“When you feel shame, where do you feel it in your body?”

“It feels heavy. Like a heavy blanket is covering me.” To phrase it lightly.

Every limb feels weighted down. Every muscle in my system feels tense as if each and every one is activated, working to simply keep myself upright.

My immediate urge is to curl in on myself. To wrap myself into a ball, bringing my feet up to hold on to. To lean on. The fetal position. I want to melt into the floor.

And I cannot move.

After demonstrating a breathing technique to calm the shaking, “Do you want to try it?”

“No,” I can’t move.

“Here I’ll turn away and not look at you,” in reply.

“No,” I cannot move.

I cannot process or make sense of my thoughts. How can I simultaneously be so overwhelmed, yet feel empty, blank, and lifeless?

I can’t move. Powerful, steel chains hook themselves onto the nucleus of each individual cell in my being, trapping me to the couch. Sitting up straight, both feet on the floor feels impossible, outrageous. I cannot move.

Shut down and absent, I never intend to leave this spot. For eternities I will reside in this exact place until the weight has lifted.

I brace myself for, “Oh good, it’s not as bad as I thought it was!” I wait for these words. I wait for these words every time someone has said they’ve read my story. Every time they’ve read my blog. Only one person has said these words, yet their impact reverberates in my mind. It’s not that bad. You exaggerated. That’s not trauma.

They do not come. I don’t know what I’d do if they were to come again.

Shame for the circumstance, shame for my reaction to the circumstance. Shame for overreacting to the circumstance. Shame because it’s not that bad. Worse has happened. Shame because I deserved it, I let it happen, because I asked for it. Shame because I it’s not as bad as I make it out to be. Shame because I exist. Heavier and heavier by the day.

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