breaking thru the waves of therapy

A lot of people have asked me how I have managed to move through the hardest part of therapy to where I am today 10 years later?

My answer has always been “It’s almost like pushing past the hardest parts of the waves in the ocean – to the other side where the calm waters are.

I have read so many blogs written by people who are in therapy who struggle with the process of healing, and struggle with feeling worse than actually feeling better! when I see that, I smile and say “yes, but that is normal, and it will get better!”

I myself used to be one of those people who really struggled with the process of therapy that it became sometimes unbearable at times.

I used to struggle with the times in between therapy sessions much like you all write about today. I used to struggle with feeling as if therapy was making me worse instead of better! I used to struggle with the feelings of wanting to quit and give up therapy many many times!

I have been through all those same emotions that others have written and talked about when talking about the therapy experience, and just how hard it can be. I have been there, and at times never thought it would get better – but trust me – it DID and I have – and there is healing on the other side of that struggle.

The best way that I can explain to those reading this and going through the tough process of therapy: therapy is like breaking thru the crest of ocean waves, to the other side to where there are calm waters of peace and healing.

Those waves are rough, and they are hard, and they are overwhelming at times, and sometimes they are so strong they push you under and send you back to shore to start over! Those waves can be mean and they can be frustrating and sometimes darn-right atrocious – but they can be defeated! That’s what healing is like! That’s what therapy is like!

Have you ever seen the movie “Cast Away” – after being stuck on the island for 4 years, he finally was given a sail, that sail got him to move past the toughest crests of waves until he finally made it over the toughest wave to the other side of the calm waters – – and when he finally made it over, he looked back at the island of where he was for 4 years – – – that’s what therapy is – therapy is about finding that “sail” to move you into the life that God created you to be in!

Healing is a process of waves! Healing is the fight to get to a place of calm and peace!

In my experience, I have been in therapy with the same therapist for “10 years and 3 months” now. The first year of therapy was brutal! It was the hardest because I didn’t understand the process of being in a room with someone I didn’t even know or trust at the time, opening up about my past and talking about the sexual abuse I endured – that same abuse that was voodoo to talk about in the past.

In the beginning of my process of therapy, I went through most of my sessions with one foot out the door wanting to run out of the room halfway through the session. I literally sat in the chair closest to the door, so that I could get up and run at any moment.

As the years went on, I began to trust the process of therapy … I began to trust my therapist, and I began to trust the therapy room more. I now sit with both feet planted firmly on the floor, and not only that, but I now sit on the couch alongside my therapist who sits with me (sometimes shoulder to shoulder)- – – but it didn’t go without really struggling with each session to get there. It took a lot of work, it took a lot of fight within me to move in that place of vulnerability.

In the beginning process of therapy I really struggled with the off times between session days, and in that struggle, I hated myself for struggling with that space in between sessions thinking I was dependent on therapy or my therapist. (which is one of my biggest fears). My biggest fear from the very beginning of therapy was thinking my therapist would think I was dependent on him or therapy. So when I struggled with that space in between session, it scared me to the core!

There were times in the beginning years of my therapy that I would be in this “heavy funk” after sessions. That funk where you can’t think, or be without thinking about therapy or the process of the things I was talking about. That funk where you can’t eat or do anything outside of just being alone with your thoughts around therapy and the process – It was like opening very old wounds and bleeding without having any control of that bleeding or pain (I used to call it the in between) – that space between therapy and my life outside of therapy.

Honestly? It was brutal, and I don’t think I ever told my therapist just how hard that was in the beginning of our work because I had this deep fear of being dependent on him or therapy, or even worst, him thinking I was dependent on him or therapy.

The funny thing is, when I first began therapy I said to my therapist right off, I said “Andy, the day I become dependent on therapy or you is the day I leave here and never come back” ha ha I can still recall the look on his face when I said it …. and here I am, 10 years later and we still laugh about that today.

My therapist and I connected a lot outside of therapy with emails and texts back then – – but I was very very careful about that because of that huge fear of dependency, so I was very diligent about leaning into my therapist outside of my sessions, until I could finally accept my worth around that realizing that connecting was healing, and there was nothing dependent about that.

Do you want to know something even bigger? Today, I can lean in and connect and not feel ashamed or guilty for it as I realize just how worthy I am of that connection – – – – and it took me a long time to get to that acceptance and realization.

As the years went on with all these struggles and working through the process of therapy, there was a moment to where I finally broke thru that last BIG wave … that last big crashing wave to where I was finally on the other side to the calm waters and that was about a year and a half ago when my healing journey took a turn from hard to calming!

to be honest, those waves of therapy thru the years were hard – VERY HARD!, but they got easier and easier for me to navigate as I worked through the struggles and the fear behind the painful truths of my past!

That last big wave was the one that REALLY changed me; the one that got me over the top to the calmer waters where I could heal freely. I found myself being able to trust more. I found myself being able to be open more.

That wave I broke thru changed me.

Breaking through the last big wave led me to a place of where I can be more open without feeling so raw that I can’t move. That last big wave I endured got me thru to acceptance and allowing myself to feel emotions and not punish myself for having them. Emotions have always been the absolute hardest for me to show, feel, or be with – – I am feeling more now and that is leading me to a whole new place of healing.

My therapist and I today have such a great relationship, and I now embrace the time in between sessions without being in that “funk” or fear of being dependent or forgotten. I love my time in between sessions. I embrace the time for ME and my life with my husband and my now 3 adult boys.

My therapist and I still email in between sessions, but it’s more for connection and good energy before a session rather than doing it because the trust is fading or the connection is fading – – – the connection to therapy and my therapist doesn’t fade anymore! We have such a great routine and connection that feels healing and accepting on so many levels.

I am thankful that my therapist has helped me get to the place I am in today.

Since I crashed through that big wave that I hit a year and a half ago, I have changed in the way of talking about my past and being open about the thoughts I sit with. I am still struggling with my crying wake ups (which I will write more about in the upcoming weeks) – but I believe that the inner child is finally healing and allowing me to be with that part of me more.

So, for those who are still in the rough waves of therapy – those crashing hard waves to where you struggle in between sessions, to where you are in this deep funk while trying to heal your wounds of the past? IT – GETS – BETTER! It gets easier – – give yourself the time you need to learn how to navigate and swim thru the waves coming at you. Give yourself the time to learn how to push thru the harder parts of therapy. It will get better. You will get to the other side where the calm waters are – I KNOW it happened for me.

The place of calm is not so much a place of rest, but a place of healing on a new level. To where you can see more, feel more, endure more with a stronger inner self.

I went through a really hard time about 4-5 years ago to where I almost gave up and swam all the way back thru the waves to the shore! .. but I didn’t give up, I kept going until I pushed to the other side.

You will have moments to where you wonder if therapy is worth it. You will wonder if you will be able to make it through the “in between” times where you’re living your life / being in therapy. Talk about it with your therapist, be open about it, talk to him/her about the waves and how hard they are for you to move thru. Sometimes having someone there with a buoy to float on will help you keep afloat when you need a break.

So for those reading this who are navigating the waves of therapy – – you are healing! You are moving thru the hardest waves of your healing – but it will get better if you keep trying and setting your eyes on the calmer waters beyond the waves .. I know, I am there and still healing on such a different level – YOU are worth it and YOU are not alone!

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healing me forward

The past couple of months have been filled with movement and healing in ways that I have not felt healing and movement before in all the 10+ years I have been in therapy with my therapist.

Friday in session, my therapist and I were reflecting just how much the past couple of months have changed so much for me in the way of “healing”, “understanding”, and more so trusting the “young part” in me to take bigger steps on this journey I have been on for over 10 years now.

Healing is not a destination or a place to arrive. Healing is not something you see, but rather something you feel deep within. There is this quote that I saw that helped me to write this blog today and the quote reads:

“Healing doesn’t change you, it reveals you“

That is what this past couple of months have been for me – revealing moments that I can connect to – revealing images of my past that help me to come closer to the young parts voice that has laid dormant for so long; only showing up in the vulnerable places of my sleep.

I began therapy over 10 years ago, April 21st of 2007 to be exact – and each time I reflect back on that, there is something new to understand about this journey.

Honestly? I didn’t think that I would be on this journey for as long as I have, in fact, I thought it would be a quick fix “talk about my memories, tell my story, work through them, and I am healed” OH no no no! Boy was I wrong! – that is the furthest from the reality of what healing really is about. Healing is a state of being and becoming who we were intended to be. Not the abused version of what I have been through.

Therapy isn’t an “event”, therapy is the process of being me, I am healing wounds to create more movement in the life that God created for me to be. I am in this process of movement and healing old wounds held by the young part of me that has been stuck in the old memories and wounds – to finally being released as I allow her to be present.

The past 5 years for me were hard – really hard. I went through a lot of hard things that caused me to really go inward and isolate for a long long time. I could sit here and write about all the reasons why and what happened, but that’s not important, what IS important is facing and accepting where I am now and what I am moving towards; realizing that the isolated place I was in the past couple of years was just a stuck place – almost like purgatory while I worked hard internally to heal myself into movement.

I literally had to heal myself into movement, and it took a long long time to get out of the funk of isolation and depression I was in these past 5 years! The isolation to where I had pushed everything and everyone away from me.

I stopped going to church, I stopped going out with friends, I completely shut myself out and away from all the things I loved; even my family. I went internal to the young part and clung onto the old fears and old stories of my past and Is at there for a while until I could really see what was going on and where I was.

I allowed the actions of another in the past to dictate my place of being, and that caused me so much pain and suffering! But one day, I woke up! I came to realize that the actions of another are just what It is “the action of another” and it has nothing to do with me or who I am, or where I want to go. Those same childhood fears are not repeating themselves – they are simply showing up so that I can say NO to it, and turn my face to the things that really matter like connection, friends, writing, the things I love – even GOD!

This past year, (especially the past couple of months) I have finally come out of the hard shell of isolation I was in. I finally accepted where I was and why I was in that place in order to move out, and heal forward.

When we truly accept that place of where we were and where we are now – that is when we truly heal forward.

I have come to a place in my healing in therapy where I am allowing the “Young Part” of me to NOT pull me IN, but rather allow me to open UP and allow myself to see and feel what I have been through not only the past 5 years that led me to isolation, and depression but my whole life as an abused neglected hurt child who holds more wounds than anyone should ever hold.

I have never felt healing the way I have felt it these past couple months. I see things I haven’t seen in such a long time. I am finally moving back into things in life I love like friends, church, family, writing, photography.. all of it! I feel like the numb parts of my life are finally gaining feeling and color.

What I do know about healing forward is, as with anything it takes time, care and love! this is a new place, a new place of being, and that deserves space, time and healing.

One of the things I have awoken to again is my writing and this blog. I have had so many people asking me if I could write about my therapy journey again and how much they missed reading about this journey and how much It has helped them. Well, today is the first step back into that part of my journey and although it’s vulnerable and scary, it feels connecting and healing.

My therapist and I were just talking about this in session Friday on how much I have changed and how different my healing is in the way I can talk about things in ways I have never been able to talk about or feel it before. I am blessed for my therapist Andy and all he has done for me and walked with me through on this journey. he is the most caring and compassionate person I have ever met. he knows my story, he knows me and the young part inside, and I couldn’t ask for a better person to hold my story with care, trust and love just as he does. He is such a wonderful person – – – – So Andy, if you’re reading this, or shall I say WHEN you read this :) thank you for this amazing journey thus far!

So, as I wrap up the end of this blog writing, I want to say to all those who connect with my journey and writing – “I look forward to sharing more of what is next on this part of the journey of where I am and where I am looking toward (hard and good) I look forward to sharing and connecting more of the “Healing Forward”! not only in the healing work but in life and through my writing! It’s vulnerable but SO hopeful!!

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This 10 Year Journey

10 years ago I took a step into the beginning of my healing journey – the beginning of finding my voice, the beginning to unfolding the many little pieces of pain and secrets I held onto since I was as little as 5 years old.

10 years ago I took a step into the beginning of finding what safe connection was – what a safe person to talk to was about, and realizing just how important my truth was, and still is.

This journey has been about unfolding every piece of a secret kept for years that I held onto – and finding my voice right in the middle of it all.

10 years ago I met this wonderful inspiring wisdom filled person – my therapist Andy – who has taught me that not every connection is a painful one – that my voice matters – and that I am cared enough about to be heard and believed in.

My therapist is one kindest – most wisdom filled person I have ever met, and one of the most trusting people I have ever met – and because of who he is – he has allowed me to trust this healing journey and take these steps into finding the voice that would tell the painful stories I was never allowed to tell.

Today in session we celebrated this amazing journey of 10 years – we talked about what we were most proud of, and what we still work hard on together today! We even had a few laughs about our phone tag we played in the beginning 10 years ago trying to make our first appointment – – This is what makes my therapist the wonderful person he is, he wanted to carve out space to celebrate the 10 year journey today, and found this milestone of my healing important enough to celebrate.

We had such a good talk today – and even in these moments of talking about the journey – healing happens, and something is learned.

What I have come to realize this past year is that, healing happens in moments of struggle just as much as moments of good! I used to think that healing only happened when I have over-come something hard – well I have learned is that healing also happens in moments I don’t over-come, because in those moments I am still healing, because I am learning to accept those moments of hard struggle, and in that struggle I heal.

This journey has really helped me to accept the young parts of me inside that need healing, and that has probably been the biggest realization for me these past couple of months. My therapist never judged me for having a wounded little child inside of me – and he has helped me to accept her, and to bring her out from behind the wall to be seen, heard and mostly accepted and loved.

This has been such a hard hard journey, but a rewarding one each day and each step. I never thought it was possible to bring my voice, my story, and my truth to someone who would hear it, hold it and believe in it.

I am a changed person because of this healing journey – – I have seen a whole new me, and I continue to see this new person because I am starting see and accept the little parts inside of me that need just as much love and healing as I do.

Its because of that little part inside of me, I am becoming me

I truly have hope for the steps I continue to make, and see a life that God has intended for me! I am taking steps every day more and more out into the light of the life I really want to live in, and I am thankful everyday for this journey God has put me on.

If I were to say something to my therapist in this moment as I write these words to this blog, and as he reads it – – –  I would say “Andy, thank you for listening” – “thank you for helping me take steps out from behind the wall, and giving me a safe place to speak my voice and tell my story” – “thank you for being patient and understanding to the moments of struggle” – “thank you for believing in me, and finding me to be an important enough person to walk this journey with” –  –  like I have said before, you are one of my favorite people.”

10 years on this amazing journey thus far and I wouldn’t take a moment back, because each moment whether its been good or hard, sad or happy, frustrating or elating – – I have found healing and strength to take another step in front of me.

As I continue this path ahead –  I am finding myself more and more into the life God intended for me, and less in the pain and hurt I was put in!

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