breaking thru the waves of therapy

A lot of people have asked me how I have managed to move through the hardest part of therapy to where I am today 10 years later?

My answer has always been “It’s almost like pushing past the hardest parts of the waves in the ocean – to the other side where the calm waters are.

I have read so many blogs written by people who are in therapy who struggle with the process of healing, and struggle with feeling worse than actually feeling better! when I see that, I smile and say “yes, but that is normal, and it will get better!”

I myself used to be one of those people who really struggled with the process of therapy that it became sometimes unbearable at times.

I used to struggle with the times in between therapy sessions much like you all write about today. I used to struggle with feeling as if therapy was making me worse instead of better! I used to struggle with the feelings of wanting to quit and give up therapy many many times!

I have been through all those same emotions that others have written and talked about when talking about the therapy experience, and just how hard it can be. I have been there, and at times never thought it would get better – but trust me – it DID and I have – and there is healing on the other side of that struggle.

The best way that I can explain to those reading this and going through the tough process of therapy: therapy is like breaking thru the crest of ocean waves, to the other side to where there are calm waters of peace and healing.

Those waves are rough, and they are hard, and they are overwhelming at times, and sometimes they are so strong they push you under and send you back to shore to start over! Those waves can be mean and they can be frustrating and sometimes darn-right atrocious – but they can be defeated! That’s what healing is like! That’s what therapy is like!

Have you ever seen the movie “Cast Away” – after being stuck on the island for 4 years, he finally was given a sail, that sail got him to move past the toughest crests of waves until he finally made it over the toughest wave to the other side of the calm waters – – and when he finally made it over, he looked back at the island of where he was for 4 years – – – that’s what therapy is – therapy is about finding that “sail” to move you into the life that God created you to be in!

Healing is a process of waves! Healing is the fight to get to a place of calm and peace!

In my experience, I have been in therapy with the same therapist for “10 years and 3 months” now. The first year of therapy was brutal! It was the hardest because I didn’t understand the process of being in a room with someone I didn’t even know or trust at the time, opening up about my past and talking about the sexual abuse I endured – that same abuse that was voodoo to talk about in the past.

In the beginning of my process of therapy, I went through most of my sessions with one foot out the door wanting to run out of the room halfway through the session. I literally sat in the chair closest to the door, so that I could get up and run at any moment.

As the years went on, I began to trust the process of therapy … I began to trust my therapist, and I began to trust the therapy room more. I now sit with both feet planted firmly on the floor, and not only that, but I now sit on the couch alongside my therapist who sits with me (sometimes shoulder to shoulder)- – – but it didn’t go without really struggling with each session to get there. It took a lot of work, it took a lot of fight within me to move in that place of vulnerability.

In the beginning process of therapy I really struggled with the off times between session days, and in that struggle, I hated myself for struggling with that space in between sessions thinking I was dependent on therapy or my therapist. (which is one of my biggest fears). My biggest fear from the very beginning of therapy was thinking my therapist would think I was dependent on him or therapy. So when I struggled with that space in between session, it scared me to the core!

There were times in the beginning years of my therapy that I would be in this “heavy funk” after sessions. That funk where you can’t think, or be without thinking about therapy or the process of the things I was talking about. That funk where you can’t eat or do anything outside of just being alone with your thoughts around therapy and the process – It was like opening very old wounds and bleeding without having any control of that bleeding or pain (I used to call it the in between) – that space between therapy and my life outside of therapy.

Honestly? It was brutal, and I don’t think I ever told my therapist just how hard that was in the beginning of our work because I had this deep fear of being dependent on him or therapy, or even worst, him thinking I was dependent on him or therapy.

The funny thing is, when I first began therapy I said to my therapist right off, I said “Andy, the day I become dependent on therapy or you is the day I leave here and never come back” ha ha I can still recall the look on his face when I said it …. and here I am, 10 years later and we still laugh about that today.

My therapist and I connected a lot outside of therapy with emails and texts back then – – but I was very very careful about that because of that huge fear of dependency, so I was very diligent about leaning into my therapist outside of my sessions, until I could finally accept my worth around that realizing that connecting was healing, and there was nothing dependent about that.

Do you want to know something even bigger? Today, I can lean in and connect and not feel ashamed or guilty for it as I realize just how worthy I am of that connection – – – – and it took me a long time to get to that acceptance and realization.

As the years went on with all these struggles and working through the process of therapy, there was a moment to where I finally broke thru that last BIG wave … that last big crashing wave to where I was finally on the other side to the calm waters and that was about a year and a half ago when my healing journey took a turn from hard to calming!

to be honest, those waves of therapy thru the years were hard – VERY HARD!, but they got easier and easier for me to navigate as I worked through the struggles and the fear behind the painful truths of my past!

That last big wave was the one that REALLY changed me; the one that got me over the top to the calmer waters where I could heal freely. I found myself being able to trust more. I found myself being able to be open more.

That wave I broke thru changed me.

Breaking through the last big wave led me to a place of where I can be more open without feeling so raw that I can’t move. That last big wave I endured got me thru to acceptance and allowing myself to feel emotions and not punish myself for having them. Emotions have always been the absolute hardest for me to show, feel, or be with – – I am feeling more now and that is leading me to a whole new place of healing.

My therapist and I today have such a great relationship, and I now embrace the time in between sessions without being in that “funk” or fear of being dependent or forgotten. I love my time in between sessions. I embrace the time for ME and my life with my husband and my now 3 adult boys.

My therapist and I still email in between sessions, but it’s more for connection and good energy before a session rather than doing it because the trust is fading or the connection is fading – – – the connection to therapy and my therapist doesn’t fade anymore! We have such a great routine and connection that feels healing and accepting on so many levels.

I am thankful that my therapist has helped me get to the place I am in today.

Since I crashed through that big wave that I hit a year and a half ago, I have changed in the way of talking about my past and being open about the thoughts I sit with. I am still struggling with my crying wake ups (which I will write more about in the upcoming weeks) – but I believe that the inner child is finally healing and allowing me to be with that part of me more.

So, for those who are still in the rough waves of therapy – those crashing hard waves to where you struggle in between sessions, to where you are in this deep funk while trying to heal your wounds of the past? IT – GETS – BETTER! It gets easier – – give yourself the time you need to learn how to navigate and swim thru the waves coming at you. Give yourself the time to learn how to push thru the harder parts of therapy. It will get better. You will get to the other side where the calm waters are – I KNOW it happened for me.

The place of calm is not so much a place of rest, but a place of healing on a new level. To where you can see more, feel more, endure more with a stronger inner self.

I went through a really hard time about 4-5 years ago to where I almost gave up and swam all the way back thru the waves to the shore! .. but I didn’t give up, I kept going until I pushed to the other side.

You will have moments to where you wonder if therapy is worth it. You will wonder if you will be able to make it through the “in between” times where you’re living your life / being in therapy. Talk about it with your therapist, be open about it, talk to him/her about the waves and how hard they are for you to move thru. Sometimes having someone there with a buoy to float on will help you keep afloat when you need a break.

So for those reading this who are navigating the waves of therapy – – you are healing! You are moving thru the hardest waves of your healing – but it will get better if you keep trying and setting your eyes on the calmer waters beyond the waves .. I know, I am there and still healing on such a different level – YOU are worth it and YOU are not alone!

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This 10 Year Journey

10 years ago I took a step into the beginning of my healing journey – the beginning of finding my voice, the beginning to unfolding the many little pieces of pain and secrets I held onto since I was as little as 5 years old.

10 years ago I took a step into the beginning of finding what safe connection was – what a safe person to talk to was about, and realizing just how important my truth was, and still is.

This journey has been about unfolding every piece of a secret kept for years that I held onto – and finding my voice right in the middle of it all.

10 years ago I met this wonderful inspiring wisdom filled person – my therapist Andy – who has taught me that not every connection is a painful one – that my voice matters – and that I am cared enough about to be heard and believed in.

My therapist is one kindest – most wisdom filled person I have ever met, and one of the most trusting people I have ever met – and because of who he is – he has allowed me to trust this healing journey and take these steps into finding the voice that would tell the painful stories I was never allowed to tell.

Today in session we celebrated this amazing journey of 10 years – we talked about what we were most proud of, and what we still work hard on together today! We even had a few laughs about our phone tag we played in the beginning 10 years ago trying to make our first appointment – – This is what makes my therapist the wonderful person he is, he wanted to carve out space to celebrate the 10 year journey today, and found this milestone of my healing important enough to celebrate.

We had such a good talk today – and even in these moments of talking about the journey – healing happens, and something is learned.

What I have come to realize this past year is that, healing happens in moments of struggle just as much as moments of good! I used to think that healing only happened when I have over-come something hard – well I have learned is that healing also happens in moments I don’t over-come, because in those moments I am still healing, because I am learning to accept those moments of hard struggle, and in that struggle I heal.

This journey has really helped me to accept the young parts of me inside that need healing, and that has probably been the biggest realization for me these past couple of months. My therapist never judged me for having a wounded little child inside of me – and he has helped me to accept her, and to bring her out from behind the wall to be seen, heard and mostly accepted and loved.

This has been such a hard hard journey, but a rewarding one each day and each step. I never thought it was possible to bring my voice, my story, and my truth to someone who would hear it, hold it and believe in it.

I am a changed person because of this healing journey – – I have seen a whole new me, and I continue to see this new person because I am starting see and accept the little parts inside of me that need just as much love and healing as I do.

Its because of that little part inside of me, I am becoming me

I truly have hope for the steps I continue to make, and see a life that God has intended for me! I am taking steps every day more and more out into the light of the life I really want to live in, and I am thankful everyday for this journey God has put me on.

If I were to say something to my therapist in this moment as I write these words to this blog, and as he reads it – – –  I would say “Andy, thank you for listening” – “thank you for helping me take steps out from behind the wall, and giving me a safe place to speak my voice and tell my story” – “thank you for being patient and understanding to the moments of struggle” – “thank you for believing in me, and finding me to be an important enough person to walk this journey with” –  –  like I have said before, you are one of my favorite people.”

10 years on this amazing journey thus far and I wouldn’t take a moment back, because each moment whether its been good or hard, sad or happy, frustrating or elating – – I have found healing and strength to take another step in front of me.

As I continue this path ahead –  I am finding myself more and more into the life God intended for me, and less in the pain and hurt I was put in!

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a letter to my past

I cannot stand the way you control my thoughts and feelings!

Many times you have protected me, but at the same time you have suffocated me.

You have forced me to see things your way; but maybe now I want to see things my way.

You turn the words “you are loved” into “whats the catch?” When people say they care and support me, you make me think it’s for a price. When someone says “trust me” you make me second guess – always.

When people want to support me, you make it hard to accept, and if I do accept, you fill me with shame, guilt and regret.

You never let me have anything, without reminding me of what was behind it. It’s only when I see then, am I allowed to finally see now.

You choose what I hear, vs what I need or want. You shut down my emotions before I even have a chance to fully understand them.

You make all the decisions in my life, when all I want is the freedom to take those chances myself; without the what if, and or buts.

When I want to reach out to people in hard times, you make me feel dependent or needy. You make me believe that the only person I can depend on is myself, and sometimes that becomes too overwhelming.

No matter where I turn, you are there – right there! every minute of the day, every moment I shut my eyes, even when I sleep.

You remind me of the pain, the abandonment, the disappointments, the betrayal, the fear, the sadness and the hate!

You don’t allow me to accept anything; therefor I go without, sitting in the sadness of a deep want and need that you won’t let me have.

You make me believe that the only safe place to be is in your beliefs – which is the lies and the pain.

what about what I want?

Maybe I want to reach out for a hug and see what it feels like without numbing myself. Maybe for once I would like to get a hug without being forced to believe it’s for the other person, and not possibly for me.

maybe I want to trust the people I love without you making me think twice.

Maybe I want to reach out whenever I want to just because, without feeling an ounce of guilt, or there having to be a reason.

Maybe I want to be with my emotions without you reminding of the fear. maybe I just want to be me, without you being there at all.

Maybe I want to accept all the love, care and support around me, without feeling as if I have to do something in return.

You are a blessing and a curse. You hold me back from experiencing many things in life that I feel i deserve.

I realize you are there to protect me, but you also keep me from going forward towards the people I want to trust, and the safe things in life.

Everyday you control my thoughts and feelings, and maybe today I want to control my own thoughts and feelings.

Maybe it’s okay to cry? did you ever think about that?

Maybe it’s ok to be angry? what could possibly be the harm in that? don’t you think I have the right to angry after all this time?

Maybe its okay to accept, maybe it’s okay to just BE, maybe it’s ok to feel a hug, maybe I need to feel a hug.

I cannot stand the way you keep me from the things in life I could possibly enjoy, and how will I ever know if I am constantly behind your walls?

You force me to pull me away from the people I want to be with because you make me believe that being alone is the only safe option.

You wont allow me to trust the people I want to trust – not everyone is out to hurt me you know!

Although you have kept me safe at times, it’s time for me to take control over you now. No matter how much time that takes, I will find a way to accept, reach out, have emotions, trust, and be the way I want to be, think the way I want to think, and feel the way I want to feel.

It’s not easy living with you inside of me. It’s painful and it’s hard, and I have to find a way to talk you out of me!

And although you may never completely go away, I can surely push you aside.

Today I will accept, I will have emotions, I will walk towards, I will talk about, I will allow myself to be loved, and I will connect without you telling me that I can’t or it’s not safe.

Yes it may be scary, and yes it may be hard, but let me decide if it’s a risk I want to take, because after-all, it’s my life – right here, right now.

So maybe you are still here, and maybe at times you will be needed, and I am sure I will fall short and lean back on you in scary times… but right now, I am bigger than you are, and you are nothing but something that just stands in the way.

I want to go forward –  by my choice, not yours.

– A letter to my past.

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