At the beginning of the week, with this weeks’ #WASO theme in mind, I decided to ask the boys “what is the first thing you think about when I say the word ‘Barriers’”.
I had a pretty good idea how Buzz would respond but I am never quite sure what (if any) response I would get from Waxy, but to my amusement they both replied in unison “the safety gates that keeps Beedog from going upstairs or getting stuck in the cat flap, when chasing the cats”. Very black and white and literal!
I asked Bumble the same question and his response was “there’s so many things?”
Like Bumble, I struggled with trying to pinpoint what ‘Barriers’ meant to me. I could easily be very matter of fact and literal like the boys and suggest all the physical barriers that I have had to use over the years to keeps the household safe. Or, I could talk about the bureaucratic restrictions and barriers that we have encountered in our journey to adoption but in truth while I am sitting here trying to decide what to write and thinking about what the word ‘Barriers’ means to me, my thoughts are drawn to the emotional barriers that both Beeswax and myself have put up over the years. Ever since the first day I met Beeswax I have been fighting to penetrate his wall of self-protection with very little success. It is understandable that Beeswax doesn’t trust adults and I don’t blame him in a way, but knowing that my child will do anything to keep me at arm’s length hurts! I keep trying but over the time his need to protect himself from being hurt and let down by another mum resulted in my self-protection instincts kicking in to avoid experiencing yet more rejection. I had begun to parent while in what Dan Hughes calls ‘blocked care’ and boy! did this cause problems for some time with professionals.
But to be fair, for several years before I even met Bumble I was already putting up barriers.
So what is my excuse? Is it the shame I feel, which is driven by my previous history of depression? Is it the product of my childhood experiences with medical professionals not believing a child and the awareness of what nearly happened as a result of this? Is it that anytime I get close to someone, like Beeswax, they leave me or hurt me? A long time ago I wrote the following extract in my diary and although at the time I was obviously quite self-aware about my default mode. It wasn’t until I was presented with the prospect of having to let people in that I realised how much I had come to rely on it.
Arriving at CAMHS after my sob fest, I thought I had managed to cover up my tear stained puffy eyes with makeup but Jemima had noticed and I was really hoping that she would not ask me about it, but she did and I was able to say it was a pressure release from a hard few days while regaining my composure.
WHY?????? Stupid Girl!
Once again as with any session or visit from SW’s, I kept up the wall without intending too.
I don’t know how or why I manage to do it because inside I am lost, exhausted, scared, primed to burst into tears, I am so anxious that I am making my hands sore, scratching them and it is getting harder to control my breathing.
Earlier this week, while I was trying to work out how to help myself I wrote ‘that I am truly a Brickie’s granddaughter’ and it is true. I can build a strong wall and I thought I had built it on strong foundations but over the years that foundation has started to subside and cracks have appeared in my wall and no sooner do I repair one area, another appears and each time they are getting harder for me to plaster over on my own, but what would happen if I stopped repairing the cracks myself and let someone help me bring down the wall brick by brick. Just thinking about it fills me with sheer dread, the prospect of seeing what is hidden behind that wall, what I have shut out of sight and mind (God, I am a control freak!).
Only a handful have ever truly penetrated that wall and really understood what drives me. Bumble and Jemima being 2 of them. My parents do not even know about my history of depression. I wouldn’t want them to either. They have enough to deal with and if they knew they would feel obligated to offer more support despite the distance they would have to travel. They say pride comes before a fall. Well, I wouldn’t say I was too proud to tell them, more that I want to protect them. Besides the majority of the time I can still function and maintain the illusion of my role as mother, wife, daughter, sister, and granddaughter.
The barriers that Beeswax and I put up to protect ourselves, are one of our greatest strengths and have seen us through some of our most difficult times, but they are also one of our biggest faults and we consciously or unconsciously isolate ourselves from those who are in the best position to support us.