Selves have been chattering at me all night. No sleep.
My fault really. I’m trying to quit the quetiapine coma habit (not least because I only have one “sleeping dose” to last me till next Thursday, and I have to admit that while the lack of consciousness is bliss I don’t much relish what it does to my heartbeat before it knocks me out.) So, of course, I also lose the quetiapine induced internal quietness that consumes the vast part of the following day (And really I want to be doing more than sitting on the sofa staring blankly into space for hours. Though it is quite peaceful.).
Friday started well. I had a letter from the DWP informing me they were no longer going to pay me ESA. Luckily stand-in CPN (Lovely CPN is currently off sick) was visiting so she called them for me. I wasn’t too sure about her to start with, but after she looked at the letter and said “Bloody hell, they’re buggers, aren’t they?” I decided I did like her after all. They say it’s somehow happened because I changed my address, and that my payments should continue as normal, but I don’t entirely trust the machinery of the system, so I won’t rest easy until a week on Monday, when I find out whether that’s true or not.
Then in the afternoon I went to my first art therapy session. I walked there in snow, and back in snow. The walk takes twenty minutes. I stood waiting outside the door, staring at the time on my phone until it was exactly half past two, then rang the bell. Didn’t want to be early, didn’t want to be late. I can see this is going to become a ritual.
The first thing she did was make me tea. And then we sat and talked. I’m not sure I can summarise what we talked about. Perhaps it’s more important how I felt? There was a distinct wariness to start with, an expressionless face and an inner watching, an assessing, a questioning. What is this going to be like? Have I made a terrible mistake as I have been intermittently stricken that I have, nearly overcome with the desperate urge to call Sarah up and beg her to take us back, complete with promises to “work hard” and “be OK” and “be a good girl”? Then a gradual relaxing into the conversation, even some smiling (though no eye contact, obviously.)
We talked quite a bit about blogging, because I’d asked her in an email if she minded whether I blogged about the sessions. She’s going to draw up a “social media contract” for me to sign. Essentially though, I am free to share my experiences if I wish, and she won’t go googling, though if I ever wanted to bring some writing with me, that would be fine. She just asked that I not identify her, to protect other people she works with. Slight problem there, in that I have previously, at least on Twitter, been open about where I live, and so people could, if so inclined, do a quick internet search and figure it out. There isn’t exactly a proliferation of art therapists in the city. Not sure what to do about that.
There were some slightly tricky moments – mention of dissociation (la, la, la, fingers in ears) and trauma (la, la, la, fingers AND thumbs in ears), but she did check with me whether she could “say the words” and I said yes, so okay. Difficult questions about why I had been in hospital, which I kind of fudged. I didn’t really want to get into the whole “I took an overdose that I have no memory of taking” etc, because I still harbour a fear I will scare her off, though I have so far imparted a fair amount of information about just how dysfunctional I can be and she seems to have taken it in her stride, which is reassuring.
There was more, much more, but I think this is enough for now. I left feeling quite cheerful, and with a sense of relief in me that I have an appointment next week, and the week after that, and the week after that, same day, same time. I have been craving that structure for so long.
(And as I said earlier, chattering about it all night.)