This is the letter I wrote to my t. It is mainly about the start of my therapeutic journey until now.
I am led to a dimly lit room. Jumping with anxiety yet frozen with fear I sit in a chair. Fear of the unknown, fear of what might be. My eyes scan the room. A floor lamp is glowing softly tucked into a corner. Beside me is a small table. A desk, a computer and a few odds and ends complete the room. A woman sits across from me with papers resting on her lap. I sit waiting and, then, the first question is asked.
And so starts this journey. A journey of discovery.
There have been many twists, turns and a few roadblocks along the way. Each teaching me, each showing something about myself.
I have spent most of my life trying to figure myself out. Sometimes succeeding but most times not. Wondering why I was the way I was, never making the connections.
I needed someone, a guide, to help me make those connections, to help give me understanding.
That guide is you. All that had gone on in the few years before was preparing me for the journey ahead. I know I had to work hard in letting you be this for me. It went against everything my independent self is.
In the beginning I know I tested you a lot. Somewhere inside me I needed to know you would stick with me if the going got tough, if I started showing the bad parts of me. I also needed to know that you had boundaries and that those boundaries could be flexible. Without realizing it I also needed your humanness within the relationship.
And in staying constant with your reactions toward me no matter what I brought into the room, a safe place was being created. Without me even being aware of it. All these things made it so I could start showing the parts of me that no other human being has ever seen. The bits of me that can be easily hurt, the dark parts, the vulnerable parts.
When I ran into a roadblock, when I had no words, when I couldn’t communicate, you found other ways to help me out, to make the connections.
Those connections are never easy for me. I’ve heard words I’d never heard before; words that for some reason make me cringe. Abuse, shame, pain, hurt and the worst of them all – trauma. They all lead to a truth, a truth I have avoided all my life. A truth I would still rather avoid. A truth that really, I didn’t realize was a truth.
In the safety of that dimly lit room I have slowly started facing that truth. The truth of my life. Speaking some of those truths out loud so my ears and your ears could hear has been some of the hardest things I’ve had to do. This is the reason I have spoken little of my truths. It’s hard for my ears to hear.
This journey has at times amazed me.
I often wondered what was different in sharing my past with you as compared to sharing the same thing with the first counsellor I had seen. I become so unstable with her I truly thought my life would end. And when it came time to start sharing the same stuff with you I was so afraid it would happen again. To my amazement it didn’t. I suddenly realized one day a safe place was being created for me. Amazed that this place kept me from acting out. A place where I could share without becoming lost within the experience of re-living.
You gave me a place to be.
Amazed that I’m not alone in my experience. Who knew? Amazed that you would even stick with me through this difficult journey. Amazed that I would stick with this most difficult journey. Amazed that this is actually a journey. Amazed that there is a whole bunch of people out there dedicated to the study of trauma. Who knew?
This journey has at times startled me.
Startled that just maybe what I went through was somewhat bad, not a normal life. Startled in realizing what had happened to me. Startled about the connection of what I am now and my childhood life. Startled when I matched a word said to a feeling felt. Startled that others shared the experience and called it bad. Startled to think there may be a little girl.
Startled when you knew what was what when I didn’t even know what was.
This journey has at times discouraged me.
Discouraged when I don’t see the progress I think I should be making. Discouraged when I can’t make any connections no matter how hard I try. Discouraged when there are no words to express myself. Discouraged when I realized that I can’t jump from point a to point b, that there was all these little steps in-between. Discouraged that I only have fleeting memories. Most of all discouraged that I will have to come to terms with the effects of the past.
This journey has given me hope.
Hope that even though I may have to live with the effects of the past I can just maybe learn to work around them. Hope that I can excel in this endeavour. Hope I will be able to recognize what is happening in the moment. Hope that there is a future. Hope that one day I will be able to acknowledge, and accept and most of all have compassion for what is within, both dark and light. Hope that the little girl within will have a voice one day. 🙂
As I have sat with you I’ve come to know that there my not be an end to this particular journey. It’s not so much about the destination but the journey itself. I’ve learned that there are actually many facets involved in this healing journey.
You, t, I will never forget you. You have been and are big part of this journey I’m on. I’ve tried to work hard in this journey, to try to discover the self within. And over time I slowly came to know that you were working for me as well, working along with me. That you have worked hard for me.
I am grateful for that dimly lit room. For the woman with the papers on her lap.