Around September,I started to logically understand how out of control my behavior was at times. The strange thing about it is it doesn’t feel like me when I’m acting that way. I’m a person who has always tried to have control over all aspects of my life. For example, when I was first diagnosed, I was naive enough to think that I could somehow “fast-track my healing” . I quickly learned that’s not how healing or therapy works. It didn’t matter how quickly I read my DBT workbook or did the exercises from there, how many poems I wrote about grief in one day, or how many healthy coping mechanisms I picked up along the way; healing and changing my behavior was going to take time and patience. I couldn’t speed up the process if I truly wanted to get better.
I needed to learn to sit with my grief, anger, mania, self-hatred, and any other uncomfortable and painful emotions and learn a healthy way to process and cope with them instead of chasing it away with booze, sex, or binge shopping. It’s been hard to do, and I’ve stumbled along the way and have made many mistakes. One thing I’ve learned this year is that changing unhealthy patterns in my behavior had to be the most arduous and difficult work I’ve ever done. For example, maybe one day I’m feeling fat and ugly, the old me would have gone binge shopping on Amazon for a pretty dress or reached out to one of the casual Joes in my life for validation; the new and healthy version of me had to ask myself the whys of why I’m feeling fat and ugly and what triggered this reaction in me, do I need to write about it, what can I do to make myself feel better that doesn’t involved shopping or the validation from others? It’s way harder to face my insecurities head on than chase them away with a quick and temporary adrenaline rush or serotonin fix. Throughout all this it helped to have an incredible support system who gave me what I needed emotionally to process, grow and move forward in my journey. Part of that support system was my therapist who was kind, compassionate, knowledgeable, and patient with me. I was really tough to deal with at times and I wanted to break up with her at times cause she pushed me a lot when it came to my driving phobia. I remember having a panic attack in front of her because of a driving exposure but she calmed me down enough so I could do it. I got paranoid after thinking she would leave me but she didn’t. She stuck by me through the end of our therapy sessions in January of this year. The few times I’d missed a session, she would call me to check in and talk to me for at least 10 minutes to make sure I was okay. She was also respectful of me and my experiences. I’ve had therapists in the past who talked down to me and were condescending and she wasn’t one of them. People talk about finding “the one” at the “right time”; well in my case, I found the “right therapist” at the “right time” in my life. Here is a poem I wrote about her:
From September to January, there was so much progress in my healing and mental health journey thanks to having the adequate resources and tools because of my therapist. I did beat a driving phobia (but that’s a story I’ll tell in depth later on) and I was free from suicidal ideation until May of this year. What was strange to me during these months was how I was learning to really live and enjoy my life. I remember that before my diagnosis, I’d get annoyed sometimes at having to spend time with my kids. During the months of September to December, something switched in me to have this new appreciation for motherhood and spending time with my children. My relationship with my three sons got better and I grew closer to them. I feel like I’m finally the mom my children deserve.
Here is a poem I wrote about them:
My Three Kings
My first king, I met at 17
when the nurse placed
an alien like being in my arms
She was like “feed him”
and I was like “how do I do that?”
What should I do with him?
Eventually I figured it out
My second king, I met at 24
as a birthday present, just like me
he had to make a dramatic entrance
but it was love at first sight
No one could take him from my arms
I knew what to do
My third king, I met at 30
He was a dream delivered
After a dream lost the previous year
He was planned, he was awaited, he was loved
He was welcome by everyone
with him, I felt a completion of love
As I’ve also mentioned, my therapy sessions ended in January and after that I was on my own with my maintenance plan making sure I didn’t do anything to sabotage the progress I had made.