Today is therapy day for me. I’ve been going now since November of last year with a well paced regularity. I would say it has changed my life and helped me save my life. And the best part I’m discovering is it’s evolutionary in nature, meaning where I began I am no longer, now I am somewhere new and I know there are miles to go. Miles that I am ready to travel now. Something that’s a really big deal for me is that I have no idea what the future holds and I AM OK WITH THAT.
Let’s be honest though, not all my therapy experiences have been like this, and because I’m here to have an honest conversation, I think I have to tell all the stories.
I’m not sure if you should read in silence here or not, but I wanna throw on something by this guy because he’s just astounding and this song is just lyrically staggering…
When my parents got divorced, I was sent to my first therapist. I was 8 and I had no idea what “therapy” was and in truth, I don’t remember what precipitated my mother’s choice to send me. I remember being sad my Dad was gone, but I mostly just remember her hysteria. I remember there was something odd about the therapist’s office and I only went once. Because at that age, I couldn’t participate, I didn’t really know what my feelings even were and mostly I was very uncomfortable. I may have asked to not go back, I can’t really recall.
At 15, I was again sent into therapy, and not by my choice. I had been to my doctor’s office and he had discovered my anorexia. By discovered I mean, I had these sores in my throat because when you starve yourself the stomach acid starts to creep up. They were like ulcers. There were maybe 2-3 of them. I don’t remember my mother acknowledging my shrinking size ever in that time. She told everyone I had Mono. Anyways, she was not happy with me and sent me to a doctor at Mennnigers as well as a nutritionist. Let’s be honest, I think teenagers are the least receptive to therapy. Do you remember being that age? The age where you have passing feelings of really wanting to say Fuck Off to everyone? This shrink was old and foreign, I couldn’t always understand what he was saying much less talk to him. I actually remember thinking he could have worked for Hitler, because he was old and German. And it was his name, which I won’t attempt to spell even now. And for a man who wanted to discuss my feelings, he just had one of the flattest feeling souls I’ve ever encountered. This all went nowhere. And let’s not even talk about the nutritionist right now…
I went briefly into therapy in college and she was nice. Her office was on my college campus. I chose to go, but I’d be hard pressed to tell you why. I remember feeling very detached in college. I wasn’t really present and looking back I made a lot of choices I was not happy with and yet continued on those paths. Hindsight being what it is, I think this is when my trauma started showing, but no one was having that conversation in the therapy world at that time. I was still living with the conviction that I could just swallow all the events of my upbringing like a sin eater and all would be well.
I crashed at 29. My twenties were not good. At 29 is when I had had it. I went back to therapy AND started working out. I can’t say this therapist changed my life, but she listened. This was the first time I started to talk about all the things that had happened to me. I started to acknowledge that I was not okay and I was not okay with the person I had become. This therapist helped me open the doors, she didn’t really lead me through them but I began to realize the most important truth: I wasn’t the bad person I was raised to believe I was and everything was not my fault. I would talk and she would listen. I went for a few years and when she passed way years later, I silently sent out a prayer of gratitude for having met her and helped me on my way.
Which bring me to the here and now. THIS is the therapy that has worked. EMDR changed my life and she is an asking many questions, offering tangible solutions therapist. She is closer to my age and is also an athlete. I picked her rather by choice, and would tell you that I am certain the universe somehow aligned our meeting. I feel like the old adage, “Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will open” applies to therapy. You have to want to go and you will have to slay all the demons, which are aa part of yourself. Something will have to die for something else to be born. It has not been easy but again , and I don’t say this lightly, but this is the journey of my life. Because I feel like I know that I have one now.
The thing that has remained really interesting to me is that inside the EMDR sessions, the version of me in my mind as a child, she’s just as I remember myself before all the bad shit happened. She is joyful, optimistic and I hear her voice saying randomly day to day, “You are the only one in the way of our great adventure.” That is how I would describe therapy if you asked, it’s learning how to get out of our own way to find our great adventure.