I am not sure what I expected to happen when the childhood trauma finally faded into the past. Maybe I envisaged bright colourful healing lights with life changing eureka moments, but my own experience of “renewal” has crept up so slowly, I almost didn’t notice.
I was apprehensive about therapy with Paul yesterday, mainly because I couldn’t think of anything to say. We’ve spent months analysing my experience of childhood trauma and the ambiguous family relationships, but these have finally run out of gas.
Turning up for a fifty-minute therapy session without any kind of agenda will run the risk of hitting a wall of painful silence, but I’ve learned in recent weeks that these are often the most powerful sessions.
The Psychiatrist – the wonderful Dr J – used to say, “Whenever you don’t feel like coming to therapy, those are the times when you need to attend the most.” She never did offer an explanation, but the glint in her eye said, ‘try it and see’.
I’m still not entirely sure what it achieves, other than to force someone to sit with the discomfort, and maybe this is the purpose of the exercise, so off I trundled to therapy yesterday afternoon.
I told Paul that the door to my past has firmly closed behind me and now I only see this vast empty space, and this represents my life and the near future. It is my opportunity to build a new existence, but I am apprehensive about pottering around a strange environment.
Paul and I talked about the fear, which didn’t altogether make sense. I did the professional life once before. Of course, I couldn’t waltz back into the same jobs today and there is still the ‘little’ problem of PTSD and Agoraphobia to overcome, but retraining is not out of the question.
Of course, it would be an enormous challenge and I am not even sure if funding (at my age) would make this dream a reality. As we were exploring this, it felt as if there was something more than fear that was potentially holding me back.
And then it happened, a true eureka-therapy-moment, a very small and simple realisation with an enormous potential for healing. I heard my subconscious speak the words that accurately describe my fears for moving forwards. “I’ve completely lost faith in myself.” I bowed my head.
The enormity of those words hovered in the silent space between Paul and me. “How can I trust myself after all these years of running… hiding… and failing.”
Last night I realised the significance of our session. I can barely believe this is little-ol-broken-me, thinking and actually talking of a future. I remember an appointment with my Psychiatrist three years ago, “I no longer want to get better,” I confessed in despair, “Not if it means reconnecting with life or building relationships again.”
Only last year, it didn’t feel possible to get to where I am today, when the positive thoughts start to outweigh the negative ones and suddenly there is a future waiting just ahead. As it happens, Yes, I do want to get better and, yes, I do want to connect with life again.
I think this is progress.