Therapy – A Shift in Perspective

Rather than accept and absorb the transition, I have questioned the process and even doubted my worthiness. ‘Surely it can’t be’, I thought, ‘I haven’t worked long enough… hard enough… allowed myself to FEEL enough…’

Days have slipped by in a daze, trying to understand exactly what is changing. (Sorry to all those blogs I’ve been missing). The memories are the same, the trauma evident in life today, but there is a subtle – yet enormous – shift in perspective about childhood. While being careful not to give the impression of sudden healing or recovery, neither is it right to undermine the positive influence this will have on my therapeutic journey.

Of course, there are still many areas of the past that need looked at, but the standpoint is somewhat different. Therapy isn’t easy, but it evidently helps to dilute the guilt and self-blame, it soothes the hurt, and slowly admonishes the anger.

It’s unclear why I was locked in childhood trauma for so many years. The focus was more about forgiving the abusers, rather than finding inner peace. I remember one therapy session with Paul. I began questioning why it was so important to forgive ‘them’.

It felt like I was listening to someone else speak, “… because, if I forgive the abuse, maybe I might want to spend time with them… I might come to like them… maybe even want to help them in their old age…” My healing seemed to focus too much on their benefits, to the extent where my own problems in the present moment became distant and blurry.

About a year ago, I wrote a post, “The Therapist that Bugged Me.” It was about the assessment I had for this current therapy programme. I explained to the miserable woman assessor how past trauma is always the first issue to come up in therapy. “It consumes me on a regular basis, sometimes for weeks and months.” In response, she asked me to think about what I’m avoiding in the present moment. Tut…

Today, I’ve been thinking about what prompted me to seek help in the first place. I had been suffering badly for many years from depression and PTSD. I almost crawled to the Psychiatrist, Dr Potty. “I don’t want to get any better…” I confessed, “…not if it means reconnecting with life… with people… family… … relationships… I really don’t want any of that…”

Dr Potty looked over the top of his designer specks and then typed an entry onto his computer. “Sometimes it’s easier and safer to sit with the familiar”

I didn’t understand what he meant, until today. I wouldn’t like to say I’m stuck in limbo because that implies… well, being stuck! I like to think I’m somewhere between the past and the present, casually drawing breath and gathering momentum for the next leg of my journey.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river

And he’s not the same man”

Heraclitus

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15 thoughts on “Therapy – A Shift in Perspective

  1. Priceless Joy

    Oh, the ebbs and flows of therapy. Sometimes I felt like I was taking one step forward and then two steps back. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. It was so discouraging. Forgiveness? Why would I want to forgive those who hurt me? (Because ‘not forgiving’ is like sticking a knife in my gut and thinking it is hurting the other person). Cat, it seems to me you are going forward in your therapy. We may not feel bells and whistles, but it is as though we are slowly opening our eyes.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Ah, Joy, you are always so wonderful! I read on another blog about the blogger doing one step forward, two steps back… and then she realised she was doing the cha-cha. Therapy does have a knack of throwing us around a little. You’re so right about forgiveness. Strange how it can take years to realise this. I too believe I’m moving forward. It feels good and, at the same time, scary, but through the blogging, there is great support all around me… thank you 🙂

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      1. Priceless Joy

        I read that too about the “cha cha” and thought it was really fun way to look at this. It is wonderful to have so much support on this site, and meet others with similar experiences. I see it as a means to help/support/encourage each other in our healing. 🙂 I love reading your posts Cat because they are so honest about mental illness. It is very difficult for many people to talk about it and they can learn and heal through your words.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It was either your blog or another where I first heard the Heraclitus quote. Poor old Dr Potty… I never did appreciate him or his quotes, to the point of demanding a new Psychiatrist. In hindsight, he was more clued-up than I first imagined. Thank you, Mandy 😛

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      1. mandy

        I had therapists in my past that I replaced–okay, I replaced all of them! It was partly them and a whole lot me–never ready to face it all. But I look back and probably each of them had something that resonates with me now. It’s very cool that you’re seeing some things in a new light, Cat! 🙂

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        1. Cat Post author

          In the past I’ve thought about the “wasted” time in past therapy, never seeing the full course, barely getting by the first few weeks. But, they were all building blocks to where I am now

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  2. rootstoblossom

    I said the same thing to Hubby just last night ” “I don’t want to get any better…” I confessed, “…not if it means reconnecting with life… with people… family… … relationships… I really don’t want any of that…”

    Wishing to be free of the need to fit in and attend our family holiday parties. I would love a permanent pass and be allowed to stay home without fuss. I get nothing out of these parties right now except pain and exhaustion, after so many years of trying, and it is frustrating. One more trial we must endure, forced on us.

    I’m really investigating similar thoughts right now. I do think it is another step forward on our journey. But this step seems to have revealed treacherous ground that I was yet again unprepared for. Each time I think – Oh I’m nearly there! I reach that plateau to find another cliff wall looming ahead that at first seems impossible to climb. I try to remember that many lucky children took this journey towards connecting to people with kind and helpful parents holding their hands and giving them a boost, not stomping their every effort.

    We can do this. We can get there.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Expectations… I’m sure that was one of the fundamental causes of my withdrawing from life. Family time and parties are the last thing we need. People can expect soooo much.
      What you say about ‘cliffs and plateau’s’ is what I fear the most. It feels like I’ve just had a major breakthrough, but the elation is dampened by the anticipation for what’s next. But, we can get through this…
      Thank you for your support 🙂

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