Yesterday in therapy, K (my therapist) and I had our best session yet. It left me feeling relieved knowing our hard work is paying off. At one point, we looked back at my progress and revisited my goals. K has always expressed her confidence in me. Sometimes I feel she may be overestimating my abilities, but I trust her completely.
In the last five months, with K’s guidance and my own determination, a few things became clear to me: the values I hold dear, the triggers that throw me off course, and my patterns of behavior. They’ve been satisfying to realize because what I wanted, first and foremost, was to understand why I am the way I am.
Knowing what I know now doesn’t magically solve everything, of course, but these learnings put me in a better position to deal with negative thoughts as they come. They arm me with the right tools to get through the darker days. It hasn’t been a smooth ride navigating therapy and life outside it. K warned me it wasn’t going to be easy, and I never expected it to be. Seeing the fruits of our labor, however, has made every session and all the effort worth it.
As K and I continue our meetings, now less frequent than before, we have a clearer understanding of my goals.
Once I enter a negative headspace, it’s a challenge to prevent my negative thoughts from snowballing into an emotional crisis. But I try to be more forgiving of myself whenever I ‘lose it.’ I have, after all, been having more days of stability than chaos.
Control is a skill I’m trying my best to develop. The goal is to one day have control over my responses to triggers and stressors, rather than have my negative thoughts and emotions take control of me. K asked how long I thought I’d take to achieve this goal. I told her I honestly didn’t know. Maybe a year, possibly more. I may even have to work for it my whole life.
Sometime during our session, we talked about the concept of a compassionate image – a person’s ideal being or entity of compassion with whom they can feel safe and free to just be. This compassionate image is supposed to help with the lack of connectedness in my relationships.
When K asked me if I could think of one person I could call anytime of the day, whenever I spiraled down, that I could trust to disprove my negative thoughts, I couldn’t name anyone. Not because I didn’t have wonderful people in my life who I’m sure would be happy to help, but because I’m not ready just yet to have that kind of deep and vulnerable connectedness in my life again. Someday perhaps.
My assignment for the next few weeks is to mull over and form this compassionate image in my head – the curves, edges, colors, smells, and sounds associated with it. And when I see K again, I’ll attempt to connect with my compassionate image.