that old familiar feeling
It took me a long long time to really feel comfortable in the therapy room when I started therapy 6 years ago.
I remember my first steps into the therapy room and how scared I was. I sat in the leather chair with one foot out the door, and now years later, it’s a room filled with my story, and my healing; a place where I am accepted, supported, loved and heard fully.
I am in that space 4 days a week with Tuesday being 2 hours, you would have to say it’s like another little home for me; home to my healing, home to a place I expose my wounds. Home to a place I also invite God to heal along side of me.
Therapy for me is not just about showing up in a room being stuck with the past. Therapy is about learning, growing, getting to know myself while having someone along side of me to help me walk the path of unsureness.
Therapy is about trusting another person with the scars and pain that binded me for so long. Therapy is about relationship and taking someone along into the world that was dark and being guided to find the light.
Therapy for me is finding who God created me to be, and not what others wanted to create inside of me. Therapy is a process, and a process that so far in 6 years has changed me so much that I don’t even remember the person I was behind the walls that surrounded me.
If you look around the therapy room you will see things on his desk that I have brought in over the years like the healing hope box and the timeline books.
There is a little zen garden that I got my therapist a long time ago at the beach that holds small little meaningful things that represent me and my healing – milestones of moments that mean something to a part of my story.
There is a cup that has the word “Dance” on it written in chalk, and a cross made from one of the “Palm Sunday” services I went to that we plan to make to ashes one day.
The therapy room is shared by many wonderful clients; people who also share their stories and pain – but when I walk in, I feel in those moments, it’s my little corner of the world where I heal, where I am fully accepted to be heard and it feels safe and comforting.
This past year while I was going through an unexpected/unfortunate situation that ruptured the even-flow of the room and my healing in therapy, it was hard showing up and feeling as if my healing place was safe, healing or comfortable. It felt compromised by a situation I had no control over.
It held stress, sadness and an unsureness for a while – but I kept showing up! I never gave up my healing process no matter how hard it was and trusted that it will feel that way again, I just needed to trust it – 6 years of trust was what I held onto.
Today when I walked into session, something felt hugely familiar again; something felt really comforting. I don’t know what that change was, but it brought me back to before all the past hard year happened.. it felt familiar.
I sat on the couch with my therapist and I looked around (per my usual routine) before moving into the talking with him, and something shifted and it felt like a good familiar – even though I still showed up in the hardness, today it felt different.
I looked over at my healing box, I looked over at my words that still stand big on the white board that says “I choose to heal and dance with confidence“. I looked over at the tree photo that hangs to my left, I looked over at the zen garden and all the little things inside of it that represent me and my healing.
I looked at my therapist and just felt “home” again, even though I am there many days a week – something felt hugely familiar and it gave me goosebumps and a smiling heart inside.
I remember saying to myself in session this afternoon “thank you God”. “Thank you God for helping me to see what has always been here, but was just covered by hardness for a while.
I don’t know if it’s because I finally feel the year-long battle of this situation that happened has finally come to a close with some peace?
I don’t know if it’s GOD showing up and saying “this is a safe place to heal as it always has been, accept it and see the goodness in it”.
I don’t know if it was the great talk my therapist had with me today that brought me into the familiar again.
Whatever it is, it felt good; the best its felt in a long time.
My therapist felt the same shift … like a familiar part of me came through today, and he was excited and we celebrated that something small shifted in the room today.
Today I felt there was a part of me that settled back into what was always familiar for me in this room – the safe-ness, the comfort and support, and the great energy of connection and of course the wonderful wisdom and knowledge I love to hear.
Even though I show up 4 days a week and have never quit or given up – I have to say “I’ve missed it” and it feels good to be in the familiar feeling again.
Healing is a hard process, and it’s not always easy to show up in a place where your wounds have been and are exposed, gutted and prodded over and over! But along with that comes the process, the learning, and the support inside of it that helps heal the exposed hardness.
I’m smiling and taking a deep breath right now. I am writing this today because it feels so good and right and I wanted to share it, and there is more to healing and writing than just the hard stuff – there is the goodness that shows up right in the middle of the hardness and today was one of those days for me.
I am glad I can take you all along with me in the goodness today – thank you for giving me that opportunity to be open no matter what is here, good or bad, happy or sad, anger or elation .. it’s nice to have people walk aside of me in all those feelings.
I look forward to showing up next week … to that familiar feeling that was always there, but just covered for a while.
April 5, 2013 at 7:20 PM
Karen – what beautiful music is that to hear! Therapy is a beautiful place, and you have found your mark in a place where God has created healing for you …
I always tell my clients “this is your home when you are here, your space” .. and you are right, it’s a courageous walk into something that is painful, yet rewarding.
I am proud of you for allowing that space to be both hard and good and still showing up.
I love this blog today – makes me smile too
April 5, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Hanna .. thank you and I have people who always remind me where I am when I feel lost .. Today was a great session, for both of us.. I look forward to the path going forward – to continue showing up and working hard ..
Thank you Hanna 🙂 as always you insight is always helpful
Shannon Lee Annele
April 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM
I love this post. Therapy has been hard for me too. It has taken me a long time to be comfortable in the space, but my therapist has really helped me feel that the space is mine when I am there. I have been with her for 2 years now and I am so glad that I took that step to healing. I agree its hard, but there are some relieving moments for me. Thank you for sharing Karen
April 5, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Shannon … therapy is not an easy process, but when I look back to where I was – behind the walls, life is so different. When things are hard I look back to where I was and think “this is the life and healing forward”..
I hope that you continue to find your peace in your healing
April 5, 2013 at 8:55 PM
I’m so happy for you. I understand how important it is to feel safe and can totally see how that’s been covered up for you. Yes, I celebrate the safety and reassurance you felt today from God! He seems to bring that at just the right time!
April 5, 2013 at 10:19 PM
HUGS Lauren …. you are so right .. God does bring things to us at the right time – always .. I guess my prayer in adoration helped me this past week.. God is so good that way, and I am blessed ….
April 6, 2013 at 8:43 AM
“…there is more to healing and writing than just the hard stuff”
Yes indeed! If there weren’t times like you are writing about – the good times – in the healing process, I don’t think I could do it.
Hearing your story….how your safe place of healing was violated by outside forces, and yet you still continued – is amazing to me. (because I always flee…. I always think of a safe place as being separate from a source of wounding. It might even be the defining feature. But you stayed with it because you knew that you have your T.and he is totally trust worthy and a wonderful ally through it all.
It makes me wonder if part of the healing process has been amplified for you exactly because this last years’ trauma happened to your safe space….so it kind of forced you to transform it rather than flee your safe person and safe place.??
I celebrate you reclaiming your safe space!
PS. Do you know why I don’t get an email notice about your new posts until a whole day after they are posted? Other blogs I follow I get immediate notices via email?
April 6, 2013 at 9:21 AM
HEY GEL ….
I think the reason why you dont get my notice until a day later is because my blog is “self hosted” WordPress and I use a different email program plugin than the one that comes with the regular WordPress like you have… self hosted is a little different, it runs off my domain and not wordspress’s – but I am looking into getting one that is more instant.
btw, I totally agree with you .. there were times this past year that i wanted to quit.. but I changed the past and didn’t isolate from the things that were really hard.. I stuck with my therapist, moved through it, kept showing up, kept trusting his word .. and because I stuck with this we learned that a huge part of my past surfaced and it’s something huge to pay attention to … something we are going to work on that needs to be healed.. so you are very right.
Normally in the past I would flee as well, but something inside kept saying “just keep showing up, there is healing to be done from this situation” and there is 🙂
Thank you Gel and I will look into the email thing
April 6, 2013 at 10:46 AM
The day later notice thing is no problem. I was just curious. And yours is one of my favorite blogs so I often look any way to see if you’ve posted ’cause I know I don’t get the email notice until the next day.
Upon more reflection, I wish I had the kind of trust you have with your therapist. I think I would be willing to stay longer through hard stuff if I trusted someone like that in a theraputic relationship. I’m sure this is mostly about MY core pattern. But I think I’ve had a lot of trust broken with people too so I kind of expect it. Even good people unintentionally do stuff to shake your trust. I have too. It’s human. But in reading your process, it makes it even clearer how I don’t have that kind of trust.
I trust my husband. But we are careful not to put him into a therapist role. I’m glad we don’t do that. I see that it is important for the integrity of our marriage to keep it separate.
The other seeming barrier to building trust with a therapist for me is simply financial. It costs money (and time, and attending sessions over time), even with the medical insurance, we have limits on what we can afford for therapy. So we work with what we do have. And I’m super grateful for that.
Thanks for your friendship!
April 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Oh wow this reply line gets smaller and smaller as you reply hahaha thats funny.
6 years of therapy and it took so much time for me to trust him. He has proven his trust not only in therapy, but outside therapy. He is a great therapist.
He will text and email, and assure me of who he is. I am really blessed and feel God is the key to putting good people in my life. My husband being my BEST friend who I trust the most.
For me, I am lucky, my insurance covers my therapy unlimited.. I just have to pay a co-pay. I am diagnosed with PTSD (severe) and they cover me 4 days a week.. there are times I cut it back, or take week breaks.. but for the most part I am in there 4 days a week working hard. That has also helped with the trust. IT’s hard hard work, but work I wouldn’t take back in a million years. I show up to therapy for me and no one else.. I am healing leaps and bounds and I will continue until I can wake up and be the person I need to be.
Thank you also for your friendship Gel .. I truly mean that.
April 6, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Therapy was always hard for me too.
I sat in a chair next to the door. NEVER too close to the therapist. He was and still is a wonderful man and incredibly patient. He knew I would take time.
I was in the office almost 20 years, and yes still see him twice a year now till he retires. He is a vital part of my recovery and my wellness. Like a mental health checkup only we are not doing hard work now.
I am proud of you if you can sit on the couch with your ‘counselor’ I cannot still do that. Distance is important.
Press on and do good. You are taking care of yourself and that is a gift you can give to you, your husband and your children. You won’t be sorry you spent so much time and money. Call it an education in ‘healing’.
April 6, 2013 at 1:01 PM
WOW Sharon … 20 years? WOW … what a beautiful healing timeline that is … WOW that is amazing!! I dont know how long I will be in therapy, but for me it’s not about time, it’s about healing. I have never quit or given up..
Yeah we sit on the couch together.. but we move around the room alot.. sometimes stand and walk around, sometimes he will sit across from me.. but 99% of the time we sit right next to each other and talk .. It took a long time, but I like it .. it’s comforting to know someone I trust is there to hear me..
April 6, 2013 at 1:44 PM
you are brave. I could not ever even now, have my counselor that close. When I had a lady counselor it was a bit easier, I began with a lady then as the therapy became more ‘intense’ and I knew I was dealing with more than just depression I determined in my heart to trust a man. (along with my husband. I have been married 39 years)
The healing part was learning to a) trust a man b) understand he would never leave me unless he died and that would be something he had no control of c) he believed in me and would never purposefully hurt me.
Yes I see him twice a year now. It is for maintenance and for continuity in friendship. When he finally retires I will just have to send a note or two… in the mail.
keep pressing forward and also trust yourself. Your counselor is your guide but ultimately the ‘gift’ is your strength within.
(like we tell our children… I cannot be with you always)
April 6, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Sharon, you are so right ….
in the 6 years of therapy, it took me about 2 years to let myself have any contact with him.. a hand, a hug .. now I can sit with him on the couch, talk, and he holds my hand in hard time and I trust that.. that was a HUGE HUGE HUGE deal for me.
At church I can now let people hug me because of the trust that my therapist helped me to find. I used to DODGE people when they came towards me .. now I let people hug me because I worked with that for so long in therapy about the trust …. I am lucky, I really am.. I still have trust issues, but my inner me tells me who I can or cannot trust …
By the way, I love your blog 🙂
April 7, 2013 at 1:48 AM
April 7, 2013 at 10:46 PM
By the way,.. I will add ‘a lot’ of my work, in the office has been out of pocket. It is like getting a Phd… in your own health.
April 7, 2013 at 10:52 PM
you didn’t have insurance? my husband is fortunate to have great insurance. The case worker for united took on my case 6 years ago and set my therapy to unlimited, I am just responsible for co-pay ….
I am sure though, out of pocket it was still worth it .. almost like personal training.