Days of the hedgehog

Same day.

Same time.

Same place.

I sit.

She opens the file, asks about the week.

– The last session was upsetting. It’s hard to. You see things had been progressing. I’d felt things were progressing. I was going through the same event. Feeling it. And it was. It wasn’t as visceral. The heightened response, reactions, they’d toned down. It wasn’t the same. And anticipating it wasn’t as bad. And

– Your feedback was more detailed. But you were describing lower levels of distress.

– Yes. And so last week was a shock. I’d thought it was getting better. I thought I was getting better. The vivid livid memories were toning down. There was more detail, more of a narrative. A move from fragments, from instants, from instamatic photos to a flickbook. And the detail was deadening things. But then during the session I.

– The touch, the response. I know it’s not my fault. I know. But.

– I feel responsible. And what does it mean? What does that response mean? What does it say about me? And I know, I know rationally this doesn’t make sense. That this is outside my control that blame lies elsewhere, that guilt lies elsewhere. But.

– And you feel responsible. That it’s you. It was your fault. That somehow you deserved it. That this reflects who you are. That because you’re. well, you deserved it.

– I felt it. And it was so upsetting. The gaps. Filling the gaps. I.

– I

– It’s been there this week. In my head. I had a bad flashback. First in weeks. I was on the sofa and. It was an accident probably. But it felt deliberate. A touch on my face like. Like. I had such a strong reaction. I was angry and upset. Transported. I got short tempered, anxious. Knots in my shoulders and neck. My breathing quicker. A tightness in my gut. I. I had to hide. To get out of the way.

– And so I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, all versions. Me then for it happening. Me now for the effect on me now. And for the impact over the years. It feels self-pitying, self indulgent. The sadness, the sorrow.

– But is it? Isn’t it okay to feel sad?

– I know it’s about guilt. About it happening. About letting it. About not dealing with it sooner. It’s guilt. I know this.

– Someone told me it was dwelling, that I was dwelling on it. That’s wrong. The word’s wrong. Dwelling implies there’s a revelling in it, a volition. But this is involuntary.

– It comes from the process. You are being exposed to it every week.

– Yes. I don’t want to think about it. Well, I come every week. I am trying to deal with this. There is volition to that extent. But it’s not that I’m revelling in this being in my head. That I’m seeing everything through. Well, not even everything. I watch television. I read books. I can think about other things but it’s there. It’s there a lot. I.

– You know the Berlin thing? The fox and the hedgehog?

– It’s like in normal life, when I’m normal. Normal. Not this new normal. Normally I’m a fox. Lots of things on the go. I’m interested in and working on lots of things. Juggling stuff. But now, for the past few months, since the breakdown. Well, before. Yes. Before. For ages I’ve been a hedgehog. This one thing – one big thing that is there. Perpetually there. And you can try to do other things and you can engage with other things but you keep coming back to it. The one thing that is there. Dominating how you think. Dominating how you feel. And however you avoid it, try to engage with other stuff, it looms. You can be reading about anything and it’s there – back in your head pushing other things out of the way. You can be watching something, listening, and it’s there.

– and you deserve this. This is who you are. This is what you are worth. You are nothing. I. I am nothing. I have no value. I deserve this. I.

– I am nothing.

– not even a hedgehog.

About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
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2 Responses to Days of the hedgehog

  1. Chris says:

    These words may sound hollow, but they are true. They are true even if you don’t currently believe them.

    What you survived was a horrific act of violence, random, indiscriminate with the intention of killing as many people as possible and hurting many, many more.

    You carry zero responsibility.

    Your feelings though are understandable, maybe in a perverse way natural, as our brains are not adapted to process something so immense.

    You have value. An easy statement to make from an anymous stranger? Not really. Those of us who have followed you over the years know what kind of man you are. Funny, moral, decent, kind, rarely angry, and then only at much-deserved targets.

    The people in your life are fortunate to know you. Another easy statement? Not really, your humanity shines out from every post.

    You are one of the people that make Twitter bearable.

    I hope you are a hugger. If not, you better start! Hug those close to you as love is one of the paths out of this.

    And a hug from me.

    Much harder love


  2. Pingback: Some personal posts | Love and Garbage – some commonplace musings

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