This weekend we have a guest post from my blogger friend Stephanie, who opens up about how she sought help through psychotherapy many years after a difficult relationship. Thank you Stephanie!
Hi, my name is Stephanie and I blog over at Making Time For Me https://cmugrad817.wordpress.com
It has been about 14 months now since I first sought out help. After a tough day with my husband, I realized that I could no longer pretend like I was handling this all on my own. Once and for all, I knew that I needed to seriously find a therapist that I could go and talk to.
6 years ago, my ex-husband cheated on me. As a result, we got divorced and now he is married to that same woman. I am remarried and we are all very happy. Though the happiness, never made the pain go away.
I was worried all day every day. Not that my husband was going to cheat on me, but that things would change. That things would be beyond my control and my world would get flipped upside down. As a result whenever anything in our plans shifted, I would flip out. I mean the smallest thing, like having to wait until later in a day to go and pick up our kids. Very minor details would set me off.
After 5 years of trying to work through all of my feelings on my own I knew I needed to seek help from a therapist. With the help of my friends and family, I had kept moving through life, but I hadn’t learned how to move past the hurt. My husband has been right by my side helping me through this whole thing, supporting me, listening to me and most importantly encouraging me.
I reached out to a friend who was a therapist and asked for a referral. Making the phone call to the office for an appointment, was one of the scariest moments in my life. Having to say out loud that I needed help, what I thought that I needed help with and giving up a lot of personal information in a most impersonal way was something new to me.
When I went to the therapist, Hillaty, for the first time I cried for nearly the whole hour. I explained to her about my ex and our divorce and how I was still carrying a lot of that pain with me. I was really having a lot of traumatic feelings. Then I was diagnosed with chronic adjustment disorder.
Adjustment Disorder is a group of symptoms, such as stress, feeling sad or hopeless, and physical symptoms that can occur after you go through a stressful life event. The symptoms occur because you are having a hard time coping. Your reaction is stronger than expected for the type of event that occurred. (taken from google) It is chronic because it continually happens much longer than one would anticipate, 5 to 6 years after the stressful event in my life happened. I had made it to a place in my life where my brain couldn’t adjust to the natural shifts that my life brought up every day.
When I started seeing Hillary, I was going to see her once a week for a little while. I needed to talk to her all the time. She would give me homework and we spent the first few sessions talking mostly about my ex and our divorce. Slowly we transitioned into once every two weeks. Now we were able to talk about what was happening in my everyday life. She made it OK for me to cry, scream and even throw things.
Hillary gave me a safe place to speak my mind, to feel all my feelings and because she was completely impartial to the situation she gave me some perspective that no one else was capable of. I walk into her office, sit down on the couch (so cliché) and we just start talking. When it started, she would ask cue questions that would get me started. Now, she simply asks me how things have been going since the last time we saw each other and that can very easily lead to an hour of conversation.
Hillary , as my therapist, watched my body language and listened to the tone of my voice. These are clues to her that I myself cannot see- subconscious cues. She often asks me,’ tell me how you are feeling, I noticed that you just crossed your arms, or made a pushing motion with your hands’. Then we talk about what I am keeping inside or what it is that I am trying to get rid of. It really is therapeutic.
It took at least 6 months until I was no longer feeling all of that pain inside. I had talked through it, made sense of it and most importantly accepted it. Now, I am by no means 100% better. I still have problems sometimes when the plans change and schedules shift, but it is not nearly as rough as it used to be. I used to try to shoulder all of the blame, all of the burden for everything, all the time. I don’t do that anymore. I know that I am not in control of everything and ultimately, that is OK.