Tie it up in little boxes with a ribbon and a bow
Tuck it all away inside, so nothing is on show
What to do with all the trauma creeping through my brain
Without support, where can I stuff down this amount of pain?
Secure those feelings firmly behind closed cupboard doors
Hide away from peeping eyes; they’re not wanted anymore
I thought I might be winning; I’d almost passed the post
Having to lock it up again while I haven’t got a host*
C* said the time has come now for me to put it all away
Leave sleeping dogs to lie rather than come out to play
Waiting for the next in line could be a year or more
Counting down the days while my brain keeps the score
The bonds we built between us were kind but very strong
Boundaries as they should be, respectful; nothing wrong
I should be feeling tougher, but my heart and soul cry out
I should have trust in myself, but no, I’m full of doubt
She said I could leave notes for the one who’s coming next
Just in case my mind’s in hiding and my memories repressed
I’m dreading the goodbye day; I mustn’t make a fuss
I’ll just be left with me alone and not the both of us.
NOTE: This poem is about a conversation I had with my counsellor this week in reference to my counselling coming to an end. She was suggesting that I try not to explore my childhood trauma too deeply in the few weeks we have left for fear of it becoming overwhelming again, and then having no one to process this with. She described it as putting all the trauma memories in a box until I see the next counsellor, whoever that is going to be. The waiting time could be up to a year. I can’t lie and say I’m not terrified because I am.
I’m so very grateful for all the support I’ve had from my blogging and real-life friends regarding alternative ways of finding low-cost therapy. I’m still searching this out, but at the same time, the thought of starting all over again with someone new is extremely daunting. Time will tell …
Love Ellie xx 💙
(* C and host refer to my counsellor)
(Image source – Pexels Free Images)
34 thoughts on “Little Boxes”
Sending prayers and love your way, Ellie.🌸💐 You write beautifully.❤️
Thank you so much, Aaysid. That’s lovely of you to say. Xx 🌺💖
We are all growing things, and like plants, we need times when we grow, and times when we lie dormant, waiting for a time when we can grow and blossom again.
We mustn’t think that nothing is happening during this dormant time, for like a plant, we gather our life force deep within us, preparing ourselves for our next season of growth. During this dormant time within us, healing can still happen and be ongoing, much like sleeping at night allows our bodies to do our best healing.
If we don’t take time to sleep or to be dormant, we pay the price physically and emotionally. I believe strongly that the universe, God, and our Angels work everything out for our best, timing everything for our greater good. Your mind and spirit probably need this more than you realize!
If I may lob out a suggestion: try writing a book about the lessons you learned from having gone through the stages of healing you’ve already done. This wouldn’t necessarily be a book for publication but as a way of organizing everything you have learned and how it applies to what you experienced.
My greatest insights into myself and my healing came through the process of writing 2 books.
Initially, my first book was barely 30 pages when I tried to write down the life lessons I had learned. When my sister-in-law read it, she said something was missing from it, and when I asked her what it was, she said she felt that it needed the personal components of what I had been through to bring it to life, for just writing the lessons without also adding personal context made it a dry read.
That first book went through quite a few edits and re-edits while I worked on writing what was bubbling up from within me. It was very therapeutic to take everything inside and bring it outside of me and put it into a new creation, instead of simply stuffing old memories down. I was surprised at how the whole writing process allowed me to examine everything, look at it, and then discard each piece that I no longer wished to live with.
When I felt overwhelmed, I turned to artmaking to relieve the stress. I think it took around a year to write the first book, it was done at a pace that I could manage emotionally.
My writing method: https://tamarakulish.com/2022/10/29/have-you-always-wanted-to-write-a-book-but-dont-know-how-to-get-started/
this may help too: https://tamarakulish.com/2022/08/22/purge-by-fire-could-this-help-you/
This idea may not be something you wish to tackle at this moment, but if your spirit decides otherwise and it starts spilling ideas and phrases into your mind, the note-taking app on your phone can be a lifesaver, allowing you to write it all down. No need to edit or try to organize it at first, it can be emailed to you, so you can copy-paste it when you work on your computer, and it can be edited and reorganized later.
For me, the book writing process was much more helpful than just journal writing, for it allowed me to take the poison and help transform it into medicine for others.
Thank you so much for your comment and excellent advice, Tamara. You have a fantastic way of enabling me to see a little differently or outside of my box. I’ve read your comment several times to ensure I have digested it as much as possible, and it’s great that I can come back and reread it. I can understand everything you say and see the good sense in your views and advice. I also spent much of the afternoon reading several of your other posts, which I’ve had tabs open on my laptop for weeks. Everything you write and share is so helpful. I love the way you went up the mountain and burnt your negative work and thoughts. I once burned eight years’ worth of old diaries in an incinerator in the garden. They contained my darkest thoughts and behaviours from my very worst years of dealing with awful mental health. I wonder whether it was the right thing to do now, but I know I would never have wanted my children to read them when I was gone. It was actually quite cathartic in a way.
I love the analogy you use about the plant in its dormant phase. That makes a lot of sense. I read somewhere, years ago, something about a seed having to grow through an awful lot of dirt before it can become a beautiful flower. I guess that’s a similar way of looking at things.
Thank you for the very helpful information about writing a book. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while, as I expressed in another of your posts or comments. I want to share my poetry, but I have to work on how to tie them all together in a way that makes sense to a reader. Your writing tips are very useful, too. I would love to read your first book if you wouldn’t mind. Would you be able to send me a link so that I can order it from Amazon, please? If you’d rather not, I will completely understand. Thanks once again for such a clear and understandable comment with so much wonderful advice. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the time you spent sharing all this with me. You really are so kind. Xx 💛
My pleasure Ellie. I remember years ago hearing the quote “We are only as free as we allow ourselves to be”, and while I felt hurt at the moment in that I felt judged for not letting myself be free, I didn’t understand that was my own inner self judging me.
When I started releasing some of my old pains, I was frightened to be without them, so I pulled them back to me because they were still a strong part of how I saw myself and what I thought my identity was.
When I decided that I no longer wished to identify with the label “victim” or even “survivor of abuse”, I had to decide that the label of “me” and “just being myself” was more than enough!
As much inner work as we do, it will become almost worthless if we claw back the old pains to continue to use them as the cloak that identifies us. Casting off that cloak and keeping it off is remarkably brave for each of us to do, and is essential to stepping towards wholeness.
You mentioned your poetry, that you wish to write a book using your poetry. What if you look at each one and write about what you were going through before you wrote a piece, and then write about how you feel about it now, what your learning curve was, etc?
Books have a way of developing themselves when we start to write them because they start to take on a life of their own, and it is up to us to follow their lead. We can start out with a basic concept, and as we delve into it, the material tells us how it wants to be handled. As an artist, I discovered this process when I set out to paint a picture and discovered it had a different idea of what it wanted to be. If we try to force our image of how it should progress onto it, often we reach a wall, a dead end. If we allow the work to lead us, it brings us places we hadn’t thought of originally.
Certainly, here are my links:
“How to Heal Your Life on a Deep Heart Level” (available in Kindle, audio book and paperback:
“Developing Happiness When You Can’t Find It: Overcoming the inner barriers and self-sabotage!” (available in Kindle, audio book and paperback:
“Anger Journal (Full size): A healthy place to release emotions which tie our mind and heart up in knots!” available in paperback only:
Thank you again, Tamara. I can identify with so much of what you say and describe. I know I have a lot to learn and quite a bit of that is from reading your blog posts. Thank you for the links to your books. I will take a proper look on Amazon tomorrow as it’s getting late now and I’m going to go up to bed. I haven’t been sleeping well for a while now, which I don’t think helps my general mood and ability to process my thoughts in a rational way. I wish you a good night’s sleep or a wonderful day depending what timezone you’re in. Xx 🌷💕
No problem! I hope you get well rested, and I wish you all the best on this adventure of yours!
Thank you, Tamara. I appreciate your kind words. Xx 💚
You are going to make it.
I KNOW it.
Upwards and forwards now.
Thank you, Granny. It’s good to know you have faith in me when I have very little in myself right now. I will do my best to move in the right direction. Love you, too Xxx 💖🌺💞
During this coming interim, Ellie, you can learn to be your own counsellor. You’ve been watching C, listening to her, silently learning from her how to deal with the terror and trauma inside Ellie. Identify her strengths, and use them to increase your own strengths. C will be gone, but the memory of C will not. Just because she is not there does not mean you cannot talk to her. Record your talks if necessary, and listen to the recordings as if you are C. And then say to yourself the things you know she would say. Don’t lose her, USE HER! You can do this.
That’s a very interesting and individual perspective, J. I’ve never considered that before. In fact, if you hadn’t suggested it, I would certainly not have thought about that. I will miss C a great deal once we’ve parted ways, but I will try to use the remaining time to listen and learn more from her. Writing is the best way I know how to express myself, as you know, so perhaps, I will make a regular habit of writing what I want to say and hear from her. I keep thinking I should start writing a journal, too. I think it will help to focus my mind in a better direction. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before. (Is this something you’ve ever managed to do in the past or the present?) Well, there’s no time like the present. Thanks for your very helpful thoughts as always, J. 💜
I have never thought about this before in those exact terms, but when I studied to be a Social Worker/Addictions Counsellor I thought back to the times I have been in counselling, and what I did was try to be for others what I actually wanted those counsellors to be for me. I never had a counsellor like C., but I always wanted to be one. So once I left university and went to work, I always strived to be for my clients what I wanted when I was a client.
Somehow, as I have been reading your poetry and learning who you are, I changed that narrative in my head to what I wrote above. You have a good role model who unfortunately cannot continue to give you her services, but that does not mean she is abandoning you. Sne is being forced to work within parameters set by someone else, and I know from experience that these parameters are never set by the counsellors themselves.
So please, Ellie, on your last day, or even sooner, thank her for what she has done for you in the time allotted her by her supervisors. Tell her how much she has helped. Counsellors, especially good ones, need to hear they are doing a good service. Cry a few tears, but put on a brave face, and if she lets you give her a big hug to show you understand, even if you don’t. It will help both of you move on.
And while I cannot be more than a friend for you, feel free to lean on me when you are in need of a shoulder. I can be a port in a storm.
Thanks, J. I admire that you were a social worker/addictions counsellor, J. You must have encountered a lot of hurting and damaged people in the process. Not an easy job, I shouldn’t imagine.
I realise that C has no choice but to end her work with me. I have so much to thank her for and, naturally, will do this over the few weeks we have left. I will probably dedicate a poem to her and write a letter with my deepest gratitude for travelling on my journey thus far. I wanted to offer her a hug during our last session. I don’t know whether she’ll be allowed to accept as she knows I have had my boundaries smashed to bits with a previous counsellor, who I wrote much about after my time with her. I hope she allows us to hug; as you say, it will help us both to move on, however hard that will be.
I’m very grateful to you for being a good friend, J. You have been here spurring me on for some months now, and it is so appreciated. You always have something helpful and worthwhile to say to me. I’m glad we’ve met in this great big ocean of WordPress. I value your friendship a lot. X 💚
Once again, fantastic work. And also once again, we are your shoulder, your ears. Even if we cant be there physically. It sucks when you have to put on a face sometimes and know inside that what others think they see is not what is going on inside you. Not an easy place to be. Hang in there.
Thank you so much for your deep level of understanding, Brian. Knowing that you do understand really does help me. I think I’ve been putting on a happy face for most of my life. It’s only recently, through my writing on my blog, that I’m expressing what’s deep inside my mind. I so appreciate you and everyone else who takes the time to read my poetry. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. You’re right – it’s far from easy right now, but as you say, I will do my best to hang in there. Thanks again, my friend.
I think setting aside the deep thoughts is a good strategy until you get a new counselor. For a five year period I went through an intensive period on self discovery on mental health issues and I felt like crap all the time. Susan kept asking for me to let it drop. It’s like poking at a wound. One potential outcome is you make it worse. I know, it’s all easier said than done, but being in a mental health crisis without proper support will be challenging.
I hope NHS works quickly to set you up again.
Thank you, Jeff. It’s good to know you understand. Five years is a long time; I’ve been on this journey for many years, although it has been on and off during that time. C is the first counsellor I’ve seen who helped me truly explore my feelings. It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve been able to express myself through poetry. It does help, even if it does seem negative all the time. I totally get what you say about poking at a wound – I guess it can make things worse. During my enforced counselling break, I may discover other things about myself. Maybe, I’m stronger than I think; I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud. I’ve been waiting to see someone in the mental health system for five weeks now – when I checked to see how long the wait is, I was told it would be a minimum of 20 weeks!! That’s just to see a psychiatrist. A lot can happen in that time. I know the NHS is under pressure these days, but surely, that can’t be right. I’m unlikely to be offered counselling under the NHS as the waiting lists are years long. I think the best I can hope for is that a new counsellor at the organisation I’m currently at will be available before too long. I was told it could be up to one year, though and I’ll somehow have to find the money. No idea how, though, at this stage. It feels like an eternity. I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed and keep hoping. Thanks for your encouragement.
I wish you luck with your search for another counsellor Ellie. I have no experience in this field at all but writing has always been a wonderful ear that never sleeps and is always on call for me. There is someone that listens to us when we write, perhaps it is our own shattered soul, perhaps it is a higher power. Regardless, it is always available to us. And no one else needs to hear that pyruvate conversation either. Our pain needs a voice and a gentle listener. Writing can be that place. Sending you love x
Thanks, J. X 💛
Thank you so much for your kind words and understanding, Kate. I would be lost without my ability to write my thoughts out. I find my poetry just seems to form in my mind and develop as my fingers type the words out. I love your expression about our shattered soul or higher power being something that is always available to listen to us. I’ve not written a journal for a long, long time and am wondering if this would benefit me during the interim period of waiting for a new counsellor. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before. Thank you for your generous thoughts and kindness as always, Kate. I was so pleased to see you back here this morning. Much love to you, also Xx 💖
A journal would be incredibly helpful I think Ellie. And treat yourself from two perspectives – both the speaker and the listener. Our inner voice desires to be heard, but inside we all have access to that deeper (or higher) wisdom – who better to give us advice then that power that holds us in dark moments and then strives to pull us forward into the light.
Thank you for this, Kate. I’m going to start my journal today. Thanks for your helpful encouragement. Xx 💖
Great Ellie, I reply hope it works for you as a way to unload some of the burden of your thoughts 💕
I’m so sorry! I wish I had an answer for this…..just please know that I’m thinking of you, and that I do believe in you!
Thank you so much, Ann. That’s very kind of you. Thank you for believing in me even though I doubt myself at the moment. Your words are so often comforting. Thank you so much for this. X
Lovely piece Ellie. Boxes, an interesting analogy. My one bit of advice: keep writing. It won’t replace a great counselor, but my hope is that it will give you some peace and help in the interim. Thinking of you.
Thank you so much, Brian. It definitely does help me to write. It externalises my inner pain. I always feel better (albeit briefly) after I’ve written something. Thanks for caring and for thinking about me. I appreciate that.
I hope you figure something out… this sounds difficult to deal with.
Thank you, Greg. It’s extremely difficult and I am dreading the time that I have to leave.
While it makes sense to box some of it up, the parts which will be impossible to face alone, I don’t think you should box it all away. You should continue to work through it with writing, maybe some artwork. I’ve done a lot of work with painting. It’s incredibly powerful to throw paint when you are angry, or use tiny little paintbrushes to feel the cracks in your heart…
I pray you find a new C soon and it’s the perfect match. I love and I’m here for you Ellie.
Thank you, dear Bridgette. I don’t think I can simply box it all away again. I’ve done that for most of my life (childhood and as an adult). Having worked with C as much as I have, it’s impossible to shove it back into the space it came from. I will definitely continue with my writing as that gives me a lot of relief even if the feelings return and I need to write my pain out again and again. My WP friends are so kind, understanding and generous with their time and care for me that I am genuinely full of gratitude. I will have to do my best to hang on in there and hope and pray that the wait for a new C won’t be as long as I fear. Much love to you, my friend. Xx 💓🌻💞