Needing to Find a Way to Grieve

Written in Writing Group on January 2:

Back in July I caught my foot in the electric cord to my fan and fell on my side hurting my hip and doing something to my ribs so they continue to hurt.  It has been getting very gradually better.  Then, a couple of weeks ago I knocked a bottle off the counter, grabbed for it, and did something to my pectoral muscles tho I didn’t feel it for a day and a half.  Then it hurt like bloody hell, which means 10 on a scale of 10.  Fortunately, it didn’t last very long at that level, but it would hurt whenever I reached for something or picked something up.  Made it very difficult to use my arms for things like dressing and undressing.  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross says if you don’t learn from something you will get hit with something worse.  So what am I failing to learn from these injuries?

I used to self-mutilate, I cut myself with razor blades for a period of about 6 years in my 20’s.  Ellen Bass says that can be a result of childhood sexual abuse, but later I learned that it made much more sense as a result of trauma.  Jacqueline Winspear says of soldiers traumatized during World War I that they would injure themselves as if to make visible the wounds to their souls.

I always felt that my pain wasn’t visible because it was inner emotional pain instead of external pain like living in poverty, or starving, or being beaten.  So what was the point of injuring my ribs?  A friend who knows about Chinese medicine said that the lungs represent grief.  Breathing deeply comes up against constricted ribs, coughing still hurts badly in the center of my upper chest.  I know that I have grief that is hard to feel because it’s not grief for something I had and lost, but grief for something I should have had and never got.  And in fact, I had no idea of what I hadn’t gotten until my most recent therapist started giving me lots of positive detailed feedback.  At first I wanted more, and then it became painful and Erica introduced me to Francis Weller who’s done a lot of work on grief.  Sitting here writing, I think maybe that’s it.  I realize that the last few days I’ve been feeling very sad.  Not depressed, sad, along with a quality of despair that I haven’t felt before.  I just want it to be over.  I’m so tired I can barely function.

I also read something I wrote in the last month about being able to love the one in me who’s angry at me for hurting myself.  Is hurting myself also an expression of being angry at myself?

More to do…

[After I read this, Judith says:]
Let my grief write itself.    ask Are you able to speak?
sad = mudflats, tide out.

But I didn’t follow Judith’s ideas.  I realize I had just been through Christmas week when I didn’t talk to my therapist at all. This leaves me feeling very alone. Also that the fall that injured my ribs happened after my thyroid dropped significantly. So a lot of different things have been affecting my emotions and the clarity of my brain. It’s too easy to avoid grief. I want to write about it in the next writing group.

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