Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Couch

June 7, 2012 - the beers I drank the night she died.

"Because it's all on me. There is literally nobody else who can take any of it from me," I said.

"What if, even though you think nobody can take any of it off of you, you allowed someone to be near you, holding you up while you carried all of it? What would that feel like?"

"I don't know," I replied. "Weakness."

"Take a look at how you're sitting right now."

I'd only been seeing Amy for a week. I'd made the appointment after Molly died, after she was killed in the street sixty yards from my house. I thought that I needed someone to help me deal with the trauma, and that was the only reason I was there, but as I'd imagine is often the case with therapy, it wasn't really about that one specific thing. She knew that as soon as I walked in and sat on her couch. That's where I was perched, leaning forward, hands on my elbows, elbows on my knees, sturdy in my pose, but also guarded.

"You are hugging yourself, supporting yourself. Do you ever let anyone else do that for you?"

"No, because I don't need it. I'm strong enough to not need it."


"Because if I let someone do that for me, I've given them the power to wound me when they take the support away. That's what happens. That's what always happens, if you think about it. No matter how long someone stands with you, there's always an end to it. I mean, ultimately, you die alone, right? That's not bitterness or mistrust. It's a fact. And everybody has their own shit to deal with. How can I, in good conscience, ask someone to take mine on in addition to their own, when I'm perfectly capable of handling it all myself? I'm stronger than most people. I'm the strongest person I know. I shouldn't need that. Need is bullshit."

She let me go on like that for a couple of minutes, my hands tightening around my elbows, my spine straight and stiffening as I pressed harder against my knees, not collapsing over myself so much as readying for the next thing to come at me.

"I want you to think about what it would feel like for you to relax your shoulders against somebody," she said. "Let go of yourself, lean back against the couch right now, and just see what that feels like."

I thought that was the dopiest thing I'd ever heard. Let the couch hug me. Jesus. Still, I didn't want to dismiss what she was saying, because what I'd been doing wasn't working.

I gingerly touched my back to the pillows, in much the same way I would have put a toe into a hot bath, testing for pain. Slowly, I pressed deeper, until I felt the chenille wrapping around my arms, conforming to the shape of me, almost like hands squeezing my shoulders. I closed my eyes and let go of my elbows, laying my palms flat on the cushion.

"What does that feel like, being supported?"

I couldn't answer her for a few moments, because I suddenly found myself sobbing. Finally, I choked out, "Comfort."

"Can you allow someone else to do that for you?"



Audrey said...

Wow! that's all I can say. very powerful.

jabblog said...

I hope it gets easier for you.

Daisy said...

Dude, you just put into words EXACTLY how I feel myself, but in a way more articulate way than I've ever been able to.

I hope you feel differently now.