If you’ve read any of the past articles here on my blog, you know that I see a therapist twice a week. She really is something special and I’m so fortunate to have found her. I don’t hide the fact that I go to sessions regularly because I’m not ashamed of it, and neither should anyone else who seeks the help of a professional therapist or life coach. If anything we should be applauding ourselves for the courage to reach out and seek the help we need.
For many survivors that I connect with on social media, their sessions can be intense, frustrating, scary, and just downright exhausting. Everyone is different in how they react when working with a professional, but let’s face it when you are digging up old feelings and traumatic memories from your past, how is that anything other than unbelievably difficult?
For me personally, I look forward to my sessions each week as a total life line and support system. That doesn’t mean they are easy, not by a long shot. I leave each one mentally drained and needing to process on my own what we talk about. J has become such a big part of my life over the last 16 months that I can’t imagine it without her. In fact, when a session has to be cancelled at the last minute, it’s a total anxiety rush and can send me spiraling into depression in a hot second. Being so routine oriented, and needing my structure, causes me such grief when things deviate from the normal schedule too much.
A session I had earlier this week, as I write this post now, started out pretty decently. I walked into her office, exchanged greetings and we began going over the latest tracker sheet that I had been keeping up with. Nothing different here yet, pretty standard stuff. I was mostly at ease and comfortable sitting on her couch and doing my usual holding onto a couple throw pillows beside me. I didn’t feel particularly stressed at first, and then she brought up the question that immediately spikes my anxiety, ” have you talked to your mom lately”?
Literally within seconds I started to fidget, become antsy, putting my hands on my head in frustration, and I’m pretty sure my face started to get red. The reason she keeps bringing this up, pertains to what I wrote about in a past article about a breakthrough that answered some questions and created more. (I encourage you to check out that post and get a better idea of what went down).
Once I realized that my mom had told so many people of my past, without my consent, it’s been a sore spot with me ever since. A total betrayal of trust, that to date, I can’t get past. I place so much frustration and anger on her for that, it’s just not even funny. Every time J brings it up in a session, everything seems to go downhill and I can’t recover very easily. I know we have to keep working through it and breaking it down, but damn!
She’s working to try and convince me that my mom did not have bad intentions, but just doesn’t have a filter or know when to keep a secret. “She’s not out to get me or tear me down or make light of my past,” she says, and I’m just having none of it! My mom shared my story when she had no right too, that was my secret to share if or when I ever decided. Who knows how many of her friends, other family members, and people in the church know about my past. I can only imagine and that frustrates me to no end.
J isn’t invalidating my frustration about my mother telling my secret, but she is trying to work with me to use some Radical Acceptance.
I”m sitting there as the minutes slowly tick by just countering everything she is saying with how angry I am at my mother,. How frustrated I am, how I wish I could tell her what I really felt and just blow my stack. How my screwed up life is my mothers fault, and that I wouldn’t dare talk about my abuse at the time or anything else since because of the judgmental response that was sure to follow. (notice how I place the anger on my mom and myself, and not on my abuser?)
Normally I leave a session feeling glad that I went, and although I’m mentally drained, I’m relatively content. Not this one, not by a long shot! I left there so frustrated and with so much anxiety I didn’t know what to do with myself but come home and write and try to use every DBT skill I could think of. Eventually I was able to chill out and ease my mind a bit, thanks in part to a survivor chat on Twitter that helped take my mind off of the nights’ events. Distracting is not always the best method to use, but it can be quite useful at times.
I’m purposefully breaking up this post into 2 parts, because based on the events of the session referenced here and what went down in the following session, it’s too much to put down all at one time. I hope you’ll check back soon again for the rest of this experience.