Shipwreck in a Bottle


I come back into the room. I am staring  determinedly through the floor, and my voice is shaking. I am trembling. I speak to explain that sharing emotion is dangerous and unwanted and makes people threaten to leave, before they turn away from you in bitter disgust. And abandon the ship forever. Emotion is bad. Tears are weakness.

bottlebagpuss

I finish the sentence and swallow hard. Fight desperately to get the lid back on the bottle, so that I can leave and return to work. Breathe hard and succeed.  I feel like I could sleep for a hundred years.

I can’t do this anymore. I’m in group therapy, on an “intense emotion management” module. And I discover that simply talking about intense emotion outwith the secure aims of intellectual disassembly and academia, calls up a storm me: I can’t see clearly. Can’t remember why I am there. I can’t, I can’t I can’t.  The irony is palpable. The emotions are so strong that I am frightened to feel them, let alone to confront them.  As they rip through me, I feel their power. I am not strong enough for them.

Only paper and God have ever held my emotion for me. Sat with me, accepted the way that I feel as it was, and allowed me the space to express myself. Not asked me to calm down, or issued a time- limit. Not left me alone. I  want someone to hold me now. Keep my arms close to me, close to them, make me feel safe and loved. I cut and cut. But no one holds me. There is no one here.

I don’t want to go back to therapy next week. I can’t face that again. I can’t conquer the emotions. So I am lost in their never-ending sea. Shipwrecked and broken in bottled emotion.

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