Wednesday, February 27, 2013

brick by brick

Many years back, I was having a rough time of things. Nothing like what I would find myself going through in later years, but at the time, it was a crisis of confidence and identity that left me pretty empty and confused and alone. Interestingly, it wasn't the earlier dissolving of the seventeen-year relationship that was tearing me down, but rather a later, shorter term one that had [and continues to have] resounding and rebounding effects on me.

Eventually, I gave in and saw a therapist. I have a hard time with facts and realizations that don't come from within my own head/heart, so I'd avoided or ignored that avenue of assistance for a while. In this case, I'd already done a bit of it with a joint/group counselor, so taking it a step further and finding someone who was strictly "on my side" was a bit easier. And it ended up helping, to an let me get some things that were rattling around in my head out into the open, throw some light on them, and let them air out a bit after being kept in the dank, dark bits of my brain for so long.

A short while after that situation resolved itself [or at least was in the process of being resolved], I had a conversation with each therapist about what had happened and what I was planning going forward. Both of them, independently, encouraged me to find a support group for "people who'd been through similar situations". I demurred, deflected, downplayed...and they saw through it, but were both savvy enough to plant the seed and then back off. A short time after that, one of them followed up with me, and told me point blank: "Stacey, it may not have been physical, there may not have been bruises, and you may have felt that your eyes were open and you were aware of what was happening, but it was still *abuse*. You took an emotional beating, you were worn down, you were forced to defend who you were at the core of your being. You faced anger and defensiveness and belittling and projection of insecurities onto you; you were left doubting what you wanted, choices you'd made, and where you wanted your life to go. You were precariously close to letting yourself make decisions that would have affected you for the rest of your life because it was easier than continuing to swim against that tide, but you pushed through, dug in, and stood tall. Never forget that. With everything you'd been through before then, with everything that happened during, and everything that came after, you took control of your own life. You took responsibility. That is something that will serve you for as long as you need it, for as long as you live."

And a few weeks later, the other therapist said something very similar, and encouraged me again to look into support groups. I never did end up doing that; instead I worked with both of them to build a foundation for those newly-rediscovered and hard-fought lessons. Both were skilled in letting me get to the conclusions on my own; rather than pushing me where they thought I should go, they simply provided a conduit to let my thoughts flow in the right directions, which was the best way for me to internalize and actually trust in what I was figuring out.

Because of them, a lot of difficult introspection and truth-facing, and some very kind, patient, and loving friends and family, I gained tools that served me well in the times that were still to come. With luck, I won't need what I learned again...but if I do, I know that it is all still there, and that it can never be lost or taken from me. It was hard-earned, and worth the fight.


pankaj said...

it is nice experience you shared. I am also planning to see a therapist and I hope it work outs well.

stacey said...

Thank you for the kind words...wishing you much success, my friend.