I had a great meeting with my therapist a few weeks ago. I am a huge believer in therapy (it’s a part of my Sanity Plan), and I have been through many different series and styles in my life.
Reflecting on my history of therapy, I have been feeling as though I’ve always addressed my life in fragments. There was typically one triggering event, so I would seek help, and deal with that particular event.
But now that having young children has triggered both old and new issues (don’t all mothers of young children lose their minds?), I decided to sit down and do some work with a counselor on my whole life. I wanted a holistic view of my characteristics, struggles, pain points, and scars. The idea was that this evaluation will better prepare me for the next situation that I encounter, even if it is something I have never navigated.
So, she asked for the list. And boy, there was a list.
I filled up the whole session just rambling off the “stories” of my life. And I could have gone on for hours. A mixture of childhood hurts, abandonment issues, unstable family life, extreme loneliness, betrayal, teen rebellion, bad influences, bad relationships, mental illness, you name it, it’s in there.
I had surprisingly few feelings when rattling off that way in list format. As if all of those things had happened to someone else, instead of me.
And when I was done, she looked at me very seriously and said,
“What I tell all my patients before embarking on a journey of this kind, is that you need to decide if you are really ready. I mean, really ready.
Because this is going to be hard work.”
She scheduled me for two weeks, and sent me home to think about it.
In all my years of therapy, this was the first time anyone had ever put it to me that way. I mean, it made immediate sense. In the past, it had always been triggered by necessity. But now it was up to me to make a choice to dig down really deep, and come to understand myself in a new way. A holistic way.
So, I pondered it. A lot.
Surprisingly. My answer was actually “no.” No, I am not ready to tear myself apart and rebuild right now. The biggest reason is the kids. They need me right now, they need me to help them learn how to communicate and regulate the overwhelming emotions of toddlerhood.
I just can’t fall apart right now. I don’t have the luxury of being able to stay in bed all day to nurse a broken heart. I have people that rely on me and a limited support network.
So, the big picture will be tabled for now. And we’ve agreed to deal with things as they come up. I will focus primarily on being the best mom I can to my toddlers and stepdaughter and the best wife I can be to my hardworking husband.
And it’s okay. If there is anything I know about myself, it’s that my past will be there when I choose to visit it again. Unless it visits me first.
Who can you rely on to help keep you sane?