Submitted by megan on Thu, 09/07/2006 - 21:34
I had my last therapy appointment yesterday. Not that I'm fixed, necessarily. Not that I was really broken. The gradual crack and crumble of my last relationship left me cracked and crumbled too; but not broken by any stretch of the imagination. Thankfully, I am way past breaking myself for someone else. I was, however messy and sad. Moreover, I was frustrated; I was curious: why have so many of the men in my romantic life share a few key characteristics? What was it about them? What was it about me? How could I have been trying to figure this out by myself for nearly a decade and not come up with any concrete answers? Time to call in the reinforcements. Reason the first to go back to therapy.
For those of you who missed She's So Heavy, Parts 1-5 (check out the May 2006 archive), I spent 2 years in my early 20s getting friendly with a variety of psychologists and psychiatrists. That was me broken. It was my third or fourth major depressive episode and a fucking doozy. Statistically, I'm unlikely to escape another one. After a decade major episode free, I do consider myself one of the anomalies, but finding a therapist in Ottawa is part of my quest to stay an anomaly. If you hit a crisis point, it's good to have someone on speed dial that you know you like and who knows your story in full. Reason the second.
Also for those of you who missed She's So Heavy, there was a thick vein of hatred and vitriol running through those posts, directed at someone I haven't even seen in 8 years. Well, haven't seen in the flesh. I've seen his ghost everywhere. Any tall, thin dark-haired man would make me turn my head quickly and think "Ack, Bob," before I could shake it off. This happened anywhere from once every couple of weeks to a couple times a day. Too much hanging on to too long ago. Reason the third.
The healing process from that relationship was long, and tumbled along in fits and starts. I think many of the psychic wounds healed on the surface only. Ice thick enough to skate on, but the pain undulating quietly underneath. The last reason.
I wanted - needed - the past to be the past, to keep its iceburgs from cropping up in my present. I went into therapy feeling like I needed some way to put the past to bed. Closure, if you want to be completely trite about it. I got that, but not in the way I expected.
In my second or third session, I went through my well-rehearsed description of all the wrongs Bob had done me, all the ways in which he was harmful and mean, the carelessness, the outright hatred. And I wrapped it up with "And I need to forgive him, but I don't know how." Nearly a wail. Because that's what you do, right? That's how you get closure. You forgive people for their sins against you.
My therapist looked at me levelly and said "What he did to you was unforgiveable."
The proverbial lightning bolt. It's true. I was holding on to those hurts by trying to forgive someone who acted unforgiveably. I didn't want to forgive him. So I don't. And it's over.
I left that appointment feeling green and fresh and new. I've stopped seeing his ghost all the time. I care that he did those things to me, but abstractly, like they happened to a small girl whose lungs are so tiny she takes rapid sipping breaths, whose skin is transcluscent, just one cell thick, thready veins pulsing underneath. A small frangible girl that I've suspended in saline and kept safe. I can take her out every once in a while and acknowledge that she's me too, that for a while my existence was this fragile, but I can then put her back again, tenderly and carefully. She can breathe safe, forgotten.