Friday, February 13, 2009

Here is My Truth

My appointment today was at first a bit stressful, but mostly it was uplifting. I am blessed to be a patient of Dr. X. I have known that from the first day I met him. I connect with him in a way that I cannot seem to with anyone else. I am learning, slowly, that connections like this are important to me and I need to search out other people I feel this way about.

I once again felt worried I had destroyed my therapeutic alliance with him, by "outing" my crush on him. A big part of why I am afraid it was the wrong thing to do is that it seems that everyone I say I love you to, or anyone I really really like and say so, always disappears in my life. It is so hard for me to get to the stage where I can actually speak my truth about someone. By the time I do it is too late, or the words magically destroy the bond.

Dr. X told me he was glad I told him, and that it was always important that I speak my truth with him. He also said we have a very strong alliance. I felt he was speaking truthfully, and that it was okay for me to feel whatever I did, and to talk about it openly, safely.

Part of the reason I feel drawn to him is the way he is: introspective, interesting, interested, thoughtful, never angry, calm, compassionate, always supportive, always available.

I have never met any man, my entire life who is these things. It's strange, but I was always drawn to the "bad boys". The men who always wanted to use me, or who wanted only one thing (I wanted that to)...but I also wanted more...and could never figure out why I always received less than I needed.

I watched as all my friends met men, who cared for them, and fell in love with them. By the time I was 27 I had slept with too many men to count, always enjoyed the experiences, but was always left wanting more than sex. I don't know what it is about me, but it seems I am not a lovable person. On top of that I am not sure I have ever loved. I guess that explains not receiving romantic need to feel it to receive it.

This is my truth:
  • The first man in my life, my dad, was the pattern from which all my relationships with men were cut. It was the relationship I learned to emulate. Unfortunately I have some of my dad in me. I get angry, and irritated, I am a bit overwhelming sometimes. I don't listen enough. I talk too much.
  • My father was controlling, punishing, physically abusive and even worse a dismissive bully who believed the only correct views were his own. He scared me to death. He used intimidation; mental and physical abuse to keep me in line. I am still terrified by him. Almost every time I see him he does something that elicits tears in me. I know I am responsible for the tears, but I cannot make them stop. I cry on the way to his house. I don't want to go, but feel an intense sense of duty to be a good daughter. I humour him when with him to protect myself, but it always backfires. I never mange to stand up for myself.
  • I left home the week after high school and moved to a different province. Less than a week after I moved far away from home I was date raped by the first boy I dated in my new town. I don't know what I was thinking, but I went back to his place after going to a club with him. We started kissing and then he began to take my clothes off. I tried to stop him, but he kept saying it was okay, we didn't have to do anything. When I was laying on the bed with him, partially clad, feeling cared for and enjoying the intimacy, feeling attractive and attracted to this man, he began trying to have sex with me. I said no numerous times, but he pushed me down and forced himself into me. As soon as it was over he told me to leave. I got dressed. Left, and cried all the way home. I felt dirty and used. I showered and cleaned myself up. Then I went to the payphone to beg my Mom to let me come home. She kept telling me I was just homesick and I had to stick it out longer and I'd get over it. I was so ashamed that I had let myself be in the position to have sex, that I had led the person on, that inside I had kind of wanted to make out, that I had not fought harder to get out of there. After that night I let men do whatever they wanted with me. If it got rough, something about that turned me on. It was like my being "taken" triggered a need to be taken. I think I lost my ability to love that night.

The truth is, the only man, in my real life (vs. people online), that has ever treated me respectfully is Dr. X. Even with other doctors, or professionals I have always felt either condescended to or dismissed. I can see that maybe my first male role model made it impossible for me to trust men, so all men get painted with the same black brushstrokes. Dr. X is consistently respectful. I need that.

My truth is that I have a lot of pain inside about how my relationships/nonrelationships with men have gone. I don't feel love, because I don't trust anyone. I always expect them to hurt me. I get what I expect.

I don't mean I get what I expect in a "The Secret" kind of way. I don't believe simply expecting others to be honest, fair, truthful and loving will make it so. That is magical thinking. I know that.

I mean I get what I expect, because I act and react to the people I would like to love me, in a way that creates a wall between us, in a way that projects fear and self consciousness. In a way that doesn't come across as genuine, or authentic.

When I am my authentic self I am full of intense passion and a desire to love. I sing loud, and laugh louder. I am overjoyed with being here on earth. I want to experience more, to witness more, to learn more. When I am my authentic self I draw people to me. Unfortunately my authentic self always eventually disappears for days, or weeks, sometimes months, and over the past 10 years into 2 and then 10 years of depression...which leads me to recede, to make myself small, to lose touch with all my talents and skills.

In therapy I think I have finally realized my truth. My truth is that I will always be besot by depressed periods. This is true. I will always have some sort of cycling appear here and there. This is true. What isn't true is that there is no hope, no way out. I have the power, both within me, and by reaching out to others, like my pdoc, to MANAGE to live with the depression.

If I have a structure to at least part of my day everyday, if I have other people or my cats and dog that I am responsible to, if I take my medication regularly, if I keep a regular sleep schedule, if I sit in front of my S.A.D. lamp every morning, if I keep in contact with people who care about me, if I continue to see Dr. X. for support...and maybe especially because I like seeing him, if I create art, if I sing everyday...even if I am sad...actually ESPECIALLY is I am sad, I can manage my life. I can make my life, even if it is a sad one, a life worth living.

It seems ironic, but without my struggles with depression, especially the intense despondency, hopelessness and despair I have felt this last depressive episode, I don't think I would ever have discovered my love for creating art. I may not have rediscovered my intense love for music and singing, I would never have began volunteering. I am not saying depression is a gift...I hate that misplaced platitude. I am saying that without my depression I would never have questioned what I wanted, or who I am. I would have continued on my weary way to a hellish existence. I would never have looked at my life from an existential perspective and asked myself if I loved the life I was living. I did not, but I am beginning to create the life I want. It is remarkable what I am learning about myself. It is remarkable that I am slowly learning it is okay to feel joy.


Hannah-san said...

Without fear and illness, I could never have accomplished all I have. EDVARD MUNCH

Aqua said...

Thank Hannah. I almost removed this post because it felt too personal, like some truths should never be spoken out loud. Your response bolsters my desire to speak my truth and learn to work with the fear.

Harriet said...

It's a beautiful post, and shows such optimism and determination. It shows how resilient people can be, how something inside of us makes us keep on wanting to go on, and to improve, and to not settle. It shows the strength we have to take risks even if it terrifies us, in order to make things better. I know I have that inside of me somewhere, and I have to try to never forget it.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

You are so courageous and deserve so much credit for hanging in there despite some pretty awful things happening in your life.

But not only have you "hung in there," you've done a lot to help yourself and no one can say that you are lazy or a "loser" or whatever because you are doing stuff. Important stuff.

You paint, which is a very powerful therapy tool. As is singing. AND you keep up this blog, which is a form of therapy. Plus you are in a internet version of group therapy. It is a positive thing to be able to vent here on your blog.

I'm so proud of you for staying strong yet allowing yourself to feel sad when you need to. You are doing more than the best you can do and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

When you're afraid to go see your Dad, think of all of us having your back and saying encouraging things. Maybe it will help but if not know that it is true. We DO have your back.

Hugs and warm smiles :)

Rach said...

Aqua, I only wish that I was as brave as you and was able to verbalize the truth, the many truths that seem to have become stacked inside me.
You have no idea how brave you are.

Aqua said...

Hi Harriet,
Yes you do have resiliency inside you. I see it in your posts.

Your post made me cry (in a good way). You have been so consistently supportive of me and my struggle. Your blog inspired me to write and inspires me to be as open as I can. Thanks for that.

Hi Rach,
Brave or insane...a bit of both I guess. I find the more I speak as openly and honestly as I can, here and in therapy, the more I gain from my self reflection and the knowledge of others. Like HBW said, this whole project and all the people I have connected with are like group therapy for me. It has been an unbelievable journey from complete darkness to finally seeing the light.

Lisa said...

Wow. I hope that some day I can be as insightful and optimistic as you are.

Awesome post.

Aqua said...

Hi Lisa Marie,
I have "waves" of optomism now, but I have not had that for more than a few days at a time for years...Let's hope this optomism sticks to me longer than the times before.