Knowing what you feel

“You self-sabotage, you know,” she said.

-I know.
-If you believe you can, you’ll stop, and if you don’t believe you can, you won’t.

Um. I get overturned in these sessions, and I hope they do me good, but after this one I was fleeing consciousness: put the telly on but also start scrolling facebook or the Guardian opinion pages for second-hand emotion, righteous anger against Brexiters or whoever. After a session of both, at eleven, I feel a brain-fog. I can’t think straight, leave alone discern what I feel. I ought to go to bed. I stay sitting there, then it’s midnight. And there’s the moment when I think shall I watch something else?

What happened, was, she sympathised; and immediately I felt something entirely different.

I called something like this cognitive dissonance, before. I didn’t mean that I held two contradictory views at once; I meant that I could not know what was going on, because the fact that I seemed to perceive something or believe it to be true was not evidence for or against its truth. I had nothing to hold on to, no way of understanding, no trust at all in my abilities, or my self. I would have periodic states of complete disorientation. And this was like that. The effect was to have me not knowing what I felt, listless and febrile at once, unwilling to do anything, and certainly not wanting to meditate. That’s what gets through the fog, but-

the fog could be defensive?

The fog shuts me down! I hate it!

I had thought I felt resigned. I will move forward. I will behave sensibly. And it seemed that what I was feeling was congruent with these rational desires. I was going to write that she only sympathised and I felt entirely different, but it wasn’t even that. I looked back at my transcription-

yes, I transcribe my counselling sessions. It is the only way I can remember them. Otherwise, I remember a distorted image of them. Like just now. All she had said was “Oh!” I saw her face, over Skype. Yes. That is how I could imagine her sympathetic, concerned-

you see what I mean by confusion? It’s not so bad five days later.

And what I felt, in that moment, was- well, this is what I said.

At this moment I am feeling bitterness anger and rage which
no-nono! At this precise moment talking to you I am feeling bitterness anger and rage that
I have not articulated
to myself.

because there is
the person you need to be in society
to show
to show yourself to others and
there is
The ID monster from Forbidden Planet, basically, underneath. hahhhh
and-

I imagine- I can’t admit feelings to myself because- I need to be able to present as the person acceptable in Society. So, because the unacknowledged feelings
because I fear the
unacknowledged feelings
um
because I fear the unacknowledged feelings I
will make me unacceptable I can’t admit them even to myself. So.
The other thing that I wanted to talk about is what I’ve, what I’ve been doing because I think
this is

so I changed the subject. I do that when uncomfortable.

Anger with the result. So she asked me about the immediate provoking incident. And I said,

My basic feelings at the moment are sadness and confusion because again I don’t know and I can’t tell you. I did something which
is completely justified and anyone who saw it should have realised how badly I have been provoked and with
how much love and creativity I had sought to address an impossible situation
Or
I did something which was the final straw. Well, this is all too difficult and we can’t
hhh

Or I did something which would be unacceptable in any context.

Or I did something which
it doesn’t matter what happened what matters is
what people-other people
think about it.

I don’t know.
-You don’t know
Yes. I-I mean that I don’t Know.

And I didn’t know. There is me trying to be objective, and me believing myself wronged. There is the isolated moment or various things leading up to that moment. The shit hits the fan moment was when I was shouting angrily and personally at a woman who is much smaller than I am, who was sitting about ten yards away during meeting for worship.

I also feel sadness, confusion and despair. Then I changed the subject again.

So it was possibly a bad time for that soft, gentle man to phone me, even four days later. He wanted us to meet, and I have this terrible urge to bully him, when he apologises for what he says.

“Bless you, if I’m allowed to say that”, forsooth. Say what you want. Don’t say what you don’t want to say, just because you feel you ought, and don’t say something then start questioning. I mean FFS. (I would be picking on him for doing what I do, of course; I doubt and second-guess, but would not say so in this particular situation.) So I started on about how early Quakers would not, as a matter of Principle- what a lot of Principles they had!- say “Bless you”. And I have been needling him, pointlessly, in my emails since.

One of the theories I have read is that no-one has an “Authentic self”, that we just have different ways of manifesting depending on circumstances.

That was Thursday, and on Monday I was with Lucie. I got out my phone to forward her an email, and listened to her chunter on brightly about how good what was going to happen was, and I talked a bit about The Heart Goes Last, a comedy by Margaret Atwood. One of the characters, her job is to put down undesirables- they are strapped down, she gives them an injection- and it’s played for laughs when she is instructed to put down her husband. So then I kept out my phone, and am checking other apps while Lucie chuntered on, in a complete state of lack of caring, and wondering as I did it. I imagine a teenager with a teacher, and the teacher getting steadily more enraged by the teenager’s lack of affect, but Lucie just chatted on brightly about how good etc etc, and ended the meeting early. I suppose that’s a win.

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