Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Truth About Therapy

This past Friday I met with my therapist for the first time since the latter part of May.  We had a whole lot of catching up to do.  I realized that I had gone much too long between sessions and that I didn't even know where to start, given all of the things that had happened since our last meeting.  It was hard...but I was already emotionally calmed, as I had spent a good deal of the last few days with my emotions so close to the surface that I had cried quite a bit, among other things.
It was a good session, but not something that would make sense to the uninformed or uninitiated.  I didn't really realize this until this evening when, as I was in a short-tempered and frazzled place when my husband got home, and he asked me...'well, didn't you get anything out of your therapy session?'  What a revelation for me to dissect his question...in my head, of course....my answer to him had simply been that we had a great deal to discuss in an hour, so yes, I 'got something out of it'.  It wouldn't have mattered what my explanation had been....he wouldn't have been able to understand.
My husband spent time in therapy; quite a while after my suicide, he finally decided to go to a therapist, but spent very little time in individual therapy...instead joining a group, where he participated by listening to other people talk about their problems and issues and events.  I know him well enough (we've been married for 30 years) to know that he did not actively participate in these sessions.  He never had to...and he felt his greatest virtue, compared to the other participants, was that he was the only one not on any kind of medication for anxiety or depression.  I think I tried to explain to him that he would have benefited greatly from medication and from individual therapy, but it all fell on deaf ears.  He only went to appease me, to try to get in my good graces and to get things back to the way they had been 'before'.  What a huge waste of time and money...I think of it now and I'm still appalled by the waste and by the attitude of superiority over the other people he met with weekly.  And also I think of how sad it is that he never got any help, never took it seriously, but just went through the motions and stayed on the surface instead of trying to truly sort out his emotions and deal with all that had happened.
I have had the same therapist since 2011; she was recommended to me when I was released from the psych ward...and it was a great match.  She knows me very well. It is comfortable and has at times been the only source of comfort...looking forward to seeing her and being able to not feel like I was losing my mind. I spent a couple of years in group therapy as well, DBT training, where you learn the skills to deal with your emotions and other people's emotions, and, through this therapy, learn to make for yourself a life worth living.  I learned so much from this training, about myself and about the people in my life.  Learned how to deal with my past and let it go, and live in the present.  I have no complaints about all that I learned, and I continue to use those skills, unconsciously now, to deal with the roadblocks that come up in my life.  So the time I spent in DBT class was time well spent.
My individual therapy, which started out being two times a week, is now basically unscheduled.  I contact my therapist when I get to a place that I know things are occurring or are going to occur that I need to get an objective opinion about.  I always 'get something out of it', because I am honest and bare my soul to her, and she is able to help me look at things from different perspectives and see what choices I might have or not have, given whatever the issue might be.
This recent visit was hard, as I said before.  The things that are happening in my life are not easy to handle and many things are beyond my control, so its more about how to deal with those things. I didn't come away feeling great, but I felt better, being able to talk frankly to someone that actually has my best interest at the center of things, and isn't looking for anything from me, just wants to help me.  So more than anything, I came away from this session with a feeling of knowing that somebody had my back, since in my home life I have not been having that feeling at all.  I didn't come away with any great revelation or solution...sometimes its like that....which you know already, if you are in therapy yourself.
So my point....the truth about therapy...its not just about showing up physically.  Its about showing up and being ready to be honest and raw and to receive the objectivity to look at your life from more than one perspective.  There is no 'cure', not magic bullet....but you have to go there with an open heart and an open mind, and be ready to bare your soul and trust someone with your deepest fears and really hear what they are saying when they give you advice or try to help you unravel whatever mess you are in at the time.
I believe that everybody should go to therapy...in some form or fashion.  Because in this world there is not a lot of objectivity....too many people are trying to get what they need from you and are not interested in what you might need.  They have their own issues and they can't get past them to see what you might be going through.
I hope that if you aren't receiving what you need from the people in your life, that you will consider therapy as an option to help you through the times that you feel alone or trapped or used and abused.  It is money and time well spent, and I know that in every county and every state there is a way to get help - therapy - for free or at very little cost to you...so please, if you feel that you are in a situation that you can't figure out on your own, find a therapist and show up ready to vomit up your truth and your fears and then be sure to really listen and learn.
There...the truth...I hope this helps someone out there...I hope it helps you realize that you don't have to go it alone...and especially if you are feeling that circumstances or people are putting you at risk of thinking those thoughts, looking for a way out, feeling trapped, feeling that you have no options....see those red flags and get yourself some help.  You are not alone.  You can even contact me through this blog....I'll talk to you...I've been where you are...you don't have to be alone and afraid...you have options...
peace to you, peace and love and positive energy...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Then There's the Vines

Today I spent a great deal of time in my vegetable garden, and in one of my flower beds....
In the flower bed, I had to remove the morning glory vines that were taking over all of the other flowers, wrapping themselves around them as they wound their way toward the next thing....its what they do...they're vines....and they have beautiful and useful flowers...the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds love to drink from their big trumpet blossoms, but they choke everything they wrap around, sometimes even choking the lives out of themselves.  So in order for the rest of the flowers to live and bloom and feed  the same creatures, I had to uproot the morning glories and unwind all the vines.  It was necessary for the greater good...but it was kind of sad, all the same.  Not that we don't have tons more morning glories all over the farm...but still, sad to me to have to take their lives.
In the vegetable garden, I was busy building ever-taller trellises for the cucumber plants...they don't wind around other plants, but they are vines, by virtue of having tendrils that come out and wrap around whatever they can find, or reach, to keep supporting themselves as they grow toward the sun. In the process of trellising and re-trellising, I spent a lot of time unwinding the delicate tendrils, where they'd wrapped themselves around other branches, squeezing them so tightly that they'd die if these tendrils weren't removed...I would then place them on the wire or string supports so that they had something to hold onto that would not be another plant...sometimes I would find where they had wrapped around themselves, cutting off their own circulation, too.  It was a long and tedious process...and every day I have to check on them, make sure nobody's grabbed onto the wrong thing, either killing itself or its neighbor.
I realize that I've been feeling like I've been getting wrapped in vines of some kind.  Here I am, trying to bloom where I'm planted, and these vines come along and grab me, because that's what vines do, and they are choking me, cutting off my circulation, using me for support and not caring what the damage might be to me.  I don't know another way to describe this feeling, other than that it feels like being held down, tied to one place, squeezed, used without regard for my welfare.
I think I relate to this so, and feel the need to explain it metaphorically, because its just so fitting and so literal.
I want to stand alone, and yet there are those around me that want that co-dependent feeling they used to get from me before...when I used to be their support, and allow myself to be used and wrapped up and have the life squeezed out of me.  I realize this is why I have been depressed.  I want to stand alone, yet I'm not allowed to....there are things beyond my control that just won't let that happen right now.  So I feel like I'm covered in vines and squeezed by my neighbor's tendrils wrapping around my throat, my heart, my soul...with little or no regard to how I feel about any of it.
It occurs to me that I'm the only person living here that is not passive-aggressive by nature.  I'm the plant that stands tall and just wants to feel some sun and rain and be allowed to grow as best as I can...
But the passive-aggressive people in my life, they want to keep me bound and gagged and held too closely for my liking; to use me to hold them up and squeeze the life out of me so that they can feel comfortable.
And I think, how did this happen?  How is this happening?  How am I to handle these vines?  How do I unwrap those delicate tendrils without damaging them, even as they are damaging me?  I don't know...and I find it more than a little scary and intimidating.
Do I uproot the vines and just get them off me?  Do I gently remove the tendrils and hope that I don't hurt anyone in the process of freeing myself?  Is this even possible?
I wonder if anyone else is having this experience.  I know that I had been considering leaving this place and these people and trying to start a new life somewhere else, somewhere fresh and new and different.  And once they realized that, little by little I have been being wound around until I will have to risk damaging others to save myself.  This is so against my nature, and they count on that..they always have....its always been how they've gotten me in the past.  But I'm different now; I just haven't had to face this problem, not to the degree that it has become potentially dangerous for me, since I've become who I'm becoming.  This will take some serious consideration, but I can't take too long....or I'll be choked to death...
I am still trying, trying so hard, to hold on, to grow, in spite of the vines that want to keep me from it.
I don't understand why they can't just leave me like they found me...why they can't stand on their own or choose something solid and unfeeling to wrap around or grab onto.  Why does it have to be me?
Well, tomorrow I will garden some more, remove some more vines, rearrange some more tendrils, and see if I can get clear of this mess so that I can be left to stand, to grow, to bloom...tonight, I can bid you peace, and recommend that you buy a small pair of pruning shears, pocket-sized, to carry around with you just in case you should ever find yourself in my predicament.   I will be sharpening mine in the morning.    Just in case....
I bid you peace and send you a smile, a truly weary one, but a smile...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Learning To Bloom Where I'm Planting

I know, its been too long....I can't believe I haven't posted anything since the beginning of May.  It should be embarrassing but there has been so much happening and not happening that its been extremely hard for me to put into words.
I have had to make choices about my life....seems like I have come to many forks in my path...and it has been more than a little daunting for me to keep moving forward.   But I keep going...I have turned that corner...the one where I no longer look at suicide as one of my options.  Even if my path means that I could end up alone...well, that no longer scares me so much.  In fact, I find being alone to be necessary for my sanity.   Not that I want to be alone all the time, or think that spending my life in solitude is a really healthy way to live.  But I also don't want to stay in a hopeless relationship or move into a new relationship that has the cards stacked against it from the beginning.
I have come to realize that while most people can accept a person that has tried to take their own life...can even understand or relate to many of the aspects or reasons that someone would get to that place in their life that they feel there is no reason to go on....but it is different to ask someone to love you, to trust you, to have faith in your ability to be healed and ready to be loved.  I personally don't see it as any different from any other relationship....you have to have a certain amount of trust and compassion and caring in order to accept someone into your life.  But I don't think like the majority of people...I've been through too much, and come through to the other side now...so my perspective isn't that of a 'regular' person.
I guess what I am trying to say is that there are never any guarantees...life doesn't provide such things. People get sick, have baggage, have issues, and even the best intentions can become screwed up due to circumstances that can't be foreseen or controlled.
I have been lucky....I have had choices....and I think the lesson here for me is that I have to choose myself...not this man or that man...I am who I have to live with for the rest of my life.
So I have chosen ME!  And I am no walk in the park...but I have come to understand that the lesson is to bloom where I am planted...in my home....on my land...and make myself a life here....for ME...with ME.
I can do this..I am terrified on some days, confident on others, depressed on a few....yes...its okay to get depressed, everyone does....as long as you can recognize it for what it is and see a reason behind it that you can see past...there are going to be times when you are depressed, and times when you are anxious, and times when you're just plain sad.....but if you stay still, don't try to turn and run, but quietly (and sometimes loudly) face that which scares you, or hurts you, and realize that you're just being human....
And as ME, I have so many things I want to do, and places I want to go.  I don't want to repeat my old life...it didn't work out too well there at the end.  I am not the person that I was in that other life...she is gone...she couldn't take any more abuse of any kind.  But ME, I won't be taking any abuse...or bullshit....or any other negative line of thinking...I may have gotten a do-over, but it still came in a 50 year old body...and so I don't have time or energy to waste on anything that doesn't help me bloom, blossom, sprout, think, breathe....there will be no going backwards now...only forward...and on some days, the ones where I'm unable to move an inch....at least I can be still, and feel the earth beneath my feet and the sun on my face and know that I'm still growing, blooming.....maybe its just that my roots are digging down a little deeper, tapping into the universal energy that we are all part and parcel of...the thing that makes us all the same even when we feel that we are so different....
I hope this makes sense....sometimes its hard to tell, and generally I find that my point gets taken by those who need it....at least I sure hope so....Peace to you....I vow that I will be here more regularly now...now that I've found my roots and my shoots and my blossoms.....something I guess everyone has to do....grow!!