Key one: unconditional acceptance
My family member was as good as his word, contacting a friend, who was a counsellor, who referred me to his supervisor. His one word description: amazing.
Her practice was in a small community 45 kilometers away from my home in the city. I greatly feared driving inter city - from one city to another. Ditto highways. Ditto large trucks closing in behind me on two-lane highways. They terrified me. To choose this counsellor, I would have to brave 45 km of open road on a regular basis, in all kinds of weather. Snow. Rain. Fog. Sun. Could I do it? Did I want to do it? Would this woman reject me even if I did choose her? I had faced rejection from various significant people in my life. Could I face another? Should I even put myself in that position? It was a huge risk. Was I certain I wanted to take it?
|The megalopolis of Milverton, Ontario|
Strong feelings of worthlessness and fear rode with me the entire distance. Would this new counsellor reject me out of hand? Feel that if the former counsellor could not help me, then she could not as well? There was only one way to find an answer to these questions. Go there. Meet the new counsellor. Give her a try. I drove on.
I was desperate. If I didn't get help - and soon - I despaired of my long-term survival. I was afraid. I was afraid that if things didn't change, I would not only become suicidal but actually commit the deed. I was afraid that after all my efforts over the years to stay alive, I would finally succumb to what I perceived at that moment as the inevitable - suicide. Did I have the strength to survive? Did I even want to? I had to give it at least one more try. For my family. For myself. For that one family member who reached out with a possible solution. I had to.
|Vehicles in parking lot - notice the engine|
That first session was powerful. She listened intently. Made notes. Asked questions. Leading questions to probe, to find out more, to learn more about me. She never once talked over me. She never once made judgements about who I was. She simply listened and affirmed my pain.
In this woman's office, I found something I had never had in my entire lifetime previous: unconditional acceptance. I could say anything I wanted to, go into the deepest dark spots of my life, express things any way I wanted to including venting. She never once criticized me. She never once talked over me. No matter what I said, no matter what secret I revealed, she continued to accept me as I was. Not who she thought I should be, but the person she was getting to know. Not the outside facade. But the real Mama Bear herself: the good, the bad, the hurting.