~Friday, June 19, 2009

$$ The Story of Sarah

My therapy appointment went really well this week. With the physical and—slowly—the emotional separation from Scott, my therapist wanted to know how I got this way. I started therapy with her in a tizzy over domestic abuse and suicide attempts and rehab, and now that the immediate reasons of why I sought professional help had become that of a controlled fire, she wanted to learn the underlying causes.

With every age bracket, she asked what I most remembered about pre-school (not much, but I was told I was a reader), elementary school (bullied by the entire fifth-grade class led by one Michael H. that I still periodically cry over the meanness of it all), middle school (extremely shy, not a lot of friends), high school (oh dear god, where do I start? The realization that I lost the father lottery, the angry mother who told me I was heading for average-ness, the death of several friends within several months, or the Christian cult who told my close friends not to talk to me anymore?) And then she asked for the most traumatic singular event in my life (hello, boyfriend who pooped in my car and then choked me over it).

During the half-hour exercise, I cried when I regaled the story of the Southern Baptist youth leader who told children not to be friends with a little girl, and I hollered when I described the rage of the physical fight I had with my boyfriend. And she said it was okay to react that way. It felt good to tell my life story—the story of Sarah—to someone who listened and didn't make me feel shameful over it.

I watched as my therapist widened her eyes, her mouth forming a perfect O. When I was done yelling, I folded my hands in my lap and looked down at them. She closed the manila folder which now contained the Story of Sarah and looked at me in the eyes. "No wonder," she began softly. She leaned forward and made sure I was paying attention. She repeated a little louder, "No wonder you found yourself in this position with your boyfriend and you tried to stay and make it work as long as possible. At every critical emotional-forming point of your life, you've been met with opposition. You've been told it's better to be in a bad relationship than to be single, and you've been consistently told you're not good enough. You," she said, "have a broken heart."

I immediately understood she was not referring to Scott, but to my life in general. Right when we discovered the meat of my issues, my time was up. She's always encouraged me to come every 2 weeks instead of every week, but this time she looked at her planner and said, "Same time next week?" and then probably drew dollar signs next to my name. I smiled. It was official: I was fucked up. And the validation of knowing I was fucked up was priceless. It made me positively giddy.

When I got home, I walked in the kitchen and poured myself a congratulatory glass of wine. My mom hovered around, hoping I'd share some of what went on. I told her my therapist asked about my childhood and then declared that I have Major Issues. "So long story short, I probably should have been in therapy 20 years ago," I laughed as I tipped back the wine glass.

My mother crossed the kitchen and grabbed me. She didn't share my joy at the news. she held me tight in what felt like an apology for things that were mostly out of her control.


Curvy girl said...

Having taken the therapy journey myself, I can tell you that things get so much better. It's like someone finally turned the light on and showed you the world. It's an amazing feeling to be able to let all of that bad stuff go and move foward free of the baggage.

A year and half after starting my therapy journey I've finally met the right guy the right way and now we're expecting a baby. "If you build it they will come."

Sarah said...

That's truly fabulous. Congrats!

Fannie said...

Glad to hear you are happy about your first session ! Are they going to be weekly ?

Erin said...

This is great. I think absolutely everyone could benefit from therapy at some point in their lives.

Sarah said...

I've been going for a little over a month and this is the first time where I felt truly helped. I always demanded weekly appointments :P

Fannie said...

Good that's perfect ! :o)

J said...

I think I need therapy...and I am not saying that in a sarcastic way either.

I am so happy you are making progress. You are doing awesome.

Emma said...

I'm so glad to hear you've been helped. I hope you continue to feel good about these sessions and they help you move forward.

You seem like an immensely strong woman to me, Sarah.

Anonymous said...

1. i want your therapist.
2. i give your mother a couple of points for that.
3. sounds like a TOTALLY AWESOME feeling.
4. thinking about you as always. xo.

Lpeg said...

Therapy gets knocked more than it should, but for those of us in it... it is so good. Even if you're doing ok and everything is fine, it's good to have someone to talk to and not judge you.

Sometimes I forget why I go see my therapist, why I pay her so much every week. And then I leave her office and think "that's why!"

I always feel so much better after I've seen her. And yeah, sometimes it's hard. I cry alot on her couch, but I think it's making me a much better and stronger person.

Goodluck, Sarah. With all of it. She can help you to become a much healthier and happier version of yourself.

MamaBear said...


I'm glad you got that reaction out of your mother. She's pretty broken, too; that she feels enough about you to react that way means a lot. This doesn't mean, however, that she won't get defensive if you ever try to discuss her role in all of this with her...

TexInTheCity said...

"It was official: I was fucked up. And the validation of knowing I was fucked up was priceless. It made me positively giddy."

I have been there and after Payday and my birthday there is no happier day than Shrink Day. My Happy Head Person will forever be in my entourage.

I am glad that things are going well for you.


Anonymous said...

I think everyone should go to therapy.

I feel the same way about my Therapist.

Glad it's working out.

Paige Jennifer said...

Three cheers for figuring it out - better now than never. Go get 'em!

dont eat the token said...

The hug from your mom made ME feel good. I'm so happy you had a great session.

I don't know why, but I'm the same way, it feels good to know you're "officially screwed up" by a professional... share the secret if you learn why :)


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