Almost exactly a year. Thirty sessions, mostly just fifty minutes long. Thousands of words, hundreds of tears. A huge amount of realisation and a few laughs. And that’s it, done.
We covered a few things in our last ever therapy session. I enquired briefly about the discharge letter I had asked Chris for. He had asked me at the previous session if it was for work and whilst I have not been asked for anything it got me thinking what if I did need it in the future. So I asked that he try to write it in a way which would meet a future need in that space. He reassured me it would be a short concise summary so should meet that purpose if required. I just want it for the completeness. Kind of like a report you get at the then end of a school year though I am sure much less detailed.
We briefly touched on diagnosis. I am not sure what it is about a label. Some people find them really unhelpful. I have certainly rebelled against many of the labels I have been given over the years. in this space though I like the clarity. I find the terms help me navigate a complex world of learning. They sign post the right knowledge or communities. And whilst none of these spaces require proof of a diagnosis there is something for me which makes me feel more comfortable knowing the thing I am trying to tackle with certainty.
Chris advised he was comfortable with my PTSD diagnosis though I was likely sub -clinical as the symptoms weren’t now impacting my life to any degree. He was not in a position to confirm any diagnosis of OCD. We had only talked about the related symptoms briefly in the last couple of sessions. I still know what I need to be looking for if I get stuck tackling those behaviours. It’s an interesting one because the challenges there are still bothering me significantly more than any of the PTSD are now. I am making some progress but I wonder if I will dislodge them all successfully on my own.
Fancy working on?…
Then we touched on a couple of unusual requests I had of Chris. One was in relation to some charity work I have started. The other an opportunity to collaborate on something which I think could be amazing. Both Chris talked through and is taking away to reflect on with his supervisor and consider a little further.
Chris made sure to check what if any impact there might be on my therapeutic ending from these things. The one is easy enough to navigate as I don’t even need to have contact with Chris if that is not workable. The other might involve a little more future contact, depending on how we approached it. I acknowledged all anyone does is guess at these things and in reality none of us know how we might feel until we find ourselves somewhere. However for me therapy was done and I am familiar with moving on to a new project, I am a project person by trade really and I didn’t expect it to cause me any issues.
Franky I am just so excited about the possibilities. I have always loved the way a hundred little coincidences collide to present a single opportunity. Both of the things we discussed felt exactly like that. There were so many distinct things which had to have happen in the the order they did for me to conclude these opportunities were there. I just hope I have the courage and skill to make something of them.
We touched briefly on the moving forward. The well-being check in we had shaped the week before. If I wanted therapy in the future and as always Chris landed on a blinder of a statement. “You can’t unlearn what you have learnt.” He is so right. I worry about slipping backwards. I won’t. That’s not to say I won’t have hard days but I know I can’t be that bad again.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…
Then I spent the shortest ten mins saying thank you. I absolutely failed to express my gratitude and I will fail now to explain just how transformational this process has been. From not even recognising how bad things were getting, the sleepless nights, being constantly on edge, placing so much pressure on myself to be an amazing parent. I was a master at internalising much of it and apart from Stephen the world had little knowledge anything was wrong. Hell I had little realisation anything was wrong as I fought everyday to convince myself I was fine.
Now…. Now I am more patient, more balanced, I can recognise how my body is reacting, i feel more hopeful than afraid, I am not afraid of my shadow (or my past), I can recognise some of my qualities, I don’t flinch when I receive a compliment, I have freed myself from so much blame and guilt, I know I am a good parent. That has been a game charger for me, I have not actually changed my parenting approach but I find so much more happiness in it now. For the first time in my life I know I am a good parent. That acceptance alone is worth so much.
I have my percentages to try and take forward…
0% Responsibility. It was not my fault.
51% Sure. I only need to be more certain than I am not.
100% Grateful. I am luckier than ever for finding a way to talk and someone to talk with.
Like finishing a training course for the knowledge you gain. Or the end of a marathon you spent months training for. The end of a relationship when you say goodbye to someone you know. They are always bitter sweet.
This ending is one of the best I have ever experienced. It feels most clearly like a beginning. Just a load of opportunity in front of me and all I need to do is find the courage to explore it.
I will miss the wisdom and the nudges. Now I just have to become my own fountain of knowledge, my own coach and advocate. I will happily practice becoming my own therapist though I am bloody certain I will never be as good as Chris.
I hope where ever you are on your journey following has at least given you the hope there is a path you can discover that leads you to a better place and the knowledge that as hard as it is sometimes you you need to Just Talk.