Therapy – Letting Go

untitledI’ve been thinking a lot about last week’s experience with my Therapist, Paul, when we sat together, “Experiencing the Void.” While I realised this was significant, I had no idea what “the void” actually was.

The void feels like I am standing mid-way along a footbridge that leads from the past to the present and into the future. Behind me is the small world of soul-destroying experiences, which I’m somehow miraculously outgrowing, and ahead is vast uncharted territory. I am unable to go back but feel equally uncertain of how to proceed, so I hover in this weird void like state.

In my last post, I talked about there being a wall of emotion I need to walk through before I can move forward. This transparent wall holds all the things I need to face up to – The tears and acceptance, the unresolved anger, and the uncertainty of how to emerge and connect with a new life. At the heart of this wall, the mortar that holds all this negativity together is fear.

There have been times in recent weeks when I worried that perhaps I am not quitethMSM9H3Q5 ready to move on. Maybe I’ve not remembered enough, talked enough, felt enough, let go of enough. Maybe the healing I am experiencing is only in my imagination, or worse, dissociation.

I used to think healing meant reaching a point when all the hurt and trauma had completely dissolved, but none of us would be human if we were able to look back at painful experiences and not feel a certain degree of emotion. I guess the key is the ability to leave the memories where they belong, in the past. If only it were that straightforward.

When I first started blogging, I read a lot about other people’s experiences of childhood trauma. I remember the terms, “Moving on,” and “Letting go” being used along with the most challenging word of them all, “Forgiveness.”

I initially believed the only way to ‘let go’ and ‘move on’ was to forgive the people who had caused us a lifetime of pain in the first place. Through time, I have come to understand that this has less to do with the abusers and more about making peace with ourselves.

thAUBJJ0MLI think all of us can eventually find healing, but we need to be at the stage when we feel ready to let things go. Unfortunately, that seldom happens spontaneously and never easily, but it comes from allowing ourselves the space and time to feel the pain and analyse whatever we do not understand.

We are not wallowing in self-pity or being too afraid to face up to the real world. This is a special time of reflection and grieving, which is imperative to future healing. When that process starts or ends, is entirely down to each individual.

I’m talking here as if I’ve already crossed over my bridge, but I still hover anxiously in the void, reflecting, and not quite ready to move forward, but maybe that is part of my journey. I am not sure when the time will finally come to leave it all behind, but it looks as if I’m closer now than ever.

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44 thoughts on “Therapy – Letting Go

  1. Anxious Mom

    I can’t imagine it will be easy to cross that bridge when it comes, but good for you for getting closer ❤ ((hugs))

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  2. Priceless Joy

    Wow! Excellent Cat. You have grown so much. Because of that growth, I can see what a strong and wonderful person you are. I feel like you have been finding “you” and re-discovering that fantastic man that has been lost in mental illness.

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  3. Sharon Alison Butt

    This is amazing. You have learnt so much and the healing process seems well on it’s way. I especially like the truth that you revealed about forgiveness being more about ourselves. The truth sets you free and because you’ve grasped this truth, it is breaking the chains from off your wrists and shattering the shackles from your ankles – most of all, it is freeing your mind. You’ve done so well! x

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  4. therabbitholez

    I’ve always had a problem with the “letting go” part, because it doesn’t change the past, but as a very good friend said to me it no longer defines you, you are no longer it’s hostage, I thought about that for a long time and came to the realisation, that they were right, but as you say when your standing on that bridge in limbo, the new challenge of forging ahead is equally scary in some respects.

    Think of it as a leap of faith into your new life as a free man, and let your new discoveries about life define who you are today.

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    1. Cat Post author

      You’re so right, I am no longer a hostage to the past. Some of the pain may well be there, but it certainly doesn’t define today. Thank you 🙂

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      1. therabbitholez

        You also mentioned forgiveness which is always a tough one, I think that opens up Pandora’s box as it were, because at what point do you start forgiving!

        Even forgiving ourselves is tricky when you have nothing to forgive, however learning to like yourself I think gives a much better foundation for moving forwards.

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        1. Cat Post author

          I suppose it really depends on what exactly forgiveness is and how it can be achieved and whether it should even be a central focus or maybe something that happens as we heal within ourselves 🙂

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  5. cbecker53

    I think that many, many, people who aren’t in therapy and aren’t considered depressed, struggle with letting go, forgiving and moving on. They don’t always know it, or name it, or admit it, but they (we) do.

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  6. edwinasepisodes

    I think that you are slowly getting there Cat. Maybe you just need to stay on the bridge a short time longer to make sure that you are ready to face the future….You sound as it you are nearly strong enough to do so 🙂

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  7. mincs1

    I think “letting go” is something that requires attention at every stage of one’s life. Sadly, I think it is an ongoing part of the journey of being human but I also feel that we acquire different tools or skills along the way and as you mentioned, everyone, in their own time, finds a way to deal with what letting go means to them…

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  8. littlevoicetalks

    I believe you are just securing your harness getting ready to move. There is no rush. You are putting things in place, working through coming to a resolution ….

    I don’t ever think we come to the end of the bridge, not till we shuffle off. I reckon just find stable points where the foot hold is strong and the view is magnificent. And the steps in between are less wobbly, lesser degrees of injury because we have a little more control over our emotions and the past isn’t try to cut the rope like the scene from Indianna Jones and the Temple of Doom.

    You are a courageous soul my friend. Your journey is your jewel xx

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  9. cardamone5

    I hear acceptance and continued judgment. I know it is tempting to measure your progress, and believe me, I am as guilty of this as anyone else, but try not to fixate so much on getting there, because I have found that when I reach such places there is still confounding dissatisfaction, and more on just being where you are: as uncomfortable as that void is, it is where you are, and is as valid as being happy. Sending comfort.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I am trying just to be in the moment and allow ‘whatever’ to materialise in its own time. Thank you, Elizabeth, comfort received!

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  10. Glynis Jolly

    To me, being healed means being able to leave the past in the past even though when reflected upon, it may still hurt. I like your analogy of crossing a bridge. What you’re leaving is something you’re familiar with and you know what to expect from it. Where you’re headed is unknown and you have no idea as to if it’s be better, worse, or even the same. I’m “the bull in the china shop” type person so I’d already be over there exploring.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I would agree, but I don’t know why I ever thought ALL the hurt etc would somehow miraculously vanish. It’s about leaving it in the past and I think I’m doing just that!

      Thanks, Glynis

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  11. manyofus1980

    I wish I was there. I’d love to be able to move on. I cant seem to though. It feels like I’ll never get there. I dunno. I’ll keep hoping I guess. XX

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    1. Cat Post author

      I used to think the same, Carol Anne, I never thought it possible. You’re doing all the work that you possibly can and I just know things will start to take shape for you too 🙂

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  12. peggyricewi

    It’s been hard for me in the reaching forward…the past is familiar, even with all of its pain. The habits I know, the depression and anxiety that are so familiar, they are almost comforting. But I encourage you, as I have been encouraged, to reach forward, toward health and healing. I’m finding that I’m still in process, but healthier does feel better, even if still a bit unfamiliar!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Peggy, thank you for your kind comment. I am facing forwards and trying to concentrate on the present moment.

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  13. mandy smith

    I really feel you’re doing everything exactly the way it’s meant to happen, Cat. You stop looking back, begin moving forward, and then fear causes you to stop–hover. Then you get another dose of courage, move forward again, stop, hover…It was about at this point I started really focusing on that quote by Anai Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ❤

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  14. Hope Turner

    Hi Cat, thanks for you kind words about blue sunglasses. It took me a lot of time to think of how I wanted to depict it. As to your post, DBT and ACT teach that there is no ‘letting go’ of our past, because it is part of who we are. We have to learn to accept the memories, the pain, the depression, the anxiety and live well with them in our lives. It is as if we are refusing to give our pain and suffering the attention it wants/demands from us, and in doing so, they shrink in importance and move to the background. You probably know all this already and I’m guessing my thoughts may have already been posted by your many followers above, but just in case, I wanted to share that with you. Again, thanks for dropping by and taking the time to make my day!
    Hugs, Hope.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Hope… I think you did an excellent job depicting depression, it often feels as though everything is slightly tainted and they do a brilliant job at hiding our eyes from the world

      It’s very helpful what you say. I didn’t know what DBT or ACT teaches about this, but this was fast becoming my thinking, so it’s good to have that clarified, thank you 🙂

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  15. RisingSong

    Yes! Exactly! If there is anything I’ve learned from my own journey is that everything has to be done in it’s own time. I have learned to feel my way through each step, taking each one only when the time is right. Keep listening to yourself!

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  16. Pingback: Therapy – Light at the end of the Tunnel | My Travels with Depression

  17. mandy smith

    Aw yes, I remember this post, though I can’t remember what I commented before. But I recognize the worry about “getting there”–healing, moving past it all, when will it happen, when will I get to start my new and improved life. What I know now, Cat? We are healing. We are moving past it all. It’s happening as we speak (blog). Our new and improved life began the day we decided we wanted to do all this work to make it happen. I believe all of this happens for us when we realize we are helping others by sharing our experiences. And we do, you know. And others do the same for us. It happens when we believe in that famous Anaïs Nin quote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ❤

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    1. Cat Post author

      Aw, you are sweet, Mandy. There is one thing I am becoming so aware of in recent couple of weeks, is just how much I have moved on from all that childhood stuff. There will always be negative emotion associated with that time, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel anything, but the difference is, I really feel as though I’ve turned a corner and for now it feels good. No doubt there’s another dip or a few more to come, but that’s therapy for ya. Thank you, Mandy for taking the time 🙂

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