It is an interesting word, intimidation. For me the first thought coupled hard on its heels is intent. Can intimidation exist with out intent? Seems with me it can. In those moments when everything is crashing and coming undone the walls I erect are intimidating. But in that place, when I hang only by the tips of my fingers, I am thinking nothing of intimidation and walls. The honest truth, I’m not thinking at all. I am surviving. Those walls slide up without calling, an act so second nature, I do not even see it coming. There is no button to push, or effort to engage in. They are so deeply a part of who I am, and how I have survived this life thus far. Yet, in such a clear paradox, they disable my ability to cry out for help, to extend an arm, or even fall flat on the floor. Instead I exist within my head, allowing nobody near. The worse the storm, the more extreme the emotional hurricane, the more impenetrable the walls. When I most need help, I cannot move. It feels like the world is growing farther and farther away, yet they are mere feet from me desperate to help. There in session, today, I understood what Beatrice was saying to me. I grasped, if only remotely, what it was to sit opposite me when these walls went up. Her word was “intimidating”. I would say for someone who’s only job is to try to make sure I am okay, it must well feel intimidating. What is so marked is the reality of what I am feeling in those moments. The fear, and overwhelming physical sensation of being suffocated. Everything is moving beyond my control, and it feels intensely painful. I focus on something, anything, the floor, the walls, the trim, a book on the shelf, or the clock. Each second feels as if it will be my last. That I somehow can’t breath and feel everything that is pushing hard on my chest. I want nothing more than to disappear, and there are times that I do, though it is just as scary to pull the plug like that. It is a double edged sword, it may feel like control in the moment, but it is not control- it is the opposite. So, in those moments when I must seem like the rock of gibraltar from across the room, I feel no bigger than the lint on the arm of the couch, I am focusing so furiously on. To be so weak, so confused and so rocked with pain yet to be able to project a prickly DON”T. But those defenses are as old as I am. They come from a place I understand so little about. It is a primal spot born of the will to survive. From a psyche fighting the fracturing forces all around it. Surely it protected me, and served a purpose. Today, it serves only to stand between me and the people around me. It cuts off the routes of communication I desperately need to make myself well. When my mind is lost, and filled with an inky blackness coloring everything around me, I need to be able to say that. I cannot expect Virgil to use her sixth sense, and implement a well worn plan. What of the day she doesn’t, and my life ends just as swiftly as it started. I cannot expect either her or Beatrice to intuit their way to my salvation. It is too risky an endeavor. Too critical a piece within this life. I cannot begin to understand how to change. How to get the words to leave my lips, when there is nothing but horror casting long shadows across my mind. How do I stop the silent progression from okay, to mute and terrified? How do I convince myself to open my mouth, when I am so sure if I do, I’ll start screaming and never stop. How do I remain present when to do so feels like being skinned alive?

It is a process I do not have words to describe. How can I possibly change? My brain thinks I’m dying, and the walls go up. I often don’t sense them coming, only hear a humming and the world starts to look small. The distance grows and grows. It is very close to one of the most recurrent nightmares of my life. It doesn’t visit me often. Though as a child it was often. My world starts to scatter, and grow small, eventually breaking down into pixels and small chunks. I could not tell you why this dream disturbs me. I do not know what it means. But I can tell you the terror that accompanies it rivals any terror I have experienced in this life. There is a feeling like that when my life is unraveling, fast and hard, each day a corner taken too fast, a guard rail away from the plummet I know is coming.
It is in these moments of relative normality when my skin crawls thinking about it. Knowing it will be back and realizing it is inevitable. I hurt, right down to my marrow, knowing that. While it was a good session, it left me adrift and reticent. As one can only be when brushing close to death.


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