I think we can all agree that there’s something to be said about people in our lives that can see us. Of course I don’t mean they see us in the physical sense. I mean they see past surface level and have a genuine understanding of who we are on the inside. They “get” us, regardless of if we want to be gotten.
Not unlike a lot of people, my first defense against pain is laughter. Might as well laugh about it so I don’t cry, right? Damn right.
So needless to say, my walls of defense were at their peak one year ago. The problem I encountered with having such high walls is that it caused a lot of cognitive dissonance. Continuing to joke about or completely ignore what hurt me on the outside was eating me alive inside.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I can deal with guilt, I can deal with anger, I can deal with sadness, I can even deal with regret, but the one feeling that I cannot deal with is hopelessness.
When I started to feel hopeless on top of guilty, on top of sad, on top of angry, on top of whatever else was going on inside me I decided that I needed someone to help me work all of this out. I needed someone to talk to who wasn’t emotionally invested in me, wasn’t familiar with my family and most importantly, someone who wasn’t judgy. I needed a therapist.
When I first started, of course I didn’t know what to expect and that scared the hell out of me. My therapist seemed nice enough. She asked me why I was there and I told her that it was mostly for grief counseling but also to work on some other issues. I think I met with her when I was back and forth between cities about six times.
I had my reservations about her, she was a grad student. I couldn’t really hold that against her though, my only option was students because that’s all I could afford. The first red flag came when said she would follow up with me once, then never did. Then, once I got a hold of her again the same thing happened. As someone who was struggling with abandonment issues anyway, I couldn’t open up to someone I didn’t trust. I decided to switch to a different student. And I am so glad that I did.
So at the beginning of the post I discussed certain people who are able to “see” us. My new therapist saw me. She called me out for laughing about my pain and encouraged me to deal with what was really bothering me. I didn’t even realize I was upset about some of the stuff I was upset about.
She challenged me to move forward. She challenged me to challenge myself, realize my self worth, and expect nothing less than what I deserve. This was not easy, years and years hurt can’t be fixed overnight. Week after week, she challenged me and helped me realize that I could be better, I was better, I deserve better.
For nine months, brick by metaphorical brick, I worked to tear down the walls I had been building for eight years. So by the time I walked into my last session, one week ago, I felt light. I was no longer weighed down by my past, but looking toward the future. I had hope. I knew I was ready, and so did she. She put it so kindly:
“When you first walked in here, I saw a strong woman on the outside who was completely broken on the inside. Since then, I’ve watched you fight to put yourself back together. And that, to me is inspiration. That, to me, is true strength.”
With that, I am done writing about the past. It’s been a long story, it’s been a sad story, it’s been a story that shaped who I am becoming as a person. I was happy to share it with anyone who it may have helped. Thanks for reading, til next time!