Did what made me also break me? An indulgent mid-life musing…

I went to counselling recently.  Not something I ever thought I would do. But I was ready.  I went to the GP with stomach problems and mentioned my anxiety and then started crying and ended up with a bag of various meds.  I haven’t started taking any of it, I don’t know why.  Well – I do know why.  I’m scared. I don’t want side effects.  I don’t want dependency.  And, I wanted to try other ways to feel better. (I have no qualms about medication, by the way.  I know it can be life changing. I use a lot of pain relief. I know many people who swear by various anti-anxiety and/or anti-depressive meds. But it’s a very personal choice.  And I’m not quite ready.) So, I went on a waiting list for counselling, and got onto a six week course.  I started the first week feeling incredibly self-indulgent and apologetic.  By the last session I felt devastated that it wasn’t carrying on.

All I’d done was turn up and talk about myself for about 50 minutes each week. That’s all.  But I never talk about myself. It was new. I like to swallow things down, keep them buried in there.  It feels a bit like a lot of those things are clawing their way out, now. So it seemed like maybe I should think about dealing with them.

These hours gave me time, they gave me permission to think, to remember, to feel.  They allowed me to consider why I am the way I am. Yes, some people have it worse, much worse.  But in these hours, I was allowed to feel what I was feeling, irrespective of other people, of the outside world.

And then, outside of those hours, I allowed myself to think some more. And some of what I was thinking, I wrote down. My memory isn’t great.  It’s selective and patchy and I’m sure varies from anyone else involved in a given situation.  But, it’s mine. When I wrote down the following, I was revisiting the social side of my teenage years.  Outside of the family home, my adolescence is not a time I remember well, or fondly. It hurts me to look back, I mostly feel sadness and shame and there are many things I blocked out. But these are some of the things that stayed. Continue reading

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