STRESS IS AN OPEN DOOR
“She is sat at the bus stop, arms crossed, when I reach her. Her eyes lift to mine as she hears my scattered breaths and clunky steps. I see in hers a hate and kindness I cannot untangle. Necklace chains of every emotion she must have felt in the last twenty four hours, balled up and left sitting in her eye lids. The clasps leaking tears.
This morning, she was the mother figure. She shook me awake and passed me a cup of tea. Then, the cool aunt who pinned up my hair and said that in black, I looked sexy. Then, the saviour; an angel ripped from a church wall to hold me. The agent, listening to every word about the book I wrote aged nine as if every word were a book itself, to be decoded and loved. The bystander with a fresh scowl each time I smiled at someone else’s joke. The friend who is so brutally honest she laughs when you call her a bitch; who reminded me why I’ve never trusted anyone, except her. And now she was nine again, crying at a bus stop, rather than flying off a swing to the sweet snap of an elbow through skin.
The only sound we hear is the whistle of the bus pulling up to the pavement. Aside from the elderly couple who waved it down, a teenager already stuffed in the back corner and a nurse with a cold dinner waiting at home, the bus is as empty as the space between us. Two young women with gin and blood in their veins, fake smiles on their faces and a mile until they are home.”
– from Dee by Kristiana Reed (a novel very much in slow progress…)
It’s been a while since I’ve written about Dee and I’ve stopped going to therapy. Turns out those two things go hand in hand and if I’m to heal seriously, again, I think I need to address both because I have learned stress is an open door.
I stopped going to therapy because it felt as if too many doors would be opened in one session. Too many doorways with draughts and rooms full of stuff for me to cope with. But, in shutting all of these doors, I’ve left a very important one ajar – the one which opens on to a room stacked high with boxes of hurt, grief, trauma and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Recent stress caused this door to fly wide open, almost threatening to come off of its hinges. I fell, defeated and deflated, into a slump. I became increasingly anxious. I flitted swiftly between sadness, emptiness and anger. Most of all, though, I felt disappointed – disappointed I’d done so well yet fell so abruptly at a hurdle I had convinced myself I could jump.
The point is, as soon as that particular door opens it leads me to doubt everything positive which came before it, and no one should live like that. It was, and still is, a horrible reminder of how low my self esteem remains, how insecure I am. And, I will be honest, I don’t know how to remedy that just yet. I cannot click my fingers and have everything fall into place but I wish I could, because I regret any decision made out of fear.
So, I’m taking the only familiar steps I have: I’m going to get into contact with the therapist I abandoned months ago, and I’m going to write about Dee. I need to let her into my life in a healthy way, to prevent her from appearing abruptly again and startling me into submission.
Dee makes me tired but for once I’m tired of never having the energy to tackle what’s behind all of those doors. It’s time to close one and open another. It’s time to take out some of those boxes and sort through them, however painful that may be.