Before the Last Session

After about eleven years of working with E, I had my last session scheduled for 2pm last Wednesday afternoon. I felt solid about it when I made the decision and told E. I felt solid about it thinking and journaling at home… until about two days beforehand. Then I started to feel… upset. Triggered, I guess. And it showed up in the ways it usually does: suddenly, I had no energy, no ability to focus. I spent long hours in bed, too depleted to go outside and enjoy summer in my garden. For the first time in many months, I started to feel depressed.

So there I was, lying in bed, wasting time (again), when I remembered, wait, I know what to do when I feel like this. This is when I need to check in with all the parts of myself.

There’s a million ways to do that, of course. For me, it works to place myself in the big house I’ve imagined, the one where there is a room for every conceivable part (including the ones I might not know yet). Sometimes when I don’t know what part needs attention, I imagine myself going to the living room, a big room with expansive windows out to the ocean (picture a house on the beach at Malibu–it’s imaginary, so no worries about the cost of the mortgage). I settle myself into one of the comfortable sofas and invite my parts to come join me. “Does anyone need anything? What’s up? Who wants to come talk?”

This time, however, when I entered the big living room, it didn’t look like it usually does–spacious, tidy, comfortable, simple, with a focus on the ocean view. Instead, it was a mess. There were toys and dirty socks, crayons and an overturned tricycle on the floor, food packaging, crumbs and sweaty sneakers on the table.

I have children, so I have seen my real house look like that before. But my internal house? Never.

“Somebody is really upset,” I said. “Probably more than one somebody. Who needs some attention here?”

After a while, I’d rounded up a young teen and a nine-year-old and some very young toddler part. It didn’t take long to figure out that they were frightened at the thought of losing E. Who would care about their feelings? Who would want to hear what they had to say? Would they be alone again, as they used to be?

I used to really resist the idea that I had to comfort and soothe my parts myself. After all, I’m not the one who hurt them or abandoned them! Why should I have to do it? But over time, I’ve come to feel differently about it. Now I see that I am lucky to be the one to care for them, because I know better than anyone what soothes and consoles them.

E has been wonderful to me, patient and generous with her time. But sometimes she said the wrong thing. Sometimes she thought that pushing was needed, when really the parts needed a rest. Sometimes she emphasized my inherent strength when I felt weak, and that accentuated the sense of not being seen. I don’t have to make those errors, because I am so much closer to the needs of the parts.

On this day, they needed reassurance and comfort. They wanted to know that someone saw them and cared. So with a little magical wave of the hand, I cleaned up the mess (I really like imaginary cleaning, so efficient), and I opened up the windows out to the ocean. There was a bit of a breeze, and the sun had just set. We moved the big sofa closer to the windows and cuddled up together, the four of us, with the littlest one on my lap. I told them that I saw how afraid and upset they were. I saw their fear of being forgotten. I reminded them that I loved them and was committed to them. I’d keep visiting them and listening to them, even without therapy. I wouldn’t ignore or override them. I used to do that in the past, but that was because I used to believe I had to do that to survive. Now I knew them, knew how to be with them, knew how to connect with my inner wisdom to support them. I had learned these things from E, and I intended to use them… forever.

After a while, we grew silent and just watched as the stars came out. The littlest one fell asleep, her head on my shoulder. Then one by one, the others fell asleep, and finally I did, too.

It still amazes me to (re)discover how calming it is to simply pay attention my own inner world.

10 comments

    • That’s so nice of you! I’m happy you love it.

      You are right though–I have come a really long way. A few years ago, I would have had no idea how to deal with the unsettled emotions. That’s when I needed to lean heavily on E to help me calm down some or at least keep me from panicking at the emotions that arose. I wouldn’t have believed it then, if you’d told me that I really could manage it myself. I feel so grateful for the changes.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is incredible, Q. As someone who resides in the space you reflect back on – resistant and struggling to tend to the internal parts that need care – I am amazed and inspired by all of the ways you have grown and learned to provide this type of comforting and healing care towards yourself. It inspires hope.
    Hugs to you. πŸ’•πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is nothing you could say about my blog that would make me happier than “It inspires hope,” so thank you. I write this blog for a couple of reasons, and a big one is that I do want to share with others that it’s possible to feel better, to make peace with those parts that seems so scary or confused or wounded or angry or… whatever they seemed to be. I really believe that if I can do it, everyone else can, too. Your path might look different, of course. I am sure there are many paths from suffering to health (with still some suffering, but manageable). I am positive that there are multiple therapeutic modalities that can be helpful. You just have to find what resonates deep inside of you, and of course also one or more therapists that you can trust deeply. Anyway, I already look forward to reading about your continued journey on this difficult but rewarding path.

      Liked by 1 person

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