Why didn’t I do this earlier?

I feel like a child who is only now beginning to understand how to think. When I was twenty I knew everything. At thirty I knew that I had been a moron when I was twenty. At forty I started to grow up. Here I am again, a kid in a candy store; cognizant of my own tiny intellect.

Why didn’t I do this earlier? Chances are, that was not possible. The stars have aligned, to steal a metaphor, at this particular time. I would like to believe that I could always understand what I now know to be self-evident. The reality is, however, that I was a bit of an idiot for most of my younger life. There were moments of clarity, but these were usually skewed by rushes of immaturity and fragile ego.

I hadn’t hurt enough yet. I hadn’t been broken.
I still believed that everything happened for a reason and that life was fair. Those were difficult coping mechanisms to bid farewell. I am learning lessons that I can only now begin to understand. So why didn’t I learn earlier? Maybe the question should be, why am I learning this now?

Welcome to the process.

I am a strong advocate of timing. There are many times in the counselling room, however, when mentioning this may get me fired. This is due to the unfortunate, though accurate, fact that many things cannot be processed until time has passed. You simply are not ready to move on yet, for example. There have been times in the counselling room when I have longed to simply say, “there really is nothing you can do about that today, you just have to endure”. It takes time to work through depression. It takes time to grieve. You can see where this is headed. As a counsellor sometimes it is my job to sit with you through this, in spite of knowing that this may take some time.

I remember the week my life fell apart. I have spoken of this before but it bears repeating. A doctor told me that it would be two years, but that I would be fine. He was wrong and a poor therapist. There are experiences that take decades to fully comprehend and deal with. The news that no one wants to hear on their first appointment here is, “this is going to take years”. That is one hell of an advertisement for counselling, “come every week and this is going to take years. And, oh ya, it’s really really going to suck and you actually have no freaking clue how bad this can get before it gets better”.

Any takers?

There are no billboard ads for this. Many of us have complex comorbidities that have taken years to perfect and which are deeply entrenched in our childhood. There has been sex or violence or slander or pain on a level that you rarely talk about. I am firmly convinced that I need to work on my mental health for the rest of my life.

13 thoughts on “Timing2

  1. It is refreshing to read a well-written post by someone who is eloquent and knowledgeable. I deeply relate to your post. I reached the end of it, and then the comments, and felt glad for the quality of your post, and for you and for your commenters, for creating positive journeys. I felt sad, too. Sad because therapy in its varied clinical forms is not available to everyone who wants and needs it. Years of therapy is a luxury often enjoyed by people living amazing lives that people unable to afford therapy would love to go home to every night.

    1. I wanted to chew on this a bit before responding because I hear you. Living in Canada people tend to be able to access levels of care if they are desperate enough, at least around here. There is no guarantee, of course, of the level of care and as we all know, some counsellors suck. When I lived in the Denver area such services were not available, on any level.
      Fortunately the Medical Services Plan up here will often pony up for a limited number of sessions. Addictions Centers are often staffed by highly competent counsellors who will sometimes fake an addiction if you need to talk to somehow. We have Child and Youth Mental Health as well as Adult Mental Health here, but the wait times are often long. The squeaky wheel, as they say, often gets the grease. For people looking, don’t give up. Email me if you need to unload.

  2. I’m standing on my feet cheering, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

    I couldn’t agree more. When I went through my breakdown and entered recovery for severe childhood trauma, addiction, and post traumatic stress, there was just no shortcut through the hell of it all.

    I love how you wrote, “There have been times in the counselling room when I have longed to simply say, “there really is nothing you can do about that today, you just have to endure” ” – Endure -that is the key word.

    Although it might be discouraging to hear those words, they are truth. Thankfully, though, enduring isn’t the end. Because at the end of the enduring comes the light. And that light leads to freedom. And, from almost 8 years of personal experience in recovery, that freedom is worth every tear, shout, and bit of anguish I met in the enduring. Every last bit. When I was facing my own demise, I never dreamed I’d be where I am today. Thankfully, I had great counselors and mentors who continually shared the truth of what I was facing, but also shared the hope of healing. Made all the difference for me.

    Thanks for sharing this post. Bless you for doing this sacred work.

  3. Reblogged this on Ladywithatruck's Blog and commented:
    So many times victims ask, “How much longer will I hurt?” I hesitate to tell them the truth; that it has taken me 4 years and although I feel basically healed I am still not “fixed”. I tell people to be patient with themselves and sometimes the mere worry that we are taking too long to heal slows our healing process. Everyone heals at their own speed, they may suffer from similar abuse but they all have their own history and their own demons to deal with. I hope that by sharing my experiences I shorten the healing of some people because they don’t have to make the same mistakes I made. ie: not going no contact and trying to stay friends with the narcissist which slowed my healing by at least a year. But even then some people are just not ready to let go.
    We all have our own time table and things happen when the timing is right. Knowing what I know today, would I have done things differently? who knows, I like to think so, but I didn’t so it is a mute point. I look back now and would not change anything because it brought me to a greater understanding of myself and it enabled me to become a more authentic me. I hope to never stop growing and never stop becoming more self aware and a better person. I don’t consider it to be healing any more, but growing. Hopefully for the better and hopefully for the rest of my life.
    As always Scott says it best and he got me thinking. Something I love about Scott’s posts; they always get me thinking.

  4. Yes. I’ve been through three counselors. The first two one year each. Then I had a horse. He was my thousand pounds of therapy for five years. My last counselor I saw every week for a while, then every two weeks, and then every month. For several years, I saw him every three months. I only stopped seeing him because he moved. I finally accepted it took me three decades of living in lies before I saw my first counselor. There was plenty I never told either counselor 1 or 2. Counselor 3 heard it all but that was only 9 years ago. It took me decades to wind up in the mess I was. I finally realized it would take years to learn to be healthier, and it would be a life-long project.

  5. Yep, it does take years, and you feel like you are going insane at times, for the injustice of it all, for the pain, for the sorrow, for the ‘wow, i didn’t see that coming!’ And you just can’t seem to wrap your head around the ‘why?’ of it all. I am hoping this is the last year I cry about ‘it’.

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