It feels like there could be a lot of parts to this one…heck we could probably turn it into a book between the two of us. I’m only in my mid twenties, I’m young, and I’ve no doubt got decades of on and off therapy ahead of me, but I want to start this post off with remembering a bit about where this therapy stuff started.
So I come from the kind of family where the idea of therapy and talking to someone is entirely ridiculous. The silly phrase that actually pops into my head on a pretty regular basis about this and stuff like this is from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where Vernon Dudley’s sister in the film says good. i wont have this namby pamby wishy washy nonsense about not beating people who deserve it. It just sums up entirely how my parents are about emotions and feelings and talking about them – basically, you don’t. That’s for weaklings, for pathetic people, people to be mocked. I won’t have this namby pamby wishy washy nonsense about talking about feelings. And so of course the idea of therapy was totally ridiculous to me.
But I went to university…I felt isolated by the fact that I never wanted to have sex and I was terrified of relationships, as well as simply men a lot of the time. One of my housemates was talking to me about a friend on her course who was struggling with anorexia and was seeing a counsellor at the uni about it. And that kind of sparked the idea in my head. I think I was already on a forum just before that (I didn’t get on well there – it wasn’t where I met pocketcanadian), and I had read about plenty of people being in therapy, I just had never thought that maybe I could even have that.
So I looked into it, and I started with emailing a woman called B. It was too terrifying to see somebody face to face. It started by having to fill out a questionnaire to assess me – hilariously looking at it now her response was the good news is your risk factors registered as zero and your functioning was well within the range we’d want it to be! Hmmm, don’t think I was completely honest in that first questionnaire. She asked me to tell her a little bit about what I wanted us to work on and I said okay, so when I was about 7-8 I was sexually abused on and off for a year or two. I’ve always considered that I’d gotten over it but I can never seem to get into a relationship with someone – it’s like I just automatically say no even if I want to. [a little bit about how I had read about counselling in a book and just thought I’d try it]. I think that’s about it. Thanks, pocketbrit
It seems comical to me now rereading that. Oh well i was sexually abused (and make it out to be shorter than it was) but I don’t know what my problem is, think that’s about it. cheers, bye. *eyeroll*. B emailed me back, told me I was brave and asked me to share some more. I built up trust with her, aided by the fact that it was behind a screen and not face to face. Rereading the emails now I feel a mixture of sadness at how I was struggling but not wanting to admit it, pride that I gave it a go and found the courage to reach out and begin to speak about these things, and also a bit ashamed of how young I sound. It was a good few years ago now, but I sound so young and naive, and then that brings me back around to sad, because I was so sure I was making a big deal out of nothing, so sure I didn’t deserve this woman’s time. She didn’t have any experience in trauma, she was a counsellor rather than a therapist, but she listened, and she was gentle and kind. She was exactly the introduction into it that I needed. There was a bit she wrote that I used to reread a lot – you are not the problem here, all families are systems and yours hasn’t worked for you. While I’m sure your parents did the best they could at the time and this is in no way meant as a criticism of them, something made them consciously or unconsciously turn a blind eye and it is in that darkness that abuse happens. You are not in the dark anymore, nor should it follow you around like a shadow. I don’t know why but I felt her and I believed her, and I hung onto it like an anchor at the time. She suggested we meet in person and I did, and then she mentioned that the head of counselling did EMDR and that she wondered if I would be able to give it a go, the extra scary part being that he was a man (though a kind and gentle small Irishman, as she put it). I freaked out and said no, and then came around to the idea.
Seeing A for EMDR was terrifying. I’m proud of myself for going and trying. I don’t think it really helped – I refused to tell him any details to begin, and was only just beginning to open up and trust him as our time was coming to an end. But I began to really like him. She was right, he was gentle and kind, and quite fatherly. He didn’t push me but also wasn’t scared or shocked when I did tell him bits. He was steady, never wavered. What seeing him really did was build up my confidence. He really tried to impress on me that I should make sure that if I went to therapy in the future I saw a trauma specialist. That’s what he was, a senior accredited with personal interest in trauma. I kind of wish I could have carried on seeing him, but I wasn’t living there anymore, and even if I was I wouldn’t have been able to pay for it.
So then I didn’t see anyone for a bit. But I went back to uni (a different city) to do a postgrad, and looked up their wellbeing services. I started seeing a young woman there – no counselling or therapy experience, but a fun woman, a good listener that I just really liked. She was a good listener and kind, even though I was a pain in the arse and spent most of my time staring at the clock not knowing what to say. Sometimes we would draw or play gamed, not even really talk. She was not helpful for the trauma, but very helpful for the loneliness, for having somebody.
And then we come to sonja and today. And I’m going to leave that for Therapy Pt III I think – that’s more than enough nonsense from me for tonight…