One Year Therapiversary
About fourteen months ago, I realized I was totally losing my shit. My depression was winning, my anxiety was out-of-control (I was taking lorazepam daily to make it to work.) and honestly, I was hanging on by a thread…A thin, fragile and fraying thread.
I knew I was in trouble, and I decided I needed help. Actually, I was pretty desperate to get help. And so I started googling to find a local therapist. And I wasn’t really finding anything inspiring. I ended up looking at a practice in the City and scrolling through the providers. And that’s when I found the bio for an Art Therapist.
Now…I had done years of talk therapy and it only got me so far. Being a crafty, hands-on, creative kind of person, Art Therapy appealed to me. I asked around about this Art Therapist, who was new to the area. No one had heard of him. But, I googled him and read his bios on various sites and looked at his picture and…Well, there was something about him and Art Therapy that appealed to me.
And soooo….after an initial meet and greet appointment where the AT passed muster with me and I with him…I began my journey into Art Therapy. That was one long year ago. And what a hell of a year it has been! But you know what? I am in a better place than I was a year ago. With my hard work and the support and direction of the AT, I feel like I am finally on the right path.
One thing I have learned is that the work with the AT is a lot harder than I expected. This is in part because Art Therapy is super hard. And also because I am letting the AT take me to places that I have never gone before. And it is just plain painful.
And yet, I feel like I can see a purpose to the pain…And I have felt something working with the AT that I had not felt in a very long time….Hope. Now, I lose sight of that hope pretty frequently, but the undercurrent of, “Maybe this can get better” is still there…I think that me and the AT can get me back on my feet, moving in the right direction and ultimately meeting my goal of being a real person again.
It makes me think of a dream I had last summer. Here’s the summary of it I wrote in my blog on August 23:
I dreamed that I was a little girl and the AT was himself, like he is now. I think I was wearing a bathing suit with a dress over it and the AT was dressed in maybe athletic clothes…It was a little confusing, I think he started off in work clothes, but then switched to casual athletic-y kind of clothes. Anyway, we were outside and I wanted to show him a trail or a vista or something and we had to do a lot of climbing to get there. The hills we were climbing were super steep and overgrown with plush moss with grass spikes shooting out from it. Under the moss, the ground was really wet, like squishy wet, and if you looked down at it, you could see standing water under the moss. The AT was having an easy time climbing the hill, his legs were longer and he seemed more stable as he climbed. I was having a really hard time climbing the hill and had to grab clumps of grass to pull myself up, so I was using all four limbs to climb. Except…that the moss was sliding out from under my feet and the grass clumps were pulling out in my hands, so for the amount of effort I was putting in, I was not making much progress and at some points was actually sliding backwards. However, I kept on going because I really wanted the Art Therapist to see our goal.
At some point, the trail was flatter, and the AT was on the trail and I was beside the trail going along a water ditch. I was slowed down because I was trying to negotiate the ditch by straddling it or going on the narrow band of grass beside it…But then things evened out and it was less wet and more flat and grassy.
The Art Therapist asked me if I wanted a “___” (I cannot remember the word, it didn’t make sense in terms of the item he offered me, but he used it a few times to describe it.) He had these clear plastic packets that were hand warmers. He said his hands were cold and so he got out two and handed me one. You had to squeeze it to make it work and as I squeezed it, I could see little white balls of what looked like styrofoam in the packet. Suddenly, there was a “pop” sound as I burst the internal capsule that caused the chemical reaction. The pop really startled me.
Eventually, we were hill climbing again, and the hill was almost hands-and-knees steep (though the AT was able to pretty much stride up the hill). I was again slipping and sliding grabbing grass clumps to get up the hill, but we finally reached the top. And the hill’s apex was very sudden and severe as the ground just dropped away from the other side. And we stood there and looked….And the dream stopped, so I didn’t get to see what was on the other side of the hill.
When I look back at the dream now…it seems so symbolic of the relationship I have with the AT! I think the dream really highlights the steady presence and support of the AT. As I have been slipping and sliding and struggling, he has been right there with me, accompanying me and being there for me, even demonstrating genuine caring towards me. I don’t think I could ask for much more.
So…I guess its Happy Therapiversary to me and the AT. It will be interesting to see what this year brings!