If you haven’t read Part I yet I’d encourage you to check it out so you get the full scope of this post and how this realization came to be that I learned what I’m passionate about.
Anyways, here I am in a therapy session and we’re talking about how far I’ve come and while she’s checking out my blog she says, ” I see some real talent in your writing, you’re a natural”. She says I have a knack for putting thoughts on paper and making it sound so natural, just like a conversation or a story. She goes on to include, ” I could definitely see you writing a book someday”. To which I replied, uummmm yeah OK! Whatever you say! (see the minimizing and zero self confidence kicking in again)?
“What have you learned about yourself recently?”, she inquires. I’m like, “in what way?” This is me causally trying to dodge the question because I’m afraid to answer it for fear I might actually give myself some credit for a change.
Her response (and I”m paraphrasing here)
- You immerse yourself in your trauma recovery
- You do all the writing and homework assignments I give you
- You never miss an appointment
- You participate in survivor chats online
- You submitted your story to other websites, and write about your struggles in your blog
- You’re reading self help books and learning about all of the things that affect you
- You actually try to connect with and understand your own flashbacks (which can be a double edge sword)
- You’re learning to use, and believe, what Rational and Wise mind tell you vs what Emotional mind tells you.
- You are such a compassionate person, a good listener, you relate well to others, and don’t prejudge people.
I swear if there was an award for trying to build up someone’s self esteem, she would get the grand prize for that speech. She almost has be believing I am making progress. Then she drops this one on me…
You know, she says, “I’ve heard you mention a few times about how you are considering going back to school”. I said, “yeah I have, but I don’t think I can do it honestly, probably just a pipe dream. That’s so far out of my comfort zone it’s not even funny. I don’t have time, I don’t think I could get back into the swing of the classroom scene again. Even online classes would be difficult.”
Using her best inquisitorial yet compassionate look, she goes – “I see your face light up when you talk about the books that you’re reading, or the survivor chats you engage in. I can feel your passion from over here, your dedication. You would make an amazing therapist”. Just then I began choking on the sip of water I just took and damn near blew it across the room and said,”uummm you can’t be serious! Me, a therapist?! Is our time up yet because I think we’re both a little tired tonight and maybe not thinking clearly.”
She gave me THAT look (in a kind, reassuring way), “yes I’m serious”. “Think about it, you can’t learn in a textbook or a classroom what you’ve experienced first hand in this recovery so far. You know what trauma is like, abuse, anxiety, PTSD, flashbacks, all of the things you deal with are what so many others experience too. You can relate to people who suffer just like you do. You’re a natural at writing and you can tell your story so well in words and in speech.”
For once, as she is telling me all of this, I start to think about it and I actually begin to believe what she’s saying! Yes, me! The words start flowing out like a dam that just burst! “You know”, I tell her,” I do feel the passion when I read these books and talk with other survivors. I feel at peace with them, like we’re all in this journey together and they are in the same tribe as I am. I can relate to them and they can relate to me. I’m excited to keep researching how childhood sexual abuse affects the brain, and our development as we grow into teenagers and adults.”
I keep rattling off statement after statement about what this process means to me and how important it is. I can feel myself getting excited at the possibility of finally realizing that when I’m in a session or I’m with other survivors, I can just be me.
I don’t have to be the 80’s guy or the football guy, I can let my guard down and allow myself to connect with people in a way I’ve never done before. I am connecting with the inner, real me. I am passionate about this process, about mental health, about bringing awareness to childhood sexual abuse, and helping others along my journey of helping myself.
By this point I’m totally buying into what she’s telling me and I realize for the first time in my life, this is an opportunity I can totally immerse myself in. I can be a part of something that is important to countless people across the world. This is HUGE for me!
To realize that after all this time, what I’m really supposed to be doing with the rest of my life just may be coming into focus. Then there was suddenly, along with the feeling of excitement and nervousness, a peace inside that came over me. Peace and contentment about where this could go.
We end the session, which ran over by 15 minutes, by her closing the workbook that we never got too, and says that my homework is to start doing some preliminary research on schools and programs in the social work field.” Whether it’s as a therapist, counselor, life coach, or something else, you have a passion that is building inside which can lead to so many amazing things for you.”
“Just think about it this week and see where that takes you, she says.” “Don’t let it get overwhelming and don’t over think it (even though I know you will). Let’s just explore this little by little.”
So, as I sit here now I’m thinking about this session and my mind is spinning. I’m fighting off the negative thoughts about how I can’t do this, I’m too old, no time, and couldn’t handle school. Instead I’m trying to use Wise Mind and Rational Mind to say, “why not me”! Why can’t I do something I’m passionate about and wake up every day excited about what the day holds, instead of dreading it?
There are still going to be good days and bad days, flashbacks, therapy, and blog posts about how tough this recovery journey is, believe me there is NO doubt about that. However, I may have just stumbled on to something that can propel me into a new phase in my recovery and life.