she exclaimed, this holiday, and looks breatingly at me. P– is cooking. I removed my right thumb from my mouth and turned away from my mother. Left the kitchen. I didn’t start sucking my thumb, until I was older; maybe nine or ten years-old. I didn’t have the dexterity before that to turn my right thumb to my mouth- and sucking my left thumb would have meant not being able to do anything else.
Nowadays, with increased tiredness and stressage, I sometimes find I am sucking my thumb, unawares. I don’t know why it is soothing; it’s not an early childhood thing, I barely used a dummy then. But it soothes the stress away.
I’m not very good at self-soothing. Hugs help. Feeling truly held. When I could pray more easily, I used imagination a *lot* Placing myself in God’s arms. Through Lectio Divina, sometimes I still can. Then, unbidden, my imagination casts me as a little child, in Jesus’ arms. Blankets and duvet cocoons, and the embryonic way the swimming pool bears my weight: that soothes, too. Not that I can often run to the swimming pool, when I am upset.
What I am chasing is the Peace I felt, just after my baptism. Peace called again to mind this week, as I taught the junior church about baptism. I remember that deep, deep sense of calm. How *loved* I felt that day. Friends and family there. And no one was arguing. That a family outing without argument never happened before, nor since. Peace that sometimes echoes back to me when I can self-soothe. But not in its fullness as before.
Maybe I am not meant to feel that way again. With an increase in medication this week has come less fractious emotion; a deadening of feeling. A numbness. It is calmer than before – like I am one step removed from what is happening around me. Like I have taken a step back from me. I am being heard. That is calming. The intrusive thoughts haven’t abated. They still gnarl their teeth; bay at me, in the wings of my conciousness, when I’m not properly distracted. But my response to them has faded.
Maybe, one day, I’ll work out how to respond properly. Not nonchantly; not vitriollically – just normally. Calmly. One day.