Waaayy back when, when I first was entering ‘therapy’, they sent me on the usual round of counselors. I was surprised – and noticed for the first time – the discrepancies in resources available between male survivors and female survivors – of any abuse. Out of about thirty some-odd counselors and therapists in the area (maybe even more; I lost count somewhere) – three were willing to see me. Two backed out before I could even get to them. The other took me on.
Poor girl. She never knew what she was dealing with, and while a sweet soul and genuinely trying, I was out of her league of healing – something that became apparent as time went on.
I’ll never forget when she gave me some kind of ‘test’. Actually, it was an ‘experiment’ in cognitive therapy which (due to my own peculiarities) – went ‘horribly awry’ – or at least somewhat bizarre, in that I gave her some results that were beyond her expectations.
She had stood me in a corner and had me staring there.
“What do you see?” she asked from behind me.
So I started telling her.
I told her I saw that the paneling hadn’t been cut properly – and apparently it had been cut with a hand saw – there were fibers hanging there. I told her about the rusted nail; the flakes I could see on it; the spiderwebs hanging in there where the panels were seperated (by about 1/8th inch) – et cetra ad infinitum. (I can still see this corner, by the way – just goes to show you something else. What, I don’t know, LOL!) As I left off describing the interweaving of a spider’s egg casing I could see stuck there way in the back and was moving on to a knot in the wood that kind of resembled a face, I heard her saying.
“Stop! Stop there! That’s enough,” she was almost laughing, I could tell as I turned around, but there was an extremely troubled (some perhaps would call it ‘perplexed and bothered’) expression about her eyes and lips, if you know what I mean. “You weren’t supposed to SEE all that!” She made a grand gesture at the room. “THIS is what you were supposed to see!”
My confusion must have registered as my eyes swept the room – a turn of the century southern house-cum-office, replete with all the necessary piles of files and cluttered bookshelves (and antique filing cabinets and a high ceiling and two – no, three windows; one overlooking the tree shaded avenue beyond . . .) Okay, there you go – and this was ?? I haven’t a clue how many years ago.
“You were supposed to reply: ‘nothing’!,” she laughed, her perplexity still showing as she guided me by the elbow to the chair where I’d been sitting. “And then I was supposed to turn you around and point out what all you’d been missing!” (Unsaid was ‘while I was staring into the corner’.)
Just goes to show you. There’s something funky going on in my mind. All the time.
I left there feeling a failure: that somehow, in some way, I had failed some kind of test. It didn’t help my depression (my soon to be suicidal depression – okay, never mind – I was suicidal before I even went in there; had been for years; its just I was getting worse all the time; in a few weeks I would get started on cutting; she ‘passed me on’ from there.)
But it didn’t help increase my feelings of ‘becoming normal’.
Nothing did. Not until I began the process of ’embracing myself’ as a person of ‘many souls’ (think what you want; that’s the way I want to see them – and I will!)
But sometimes I find myself thinking about this therapist and things – and wonder:
Did she ever try this ‘test’ with anybody again? And if so – did she do so with a little bit of trepidation, remembering the one who had come before?
And given all the wrong answers to her questions?
I wonder. LOL.