They come at night
I once explained to my therapist that I hate going to sleep. Bad dreams and just bad things are there when I’m alone with my brain. She said something though that really stuck with me and it makes me miss her to this day because she really got me. When I said I hated going to sleep she just asked, “because they come at night?”
I’ve been through dozens of therapists over the years. Finding a good therapist is hard, they aren’t always a good fit. Since I’m limited in my choices, I almost exclusively see a therapist through the VA. If you’re not in the US or not familiar with the military, the VA is the hospital system for veterans. The government (or rather the GOP) likes to defund it so they can point to it and say the American people don’t deserve to have government healthcare, look at the horror stories from the VA. Of which there are a lot. The point being anyone who actually cares either gets burnt out and stops caring or more often than not, they switch jobs.
It’s times like this that I miss my old therapist. Out of the dozens I’ve met with, I connected with her the best and she really understood me. We saw each other for maybe four or five years biweekly before she decided to go into private practice. It didn’t surprise me, but it made me sad. We both cried when she gave me the news and I think about her a lot because she really specialized in trauma, cared, and her style of therapy really helped me.
We started working together shortly after my suicide attempt and while I was living out of my car. It was probably one of the hardest times in my life and I was lucky because she wasn’t the first therapist I saw, the first one was awful and since moving where I am now, I’ve been through six in three years without finding one that really helps. It’s a process and getting to know the person who’s helping you takes a lot of time. Sometimes what you think you want and what you really need are two different things, so maybe I want a therapist who mostly listens, when I really need a therapist who pushes me to get my life together. Or maybe I want a therapist who will give me a different opinion about events in my life when I really need a therapist to teach me a different set of skills. It’s hard, it sucks, and I got really lucky, just that one time, but that was enough… was.
We never talked about who “they” were or why I would get visitors and maybe she really understood me enough not to need to dig, or maybe she just said something boilerplate and I thought it was profound. Whatever the reason that conversation really stuck because I felt like no one could understand what happened to me or what was wrong with me and within a few sessions this lady had me figured out. Or at least that’s what I want to believe.
I don’t think that most of the therapists I’ve seen have been bad exactly, although some definitely were and should find a different job. It’s just that therapy isn’t a one size fits all approach and different therapists have different styles. It’s like car shopping or figuring out your path through higher education, there’s a million different choices you can make and sometimes you find that you really need a course correction and a different path would be better for you.
It’s been a hard month and things are only going to get harder for me in the coming months. I’ll try not to bombard the blog with my complaints about my mental health since that would probably be incredibly boring, but don’t be surprised if this kind of thing comes up often. I miss having a reliable person I can talk to about these issues. I mean a therapist can only tell you the things you already know, but there’s a clarity to having your reality mirrored back to you just the right way.
I miss having clarity.
I try to be honest with you all. You come here to learn about me, or what I have to teach, or maybe just because you like hearing my progress. I have a be brutally honest policy around here and I try to hold myself to it, it’s one reason why I don’t know that I want to give up my semi-anonymity. Unfortunately there are parts of me that are just for me. I’m not going to talk about who “they” are or why “they” visit me at night. I’m also still not comfortable sharing what’s going on right now that has me so incredibly stressed out and scared about my future. Although I never agreed to share everything of me, so maybe I don’t feel so bad about keeping these things private.
In any case, that’s the update for the day. I promise we’ll get into other topics soon, it’s just hard when my head is so loud to talk about other stuff.