
I have nothing in common with the others. I’m older, from a different area, a different background, and I’ve had lots of therapy over the years, whereas all the jargon, tools and visualisations seem to be new and wonderful to these people.
It’s not their fault but my trust in them is zero. How can I bear my soul here?
On the plus side, I kind of feel that I might be able help them, and in that sense, help myself.
At one stage I pulled out my bottle of water for a drink and copped a worried grin from No. 2, then when one of the girls asked if she could drink from her flask of tea, everyone froze.
‘Um…’ said No. 1, ‘well, what does the rest of the group think?’
Everyone shifted uncomfortably.
‘Yes’ chimed in No. 2, ‘I think this should be a group decision.’ She nodded gravely.
Sorry? It’s green tea, not methadone!
I had to pipe up.
‘I’m sorry but it didn’t even occur to me that drinking wouldn’t be allowed’ I said incredulously ‘I get very dehydrated from my meds, and can’t go 90 minutes without water, so as long as it’s not a can of Guinness, I don’t see what the problem is?’
The group burst out laughing and even the shrinks allowed themselves a faint smile.
‘Yes, well if everyone’s OK with that, we’ll agree that you can bring drinks into the group.’
Oh, goodie, goodie gumdrops. Am I going to have to put my hand up to go wee wees too?
I reported back to Aunty C and she laughed.
‘Try not to rubbish it too much and see what you can get from it.’
I took that on board and congratulated myself on surviving the first session.
Except I haven’t.
Today I watched brave, ballsy Lynda Bellingham’s (British actress) final interview, when she spoke of her incurable bowel cancer and her resigning herself to imminent death, but was planning one last Christmas with her loved ones before popping her clogs.
But it never worked out that way as she died on Sunday.
And here’s me planning the most Scroogy Christmas I can because I feel unloved and let down by my family.
If I had to describe that moment, I don’t think I can do it justice, but I felt a combination of shame, sadness, anger, envy, shame, resentment and pain.
I didn’t cry but I can feel all those unshed tears lodged in my thorax again, and I keep doing those big shaky sighs that you do when you’ve bawled your eyes out.
Maybe it’s a matter of time. I just pray God that it doesn’t happen there.
Maybe I’ll go and see the Munsters at Crimbo after all.