I’ve not been writing a lot about therapy lately. My last post about Paul’s absence was actually two weeks old. I’m not sure what’s going on for me right now. In the days leading up to this therapy programme, I often wondered what healing from trauma might actually feel like and what shape the process might take.
Each one of us have our own route to healing, but my own journey feels as though I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride of reflection and rumination, writing and talking… anger… regret, and many stages of grief.
We learned early in our group how important it is to observe the feelings. There were months when I seemed to exist in a weird trance like state with a whirlwind of emotions circling inside my head. I thought acceptance, healing, and change might never come into focus, but this is beginning to feel much more likely.
The last group I attended was two-weeks ago. I had only just received the bizarre telephone call, which brought news about the death of my long lost friend, Anne.
I’m still trying to grasp how extraordinary that coincidence actually was and the news has been difficult to come to terms with. However, the experience came to mean so much more than synchronicity or grief.
In the days that followed the news, my mind was awash with long forgotten memories of the past. It took a few days to realise that beyond the nostalgia, was a clear view of how I once viewed my existence.
I recalled the enthusiasm and heaps of confidence that would eventually become lost beneath years of mental health problems. I have able to taste what life once meant to me and what I meant to life.
When I first approached a Psychiatrist five years ago, almost begging for help, the distress came from a realisation that I didn’t want to get any better, “not if it means interacting and trusting other people again…” My perception of life had been utterly dismal for so many years, it was easy to lose track of what existed before the days of mental illness.
It feels as though these long forgotten memories form part of the missing jigsaw and now I can see a lifestyle that is worthwhile aiming for. Of course, everyone changes with time and there is no return to a former self, but I finally envisage what life could look like.
We return to usual sessions next week, but already my time is running out in therapy. We finish group in December and from January until June, I will be on a rapid sliding scale with my Therapist, Paul.
It might sound strange, but my least problematic condition in recent years has been Agoraphobia because it kept me safe and comfortable within an isolated cocoon. At the heart of the debilitating phobia is a fear of venturing into strange places with the prospect of meeting unfamiliar people. This brings me full circle to the very place I started with my Psychiatrist five years ago, only this time, I do want to face those fears and I will ultimately find a new life, but the prospect of change is scary and therein is the next stage of my therapy.
Dr Gerald Stein writes a nice post on avoiding our fears, taking control, and making the best of life here