Spin the clock back a few years. I am spending a morning in Fenwick’s (erstwhile, delightful department store in West London) with my mother. We go to their cafe. I have orange juice. I want orange juice in a carton. My mother buys it for me, in a glass. I am told it is exactly the same orange juice as was in the carton. It’s just in a glass. I meltdown completely. I wanted orange juice in a carton.
I have no memory of this event. Neither my mother nor I have any idea why I objected so strongly to orange juice in a glass. Or why I wanted orange juice in a carton. All I know is what I am told: that my two-year-old mind could not handle the situation. I ruined the coffee break. Was left screaming in the buggy. I am frequently and often reminded of this, and of several other meltdowns. I don’t know what to say to my mother to stop her repeating the story. What she wants me to say to her. I cannot remember what happened. I was an impossibly difficult daughter to parent.
This week, I feel I am back in that department store cafe. As much as I cannot remember why I was so aggrieved aged two years, this time, no one in the room understands why I am angry. I am angry at the ablist language being used in a psychological model. Attempts are made to explain why I should not be angry about that: why this language is okay. It is not. It is discriminatory and negative and diminishing to use it in this context. I cannot explain why this language is not OK; why I am so angry, why I am so triggered. I recall that I was triggered before when this model presented itself, nine months ago. That I said as much then, and was dismissed. Nothing in the way the model is presented has changed. No acknowledgement is made of the use of ablist language in it. Everyone is annoyed at me for being so angry. I dissolve. I am left alone, angry and ashamed.
And I am back at square one. When I entered the therapeutic community, one of my key goals was to be able to turn down the dial on my anger, to feel it less intensely, and to be able to express it more calmly. This week has shown that I can do none of these things. I am frightened of how angry I am. I want to hurt people; really hurt them. I need to hurt myself, to stop that from happening; to contain the anger. No one can contain my anger; it is too strong.
It is too strong, and I am despairing because it feels like I have not changed at all. When push comes to shove, and something really gets to me, I get lost in anger. I am still angry as angry, days later. I cannot make them understand. I am trying upon trying not to cut. I have not yet cut. Cutting would take me back to the start line. God, please quell this anger, before it consumes me.