I’ve been in therapy since I was 16 years old. I’m embarrassed to reveal I’m 48 years old now. Most people have seen a therapist one time in their life. For me, being in therapy became a career. I’m a professional client/patient. My dad used to say that when a therapists began treating me, they showed up in the parking lot driving a Volkswagen Bug. Within a year they were driving a Jag. Yikes!!! What can I say. I’m every therapists dream.
I began therapy in high school when I developed an eating disorder. From there, I moved up in the world. Marriage counseling, alcohol and drug addiction, depression, resentments… The list goes on. I found that therapists were super awesome in helping me understand what was wrong with everyone else. I can’t say for sure, but I think that’s what we pay them to do. Just ask the Kardashian’s. I’ve seen their therapy sessions on their reality show. They’re filled with bullshit just like my sessions. When you’re in therapy for so long it’s easy to become conditioned to knowing what to say, how to say it to hear the exact words you want to hear. “It’s not your fault. It’s everyone else’s”. That’s what happened to me. I spent many years in therapy dealing with everyone else’s issues and not addressing any of my own. I buried many of my major issues and opted not to deal with any of them. That works for awhile, but eventually all the hurts, pain, sadness and resentments that you haven’t dealt with make their way to the surface and the next thing you know, it’s a disaster.
On September 14, 2011 my dad passed away. I watched him take his last breath. I remember when the nurse came in to the hospital room to check on my dad and said “he’s gone” I looked at her calmly and asked her to please check again. I said “maybe you made a mistake!” She didn’t. Despite knowing my dad had passed, I kept insisting to my mother that I could still see him breathing as we waited for the coroner to come and take my dad. I’ve never been really good at dealing with pain. Through the help of therapists, I learned many years ago it was easier to mask behind humor. Somehow being funny or finding something to laugh about was easier than dealing with anything that hurt. Unfortunately, after my dad passed away, I couldn’t find anything to laugh about. Something in me snapped. I’m a strong woman. I’ve faced many challenges in my life, but nothing prepared me for losing the only man I ever loved. I was devastated. I was angry. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions that for the first time in my life I couldn’t find a way to deal with any of them. I was in therapy in Moses Lake, so I did what every professional patient does, I found a way to deal with everyone else’s issues and what was wrong with them and never really dealt with the pain I was feeling from losing my dad. The pain was so overwhelming I couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t know how. I blamed everyone. What happened next still baffles me to this day. After 11 years of being in a relationship with a man I genuinely loved, I broke up with him, I quit my job and I packed up my things leaving everything I knew, everyone I loved and worse my kids and I moved to San Francisco to live with a man twice my age in search of finding peace and happiness again. The result was I only added to the pain. I was so depressed. I completely lost my way. I no longer knew who I was. I tried really hard to land on my feet and find happiness again. I went to therapy. It didn’t work. I even met with many psychics trying to find the answer to feeling good again. My advice, Do Not consult with a psychic. They are liars and they will only make your life worse!!!! One day, I was home alone, I was desperate. I found myself lying on my bed. I was on the phone calling any and all psychics I could contact in the hopes of finding answers. If any of you have ever seen the movie Reality Bites then picture the scene where Winona Ryder is lying on the couch racking up a visa bill as she’s on the phone with psychics telling her everything she wants to hear. That was me. Seriously. The following day, I was walking the streets of San Francisco when I was approached by a stranger. She handed me a card and said “I can help you”. I looked at the card and guess what? She was a psychic. The next thing I knew she was in my car and we were driving to the bank so I could take an ungodly amount of money out of my account to give this woman because according to her God had sent her and she was going to help me. She sure did. She ripped me off. That was the day I knew I’d hit rock bottom. That night, don’t ask me how, but I had enough sense to reach out to my former priest, Father Brooks, from Moses Lake. I had lost contact with him but I was able to find him on the Internet. I called and left a message. The following day, Father Brooks called me. I confessed everything. Father Brooks asked “Velma, have you ever considered seeing a therapist?” I had to laugh. I answered “Father Brooks, I’ve been in therapy since I was 16!” He said “we need to find you a therapist that’s going to work. I know some priests in San Francisco. I’ll call them and get back to you. In the mean time you need to start praying again and asking god to help you!” That’s exactly what I did. The next day Father Brooks called me with the name of a therapist who was recommended by several of the priests here in San Francisco. Her name was Molly. Father Brooks said “call her and schedule an appointment!”
I met Molly for the first time last July. Molly was a tall, attractive woman. She reminded me of a mix between Tina Fey and Marlo Thomas. She’s very soft spoken, intelligent and she approached therapy very differently than all of my therapists. She read between my bullshit and held me accountable for my own actions. She didn’t allow me to blame others. In fact, she forced me to assume responsibility for my own actions and deal with feelings I had stuffed away so many years ago. On many occasions this past year, I wanted to dump her but “there was something about Molly” that kept me going back. For the first time in my life, I found myself sharing my deepest fears, my memories and many of the feelings I hadn’t faced or addressed in so many years. I have cried a lot. I’ve laughed a lot and I’ve healed a lot. The past year has been difficult. I remember saying to Molly at one of our sessions that every time I met with her I got a migraine. I blamed her!!! The truth was I was actually doing the work and I didn’t like it. In AA it’s recommended to do a 5th step. This past year I’ve done 100 with Molly. Yesterday was my last session with Molly. She has accepted a new position helping teens. Good to know that she will be helping teenagers in not making the same mistakes I have. I am very sad that I will no longer be spending my Thursday afternoons with Molly. But I’m thankful and very blessed for the year I spent working with her. I’m finally able to begin closing the door on my past and I’m looking forward to the future. I was in Washington last month and for the first time in 3 years I was able to go to my dads gravesite and not cry like a hungry baby. His birthday was on July 10th. I didn’t spend the day sobbing. My kids are angry with me, they won’t talk to me, my ex hates me, I’ve hurt a lot of people but I’m finally ready to deal with the wreckage I’ve created since I left home and put it behind me. We all make mistakes. We all hit rock bottom. Sometimes life throws us a curveball and no matter how strong we are, POW!!! It hits us in the face!!! If we can trust in god, have faith and keep getting up, eventually there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And if you’re as lucky as I’ve been, you’ll find a “Molly” that will help you see that light. Even if it’s at a distance.
I’m booking a flight to go home in October today. My son is a senior and I want to see him play football. I know I can’t stay. My cancer treatment is here in San Francisco but hopefully soon I’ll find my way home. Just for today my goal is to begin the healing process with my children. Close the door to the past and open door number 2. The door to a new beginning. A great beginning. A new life filled with peace, love and happiness. A little bit of money would be great too! 🙂 but hey…..beggars can’t be choosers!