One year on

It’s a year ago this week that I first walked into my therapist’s office. At the time, my father had had a series of strokes. Between keeping vigil at his hospital bed and supporting my Mum (both an hour’s drive away), working 14 hours a day and feeling guilty that I’d wished my father dead, things started to fall apart. I started to fall apart. I thought if I talked to someone they might give me some coping strategies and I might feel better.

Little did I know that things would get worse – much worse – before they got better. Somehow my therapist very quickly found the key to Pandora’s box. I disclosed a whole freight train worth of toxic waste in a short space of time. I got diagnosed with depression and PTSD and a bunch of other nonsense I choose not to think about. Some of my “idiosyncrasies” started to make sense.

I went from super motivated career girl to not really knowing how to get out of bed each day. I took several months off work so I could learn to do that again. Get out of bed, I mean. I also gradually learned to open the mail and pay my bills, too.

I’ve progressed in other ways – ways I never imagined. But I never did find my woman-of-steel-soldier-on-at-all-costs motivation. I still fall in a heap at the first sign of added stress or illness or any damned thing. All my life I’ve been super responsible and done what was expected of me. As soon as anything is “expected” of me now – things I don’t want to do but used to do anyway – I fall in a heap. Which nuts and bolts got so undone that I can’t do anything anymore?

I’m scared. Will things always be this hard? What if my drive never comes back? What if I’m destined to be a slug for the rest of my life? How do you go from motivated career girl to slug in just twelve short months? How do you ruin everything you’ve spent a decade building? How do you get it back? If you even want it back, which I’m not sure I do… but I also don’t want to be a slug.

My therapist says I’m less fragile than I was a year ago (that’s true) but I’m still like an egg and need to build my outer shell. I’m not convinced but I’m trying to believe her. It’s all I’ve got right now.

I should remind myself of a quote I once read, by Lance Armstrong:

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

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12 thoughts on “One year on

  1. I made more money some weeks than I did last year. I am smiling if you can believe that.

    There is a concept I am working with that I can not yet wrap my arms around. It is the concept that I have been doing better since the day I first shared the abuse.

    Some of us were doing better after that day no doubt about that. Since I am really one person I was doing better. I think it is a matter of me being the one to determine what is better and not what is observed by the world. New concept for me.

    I feel I am stronger that I have ever been in my life sometimes at other times I feel weaker. Not fun.

    If therapy is therapeutic you are not working hard enough. Smile

    Journey on,

    Michael

  2. Personally, I think it’s that kind of drive that helped make you stumble and fall. It’s tiring and overwhelming. It’s the straw that breaks backs. I was that way. Now, I, too, fall at the first sign of stress – well, I used to. I’m getting stronger, so I don’t think it’s permanent, but I don’t ever want to go back to being wonder woman. Sometimes being in bed is the safest place I want to be – and that’s okay.

    hang in there.

  3. Kerro –
    You have come so far. Your posts have shown the ups and downs, but more importantly, the ability to deal with the downs.

    I feel we have much in common – I’m a few months ahead of you in therapy. I still feel worse many days in therapy than I did before. But there is a lot of relief in knowing that I have shared my secret with someone else and can talk about it when I want (well at least during the scheduled hour during the week 🙂

    Take care.
    OLJ

  4. I can understand so well, what you have written, because I have experienced this too. Since 2008 a complete fall into the abyss. It was real hard. First time, unable to work. You have worked so hard on your healing and that’s the only way. I try it too. Perhaps it will be better again, but it will never be the same as before. During the long therapy we change inevitably. None of us will ever be the same again. Not after the knowledge which is uncovered during the therapy. The knowledge, what happened in the past. I will never again be the career girl that I was once and I also don’t want it. I will find other tasks. Something better. Keep on going. That is all we can do. Take care, LostShadowChild

  5. I can’t believe how far you’ve come in just a year … I think it’s amazing. And I can assure you that the drive is not gone permanently — but you’ll find, when it returns, that it is directed differently, and your goals are different, so it won’t feel the same. And that’s a good thing.:-)

  6. @ Kate – thank you 🙂

    @ MFF – Good on you. I do think you’re right. Listening to what’s right for your “essential self”, and doing it, rather than following what is always expected. This is something my new friend Martha Beck talks about.

    @ Ivory – You’re also right: that kind of drive does make you fall over eventually. Trouble is, I knew how to do that. I don’t really know how to do this – whatever “this” is. I’m really pleased you’re getting stronger and doing better… and recognising when that means being in bed is best for you. Well done!

    @ OLJ – If someone had told me about that relief before I started therapy I would never have believed them. Now I know it to be true. I’m glad you have felt the weight of that toxic waste lift as well. 🙂

    @ LostShadowChild – Thanks for visiting. I’m sorry you’ve also been in the abyss, but in a way I’m pleased we won’t be the same as before. On good days I can see how life can be so much better. Even if it’s one step at a time.

    @ David – I am unbelievably flattered that you think I’ve come a long way. I hope you’re right in saying my drive will come back, albeit differently. My therapist thinks so, too. I know this is a good thing, I just don’t quite understand it yet. 🙂

  7. Kerro, we must have started therapy around the same time because I just hit my one year mark too. It’s nice to know we’re on a similar track. Different backgrounds and issues, but similar in some ways. I’m so thankful for you.

  8. I’m at the 20 year mark, and I don’t regret a minute. And yes, the good parts of the career girl stuff do come back. I felt like a slug and had a hard time getting going for about 3 years, maybe 5, but I still got lots done and like I said, fully worth it. It gets better and better. Hang in there.

    SDW

  9. @ Sanity – thank you, I’m thankful for you as well. 🙂

    @ Sword Dancer – thank you, too. It’s nice to know that the drive does come back, although I’m not sure I can deal with 3 or 5 years of slugdom!

  10. Hi Kerro,

    I agree with David. You have come a long way in one year and done tremendous healing work. It is amazing to watch. Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  11. Pingback: Reflections on “10 good things” « Kerro’s Korner

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