Goodbyes… Everyone has dealt with them and everyone is going to deal with them again. Saying goodbye is a part of life. Whether you or someone you love moves away or when someone dies, goodbye is inevitable. Right now, I am facing them again. It’s time to say goodbye to both of my therapists.
Goodbye gives closure. There have been a lot of moments in my life where I wasn’t able to say goodbye. Surrounded by mostly toxic people these “friendships” where either cut off by me (because I saw that the person was using me or trying to control me) or by others (because they saw that I started to see their abuse). I found closure in these by feeling relieved I didn’t have to see these people anymore. I have often felt relieved with saying goodbye to therapists and psychiatrists too.
I have been in therapy since I was 4 years old, I only remember one when I was around 7. I drew a lot during this therapy and I remember I had to draw my family. I drew elephants, 3 big ones and 1 small one. I also remember this was something that came up a lot. I used to feel so small and they never looked any further. I was in therapy because I cried a lot. Because I raised my voice a lot and because I asked for attention a lot. Really, mum? I was the problem? Now I know I was not a bad child, now, as an adult I know. When I was 13/14 I was in therapy, I don’t remember what for but it was probably for my depression that went “unknown”.
I was sad and angry a lot, I’d cut myself to either feel something or to make the chaos in my head go away. I told the therapist I had that time and when I was home sick, she told my mother over the phone. She didn’t understand why I didn’t open my mouth in our sessions anymore. And they wonder why I don’t trust councilors… Never looking past my “behavioural problems”, she had set me up for another episode of rage from my mother. She went ballistic, then ignored my existence for a few weeks.
At 17 I tried to kill myself, I had been suicidal for years but getting beaten up by 4 girls at school was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was hospitalised and inpatient for three months, after that I had another six months of full time group therapy. I was diagnosed with severe depression with psychotic symptoms. And this time they failed to see the underlying problems, they never saw my mother’s abusive behaviour when she visited me, when her rage started to show there. I started to do better because I started to feel safe in that place, they failed to see how I didn’t want to go home on the weekends.
When I was 20 I went back to my old psychiatrist from the hospital. I was desperate to find out what was “wrong” with me. I had already started to develop symptoms of PTSD, panic attacks, avoidance, flashbacks and nightmares. I was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder and later Panic Disorder. In one of our sessions she told me flat out to stop talking about my mother because I had moved out and she was not a problem anymore. Gotcha, wrong move. I stopped talking again and again, another councilor who wondered why I stopped talking.
At 22 I went back to therapy and this time I got psychotherapy, by this time I figured out I had PTSD but was unable to ask for an evaluation and even though I answered all but 1 question with yes, I got diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. The therapy seemed to help a little bit and at the first session where I seemed to be doing better my therapy ended. She didn’t want to dig deeper now that I was doing better again.
Fast forward to 2017 when I was 29, exhausted from fighting the daily flashbacks, panic attacks and nightmares and felt like I had only two options left. My new therapist, a psych student, finally diagnosed me with PTSD after I broke down with the psychiatrist (who I saw for new medication). Because I was afraid I would get more talk therapy that has never helped before. I have been in therapy with her for almost a year now and when I look back it’s hard to believe I wanted to kill myself last year.
Determined to fight this, to recover, to take care of myself. I started to eat better, joined a walking group, went back to the gym. Started to attend church almost weekly instead of once a year. I looked for help with a nutritionist who I know from the walking group, I asked for help at home and adjusted my volunteer work so it became less overwhelming. My therapist got me a wonderful EMDR therapist because the trauma therapy I had with her became too much as traumas started to resurface.
And now I have to say goodbye to both of them. Just as we find out more about how the abuse I suffered has impacted my life and how much it is still controlling my life today. They are the first therapists I feel safe with. Who I trust even when it doesn’t always show like I do. They have been part of my life on a weekly basis, helping me battle these demons inside my head. I am not overly attached to them, but I do have a hard time saying goodbye. And that’s okay, I learn to allow myself to feel these emotions. That it’s healthy to cry and feel sad about it. I learn not to dissociate my feelings away.
Most of all, I trust they have found me another wonderful therapist who will help me further. Tuesday I said goodbye to my EMDR therapist. I will say goodbye to my psychotherapist at the end of September. And I will meet my new therapist in early October.
Love & Light, Sandra