So. To fly or not to fly. I returned from my trip and didn’t contact Deep Stare. Several times a day, for weeks, I vacillated between “man up, this is par for the course” and “man, this therapist is in over their head”. Still, I didn’t reach out, didn’t make contact. Is it fear or preservation? Bad or good?
There’s that vigilance niggle always present. Am I protecting myself out of a good life? I wanted therapy, still want it. Was what was happening seemed to be really good and now I’m running scared? How will I be able to tell which is which?
Is there a grey area where more choices hide? Can I accept what I received in those sessions and move on, building upon that? Unguided?
So. Many. Questions.
What am I afraid of? When I stop to think about why I’m upset in any given situation, generally what floats up is some form of “am I doing it wrong?” My fear here is that I’m doing life wrong and someone needs to guide me so I don’t destroy everything. And there, Dear Reader, is the Gollum raising its stupid, ever-present head yet again.
Ok, Gollum. Presence acknowledged. Thinking about it as objectively as I can, it seems that already there’s been positive change. Doesn’t everyone say that though, after a few sessions? Hey, doc! I feel better already! No need for any more treatment, thank you very much.
Okay. Step back. I’m not doing it wrong. I’m still here, aren’t I? Box checked. Nothing is being destroyed, inadvertently or otherwise. On the contrary, things are being built. Case in point, this sentence here. As far as needing an all-knowing guide goes, I’m the only one who knows all of me and even then, I’m in the dark a good lot of the time. And yet, life goes on.
Everyone could use an outside opinion and good, deep information at times. A perspective shift is invaluable. Do I need that on a continuous basis? Or can I bumble along like everyone else most of the time? We’re all just figuring it out, even with the wisdom of the ancients to light our way. What makes me think there’s a “right” way out there, a path of absolute correctness waiting for me to follow? There’s no yellow brick road of life, just the road you make for yourself every moment.
I know but it’s sorta true, no? If you run around trying to achieve some standard set by who knows, don’t you make yourself feel like a failure because that standard has little to do with you personally?
I basically raised myself. I took what I saw on television and in magazines (we hadn’t invented the Internet yet, children) as what humanity, over the course of history, collectively decided were our ideals. I worked to meet those standards and in most cases exceeded them, as, well, that was what I thought was expected.
And it worked, to a large degree. I became a very impressive person. But I didn’t know that. I thought I was just fulfilling my obligations as a person, like everybody else.
Sidebar: This lead to my being perpetually befuddled at people (as in, everybody other than me) who didn’t meet these standards and further, didn’t care to. We’ll come back to this later.
So when it comes to therapy, what really are my expectations and are they reasonable? I probably want a parent, the good parent I never had. Fine. I also want some kind of Yoda. Someone who already knows the answers and is simply helping me figure them out for myself by providing kindly tidbits along the way.
Except that therapists are people too. Generally fairly messed up ones at that. With all their access to the wealth of knowledge about the history of human behaviour, they still don’t have all the answers. They have more than most of us do but not all. It’s not their job to tell us what we should do. My understanding is that it’s their job to see where each of us fits into the larger pattern of humanity and to let us know some of the options others have tried. Amirite? Well, am I?
That leaves us with this. This week’s confessional is an as-it-happens reasoning of whether or not to continue therapy at this time. Always rational, to my detriment. The conclusion at this point is to move along until the next point in life where I feel I need an outside perspective.
But then I’ll need to locate and break in yet another person? God no. Then do I rely on family, friends, and resources as I have been, as everyone else does, and not avail myself of people whose profession it is to assist? Seems a waste.
All of that aside for a moment, there is the letter. While I’ve been deciding what to do, Deep Stare mailed a printed-out letter to me saying that I’d be better off with someone else. Rejected by someone whom you’ve spent hours and $$$ revealing your insides to? Sweet. Nothin’ feels quite like that. Better than a Tinder swipe, amirite?
I suppose this is proof of Deep Stare being in too deep for comfort. I suppose knowing now is better than schlepping along until real damage is done. I suppose it’s good a good thing but it doesn’t feel it.
I’m back on my own. I’ve learned a few things but really, was it worth the investment of time, emotion, and cash? This experience is, yet again, reinforcing my world view that people are not competent, self-focused, and unwilling to go all in as I have done.
Again, I’m alone in this.
Although I’m not. I’m fortunate enough to have a loving, supportive partner along with the space and time I need to unfurl from the trauma knot in which I live my life. I have so much, really. And I am grateful. So so so grateful.
After everything that happened decades ago and the experiences leading up to now, I am still here. That, in itself, is an accomplishment.
I’ll stay on my own for as long as it’s working; I’ll be mindful of the voices of vigilance and the Gollum running ever-present just below the surface; I’ll question the standards to which I aspire and work instead to live my own best life, every hour of every day, all while being gentle and compassionate with myself.
That’s because all of that I just shovelled on you are standards in their own right. I’m just trading one set for another. At least we can hope this new bunch are healthier than that old bag of hammers I carry around. I can only try.
Thanks for reading and being with me here as I worked this out. I suppose the lesson from this round of therapy is to take what was offered and work it in as best I can. This has been enormously valuable to me, this getting it out of my head and out for you to inhale. If any of this helped you, at all, I’d appreciate you letting me know.
This post is a snapshot in time. It reflects what I understand about myself and the world at this moment. It contains zero medical advice. To repeat, this entire experiment is one person’s interpretation of events and reflects my opinion only. Do your own research. Draw your own conclusions.