Dancing with Psychologists: And it’s still coming down today

Ame wa itsuka yamu no deshou ka
         Will the rain ever stop?
Zuibun nagai aida tsumetai
         I’ve been so cold for such a long time.
Ame wa doushite boku wo erabu no?
         Why does the rain choose me?
tsutsumarete ii ka na
         Can I wrap myself up in it?
Ame wa yamu koto wo shirazu ni
         The rain is unrelenting;
kyou mo furitsuzuku keredo
         And it’s still coming down today.
Sotto sashidashita kasa no naka de
         But, tenderly, under an extended umbrella
nukumori ni yorisoi nagara
         We share our warmth as we huddle close.
Rain, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, opening 5

Putting this down first, because otherwise I won’t remember:

1. Look in the drawer.
2. Examine all of your feelings.

Here’s a memory that I thought would be enough to glancingly acknowledge: that my parents made my life a living hell when school started. Well, it was already a living hell before, it just became a more intense living hell, a kind of Big Brother living hell. The kind of Big Brother who would call the police to recover you if you weren’t at home at 9pm every single night for an awkward and horrible phone conversation, and who visited every other week even if you needed to study and engaged in awkward and horrible dinners out that might or might not end up with being beaten or having your fingers (so necessary in a life of programming) crushed.

And you know, this time of year, it kind of reminds me of that, yeah. But, like, as long as I keep myself COMPLETELY OCCUPIED 100% OF THE TIME I’m ok. It’s just that whenever my concentration breaks, I get overwhelmed by horrible, terrible anxiety and fear clawing at my throat.

My bartender compared this to an ugly thing in a drawer. You leave the drawer closed, but the ugly thing is still there and its mere presence makes you uncomfortable despite it. Congratulations; you’ve just turned a conscious fear into a subconscious menace. Guess which is more insidious, more frightening, and harder to fight? That’s why you have to look in the drawer.

And when you do look into the drawer—examine the memory in detail—emotions and feelings will be brought up. Feel every aspect of them, and in time you’ll realize that (a) they’re just emotions, and (b) they will pass. In fact, he coaxed me (so subtly I didn’t realize that was what he was doing) into talking much more about the memories, going into a much greater level of detail, and how they made me feel. And it worked; I hugged Ike a lot, but I was already doing that, and I felt a lot better.

This is the only way forwards: acceptance and integration. It’s a thorny road and I hate it but I admit that the alternative isn’t doing my life or my career any favors.

By the way, apparently the mere act of hugging Ike releases oxytocins or something. So yay, concrete physiological response explains feeling (a little) better when desperately cuddling Ike! I like that sort of thing.

More paperwork was done at the bartender’s office, and now I’m going home. I may eat out at a Mexican place when I get home, I don’t know, everything is still cycling, but I do feel a little better. And now I have something concrete to work on during my unpaid leave, so hoorah.

2 thoughts on “Dancing with Psychologists: And it’s still coming down today

  1. War-stories time, maybe? You have an audience here, if that would help. And good for you for being brave today. Even with a great bartender, this stuff is legitimately hard.

    And yes, mammals in general seem to be hard-wired to find (voluntary!) warm/soft/fuzzy touch comforting. Baby monkeys have the same response. I think our vaguely-hominid ancestors left us a persistent conviction that our trusted close companions should have fur.

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