Definitely an end of term feel to this evening. The last group therapy session.
Still dark. Still unlit and cracked pavements. Still cold. At least, though, I remembered the torch. It lit the way ahead in the darkness by using my own common sense. Maybe, just maybe, it stands as a metaphor to how I have to go about things in life as well as therapy.
We wait in reception and it seems everyone wants to get through the evening and try returning to whatever their normality of a Thursday evening is. I will miss it though. Not for the therapy itself as by its’ very nature it can only scratch the surface of all our stresses, anxieties and depression.
No, what I will miss is the time spent out of the home. It’s a huge factor, I’ve come to discover, in how I drop into such negative thinking patterns. The cold, the rain, the hours and miles walked getting to and from therapy isn’t something I’d want to experience again, but getting out for an evening has helped enormously.
We file in and, lo and behold, the same two therapists as last week for a change! For the last time, the scores on the doors are added up. 15, 11 and 23, all going nicely downwards. Slowly but surely, step by small step, I’m turning things round.
A fly in the ointment though. A slightly increased stress level of 7. Understandable though. I’ve had all welfare help cut off, as it was decreed I’d voluntarily left a job, when I was actually laid off by my employer on health grounds. Got my MP on the case, though, who’s pretty indignant at the shabby treatment given to the physically and mentally ill. I’m not the first one he’s had to go into bat for this year by a long chalk.
All the session turns out to be is a review of everything that’s gone through before. My mind goes back to Mr. Angry Man all those weeks ago, and his 25% useful, 75% useless rant.
Now, I know I’m in a much better head-space at this time, in spite of my scepticism each week. Often I’ve been lost in my own thoughts. Clearly, however, on a subconscious level, something’s worked. I have no idea what ‘25%’ it is that’s done it, so by definition was worth being around for the whole 100%. His loss, his angry loss.
On our handouts, and in the therapists chat, it’s implored to us to practice, practice, practice all the exercises, either conscious or subconscious, that we’ve learned. I look around. To my left, a poor, poor woman starts to cry and wail.
“Three of my family have died. I don’t know how I can carry on.” She dissolves into tears. It’s a moment where there is nothing you can say or do to adequately console someone who’s so deeply tormented, and kept it all to herself all these weeks, suffering in silence.
The session is stopped. The therapists, wisely, say this is something that needs much more support and one-to-one therapy that they can provide this evening.
Everyone, else, the few of us that have gone the distance, give a nod, or a pained smile, or a hug, a few words, even a hankie, to let her know. Even if we can’t imagine how deeply awful what she’s going through is, we’re here if she needs us, and do feel at least a tiny amount of her pain too.
The rest of the evening is understandably subdued. We fill out our staying well plan. Mine involves girlfriend insecurities, debt, and employment. At least I have a clear pathway for these issues.
Girlfriend – it’s over, I realise that. I’m still deeply in love with her, though, and will be for a long time. I’ll need to find ways of living with that realisation. And will do.
Debt – I have a debt charity involved. They’ve given me great advice. No longer will I feel bullied or harassed. I’ll repay what I can and stick to it.
Job – Keep on plugging away. I have the confidence of knowing I can apply for and be offered paid employment, even if it came to a premature end. Someone will want to make use of a brain as smart as mine. It is, too. It’s about time I acknowledge the good things about me.
Eventually we’re given those magic words. “You are now discharged.” We slink off into the night. Back into our realities, back into our own little worlds. A few weeks ago, hearing that may have frightened the life out of me.
That torch, however, lighting the way ahead once more. Not now. Reality will be what I make it. From now I’m going to make my mine light up the skies. I’m not just going to be someone.
I am someone.