I’ve been running from myself so long, no wonder I’m exhausted. Two years into disabling illness, one ability hasn’t left me. I run in an unending mental marathon, but I can’t escape my broken mind and body. I’m with me wherever I go.
Because my perspective on personal circumstances has proved untrustworthy in the past, obscured by the scrim of depression, I’ve been trying to keep myself to myself. That phrase I hear frequently on UK television has resonated with me strongly.
Everyone who loves me has given up encouraging me to see a counselor; I’ve been without since my last counseling relationship ended disastrously. When that unhealthy, untherapeutic mess blew up, and I do mean blew up in spectacular fashion, in 2020, I was looking for someone to manage meds only.
Fast forward to the present, when many professionals are urging me to seek out counseling. For months, I haven’t had the energy to seek out anything, let alone initiating and coordinating care with relatively little information about the provider. Feels like I’ve got a blindfold on, hoping to pin the tail on someone who will competently and ethically assist me in clawing my way up and out of the sludge in which I’m mired.
So, I took a deep breath and dialed the number provided by my psychiatric clinician. And……I go on a 4-6 month waiting list. Whatever. I’m ambivalent at best. Two days later, much to my suspicious surprise, i receive a call from a therapist. Caught me off-guard, for sure. Additionally, she had lots of appointment times available. What did this mean? Two days vs four to six months? Choice of day or time? My counselor spidey senses stayed on alert. She’s probably brand new and, having a Master’s in Counseling myself, I’m really not sure about this.
Once I figured out how to join our telehealth appointment, my new counselor and I met and went through intake paperwork. When asked what my goal is for therapy, I answered, “I want a new perspective. I want to let go of who I was, stop grieving, and enjoy living here, this day, and look at the future without dread.”
As we wrapped up, she said, “What I hear is that you’d like to develop coping strategies and self-comforting techniques.” My counselor brain kicked in. The phrase “coping strategies” rang a bell. I’ve been so low for so long, waiting for a switch to flip and grant me a brand new, bright world, longing for my purpose to be visited upon me. Using coping strategies? So much less enigmatic. I can learn and apply lessons I already know but need to learn again. I can do this. Oops, there’s that. My can-do spirit. Need to remind myself, as I would a friend, I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting alone. I’m not in this by myself and I can let this unfold.
Mulling around in my mind, I consider perhaps there is no cosmic purpose i must discover anew in order to live a loving, meaningful life. Mindfulness, the ability to be truly present and engage sensorially, is one key for me. I recognize that it’s helped in the past. I see a glimmer of hope, a bit of color peeking at me through a tear in the scrim.
I do like my counselor. What a relief.