The elastic band

I’m home. I’m still magically in love with the place I went to for a mini-holiday. It’s such a calming, nurturing, wonderful place. Sadly, much of the warmth I found evaporated once I came home, both literally (because I went from warmth and sunshine to Antarctic blasts and rain) and also figuratively (because the darkness I left behind was waiting for me when I returned). But I’m trying not to forget my Special Place. I haven’t had a chance to post any photos yet, but I will. I promise.

It’s been a big week for me – coming home, my first session with the Back Up Therapist (which was just a lot of catching up, really), getting hammered at work….

But the thing I most want to talk about is The Group. About twelve months ago my therapist suggested I do some group therapy/support group work. I tried and tried to find a group, but could find nothing at the time. And I mean NOTHING. I rang just about every organisation in my State, even some interstate, but nothing. Nada. Zip.

Finally something came up with one of the sexual assault organisations here. The first session was tonight. (I should have warned you that this post is a pretty random dump, but I need to process it a bit before my brain will rest for the night.)

I was incredibly anxious beforehand… what will it be like? What if I’m a freak? What if … what if … what if…

But, it was good. More than good. It’s a group for women who experienced hideous cr@p in their childhoods. There are eight of us. It’s weird sitting in a room full of women who know – and I mean really KNOW – what this is like; who understand the weirdness in my head, and the strangeness in my life. The isolation. The obstacles. The mixed up stuff of my life that I’m learning actually has a root cause. They get it – they REALLY get it.

The group facilitators are lovely and are doing all sorts of things to make us feel welcome and comfortable and safe – even offering to walk us to our cars afterwards, if that will help us feel safe. I’ve never experienced this sort of thing before.

We spent the time tonight getting to know each other (in safe, non-disclosing ways), agreeing on our “rules” and brainstorming issues we might want to discuss over the next eight weeks.

Of course some of the things we talked about were confronting, and brought up stuff I thought I’d laid to rest. The Wonder Therapist said this might happen – she said it might be like an “elastic band” that pulls me back to places I don’t necessarily want to go. Of course there were tears (which was initially quite embarrassing for me until I realised that no one else was embarrassed by my “weakness”, and that others were teary as well).

We brainstormed a whole lot of issues that we might want to talk about over the coming weeks. I was interested in both the sameness of issues on my list and the lists of others … as well as the differences.

For instance, one of the things that is important to me is doing something positive with my hideous cr@p, helping other people in some way (even if I don’t know how yet). Though some others in the group said this is the last thing they want – they just want closure.

And some of the others want to take legal action against their perpetrator, but I am so totally NOT interested in this. For me it just feels like I’d be dragging myself through a whole lot of negative shyte, when I have enough of that in my life already and find more “peace” in the positive elements of my healing.

One thing I learned was that even though these differences exist, we can accept those differences in an open and non-judgemental way. That in itself is a new experience for me, because I’ve always thought that if someone didn’t agree with me, then it meant that I was somehow “wrong.”

I think the biggest thing for me was feeling comfortable with this group. Even after one meeting. I almost always feel awkward and anxious and scared in group situations. But here everyone is so accepting and warm and open. The anxieties I normally feel just weren’t there tonight, which felt totally weird, but very nice. I felt… safe. I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt like that. It felt… good. 🙂 I can honestly say I’m looking forward to doing this, even if it’s going to be hard at times.

One thing came up that I can’t quite process yet… the idea that I will never be “cured” or “better”. I’m not sure what to make of this. On the one hand, of course I won’t ever be “cured” – this isn’t an illness; this isn’t something that can be “fixed” in the same way a disease can be fixed. But, on the other hand, if I am irreparably broken, then what is the point? I need to sit on this one for a bit.

I’m sorry this is such a long post. If you’ve stuck with my ramblings, then thank you (but I won’t hold it against you if you haven’t).

Stay tuned, because I’m sure I’ll talk more about The Group in the coming weeks.

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11 thoughts on “The elastic band

  1. Thank you for writing this here. I am having some trouble putting my thoughts into words- you are good at it and it is helpful to read what you wrote. My art therapy group helps me a lot- so I know what you mean about the comfort of being around people that really understand. It is great you found the group. Jenny

  2. I’m glad you’ve found the group and that you feel so comfortable there. Every time I went to a group meeting, I always left feeling much less alone with the stuff I was dealing with. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it. 🙂

  3. I’m glad you found a group that is supportive and understanding. Maybe being in that environment will help you to reframe the concepts of “fixed”, “cured” and “better”?

    Yay for the healing magic of the ocean 🙂 I can’t wait to see the pictures!

  4. @ Jenny – thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad I could help, and I’m glad you have a group that helps you too. Your artwork is amazing. 🙂

    @ Ink Puddle – Thanks. You’re so right – I did feel less alone and less isolated. I’m hoping it continues.

    @ Castorgirl – I’m glad too. I hope one day I can reframe “fixed”, “cured” and “better”, but I don’t know. Destinations have always been more my thing than journeys. May be one day I will be able to sit with what is. Thanks for looking at the photos 🙂

  5. So glad that you found a group — and good for you, for sticking with the process of finding one. That’s real dedication, and — it paid off!

  6. Thanks David, I’m not sure it was me who did the sticking… I put my name on the waiting list at this organisation twelve months ago, and they finally came through! I’m hoping that future sessions are as good as the first and that I can stick with it.

  7. That’s great that you are able to find a group that is supportive. I think I’d be afraid to be in a group, it might be overwhelming. I have enough trouble with my own feelings, I wouldn’t know what to do with everyone else’s too. Does everyone get a change to talk at every session? Can you give feedback and opinions? I hope you keep writing about the group, I’d love to hear how it is going.

  8. Thanks Harriet. The group is a little overwhelming, but also affirming and comforting at the same time. It’s certainly helping me feel less alone with all this. The group isn’t like therapy in the traditional sense, it’s more about sharing our experiences, our thoughts and how we’ve handled things. It’s all about giving feedback and opinions and there is never a sense that we are there to deal with other people’s feelings. That’s what the facilitators/counsellors are for. I will blog more about this soon.

  9. Pingback: Reflections on “group” « Kerro's Korner

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