I sat in my therapists office staring at a small intricate table that housed some healing stones, books and more. Her office has a nice energy to it, a healing energy, I would venture to say “in perfect Zen”.
Why is it when I am feeling down I cannot or choose not to have eye contact with others? My therapist has a PhD, I feel grateful to have the care that I do in terms of Psychiatrist and therapist. When she asked how I was feeling my eyes never left the table, but the tears rolled down my cheeks onto my dress. She gently delivered tissues to my side. Have you ever noticed how many boxes of tissues are in doctor’s offices, particularly therapists offices?
This woman is a smart cookie, I could feel her concern growing as she asked me pointed questions, the answers to which hold the key to my home or a locked hospital room. I am also astute, I pulled back, not disclosing full rawness. Still, she was right there, commenting on an observation that for some reason rather than grabbing an olive branch, I reach to find the largest stick that I then use to beat the crap out of myself. She asked if I understood what she had said, I nodded. When hospitalized in March for depression the one thing noted on all of my charts, and that was pointed out to me in groups was my inability to ask for help. I thought this was what she was speaking of. “No, but that too is another area in which we need to work”. Oh Boy, just shut your mouth now Donna before you end up in a straight jacket. She clearly wanted me to be hospitalized again, for my own safety, I refused. “The only way I am allowing you to leave this office today is my knowing you have a plan to keep busy this weekend and have friends who will spend time with you and check on you”. There was nothing subtle or exagerated in her words as she not only asked for names, phone #’s but dialed them, making verbal contracts with my friends. “I will work with you this weekend, Donna, allowing you to be home but if I do not see significant improvement next week, I will insist on admitting you”. I conceded.
“How come you feel like a burden to others when you do not ask for help?” Her words ruminated through my mind, frightingly exposing distorted beliefs. I like my therapist, I respect her, and I like her directness. “You and I are going to do some cognitive work on your core beliefs about yourself, your beliefs are not only inaccurate but damaging to you”.
After I left her office I went for a long ride into Massachusetts. I needed time to think, to focus, to connect with God. I had on a very artsy batik sundress that is lower cut than I have been comfortable with since my mastectomies and reconstruction, so I wear a camisole to cover up my chest. As I drove around Greenfield, remembering easier and happier times in my life, I found myself stopping at a clothing store where I was once a frequent shopper. that was another lifetime ago, I thought. I walked around to look at textures, colors,styles and god forbid, bathing suits. I would like to join a local pool to get low impact exercise that will not aggravate the fibromyalgia. I also want to restrengthen my arms and chest that haven’t been the same since all the surgeries. It was a quiet Friday afternoon there, I was the only “shopper” and really just window shopping at that. They encouraged me to try things on, which I did. As I started to redress I stood looking into the full length mirror at the pretty batik sun dress I was wearing, and the camisole/tank top that I wore under it. This tank top wasn’t for function or style, it was clearly about insecurity. For some reason I took it off and walked out of the dressing room with the tank top in my purse. I sheepishly asked their opinion on how my dress looked, explaining my insecurities to them. All three agreed seemed amazed that I was insecure, emphasizing they would have never had known I had had surgeries and reconstruction. The youngest, a spicy spunky girl that I instantly liked said “Girl, if I were you, I’d flaunt them!” That’s hardly my style but it did help me feel a tiny bit lighter- one less thing to cover or preoccupy my mind with, one less stick to beat myself up with.
Upon arriving home I played with the dogs, giving special attention to my birthday boy, my australian shepherd, Brody. Today was his 12th birthday. I made him a special dinner, played ball with him…he used to run and play for hours a day, now a couple of throws and he’s done. Mentally and physically exhausted I layed on my bed, actually in an uncomfortable sitting position, too tired to readjust the pillows or move, and fell fast asleep waking up 3 hours later in the same position I fell to sleep in.
Monday I have an appointment to see my therapist as well as my usually scheduled appointment Friday. I’m scheduled to teach in Central NY on Wednesday, to which she offered only discouragement of such. I explained the need, the sometimes all too consuming financial difficulties that I know many others share. She reminded me of the challenges I encountered a few weeks prior when going to teach there…I see myself as responsible, she sees it as lack of caring for myself. I had promised myself in December when my body took leave and would no longer cooperate with me, there would be no more travel teaching four or five days after surgery. While walking out of her office I pondered… Is this scenerio any different?
Now I lay comfortably in my bed, surrounded with my furry kids, covered with my sisters comforter. I feel very grateful to be home. My nephew and his girlfriend are here, in the other bedroom of my tiny little abode. These kids bring me a sense of normalcy, of family, a presence other than left by myself with the distorted thoughts of myself. I had always felt cheated that I was unable to have children, when they are around it brings me joy. At the moment I feel safe, at the moment I am where I want to be. I pulled out my bible, a gift from a friend who has been so supportive of me during these past few difficult months. This will be the last thing I read before I fall back to sleep. Exhausted and fatigued, I am going to have to work hard this week to try and pull myself up, or out of this darkness. I want to get better, I want to have a good outlook, I want my sense of humor back that my therapist has yet to see, I want to be well again!