The Gift of Therapy
A sad, afraid little girl, who was so alone, she was always on the outside looking in. She spent her life with no voice, small and hidden for fear of taking up space. Deep inside she had learned that she deserved to be treated harshly, her thoughts and needs unimportant; she was defective, never good enough, always a nuisance, worthless, and unlovable.
However, inside there was a sparkle, one that no matter what they did, would not go out. A sparkle encouraged by outsiders from time to time, still enough to carry her through her life until one day she had this overwhelming feeling that there must be more. She wasn’t sure why or if she deserved more, just that it was time to find out.
At the age of 56, when I chose to start therapy, I knew that I no longer wanted to continue making the same choices. I didn’t realize it then, though now I know that so many of my thoughts and decisions still were being made by that little girl who sat in the darkness alone.
Knees tucked to her chin
She sits in the corner
Her innocence fills the room
Sitting quietly, not making a sound
Taking everything in
She dreams of being special
Dreams of being wanted and loved
In the shadows she sits
Wondering why don’t they love or want her
Why they don’t come for her
She sits in the darkness, waiting for them to come
Waiting for the warmth of a touch
A warm embrace
Waiting to be seen
Waiting for love
Which never comes
Alone in the shadows, hidden, forgotten, alone.
We all have histories, stories, and beliefs, I believe they need to be honored in whichever way you choose, so I chose therapy. Therapy…what was I thinking! At the beginning I didn’t want anyone to know that I was seeking help. I would hear those voices in my head, the ones I realized later weren’t mine. The ones that said, “You are weak. I always knew there was something wrong with you—grow up, get over it, it wasn’t that bad.”
I never wanted anyone to see me fall apart, even though I was continuously falling apart inside. I now understand why I struggled so much, why it was so painful. After leaving my second husband, I started therapy, in search of answers to why I kept putting myself into these situations. I continued to take care of everyone else, everyone except myself. I didn’t understand the depth of how and why I made decisions, but I knew that I no longer wanted to remain this way. I was wasting my life in a deep depression, most of the time wondering if it was worth it, while at the same time hiding what I was feeling from everyone; it was a very lonely time.
Beginning therapy, I was impatient. I wanted answers and I wanted them now. I learned that impatience can slow your progress. I wasn’t looking to blame anyone; I was willing to take responsibility for my life. Wasn’t I the one making the choices? In therapy I learned that the choices I made, which I thought were mine, were actually so wrapped up in my core beliefs, the beliefs I had learned from others, which I was still carrying with me. If I wanted to move forward, I would have to start feeling and acknowledging my emotions.
It’s very true when they say you need to go through and not around what you are feeling. I know I make choices now based on the truth of my story, the new one that I’m the authority on. Therapy has given me the voice that I never had. It has shown me that I’m allowed to like what I like. I can be my own person and that is all right. It has taught me that taking care of me and having compassion for myself isn’t selfish—it’s healthy.
I’ve learned that I had so many answers inside of me, and once I was willing to start trusting myself, it was easier to make decisions. I’ve learned that I am enough and lovable. Everything I learned in therapy, including the day-to-day tools, has enriched my life, and so has the kindness and patience of my therapist.
Please know that you are not alone. You may feel like it—however, there is support for you, whether it be family, friends, support groups, distress telephone lines, or a caring therapist. Therapy was one of the greatest gifts I gave myself. I didn’t realize it at the beginning, and it took me a while to accept this gift and to trust my therapist. Once I did, I started to move forward with my life, and my experience was life-changing, which is why I want to share it with others.