Little Sherry

little me

This is my favorite picture of myself of all time.  Even as a child I loved it. I loved the smile and the happiness the picture conveyed.  It still makes me happy.

One of the suggestions from the therapist to help me deal with, well, everything we’ve tackled thus far, has been to nurture or parent “Little Sherry”.  To bring to mind myself as a child and speak to her in the way and manner that I would speak to my own children.  I’m not sure why this has not only proven to be effective but has also been successful in touching my heart which, as long time readers know, is not an easy thing to do.

It’s allowed me to begin to love and forgive myself without looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you Sherry.  You are kind and beautiful and gosh darn it, you deserve it,”  (That’s a very old Saturday Night Live bit…sorry.) which feels disingenuous and downright silly to me.  I’ve been able to embrace this exercise I guess because I’m dealing with a child and not a fully grown adult who shouldn’t need this kind of care (in my screwed up head anyway).   The only word that comes to mind for me is profound.

When I began, Little Sherry always came to me with her head bowed and her hands over her face in shame.  I didn’t fight it.  I pictured us, side by side on the porch steps of a beach cottage, staring out at the ocean early in the morning.  No words were exchanged.  We just sat, together, watching the waves.  Eventually she would drop her hands to her lap and occasionally let me hold her little hand.

Now and then I’m able to offer kind words like, “It’s okay.  You’re a wonderful little girl and you deserve all the kindness and love the world has to give.”  I’m not sure how much I believe it yet but I think I might be getting through to her.  Hopefully I’m not too far behind.

On thing is certain, every time we sit together I cry.  Not boo-hoo with snot and an ugly face, but tears in my eyes that sometimes slide down my cheeks.  There’s just a deep sense of sadness that overwhelms me.  In fact, it feels exactly the same as when my children are in pain from one of life’s bumps and I can no longer fix it with a Buzz Lightyear Band-Aid and a kiss.  I have to just be there for them, guide the a little, and hope the scars don’t run too deep.  Life on life’s terms.

She still won’t look me in the eye and I haven’t been able to hold her yet but I think we’re getting there.  Sometimes I think I’ve lost my fucking mind imagining all of this…until I sit down to do it or it just comes over me.  Then I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

Namaste

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Cautiously Optimistic

crocus in light

As I walk this crazy path of discovery, I’m uncovering things about myself that, although I’ve always suspected them to be true, are now proving to be true.  It’s kind of like learning about a long-lost relative with whom you share personality traits or getting the results of your first Myers/Briggs Assessment.  You see it and then think, “Wow!  So that’s why I eat my peas with my knife,” or “Hmmm, that’s why the pillows on the couch need to be perfect.”  There’s comfort in numbers and an even greater comfort in knowing WHY.

I have always had a very difficult time letting people take care of me.  I brush off comforting hugs (yes, even from my husband and children) and say, “No, no really…I’m okay.”  I feel extremely uncomfortable when people reach out to me with compassion and concern.  My first response is ALWAYS, “No worries.  I’ve got it.  Don’t trouble yourself.”  When my father died I wrote the eulogy and watched, dry-eyed as my husband delivered it.  People saw me and began to cry and I comforted them.  The same happened when my mother died.  My children were devastated and I had to be there for them.  I pretended I didn’t need to grieve because we had such a difficult relationship but that was the biggest pile of bullshit ever slung.  Everyone needs to grieve – for what was or for what wasn’t – doesn’t matter.

The love and compassion flowing from the comments on this blog recently are overwhelming to me…and a little uncomfortable.  Each one I read touches my heart, some make me cry, some make me laugh but they all make me know I’m not alone…that I’m cared for.  While I’m reading them however, there’s an crazy desire to say, “NO, NO…it’s okay!  I’ll be FINE.  Don’t worry yourself about ME!”  Can you hear the unspoken truth here?  It’s saying…”Don’t worry about me…I don’t deserve your love and concern.  I’m not worth it.”

How fucked up is that?

Pretty fucked up indeed.  But like the tendency to perfection, I’m uncovering WHY all of these things exist and that part, while extremely uncomfortable, it really kind of exciting.  Why is it that I don’t feel I’m worthy of the love and kindness you people pour forth?  Why, after 32 years of a happy marriage, is it so hard to for me to believe that my husband loves me?  Why can’t I let anyone give me a hug when I’m crying or say “there, there”?  Why can I be there for everyone else in their time of need but not let anyone be there for me?  Kind of selfish don’t you think?

But now I’m starting to see some answers and it has me frightened and nervous and anxious and excited.  Just the thought that, after almost 54 years on this planet I could open my heart to love and compassion not only from others but from myself; that I could actually learn to love the person I am and not the person I think others want me to be; that I could actually let someone else TAKE CARE OF ME emotionally has my mind reeling and my heart cautiously optimistic.

It’s almost too much…but not quite.

Namaste

“Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.”  ~Dale Carnegie

Breaking Down Walls

walls around my heart

Yesterday went very well.  I’m not sure how much “progress” I made but “Joe” (we’ll call him that for the blog), says that’s okay.  The process is supposed to go at my pace and in my time.  I have some new homework and I’m good for another couple of weeks.  I’ll think and process and think and…did I say think?  Yeah think.

The thing that is absolutely blowing me away is the fact that something that happened almost 50 years ago still has such an impact on me and can reduce me to tears in a matter of seconds.  It’s really not about the abuse so much as it is that feeling of not being protected; of not being safe; of not being loved.

I have no memory of being held by either of my parents to feel comforted and safe.  The memories I have of being held are uncomfortable – like I just wanted to get away as soon as I was on someone’s lap.  Hugs and kisses were frequent (we’re Italian so…well it’s what we do) but I never remember them feeling the way they do when I hug and kiss my own children.  They were perfunctory.  Mechanical.

On the way home yesterday, I told the hubs that until my children were born, I had my heart walled off.  He came the closest of anyone to breaking down those walls but it wasn’t until the kids came along (nieces, nephews, steps and bios) that the wall was truly destroyed…but only for them.   They get that part of my heart that I believed would never see the light of day.  It exists purely to love and provide for them, unconditionally and always.

What I’m learning is that it’s time to open that place in my heart to myself as well.  It’s time to love myself unconditionally – the way I love my children.  But that’s not an easy thing.  The exercise of speaking to my little girl, of parenting her, reduces me to tears in a way that few things can.  It touches my soul and awakens a yearning that I didn’t even know existed.  It makes me profoundly sad.

I still feel a little weird about this – like I’m whining and complaining about shit that I should be over.  Like I’m self indulgent and overly dramatic.  But I let those feelings go because I know that if I’m every going to be truly free, I have to get through all of this and learn to love myself.

Thank you all for your kindness and support.  This blog is my way of processing not only  my recovery from alcoholism but from the rest of my life as well.  I’m honored that you read and take the time to comment.  You all rock and I am forever grateful.

Namaste

That which causes us trials shall yield us triumph: and that which make our hearts ache shall fill us with gladness. The only true happiness is to learn, to advance, and to improve: which could not happen unless we had commence with error, ignorance, and imperfection. We must pass through the darkness, to reach the light.      Albert Pike

Nom Nom Nom

I see my therapist again today.  I’m nervous.  Last time I left him with my letters to my abuser and my little girl self.  There were things in those letters that only one other person on the planet knows (the hubs) besides me.  My grown up self knows that the things I wrote about really aren’t that big of a deal.  My little girl self still carries the shame and humiliation of those things.  She still owns them.

She’s afraid and embarrassed to face her therapist today.  Fortunately my grown up self is up to the challenge and almost eager to move this process forward.

Over the last two weeks, while I haven’t done any actual homework, I’ve thought about this process on a daily basis.  I’ve asked myself, “What the fuck are you doing?” many times.  I’ve wondered, for the millionth time, if I’m making too much out of a series of events that happened over 40 years ago.  I’ve considered giving up and just stuffing it all back down and walking running away.  I’ve avoided writing letters to my mom and my grandmother because, in my grown up head, I’ve forgiven them.  I haven’t really checked in with my little girl self to see if she’s forgiven them…

That’s how I know I have to keep going.  If I’m going through all of this thought process and it feels this uncomfortable…then I must need to face this part of my life and work through it.  Accept it.  Surrender.

There are also some interesting things happening to me.  They are subtle, almost whispers, and if I’m not paying attention I might miss them.  But they’re there…and I’m noticing them.

For instance, I’ve always hated my name.  I don’t know why…just the way it is.  It’s not that common and, as I got older, the “e” sound at the end sounded too juvenile to me.  All of a sudden however, I love the sound of my name.  I noticed it the other day when someone called me by name and I was filled with – oh hell I don’t know – joy?  Whatever it was it felt good.

Then there’s my face.  Never liked that either.  Long story.  Now I’m not minding it so much.  I’m looking at myself with a little more kindness these days.  I’m actually thinking of myself with a little more kindness these days.  Maybe it’s the therapy or maybe it’s the bump in my meds or maybe both.  Whatever it is I hope it continues to improve.  It feels good.

Now on the not so good side of things.  I’ve noticed that for the last three or four days, every time I start thinking about this appointment I want to eat.  Not just eat a meal…I mean EAT…nom nom nom eat.  Comfort eat.  Junk food eat.  Chocolate eat.  No cravings for booze…just food.  Cheeseburgers and French fries and cake.  Shit I NEVER eat.  And chocolate – oh for the love of God who in the world decided that Valentine’s Day was a good time to tackle these issues – fucking chocolate EVERYWHERE!

For the first time however, I’m actually noticing that I’m turning to food for comfort.  I’m uncomfortable with what might happen in this appointment today and I’m looking for food to make me feel better about it and help me cope with the feelings I may have to face.  It’s an actual feeling in my stomach…one I’m mistaking for hunger but couldn’t be farther from it.  I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so hungry, why is it that all I want to do is eat and now I think I’ve figured it out.  So while this sucks because I don’t have a flipping clue what the hell I’m supposed to do about it (except maybe break out my old sober toolbox) and even though it’s uncomfortable, I feel good because it means I’m more mindful of my feelings and my reactions.

So for now I’m going to roll with all of this.  I’m going to keep going down this path and facing this with tenacity and grit but also for with love and kindness which is new for me.  Usually I find an obstacle, barrel through it head first and just obliterate it to smithereens never stopping to see what damage I’m doing to myself – just hell bent on getting through the problem and moving forward.

Um…so how’s that workin’ for ya?

Time to take a softer approach to my issues.  Maybe ride a cloud or two along the way to freedom peace of mind.

Namaste

Like Walking Into a Hurricane

 

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post
Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

I’m off to the therapist this afternoon.  I did some of my homework but had to stop after a while.  It was just getting to be a little too much.  The more I thought about it and wrote, the more confused I got about memories and what happened when and to whom.  I started feeling things about places and times that I can’t be sure are real.  I had to shake my head to clear the cobwebs and just walk away.

When I wrote my letters for my 4th step I felt cleansed after I finished.  It was cathartic.  I cried.  I raged.  I wrote.  But then, I was done and I truly, truly let it go.  I was hoping that this would be the same experience.

Not. Even. Close.

This is like walking through tar – all sticky and thick.  It feels much heavier and I want to give up about a hundred times an hour.  Shut that door and lock it for good.  Protect my heart.  It feels like I’m walking into a hurricane head on…and no matter how hard I push, something keeps pushing against me saying “Stay back!  Turn Around!  Danger!”.  I know it’s just my psyche trying to stuff shit down again but damn…I’m strong.

I know have to get through the hurricane in order to see the sun again and this feels like a big one.  One that levels shit and leave nothing but destruction in its path.  This motherfucker feels like Katrina.

For now the emotional part has been…well…meh.  Not intentionally.  I just haven’t had any really strong feelings about anything yet.  It’s like I’m muted.  Muffled.  Well except for anxiety and adrenaline.  Every time I “go there” my heart beats faster and I feel a little like I can’t breathe.  Like I’m in a crisis and I don’t have time to stop and deal with stupid emotions.  I have stuff to do and until it’s done I can’t stop to process feelings.  How on earth will anything get done if I do that?

Yeah…I know.

Part of the problem is that I have no idea what I’m doing here.  I’m a planner.  I’m a Project Manager for christ’s sake…it’s what I DO.  But there’s no plan for something like this.  No instruction manual.  No one to tell me if I’m doing it “right”…because there is no “right”.  It just IS and apparently I have to deal with it or I’ll just keep trading addictions out like they’re playing cards.

Namaste

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you to give you hope and a future.        ~Jeremiah 29:11

Blowing Off Homework

homework

When I was in school I always hated homework (let’s face it – I hated school too).  I thought the concept of learning all day long only to go home at night and do MORE learning was just over the top.  In my opinion, teachers were all a bunch of educational zealots taking out their own frustrations on their students.  I vowed that when I became a teacher, I would not give homework…EVER.

Well life got in the way and I never became a teacher in the traditional sense (I wanted to teach high school Literature) but I have been a corporate trainer for the last 15 years.  As such, I have to admit that I’ve given homework from time to time due to time and budget constraints.  Having helped all six kids with homework over the years, I know that’s the same reason our schools give it to our kids.

No matter, I still hate homework.

When I first began seeing my therapist, I told him that it was good to give me assignments because, once provided a task, I would most certainly see it through to completion.

Then I looked around to see who in the hell just said that.

I was so anxious to get to the root of my issues and finally deal with them that I’d do anything, including homework, if it meant that I would come out on the other side better for the experience.  After all, that’s the approach I took in college and it worked just fine.  It worked just fine in this case also…in the beginning anyway.  He gave me assignments – I did them – we discussed them – I felt better.  Simple stupid right?

That was then.  This is now.

Now I’m supposed to do homework that will, essentially, pick a fight with a demon I didn’t even realize was a demon until fairly recently.  My sexual abuse has been tossed aside in my brain for 40+ years as I continually told myself that it was “no big deal – quit whining and get over it already”.   Now I’m supposed to poke a big ugly “thing” that has the very real potential to break down the door to my psyche and I’m on the other side of that door with my fingers in my ears singing, “la la la la I can’t hear you”.

lalalala

Well now…that’s helpful.

I haven’t even attempted it.  I’ve been too “busy”.  It’s just not the right time.  I need to tread lightly.  Blah, blah, blah, blah…

Avoid much?

I’m supposed to find a quiet place and think about that time in my life and that little girl who was violated.  Then I’m supposed to DO something – write a letter to my mom (who did nothing) or my grandmother (who may have betrayed me) or my abuser; sketch some pictures of my feelings; let my little girl write to me about the experience.  Anything.  Anything that will get this party started.

But have I done anything beyond think about doing something?  Nope.  Nada.  Zilch.

Maybe it’s because every time I think about getting started my heart starts beating faster and I get all jittery.  My thoughts start coming at me 100 miles an hour and my mouth gets dry and my palms sweat.  Maybe it’s because every time I look at my journal my brain says, “Run away!  NOW!”  Or maybe I’m just chickenshit and need to put my big girl panties on and DEAL.

Maybe I need to just do something.

Well…I did write this post.  That’s something.  Right?

Namaste

 

54 at 54 Friday Update – Week 2

Down 1 pound…right on target.  If I can maintain a one pound per week loss then I will reach my goal (or just 2 lbs shy – big whup) by the end of the year.  To me, that not only feels doable, it feels peaceful.  Still a quiet determination.

I’m reading another book, It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell.  Here’s the Amazon description:

“A heartbreakingly honest, endearing memoir of incredible weight loss by a young food blogger who battles body image issues and overcomes food addiction to find self-acceptance.

All her life, Andie Mitchell had eaten lustily and mindlessly. Food was her babysitter, her best friend, her confidant, and it provided a refuge from her fractured family. But when she stepped on the scale on her twentieth birthday and it registered a shocking 268 pounds, she knew she had to change the way she thought about food and herself; that her life was at stake.

It Was Me All Along takes Andie from working class Boston to the romantic streets of Rome, from morbidly obese to half her size, from seeking comfort in anything that came cream-filled and two-to-a-pack to finding balance in exquisite (but modest) bowls of handmade pasta. This story is about much more than a woman who loves food and abhors her body. It is about someone who made changes when her situation seemed too far gone and how she discovered balance in an off-kilter world. More than anything, though, it is the story of her finding beauty in acceptance and learning to love all parts of herself.”

While Ted Spiker’s book Down Size showed me a way to reach my goals by uncovering my own truths and facing my sexual abuse head on (that’s an entirely different post that I will address…sometime), Andie’s book has opened my eyes to the fact that I need to make peace with food and the role it has in my life.

Like her, I have never had a normal relationship with food.  Food has never been just sustenance for me.  While I don’t emotionally feel I’m using (and have used) food for comfort and to numb my feelings, intellectually I know that this is the case and her book helped to confirm it for me.  All I can say is thank God I found a great therapist because working through all of this may take a while.

From her alcoholic father (that hit so close to home I had to put down the book from time to time and catch my breath) to her obsessive calorie counting and exercise to her battle with undiagnosed depression, her journey is my journey.  I hope mine turns out as well as hers.  Thank you Andie.

And, TA-DA, my treadmill arrived this morning!!!!  My husband and son are going to put it together for me today and I’ll walk/run on it for the first time tonight.  I am SO EXCITED!!!  I’ll post a pic of my baby as soon as I can.  😉

Finally, I ordered a wellness journal from Amazon which, coincidentally (?) is due to arrive today as well.  I’m going to use it to set small, attainable goals (as well as the big one at the end of the year) and also record my workouts and food and moods to see if any patterns emerge.  I’ll let you know if I uncover anything.

Happy Friday!

Namaste

PS – If you’re interested in following Andie, she blogs at Can You Stay for Dinner.

What’s it like to be normal?

I went to see my psychiatrist yesterday for my six month checkup.  I had made a list of things I wanted to tell him because I swear, every time I go to a doctor’s appointment all my symptoms disappear and I forget to tell them what I wanted to tell them!  He was pretty shocked when I told him that at the end of the summer I realized I had been in a fairly deep depression since before Christmas 2012.   Almost as shocked as I was when I figured it out.

I explained that because this time the symptoms were different, it wasn’t as readily apparent to me.  Rather than crying all the time and feeling like I was in a black hole, I was projecting my own feelings on others and deflecting blame to everyone else for my own mood.  (I know…even writing that seems insane…now.)  I was in a funk that eventually led to crying jags before eventually subsiding…somewhat.

Now I’m beginning to see it happening again.  I’m having anxiety and my “disaster thoughts” where I’m sure something awful is just around the corner and I start to visualize things like funerals in very specific detail.  With prayer I’m able to shut it down but really, why in the hell would I suffer through shit like that when I know it’s the chemicals and signals in my brain causing it?  Further, why would I suffer through shit like that when I know there are things that can be done namely, therapy and a change in my meds.

Fortunately, the doc agreed.  I love this guy.

As the hubs was driving me to work (Lord I will be happy when we’re able to get another car), I looked over at him and thought…I wonder what it’s like to be normal?  So I asked him, stopping short of adding, “…and what’s it like to be married to a woman who’s not?”

His first response was the standard, “What’s normal?  No one is really normal.  We all have our quirks.”

So I clarified, “I mean what is it like to have a brain that doesn’t lie to you?”

He really didn’t have an answer for that.

It’s not that I’m complaining because there are LOTS of things that could be wrong with me that are WAY worse than a brain that lies.  Especially since I think I’ve got a handle on the brain God gave me and, with the exception of a few loose wires, it works pretty darn well and I am very thankful for that.

But I do wonder sometimes…what would life be like with a brain that told the truth?  Hmmmm….just like getting to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

Namaste

A Christmas Leaf is Overturned

When I was a kid, we weren’t allow to even speak of Christmas until after my mother’s birthday – December 14th.  Since that was halfway through December, it made enjoying the holidays difficult.  I found I had to squelch down all my childlike wonder until 10 days prior to the BIG DAY because my mother wanted all eyes on her until after her special day.  I mean really, what self-respecting narcissist wants to share her birthday with the SON OF GOD!

I don’t know what I was thinking!

Now I decorate as soon as possible after Thanksgiving and I try to enjoy the entire season but I recently realized that I still tend to squelch those feelings. 

You know…stuff them down. 

No!  Can it be?  I STUFF down emotions!

You know, a sarcasm font would come in very handy right about now.

As soon as the Christmas commercials and decorations start after Halloween, there’s a voice in my head that says, “No!  I will not enjoy the holidays until…(whatever random date).”  As the excitement begins bubbling up I stuff it down and stuff it down until…well…it’s flat.  As a pancake.  With about as much flavor.  You know…before the syrup.

Then I get all wound up in the other thing my mother taught me about Christmas – that no matter what…it’s all about the presents and how much you spend on them.

Sigh.

I try and try not to do this but no matter what – it always seems to seep through.

The pinnacle and thus turning point for me was last year when, in spite of everything swirling around me, I struggled through the holiday season in a deep depression.  Part of it was chemical but a bigger part was all about stuffing everything down and then expecting it to resurrect itself when called upon and create a magical wonderland of holiday joy.

Yeah…not so much.

Then, as usual, when it didn’t happen I blamed myself.  I didn’t spend enough.  I didn’t bake enough.  I didn’t do CHRISTMAS enough. 

Bah…humbug.

Well not this year people.  I am making a conscious effort NOT to do these things for one more holiday season.  This holiday revelation came about after watching the marshmallow Target commercial with the little girl that looks a lot like my granddaughter did when she was about 7 years old.  I heard the familiar chords of the song “Marshmallow World” at the beginning of the commercial the day after Halloween and thought, “NO!!!  It’s too soon!”

Then I stopped.  And thought (amazing right).  And a big lightbulb appeared over my head and lit up…brightWhy is it too soon?  Who says I can’t enjoy this feeling RIGHT NOW?  Why should I wait until some arbitrary date?  There’s enough holiday cheer to last me through New Year’s even if I start in August, so why not on November 1st? 

The next time that commercial came on I sang along.  I let the feeling of holiday cheer fill me up and spill over.  I took a shower in that shit yo.

Then I decided that I was cutting a third of my holiday list because, quite frankly, we just don’t have the money this year (three kids in college = no cashola) and that if my friends couldn’t get on board than oh well.  I even emailed a couple of them to let them know and, surprise surprise, they WERE on board!  So, instead of exchanging gifts that we and our children do not need, we decided to spend time together instead.  Fucking genius right?

Next I decided that I wasn’t going to measure the thought or intent of the gifts I did buy by the price tag.  I really try hard not to do that but when it comes to the kids…I fall really short of my goals.  It never feels like I’ve given them enough which I’m completely aware is crazy but stuff that you’ve been doing your whole life is really hard to stop doing you know?  I’m going to sit down with all of them and explain what I’m feeling so that it’s out on the table and they know what to expect come Christmas morning. 

Because for real people?  It’s about how much we love each other as a family and not about how much we spend on one another.  Up until now that’s been easier said than done for me.  I’m hoping for easier done than said this year. 

So let the holiday celebrations begin!  I can set the table for Thanksgiving while singing Christmas carols!  I can Christmas shop and shop for my Thanksgiving turkey!  Bring on the commercials filled with heartfelt sentiment!  Let me see some Salvation Army kettles!  String the lights, lights and more lights!  Gingerbread lattes in red cups for everyone!

I’m ready and, for the first time in a very long time, I’m happy about it.

Namaste and dare I say, Happy Holidays!

Blessings and Miracles

There was a time in my life when I didn’t think very highly of the mental health profession.  Let’s face it, I held the belief that they were all a bunch of wackos whose main role in life was to screw with people’s minds and pump them full of drugs.  I thought all psychiatrists were nuttier than the average fruitcake and that counselors and psychologists weren’t worth the paper on which their degrees were printed.

To be fair, I was raised in a house FULL of fruitcakes who spent most of their time lying to, using and manipulating anyone who tried in vain to help them.  To them, all of their issues were the fault of others which included any mental health professionals to whom they were assigned, voluntarily or otherwise.  Since those poor souls were either denying them the drugs or the answers they wanted, they were ineffective quacks who should have their credentials snatched immediately if not sooner.

Let me state for the record, I was (gulp) wro…, um…not correct.  At least not entirely.  I still think the mental health system has a long way to go to meet the needs of the suffering.  From my experience, it’s the system that wants to either pump people full of drugs or send them to overworked and underpaid counselors without the proper training to meet the rapidly growing needs of society.

Please don’t misunderstand, I have personally met some whack job mental health people over the years whose offices I’ve left confused, disappointed and shaking my head in dismay.  But, to be fair, I’ve also met whacked out medical doctors, priests (lots of those), teachers, grocery store clerks and bank tellers.  I once had a creepy gynecologist who I couldn’t wait to get away from.  I’ve had hairdressers that chopped my hair making me wish I was bald and a masseuse once at Elizabeth Arden Salons that creeped me out so bad I complained to management.  But none of these had me telling anyone and everyone that would listen that the entire profession of massage therapists, medical doctors and hairdressers were all batshit crazy.  No – that particular classification was reserved only for shrinks and their brethren.

And then I became clinically depressed.

Don’t you love God’s sense of humor?  I sure do.

Over the last 20 years I’ve been through many psychiatrists and therapists as I’ve navigated this complicated condition.  I’ve learned to overcome prejudice and stigma while simultaneously opening my own mind to the possibility of an excellent relationship with those on the other side of the couch.  It’s been extremely humbling and very hard work but it’s also made me a more compassionate and empathetic human.  Definitely a blessing.

I now find myself in a relationship with a therapist that I’ve come to not only like, but to trust.  I like lots of people.  I trust very few.  I know part of the reason I’m feeling so good about this is because I was ready to hear what he had to say and do the work required to make myself well, but it’s also because he’s very good at his job and he’s exactly the personality type that I needed.  God and the Universe knew that it would take a very special combination of efforts to bring me to a point where I was ready to receive the message.  Another blessing.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in the last 20 years is that this work is required.  For the last 19.5 years it was because unless I took care of myself, my children were going to suffer.  Long time readers of this blog can tell you that shit don’t fly in my world.  My family is worth anything and everything I have to do to create an atmosphere of loving kindness. Besides…it’s not their fault mama’s a nutcase.  In fact, my own depression allowed me to recognize it in one of my children at a very young age and allow him to avoid a lot of heartache and difficulty.  More blessings.

In the last few months however, I’ve also learned that I’m worth the work required just because I breathe.  God created me and, I imagine, as my Father it probably made Him very sad to know how little I thought of myself up until this point.  In fact, it probably pisses Him off – if God can even get pissed off that is.

I’ve now come to the realization that my therapy time is my sacred space.  That hour belongs to me and me alone and what’s said in that room is strictly between me and JP.  If I choose to share it then I share it.  If I choose to keep it to myself that’s okay as well.  It’s one of the few places in my world where I don’t feel judged or like I’m going to make a mistake.  When I’m in that space I don’t feel fat, or ugly, or wrong, or clumsy or any of the things I’ve been carrying around most of my life.  I feel accepted and safe and like I’m worth the effort.

That’s not a blessing people…that’s a fucking miracle.

Namaste