Monday, July 1, 2013

Learning to Forgive Myself

 First time going back to my private therapist after finally finishing my outpatient program.  It took four months, five re-starts, three hospitalizations, and a lot of self-learning to get to where I am. No amount of prepping could have had me ready for tonight, though.  Re-starting therapy can be a wonderful thing, especially after an intensive program like the one I was in. Sometimes it can be like ripping a band aid off a hairy spot on your leg- quick, painful, and leaves a lingering red spot after.

Certainly, things have to change for both my therapist and I.  Nothing can ever be the same after a client walks into a therapy room after having OD'd on meds.  To make matters worse, there is the electronic suicide note I sent out to her.  We discussed some of this during the two week lapse I had in program, but mostly those two sessions were to distinguish that I still wanted to get better and that it was unacceptable to do what I had done. Tonight was different.  She came in prepared and ready to lay down the law. Our dynamic has been forever changed.

No longer will I be allowed to come in with my thinly veiled self and attempt to joke around and deflect.  Suddenly I find myself re-starting completely with my therapist- back to day one- assessing my goals and having boundary lines finely drawn.  This is the consequence of what I have done.  I am not yet sure if I like it, but I know that it had to be done.  I know that therapy couldn't go on forever the way it was.  In January I had started to try to break through my barriers.  I was looking at the way I presented myself in session and what I had been leaving out and not talking about and I was preparing to change.  I didn't know how to.  I got scared, I got hopeless, and I attempted to take myself out of the equation.

Problems never just go away.

I spent a lot of tonight crying over the loss and the fear.  And then I let myself let someone else in.  I told my wife how I felt.  I cried, I yelled, I let myself feel.  And then I understood: sometimes dynamics must shift in order for major change to happen.  It's not just about me and what I need; it's also about others.  However, those others can handle their parts on their own.  I have to take responsibility for myself, my actions, and the consequences. It may seem unfair, but it's not about being fair. It's also no longer about what I want, it's about what I need.  And right now this is what I need.

I may not be responsible for being here, but I am responsible for getting myself out.

I know that I am responsible for some of it- the suicide attempt, the note, the acting-out.  However, some of it was beyond me- the trauma, the fa├žade I had to make to survive, and the maladaptive coping mechanisms I have come to rely on.  Now their time is done and it is time to embrace who I have become in the face of all that.  It is time to take responsibility for all that has happened and to make my life my own.

I started out with the title, "How I Turned My Therapist into a Bitch."  I realize now that I didn't turn her into anything.  Nor was she really a bitch.  I was just embarrassed at all that I had done and shocked to find that I will no longer be enabled. My reaction to tonight's session had nothing to do with my therapist and everything to do with learning to forgive myself.  So tonight I start with accepting the fact that my therapist still wants to work with me.  No need to look for the "why"s and "what if"s.  I'm just going to practice some radical acceptance and be thankful that I have the support. I'm taking one moment at a time and trying to live my life mindfully.

1 comment:

  1. Powerful message that must have been incredibly difficult to write.
    It's a such a conflicting challenge to take ownership and be responsible for our actions, but at the same time to let ourselves off the hook when we fail. To be in charge of steering our own ship while at the same time
    not being afraid to be brave enough to ask for the help we all need at times.Sure is confusing, but it's OK to be confused. We ALL are constantly trying as best we can to figure this puzzle out. I wish you the best on your journey and I have faith that anyone strong enough to share such honesty, is strong enough to overcome anything this bully called life can hit us with. God Bless you