Lately I’ve wondered if I should make an appointment to see my trauma/DV counselor again. I spent 15 months in intensive trauma therapy, which ended in April. Since that time, my counselor has opened her own practice — great news for her, but not so much for me. She used to be part of a hospital program that was absolutely free, and it was also about a two-minute walk from my office. I’m not sure what she charges now, but I’m guessing it’s a lot more than $0.00.
Money aside, I’m still not sure it’s the right thing for me to do. I know that I’ll always have symptoms of PTSD, and I understand the lifelong effects of trauma all too well. What’s difficult to explain to people is that when you are someone like me, you’re not “sick.” My reactions to what happened to me are perfectly normal; they are what any person would have done who experienced such severe abuse.
So I’m not ill, I don’t “have” PTSD, but I do deal with the symptoms of PTSD and also the long-term ramifications of the abuse. My biggest problem today is that I have no clear sense, still, of who I am and what I want to do with my life — although I’m literally working every day to figure that out. I started working through a fantastic series of questions by Paul Myers. This link will take you to the page where you can download it, if you’re interested (it’s all free). The questions he asks are thought-provoking and detailed, so it’s taking me some time to work through them all. But I do think it will help me become more focused — at least, that’s my hope.
So what would I talk to my counselor about?
Off the top of my head, I’d say my general sense is that things are going on a good trajectory right now, but that I’m also feeling pressured to make some big life choices. I feel like my time is running out, and I can’t make a misstep. To me, that’s the biggest hurdle right now. At my age, I don’t have time to recover from another mistake, either personally or professionally. So making any move at all feels dangerous. I don’t want to let paralysis set in, so every single day I do something, anything, to keep moving forward.
And it’s exhausting. That’s the bottom line. I feel exhausted by everything I have had to do over the past few years. From trying to save my marriage — still working on that — to going through the DV counseling, to being a good mom to my daughter (and screwing that up badly recently), to getting a better-paying job so we can pay off some debts, to figuring out what I really want to be doing with my life … it’s all too much.
Why am I hesitating to go back to the counselor? I think it’s because while it was an incredibly enlightening experience, it was also the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I don’t want to be reminded of the emotional pain I experienced. And seeing her, weird as it may sound, might trigger some reactions I’m not equipped to deal with right now.
I’ll keep thinking about it. I’ll see how I feel in a couple of weeks, after my daughter has gotten settled in England and I can relax a bit about that.