When is it too late for therapy or is it ever too late?
For me, a lot of resolution has occurred, not only from therapy but also from sharing it on my blog universe. Therapy can be helpful, it was for me.
MY DARKEST HOUR
I’m just sorry that I was in my mid 40’s before I got help for the first time. When the events of my second divorce crashed down on me, I was a mess. You don’t realize how sometimes the horribleness of your past can affect your present if you don’t have the right tools to deal with it. Those events had tainted my perceptions and reactions. At first my therapy sent me over the edge, because there was so much there. I didn’t realize it though and quit seeing the counselor. I had opened the wound but never finished cleaning, disinfecting and dressing it. Yes, I wanted to die, but I knew I could not do so directly. One evening, in my darkest hour, I was fortunate that a group of young people saw my state of mind and would not leave my side. I was on top of a mountain trail in Colorado where one “accidental” step would have been all there was to ending it. I sat on the edge contemplating it for some time. I told them I was okay, but they stopped their partying to help me, a stranger. One young man in particular, stayed by my side and talked to me at great length. En force, they would not let me drive my own car off the mountain, but in a caravan, drove it to a coworkers home who they verified would take me in. He was someone I always felt it easy to talk to. You can imagine his surprise when I called and landed on his doorstep with my entourage. These young people, half my age, made sure I was safe and confirmed he was okay taking me in. My startled workmate/friend had no clue what to do with or for me but agreed to, if nothing else, just be there. I’m sure it terrified the hell out of him. The next day, I made an appointment.
It would be years later that a different form of therapy unexpectedly dug down even further. It was then that I was able to purge all that gunk.
It was frightening for a time. I had mixed feelings about it, somewhere between that of butterflies inside, a feeling of impending doom or dread. I was even a bit nauseous at times or ramped up like I’d had too many Red Bulls (which I never drink but did once), but I got over it. Digging deep is not for the feint of heart.
I NEVER KNEW
A friend and I share the commonality of abuse but it was something we never talked about, ever. It has been vaguely alluded to on occasion but never formally. To be honest, even then I might not have picked up on it at all if a third party had not told me it existed. Now, I see it and because I now see it, I wonder if it still haunts him. This friend is amazing , but perhaps for some reason prefers to let sleeping dogs lie. What’s past is past and can’t be changed, and it can’t.
What can change is how it affects you and your relationship with others.
One of my sisters only now is questioning therapy. She’ll be 70 this year. I told her it was never too late for resolution. Was I right in saying so? I was in my 60’s the last time I saw a therapist and quite frankly, I didn’t feel the need to keep digging further after that. What we found was ugly enough and sapped every bit of strength I had in me. When I blogged about it a few years back, it was as if the rawness had been cauterized. I wept passionately with every word I put down but it was healing. I was terrified as I hit “publish” not knowing how it would be received but comments and support poured in from all directions, it was phenomenal. After that, it was, as if with their help, the weight was lifted. I realized then I don’t need to go there anymore.
IS IT WORKING?
I was talking to someone recently and saw how bogged down she was with her past. She is drowning in it. She see’s a therapist who medicates and there is no improvement, in fact after she “doses”, she seems worse. Yes, meds may help, but if they aren’t working, try something else. Tell your therapist and if you have and this is what you get then I think you need a new therapist.
One of the bloggers that wrote me shortly after I posted my earlier blog is stuck. I can’t fix that. For years before, I felt like I had to pour out all the details of my past and share my brokenness with each new person I met. You don’t. If you’re smart, you stay away from toxic people and I was toxic. It took the first therapist to teach me I don’t need to share my life history. Its nobody’s business. At this stage of my life at 45, I thought I was not “young”, though when I look back now, I was still young.
A person can sometimes choose to wallow or drown in their own mire of “stuff” or find a fresh current to take a ride on. Choose to choose your path.
When I say that, I’m not talking about anyone who suffers from acute or chronic depression. The last thing a person who is truly depressed needs is to be told to “get over it.” I hate that. How insensitive. My ex didn’t get it. I asked him at one point, “what if I had cancer?” He said, “it’s not cancer”. Cancer is an illness of the body. Depression is a form of mental illness. The reality of it is, it’s not that easy to get over and a person who is depressed must sometimes use every ounce of their being to will themselves to get help. Some never do.
Getting someone to help you, a support system that does not judge you is important. People will and can get frustrated when you appear stuck or not making any progress to help yourself. They aren’t on that road with you so it’s hard for them to understand. There are many people who may want to help but they just don’t know what to do. In general, people don’t want to meddle or make an enemy of you if they did. Most folks are generally at a loss, they care but recognize they can’t “fix” you or your problems.
THERAPY GIVES YOU TOOLS
Tools and how to use them can come from therapy. I learned that we all have triggers. I had to take note of my triggers. Yes, there are triggers. People can be triggers. I will admit that when my mother passed away, I was able to thrive. I loved mother but she was mentally ill and I grew up thinking that having my buttons pushed and being in a state of emotional turmoil was “normal”. But deep down inside I longed for peace. Some days with her were better than others but even knowing she had schizophrenia didn’t help me to not react to her jabs. Knowing only allowed me to put away the hurt and love her despite her broken state and to care for her in the end. I consoled myself knowing God would fix her. It also helped me to help my sister to shelve the hurt in order to take care of her. At times it was extremely painful, but we did it. After living apart most of our adult life, we healed and bonded together helping our mom. Learn the tools and what works for you.
Things, like food, alcohol and places can be triggers. People consuming them when you can’t can be a trigger. Avoid them until you are stronger. For some it can be as simple as that. Drugs may not be “triggers” per se, but they can be if they are not doing what is intended. If I eat too many sweets or drink alcohol, it can cause me to dive the following day. In that state I might be more sensitive, irritable or emotional and/or it can affect how I deal with things. If I get this overwhelming sadness, I have to think what it was I ate too much of the day before that may have thrown my body off. I am fortunate that I’ve not had a downer like I did that one time.
SEE A DOCTOR
Seeing a doctor in addition to a therapist can help as well. I came to find out that part of my issues were due to my being pre-menopausal. HORMONES, ick! Not only did I have this gunk to clear out but I had hormone issues as well that were hindering my ability to keep those things buried as they’d always been. You heard right, buried. Just because you talk about things doesn’t mean they aren’t buried. They keep coming up because they haven’t been faced or dealt with, hence they are still buried. When you hear someone babbling, they’ve got issues.
I want to add, I’m not a therapist, licensed or otherwise, I can only make suggestions based on my own experiences and observations of my track record. Did I benefit from therapy? Absolutely! Any symptoms of depression related to my abuse is no longer a burden. I know it’s there but it does not define me. Today, I am healthy, sane?, unburdened and happy. Do I get depressed? Sometimes. I’m a seasonal depressive which is deal-able. If the sun is shining, you know I’m happy. If it’s not, I’m probably in front of the TV, binge watching The Vampire Diaries or some such while eating bon bons.(do they even make them anymore?)
Was this blog written because of the two celebrities who committed suicide recently? No, I started this some time ago but never completed it. I finished it today because some one dear to me, told me yesterday, she wanted to die and I felt helpless.
And yes, I will be proactive, but more importantly I intend to “be there” for her.
As for the startled friend? I married him. We’ve been married 26 years now and he’s still my rock and my bestie.