I participated in “talk therapy” for over a decade. I think it did help me in some ways. Initially, I had never told anyone my story. There wasn’t anyone on the face of the earth who knew any details of the abuse I suffered as a child, the pain I experienced as a new bride when rejected and declared unwanted by my new spouse (twice!), the self-hate and deep depression I struggled with, the inner demons that ate away my soul, the extensive damage to my inner landscape. No one understood what an ordeal it was for me just to show up and participate in life. And frankly, I didn’t understand why it was so hard for me when it was obviously quite easy for everyone else. I was merciless on myself, berating myself endlessly for my many and continuous failures…because I couldn’t just “get over it” and “snap out of it” and be like everyone else. I didn’t realize I was damaged goods…certainly not to the extent I came to understand I had been damaged. And though understanding didn’t cause me to let myself off the hook or to like myself more, it did at least provide some explanation. Knowing why you are a mess, that there is a logical reason, is useful. So I told my story, hesitantly, tentatively, in bits and pieces. And during the process, I did come to grasp some things much more fully and see a bit more clearly. I gained insight, comprehension, a little acceptance. What I didn’t find was the one thing I sought: healing. I had never had anyone who was interested enough in me, my life, my experiences, to actually listen to me before. And while I was paying a person to be interested, I did feel a certain amount of caring that wasn’t financially driven. Still, it wasn’t the same as having a relationship with a person who genuinely accepted and loved me and believed I had worth. That message…of having value…has eluded me, probably because I have never had it mirrored to me. It’s difficult to discover you matter when you never have. As an adult, those childhood messages are so deeply engrained and cemented by experience, changing the perception (of being worthless; being an object) is extremely difficult when you are the only one telling yourself it’s true. How do you come to believe that which you do not honestly believe? So I talked to the therapist and he listened. He asked questions, challenged me, tried to propose alternate perspectives. He attempted to guide me to a truth he seemed to be able to see, but that I never glimpsed or grasped. I did improve in some ways. I don’t hide as much as I used to. I have that important understanding of why simple things and minor challenges are so stressful and insurmountable for me. I realize now that I started from way behind and I’ve had to work very hard to simply get to the point where most people start. But that hasn’t helped me to get to reach the starting line or to move beyond. I’m still behind. And straining to move forward. During the course of talk therapy, which I participated in weekly, if not more often during that decade plus, I had several revelations that were meaningful to me. But in the last year or two, I had reached a point where I felt talked out. I didn’t have any new stories to tell. I didn’t feel like talking about the ones I had shared again and again and again. I didn’t know what else to say or what topic to tackle. I began to feel stuck and as if I was wasting my time and money. When I got a new job last January that would no longer allow me to keep my weekly appointment, I felt a bit of panic at the thought of not continuing the counseling, but I also felt a sense of relief. It had been years since I had any new insights. Since I had touched on an emotional hot spot. I had stagnated, grown dry, numbed. And the fact that the therapy wasn’t working was causing me to feel that I was even more of a failure than I had felt before. Because most people get better. They get over it. They benefit tremendously from the process and heal. I didn’t heal. Now, I have this general feeling of being empty. Totally talked out. I have told my story in detail. It didn’t help. It didn’t matter. Nothing changed. Now what? What is left? I have only a couple of friends who might be interested in hearing my story, but I can’t seem to tell it. It feels pointless and meaningless. I can’t connect with my words when I try to reveal any experience of my life, so I don’t connect with them in any kind of meaningful way. I did try a few times to talk about something significant that had happened to me, but it fell flat. I couldn’t find the words and it felt so pointless. I didn’t push forward. I stopped. Gave up. Closed my mouth, which in turn somehow closed my heart. Words have always been my friend. But in this case, words failed me. I opened my mouth and nothing came out. So I shut my mouth. And I live in this horrible cell of utter isolation. People rotate around me like planets with purpose and meaning, but our orbits never intersect to provide any kind of significant encounter. I see them. They link with other planets and stars. They dance a beautiful dance. I watch from afar. Untouched. Left out. Alone. I don’t know how to connect. I don’t know how to create my own universe filled with wonderful, close, meaningful relationship that populate my sky, providing light and navigation. My sky is dark and empty. I reach out, speak into the darkness, but find only nothingness…and nothingness is echoed back to me. My words thud into the thick void; they do not penetrate. They have no impact. They make no sound. I spin through time on my predestined trajectory, a path that rarely crisscrosses, passes through, overlaps, or interconnects with others. My voice does not carry in zero gravity. I see the other planets as distant dots of light, but their light does not reach me, nor does it encompass me or provide warmth. I am alone in deep, vast, utter blackness, trapped in the vacuum of outer space. Painfully isolated. Words have failed me. I open my mouth, but I have nothing to say. I’ve said it once and it seems so pointless to rehash, revisit, or regurgitate my anguished past. Speaking did not provide relief or healing. And no one I know wants to know me to that depth. To that level. I’m unpleasant to be around even without disclosing who I truly am and how I came to be this way. Because I’m not like everyone else. I’m broken. I have too much of that unpopular “baggage” everyone wants to avoid at all costs. So I find I have nothing to say. Nothing worth saying. Nothing to share. No one to listen. No reason to speak. So I am silent in the darkness.