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”.
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.