Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Post Workplace Abuse: Therapy

Today is what I call my "Stratford" day - the day I travel to nearby Stratford, Ontario and see the counsellor who has walked with me through this entire journey - or at least the last seven years of it.  The reason I'm still alive.  The reason I'm doing as well as I am.  The woman who provided a safe place for me to vent my emotions, explore my feelings and be myself.  The one place I felt unconditionally acceptaed even when I was at my worst and expressed feelings that would shock others.

No, she's not a saint.  She's just a person, same as you and me.  However, she's a person who knows about trauma and is thus equipped to deal with trauma's victims.  She has also undergone her own traumas.

Plus she shares the same faith as myself.  In fact, she has told me several times that in the early days of her practice, she felt that it was her doing the healing.  Until she had a talk with God.  Or rather he had a talk with her and told her that it was not her doing the healing but Him doing the healing through her.

And that is what makes her both amazing and unusual.  She doesn't try to force her will on her clients like my first therapist did.  The one who became abusive because I was not "moving forward".  I was not healing.  I was stuck.  She never realized that her methodology was what was holding me back and preventing recovery from happening.  As I recover step by painful step, I now realize that this first therapist was probably frustrated and was venting her frustration at me, thus victimizing and abusing me further.  I also realize that I am now getting to where  I realize this first therapist probably wanted me to be BUT her methodology was not going to get me there.  Unfortunately.

I've gone through some very significant healing in the last year.  It was almost exactly a year ago that my personality - the real me, the me hidden inside and scared to come out - reemerged.  It was strange, scary and exciting - all rolled into one ball.

In the weeks and months that followed the reemergence of the "real" me, I've found myself able to do things I couldn't have done before.

I travelled to Belize alone.  Travelling alone wasn't planned but when it happened, I was able to deal and deal well with the change.  I was so proud of myself.  And so where those who love me and support me.  Actually, I think there were really, really worried when they found out that I was travelling alone but rallied around me through iPhone and computer during the journey so that I never felt alone.

I was able to work more in my garden this past summer.  I still have weeds, but I really enjoyed the flowers and even added to the garden.  In my mind I'm starting to have a vision of what I'd like "Mom's" garden to become.  Not today, not tomorrow, but eventually.

The creativity is reemerging big time.  I'm able to do more around the house and, most days, I can cook.  I can even read recipes!  And patterns!  Most of the time.

I've been continuing to work on those relationships close to me:  my family; hubby's family whom I have grown to love and cherish during these past years; friends.

For years, I kept people at arm's lengths.  Acquaintances more than friends.  For the past several years, I've been working on changing acquaintances into friends.  Real friends.  I've been learning what it means to be a friend to others.  It's hard work and it doesn't happen overnight, but it's well worth the effort.

I can sense that my days with my counsellor are numbered.  We've been backing off for the last several months from every two weeks, to every four and now to every six.  Knowing that at any time if the condition worsens and I feel I need more help, I can change things.  My therapist has given me power and control over my therapy.  She has given me the gift of being in charge of my own recovery.  She has been my biggest cheerleader.

Cheerleaders are important, very important, in the process of recovery.

Today as I go back to see her, I have a lot to discuss.  A lot has happened in the last six weeks.  Things, like the sudden stoppage of our mail delivery and the triggers it pushed within me, have come close to unhinging me.

Yet, I know that at some point I need to become strong enough to stand alone with only occasional help - or with help from friends and family.

I need to learn to walk on my own two feet.

I need to realize what has pushed my buttons and learn how to defuse them for future situations.

I've definitely felt weak these last weeks physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Yet, I sense that this is part of life.  Even the lives of those who are "normal".  Who haven't been traumatized by workplace bullying.

So today, I get dressed and head out to Stratford - the place were recovery started.

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