Thursday, 26 February 2015

The woman who saved my life! Part One.

I had considered going into counselling myself  about 14 years ago, and had completed the first level of certification, but decided the second was not meant for me.  The reason for this?  Because, I knew I wasn't ready to share my most intimate, personal experiences with a group of strangers, and I wasn't prepared to lie in order to gain a qualification.  I gained a lot personally from doing this course, and I know I would make a very good counsellor, because I am naturally very intuitive and I am also very good at listening to people.  I still use these skills on a regular basis, when it comes to family and friends, however, I think one of the most important things I learnt was, what made a bad counsellor.

I first met Margaret, my therapist at the end of 2004, and she was a Godsend coming into my life.  Prior to that I had been involved in other types of counselling, but none had given me any real benefit.  I was so glad when I was finally referred to her for further help, because I knew it marked the beginning of my healing.

I remember my first assessment interview with her, and being in floods of genuine, frustrated and angry tears, desperately looking for my answers, I was in a really bad way, in a really bad place and I needed help.  Medication only did so much, I was fragile and trapped alone inside my darkened world, with no release for my troubled mind.   I felt almost instantly, that she was the person who could unlock me.  I trusted her with my thoughts, my life and my soul like no other person, I placed myself in her hands, and we both begun the work of unravelling me from the very beginning.

We started from childhood, an obvious place, and discussed many things, starting with aspects of my family life, growing up and issues that were significant at the time.  Eventually leading to where I was at that point in my life, my work, my health and having got married etc.  She gained a good insight of the inner me, and we both identified key points or stumbling blocks that needed further investigation.  Over a period of many months, we slowly unpicked the factors that had moulded me into the woman I am.  This was a painful and laborious task, I had to delve much deeper inside of me, mentally reviewing things or events that had happened to me, and trying to understand my true and honest feelings towards them.

The process ripped me apart.  I was raw and bleeding inside.  Each week, my one hour window of opportunity threw up so many harsh realities, but it was the only time I ever felt so whole.  I had a chance to be really free.

This was an incredible opportunity for me to re-evaluate every aspect of my life, and to finally destroy or lay to rest some of the demons that pursued me.  I came to appreciate the truth depth of character that was within me, and what a strong and resilient woman I was and still am.  I came to to acknowledge, that I had already experienced the worst experiences of my life, and that I had  unconsciously overcome them.  It made me realise, that nothing more could be worse or harder to deal with, than what I had already endured.  Knowing that, changed everything.  Knowing that, enabled me to have a different perspective, and I viewed my life and the people in it, in a very different way.

Margaret never gave me answers, only questions.  Questions, that were meant to challenge or make me explore my thought processes or self-beliefs, thus opening myself up for even more scrutiny.  I was fearless in my approach, because I needed to see that light at the end of my tunnel, and Margaret helped me to discover it.  The light, gave me something to work toward.  That light was indeed my hope for balance to return to my life.

She helped me to realise that since my early teens, I had been fortified by years of writing poetry and noting my troubled thoughts down.  It was my only means of expression or release, I had no one to talk to.  I had recorded all my unhappy moments.  I had made them even more real by immortalising them within my written words, that were scribbled in journals and on scraps of paper.  These words, had kept me bound and holding on to brutal memories, that no longer deserved to play a part in my life.

I had reasons to still mourn.  Memories of the ill health and then loss of a brother, my own health which had started to go down hill; as well as my family, my marriage, my friends, my work and my home, all gave me sadness for one reason or another, which with hindsight I could now see.  I was grieving for so many things that were lost to me, I had captured my sorrow in such a way, it was 'The Book of my Life', one that I invited others to read, if they wanted to know me.  I had laid myself bare.  I was completely naked.  There was no mystery and no need to read between the lines, my words were simple, honest and true.

At that time I had already slowed down on writing, almost to the point of stopping, and only wrote when my mind was agitated,  My writing has continued to evolve, I still write poetry, but now also keep a couple of journals; and writing this blog is probably the most important thing I still do for myself, it is still part of the healing process.  I had started this blog in July 2011 with all the best intentions, It was a particularly bad time for me, as I was really suffering with my health,  Unfortunately, it as about this time that the hairline fractures in my marriage turned into cracks; and they were gaping so wide open I had no choice but fall in.  The breakdown of my marriage, took over my every thought and changed the course of events that followed.

Margaret, is a remarkable woman, and she will always remain a very special person to me.  I have no shame or feel in the least bit stigmatised by having had a therapist.  If anything, I feel quite proud of myself, because I was open and willing to address many painful issues, that had stunted or crippled my ability to move on.  I am truly thankful to her.

I always thought I knew myself well, but I learned even more about the true nature of me, and why certain thoughts or feelings have come into existence.  It was a re-awakening.  Even though I was still in my darkness, it was a new dawn.  I felt equipped and ready to set about conquering the demons that still remained by my side.  I knew in my heart that this was only the beginning, I still had a long way to go, and my relationship with Margaret was far from over.

In order to begin my journey again, I had to finally rid myself of the negative memories and demons from my past, and not just sweep them away.  I believed that the only way to achieve that, was to physically remove all evidence of my previous pain, and that meant destroying the very words that I had used to save myself.

In what was a very symbolic act on my part, I freed myself and laid them to rest by burning them.  It was a very significant turning point in my life, and I have absolutely no regrets.  It was the beginning of me loving and valuing myself again.  Sx