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Goldstein, M. (2016). Letting Go: Sarah's Story. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 10(2):157-160.

(2016). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 10(2):157-160

Letting Go: Sarah's Story

Mirel Goldstein

Sarah stared blankly at the empty journal in front of her, her therapist's words reverberating in her head. “Just put yourself back there, as if you're fourteen again … or even six. And write to me about what life is like for you. As if you're there right now. Give me a picture so I can really know, Sarah. Then I can help you.”

Sarah wanted to do therapy the right way. She wanted the help; she knew she needed it. But trying to open up and trust was so difficult.

Memories from tenth grade came back first.

School today had been hard so far. Harder than usual. It wasn't the work really, or the other kids. It was the stuff that Sarah's mind did to her. Flashbacks, racing thoughts, waves of associations that made it so hard to concentrate.

It had been a lonely world for Sarah's fourteen-year-old self; and her world had always been that way, for as long as she could remember.

Sometimes people had tried to reach out. Sarah knew that. Every now and then, she had found herself actually wanting to break down, for just a minute or two; to cry on someone's shoulders and tell them about the never-ending obsessions, the need for perfection, about all the rules.

Rules like, Never depend on anyone. Never let anyone see how you feel. Never let anyone in. Stay away from all of those horrible things that make everything hurt even a hundred times more than they do already.

“A journal is a safe place where you can write whatever you want without judgment or fear. It's just for you, a safe place to express yourself,” Sarah's therapist had said.

But after all those years of shutting down and keeping herself closed, well, a person could not just erase that so easily even if they wanted to.

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