I lifted myself up from my bed, eyes red and irritable, hair wild and knotty as a swing spun round in a circle, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Quickly I dried my eyes and realised I wasn’t sure who was crying. The me at 5 year’s old, or the me now. The therapy technique – well, I’m not entirely sure what kind of technique – it felt therapeutic to me, had unlocked some of my most painful memories.
Old memories in the present
I distinctively remember wondering how to get my classmates to like me. On a particular day, we were asked to bring in our favourite teddy bear for a teddy bear picnic. I was 5, but I didn’t have teddy bears and so I panicked. My sister had one, a Winnie the Pooh with a honey-pot attached to its legs – it was a teddy that sat. After pleading, I bought in happily to school, thinking the popular bear will make me easily fit in. Instead, I have a clear vision of me stood in the corner of one side of the room, alone and desperate for someone to come over. Everyone else was scattered around the other side.
The girls in my class had teddies which had legs that could move. During the teddy bear race, they said I couldn’t race with them as my bear didn’t. I left that day feeling exasperated and sad. I don’t remember what I did when I got home, but I know I never told my family, who always assumed I was fine at school. This memory which makes me cry, is one I’ve not thought of for twenty years. I told myself it was a silly thing as a child.
It adds up to a lot of how I spent my younger life. On a school trip to Brighton, I didn’t have the correct sandals to go in the sea, so I stood in the sand as I watched my classmates run in. Sometimes when I didn’t know who to play with, I pretended to feel sick so I could spend lunch in the school’s office. They either knew I was lying, or they thought me a very ill girl. Occasionally, I had friends and I had best friends. I had sleepovers and got invited to parties and had people attend my own. It wasn’t all gloom and blue, it’s just loneliness took up a heavy section of my childhood. It released a craving for acceptance and attention.
Meeting Asha-deb and gaining understanding
Sat on my bedside table, this book collected a hint of dust. I wiped it weekly – I have a fear of dust being near me when I sleep, but I knew it was pointless to keep the book there. Bedtimes were scheduled for social-media interaction and stress over every possible worry. I took the book on my morning commute. As mentioned on my blog before, this book is ‘Life Happens To Us’ by Ashta-deb. It’s a true story about a woman who overcame tragedy – abuse and abandonment from her parents and the loss of an older sister when aged 9. That’s a small, insignificant sentence to reveal the truth deps of what Asha-deb has suffered.
I’ve not read a book from start to finish for a couple of years. I read this one, and I found myself creating links to numerous chapters. Towards the end as Asha-deb discovers she has PTSD and manages to find a cure to release her hurt – a mix of Western and Eastern medicine, I reflected back on my life and wondered what I have done to heal myself. Did I even know what kind of pain I had? Emailing Asha-deb back and forth, she gave me this therapy technique where I had to relay the first time I felt lonely. I had to dip between the observer and the experiencer. I had to answer a set of questions, replaying the memory with nothing but acceptance and understanding.
Asha-deb is writing a post for my blog soon, and I can’t wait to share with you what she has shared with me. In the short time of communicating, amongst all the lessons learnt including the therapy technique, she told me how we are born in the world with no opinion. We become conditioned as we grow, in beliefs of pattern and behaviour. To find enlightenment, we need to become aware of our programmed behaviour. Why do we do, exactly what we do? Why do I have a fear of not being able to find my friends at a location we agreed to meet at, why do I hate standing alone? Why do I have anxiety whenever meeting someone new, or naturally assume a person won’t like me? Why do I scrutinise my body so much, why does my hair and makeup have to look together before leaving home?
Why do I assume I’m in the wrong, why do I go out of my way? My body has been starved and permanently on a diet. Why am I a perfectionist and why am I never happy? I have a great job with some amazing friends and I’m chasing my dreams with success so far. So why am I searching, waking up and wanting to run away to somewhere like Barcelona, as if running on a beach each morning is the answer to my prayers.
Slowly I’m figuring out the pieces to my puzzles, since crying my eyes to a therapy technique. How asleep have I been? How did I not know that my mum scrutinising and being a perfectionist who rarely overly compliments my work, has led me to scrutinise and forever critique? My sister’s mood-swings and natural aggression, making me more on edge. Me meeting someone new is like me failing to make friends at school. Me wearing next to nothing in college was me tired of hearing I’m too boring and plain.
Fight for self-love
In the fight to self-love, figuring out exactly who we are, is half-way to winning the battle. It’s not about being told a bunch of adjectives – you’re beautiful, funny, sweet – your past is just your past, it’s not about sympathy or trying to blame others for every bad mistake or past issue. It’s about acknowledging truthfully, what’s happened in your life to to create certain self-destructive behaviours. When we figure out our patterns, we figure out your lives.
Have you ever received counselling or tried a therapy technique you really recommend? When it comes to learning a therapy technique, do you think they should be more common to know about?