Thursday, July 7, 2011

Balancing Life and Therapy: Part II

This is the second part of the last post. I broke it into two parts b/c I was afraid it was getting too long.


In the winter of 2008, I hit rock bottom. Everything I had tried to rescue my life and my future seemed to fail. I'd spent 10 years in therapy, 3 years totally devoted to therapy, and I was still in and out of hospitals and no more closer having the life I wanted than when I started.

I have to give credit to the changes that took place in the winter/spring of 2008 to God. Sure, I worked my tail off, but the changes for me happened when I quit trying how to figure out how to make things better myself and I turned the 'how' over to Him. In the past 3 years, I've manged to make some good progress in therapy and do things I never thought possible in my life. I got a full-time job and did great there. I met an amazing man, fell in love, got married, and am actually in a healthy relationship. I went back to school and got a 2nd graduate degree and enjoyed going to school.

I've needed to deal with some more serious therapeutic work the past few months as new events in life have awakened new triggers, memories, feelings, etc. I so wanted to be done with the space in my life where my past makes my present difficult. I wanted to get back into the train of thought that you can knock out this type of therapy and then just go on with your life like nothing ever happened for the rest of your life. What I am learning is that I now believe this type of therapy may be a life long work. Different phases in life will present with new blessing and new challenges and new triggers. If I fully wait to live my life until I get everything fixed, I'll be dead from old age before I can start living. On the flip side, I've learned the hard way how things just continue and continue to deteriorate if I try to just live life and not take my past and perceptions into account in my present day life.

The past couple of weeks I've been thinking back over the last almost 13 years of therapy and life.... I believe I've learned that there are times in my life when I will need to slow down, cut back, be more internally focused. However, this does not mean for years on end. At other times, my past won't be as pervasive in my present. In these life periods, it's great for me to do the things I want to do and desire to do with my life. I can do both life and therapy as long as I'm smart about it and recognize the signs.

The reason getting married and going back to school went so well and are not considered distractions from dealing with my past are b/c I wasn't running from anything at that time. It was a great time in life for these experiences. I'm even more fully aware of this because of the challenges and struggles I'm facing right now. Going to school right now or starting a family with my husband right now would be distractions to not have to work through the painful issues that have recently presented in therapy. It doesn't mean I will never have a family or get my PhD. It means not now, and I'm learning that listening to my body and to God on when to focus on what means a healthier life for me all the way around.

At times I feel I can't catch up in life for getting behind. My younger (and only) sister is pregnant. I'm thrilled for her, but I sometimes get hit with waves of jealousy. I'm 3 1/2 years older than her. I was supposed to get married first, have the first grandchild, etc. All of my friends are having their 2nd kids, are established in their careers... doing all of the 'normal' life stuff.

In these moments, I have to take a step back. I have to remember that the only timetable I have to be on is my own.. not society's. I'm getting better and better about learning to actually live my life and not survive it. It may not look how I thought my life would look at 30, but it is way better than I really dreamt it would be. My life is good. There are so major internal struggles right now. Lately, the days have felt almost impossible. Yet, I know this is a season and in the right time, my husband and I will enjoy a family, and I can have the job I've always wanted, and fulfill any other dreams I have in my life. For now, I need to focus on the current therapeutic issues enough to get back to a place where my current, external life holds more meaning again.

I know these last two posts have been long, but I guess I've just been thinking that if I've needed to hear this message so much lately, maybe others out there have too. So my big take away from all that I've written is: It is possible to have the life you want and to do the therapeutic work you may need throughout your life. They don't have to be mutually exclusive. You'll just have to learn the balance that works for you.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say how brave I think you are for sharing all of this & helping others in the process. Thank you X