The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing





I feel like yesterday marked a watershed. 

I sent my transcript to Teresa and she insisted, unlike any other time before, that I come in that afternoon. 

My first “once per week therapy” I felt, began with failure. 

Teresa reassured me on the phone though that this was not the case; that smart people take care of problems quickly and that coming in would help. She said that this was a “one off” and that I was right on track with my healing. 

At first Teresa refused in the morning to talk on the phone—she just texted and emailed and told me to come in. Eventually we did talk briefly. And what I was interpreting, from what I could gather, around her neutrality and caution, was possibly not correct, was me being hair triggered. 

So I decided to go in later. 

I worked, stayed busy and arrived for what felt to be Part Two of our session on Thursday. 

Teresa explained things to me—made sense of some things—made me feel not crazy but rather, instead, justified. 

She was not defensive or reactive.

She was apologetic where it made sense, empathetic the whole way. 

Her stance allowed me to let down, to cry—hard—to admit my vulnerabilities, to cry out with the pain and fatigue of trying so hard to be productive with what had happened to me. 

But yesterday seemed to be a day for tears mostly, for leaving productivity at the door and allowing for my feelings, for the real me to emerge and sit across from my therapist and just be with her and with my pain both. 

Her empathy allowed me this—and restored some, I think, very painfully lost faith I used to have long, long ago. 

Writing this complaint has shown me that I have PTSD—clearly—from the therapy with Eileen. 

I live with it—have been living with it and struggling with it—trying to make it into a book, failing and turning it into a website. Trying, trying, trying to take this clay called PTSD and mold it into something closer to art than pain. Trying nearly daily, sometimes for hours a day in the early morning, to turn shit into gold. 

But yesterday was a day to sit with the sadness of what I live with inside, the triggering, the places I go that are in ways both rational and irrational. Yesterday I realized that the art, while productive and at times beautiful, also at times holds me at a distance 

As I cried Teresa made sure to let me know that I was normal—that PTSD is normal—that it’s nothing exotic and that it’s hugely treatable. When I said—admitted to my own self and Teresa—that I am beginning to lose some hope—she gave me hope—with calm and with confidence. 

I reflect now that I love my Sandbox—all that I have found—all that I am—all that I can do with it. And I can see, on this still pitch-black Saturday morning, that I will add new links, new areas, new places I will travel. I will not forget where I’ve been, will perhaps always walk with a special gait, a stride that while imperfect is unique and beautiful and…earned. 

I will not necessarily take down links, may not even disable them; but I will give myself these options if I want—when I want—when I feel work needs a rest or work is done. 

I will not force myself to turn my work into a book; will not shove this assignment down my own throat. 

I will follow what my heart wants, what my heart tells me to do, where my heart seems to like to go, to land, to rest, to recharge, to create, to love. 

Today feels like a watershed; one where I begin, after almost two years, to let my therapist know more who I am—deep down—the vulnerable, hurt, struggling individual who has been trying so hard to make something out of what happened to me that I can’t seem to stop and clearly somehow acknowledge it. 

I cried deeply for being called a bully by Eileen—for being mistreated, pushed into a corner for so long that when I lashed out—in writing for I had no other way to do it—I was characterized as her abuser. I was pegged the sadist in our dynamic and she, the masochist and martyr—the long suffering therapist falling on her sword for me time and time again.

This was not right—not true—not helpful. It was damaging. Damage I sit with, I realize, to this day. Feelings of being a monster I sit with to this day. 

But none of it was my fault.

I went there to get help—paid for it. 

And it was possibly because I am a good person—sensitive and empathetic—that I became a target for Eileen’s needs and desires. She wanted me—wanted my friendship and attention.

And Not Gods I paid the price for a slippery slope she went down that only became more bizarre and traumatic as time passed. 

I own my PTSD like never before. And healing is my priority first and foremost. The complaint may happen or it may not. It sits as an option, my loaded gun I put away in a drawer close to me with reassurance from Teresa that she's with me, will back me, 1000%. 

I thanked Teresa for her help—for her care. And I told her I know she has a one year anniversary coming up—her husband died late February last year. I told her that I know she must have had one hell of a year but I have not once felt her struggles leak into my therapy. 

What a gift she has given to me, I told her, to choose to remain and to help. 

She cried a little bit but held back mostly. It felt very Teresa-ish—a bit genius in how she manages to be both strong and vulnerable too. 

I wept for most of the time I was with Teresa and felt in no way rushed; I was allowed to feel like a sentence ended-- completed and done for the time being. I was able to leave feeling better, more whole, more real, less burdened than when I arrived.

This morning, the sun now risen, the tears down my cheeks feel connected to me—my weather makes sense. Years it’s been—where I seemed to ask for this—a poem written long, long ago, I think in hopes of finding and making sense of where I was inside myself:

A little lost

Or maybe a lot

Rain is falling

In coordinated drops

From the sky

Drops fall together

No thoughts or doubts

This is weather

But I’m not this weather

I am not rain

My heart wants to start

All over again

I wished as I wrote this that somehow my weather would feel coordinated, like rain, that I would make some sense, someday to me. That I would have the natural flow and confidence of weather. 

And it’s happening. 

My tears are coordinated, connected to me, to where I’ve been and where I am right now. 

My tears feel good—real—the real me deep down. The me who walked away from two years of what I think was psychological and emotional torture. The me who sits today with the experience in my lap, the truth of it, the pain of it, the trauma that I still live with inside. 

I do not minimize what happened to me. Teresa helps to reassure me that my response is normal—that the situation was what was abnormal. 

After nearly two years in treatment with Teresa I let her in. I open the door. And by doing so, I let my own self finally come out and breathe. 

And cry. 



This marks the end of Sandbox Volume Eighteen.