Melody's story - Part 2
My counselor's name was Mary. She was the best counselor I had ever had, but that didn't make therapy easy. Therapy involved hard work and the will to make things better. At the very beginning, when I had just gotten out of the hospital, I had to decide whether I was really going to put myself first and do everything I could to get better, or if i was just going to continue playing games. It wasn't easy to make that kind of decision. Going through therapy meant that I had to face all the horrible secrets of my past and present. I also had to believe that therapy could really help me, if I tried hard enough. I remember Mary telling me that I almost had to get worse before I got better. I had to decide if it was worth it... if *I* was worth it. Somewhere deep inside, I decided that I had to at least try. I was tired of living without hope, and this was my last option for anything different.
Mary tells me now that I was a completely different person when I first started therapy. I was very weary of trusting Mary with my secrets. She had to almost force me to open up and was lucky if I spoke more than five minutes in a sixty minute session. She was patient, however, and little by little I began to trust her. Soon, I found that talking about the abuse gave me a sense of relief that i had never felt before. It was like someone had opened up my chest and let me breathe.
Going through therapy also brought up a lot of feelings that I had been burying. One of my best coping skills is called "numbing" or "disassociation." Some people call it being in another world or daydreaming. When I am numbing, I can be participating in everything going around me, but I won't feel a single emotion. I am a machine, operating out of habit and regularity. This coping skill isn't all a bad thing. I used it as a child, when I couldn't handle the emotions that came from being abused and had to block out the world around me. As an adult, however, it can be a problem. If you can't feel anything, then you can't be happy. It can also lead to self-destructive behaviors like purging or cutting. Therapy has helped me stop numbing so often and feel more. Mary used to joke around that her goal for me was to cry. Now I can understand what she meant by that. In order to heal, I have to be able to cry about what happened to me. I have to be able to feel those emotions that I was not able to feel as a child. Once I feel, then I can deal.
Before I began counseling with Mary, I had very few limited memories of being sexually abused by my dad. When I first started to talk about those memories, many many more surfaced. It was hard, very hard. I had flashbacks and nightmares. I had to make sure that I kept myself safe during this time, and it was never easy. There were times when I was suicidal again, and there were times when I just wanted to give up on therapy. But I had to continue, for the same reasons I had to begin. I had to hope that one day I was going to get past everything. I didn't want to waste any more of my life.
To be continued...
See: About the Author for more stories about Melody