I often question my need for therapy. The questions started shortly after ending with my former therapist. There was so much that I was able to work through before everything fell apart. I was able to work through stuff without even knowing why I had these weird quirks. I didn’t consciously know the source of my dysfunction.
I’ve been thinking about some of the things I have been able to work through without the aid of a therapist. And it was work. And until therapy I didn’t realize what I was actually doing. It’s hard to overcome ‘protectors’ that I put in place as a wee child. I will list a few of these.
When I got old enough to figure a few things out I started to sleep rolled up in blankets like a mummy or when I became a teenager I would also sleep in a sleeping bag under the blankets. It could be a hundred degrees out but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t until I started therapy that I was able to figure out why. Anyway as I became older I realized it wasn’t quite normal to sleep this way besides it was sweltering in the summer. And so began the work of trying to sleep under loose coverings. It took perseverance but evidently I succeeded.
Hugging, that was and still is to some extent a hard one. I would never touch another human being. I would hug no one. I began to realize not everyone’s intent was to do harm. That some people like to show their care with hugging. Some people like to touch with no evil intent. And then there is the matter of little kids hugging me. Also if a niece or nephew showed their love towards me in this manner I wanted to be able to show it back. I won’t initiate a hug but if someone wants to hug me now and I can determine the safety of it I am able to do so now. And I can do it fairly freely where as before I’m sure I felt like a stiff board!
I have also been able to work at obtaining some social skills. I don’t know why I lack in this area. For example I would be invited to a dinner party or some sort of gathering and be totally inept about what I should do when attending. I know people didn’t expect things from me but it’s nice to have a certain politeness regardless. I finally caught on to social etiquette by observing others and what they did. I was a little inept in this area for a long time. I was frozen by inaction for a variety of reasons. I was extremely shy, I’d rather do nothing then make a fool of myself by making a mistake and on it goes. As I practiced I got braver and as I got braver I practiced even more. Now I do fairly well at functions.
I wore tons of clothes as a child. Again it could be sweltering hot out and I still would wear layers of clothes. As little skin as possible would be showing. You would not have seen me in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. My mother still mentions this to me on occasion. But I never knew when I would have to play strip poker and many layers of clothing was helpful. I never knew when I would be attacked and layers would at least give me a false sense of protection and sometimes it did work. There came a time as an adult when I wanted to wear short sleeves or shorts, where I could be free to do a simple thing like swimming. Now I have no problems with this but clothing is a good indicator of where I’m at in my head.
None of these changes were easy and it was a slow process over time. But I was able to do them on my own. So why do I need a therapist’s help? Good question…