I’ve had a whole lot of therapists in my time. I’ve dumped a few, one has died, others I just stopped going to and they never called to check in on why I left. But there’s one that keeps coming back into our life. My husband saw him 13 years ago for Life Coaching, and then on and off we’ve seen him as our relationship coach (makes it sound like we are proactive about the relationship, rather than trying to put out fires, doesn’t it?) We’ve been seeing him for the past couple of years as we deal with all the relationship issues that tend to spin around a couple that is dealing with a chronic illness (or 2 or 3 or 4).
I got a text from hubby this morning, reminding me that we had an appointment, but he had to work, and would it be okay if I went on my own?
Ugh. It’s a lot of money to waste, so I went. And, I was okay with that.
I walked into the office with the DSM IV under my arm, a little light reading swiped from the bookshelf in the waiting area. Clearly, I sent a message of, “I mean business,” and “I’m ready to pathologize myself!” ; )
I thought I would be nervous. . but we jumped right in. John has a way of getting to the core of issues. . inviting you just to crawl into the belly of the beast. One session with him is like 6 months worth of a mediocre therapist, and believe me, I’ve seen plenty, I’ve gone to school with a few, and I’ve heard about even more.
I told him that paying him was like doing my own psychic reading, and having him as a witness. And it was worth every penny. My heart just cracked open and I saw truth. Well, at least after we argued about my enneagram and its fondness for suffering.
I need to forgive myself. For being ill. For not opening my arms and my heart to the Faculty member at my college who cornered me in a hallway and told me that she thought I had a chemical imbalance, soon after the bite, instead of pushing her and all the people who cared about me away.
I deserve to forgive myself for not allowing myself to be vulnerable. I was trying to make a name for myself in a male dominated profession. I believed I had to hide behind my toughness–my ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
I need to forgive myself for believing that my natural treatments, my holistic work, my diet and my yoga were the first line of defense to my issues. I need to let go of the “what ifs” and the “if onlys” and just accept what is here.
I need to forgive myself for passing these infections to my kids and to my husband. And stop pretending I’ve already forgiven myself.
I deserve to forgive myself for not having all the answers. For not knowing that my kids were infected. For not knowing that all of my seemingly little issues were actually really big, and far beyond what I could handle myself. For denying my gut feelings. For trusting people who said they could help me, and for not recognizing that they were full of ego, not care.
I deserve self-forgiveness.
I get to soften to myself–stop thinking that I have somehow failed because my novels aren’t published, and I’m not famous. I need to forgive myself for not “being all that I could be” like the guys in those Army posters, or the people I went to College with. I need to stop believing that because I haven’t accomplished all that I thought I would by this age, that I haven’t made an impact on the world.
I need to see myself as a beautiful result of every moment, every decision, every happening in my life thus far. The joy, the initial infection, the hope, the chronic nature of my illness, my creativity, the difficult treatment. All of it.
Radical Forgiveness. That’s a tough one. But I’m giving myself the invitation. If I get through this lesson, I might actually start believing there is divine order in the world.
That would be a miracle.