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...

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