I believe S and I are getting closer to my eventual acceptance of who I am, as far as my sexuality is concerned. I believe I’m close because of the topic we covered on Monday’s session and also because of how I’m internally freaking out – my mind is finding ways to deny this progress as well as finding ways to revert back to my previous state of denial. (I know it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense to me either why my mind would be so adamant to hang on to the depression. And I know I’ve covered this topic before – but it definitely is a persistent little runt of an issue that keeps coming back because I haven’t actually dealt with it yet).
Monday’s session started innocuously enough with me being in high spirits because I had had a fantastic Sunday. In fact, I had even told my General Manager (we all call him “Dad”) at work that, “This is the best Sunday I’ve ever worked as a server who’s been in this industry for about 4 years!” – somehow, things just fell into place and I had the greatest time.
“A lot of things just worked out, I guess,” I said as I settled in for the session.
S, judging that I was calm, also slid back into his seat. He always starts off perched at the edge while he decides my mental state. I’ve noticed that when he’s on the edge of his seat, he’s showing his concern for me and when he’s sure that I’m ok, he would relax and lean back into his chair.
“That’s awesome,” He said, as he slowly settled in to his seat.
“It was… It actually felt good. I think, well, I got 7 hours of sleep,” I said.
“That always helps,” S said with a smile.
“Saturday night, I was sent home because they didn’t need me that night. So I was like, ‘This is great’. I went to bed at 1 instead of 3 or 4 in the morning. Then I had 7 hours of sleep before I went to work again the next day,” I said, with a chuckle. I was feeling good.
I was definitely in an uncharacteristically good mood.
“I don’t know why I’m feeling so energetic… The H in the ADHD definitely came out yesterday. I was so hyper…” I said, feeling the speed of my speech increase as I related my day to him. I realize now that that happens when I’m in my hyper mode. “But I know that when I’m actually feeling hyper, I just can’t stop, just these thoughts come out, I’m on Facebook all the time. Like ‘Oh my gosh, I thought of this thing! I thought of this other thing!’ It happens from time to time. You’ll know it’s a hyper day because if you’re on my Facebook, you’ll see like a ton of updates and posts from me. I’d have a million thoughts a minute and having Facebook just really helps me get those thoughts out and calm me down a little bit. But anyway, work was busy and I kept busy. I was doing a great job because I was able to keep all of my tables’ needs provided and I even had time left over to help everyone else. I just maintained a good flow at the restaurant and though I was physically exhausted by the end of the shift, I was mentally energized!”
“Tell me more about what that felt like,” S encouraged, smiling.
I know that our sessions lately have been really heavy, so for me to see S smile and for me to be able to smile and laugh during the session felt good.
“It felt like, actually at one point, I thought to myself, ‘Man, I actually feel alive! I feel like I’m here, I’m engaged.’ And it felt good. And it was just like, I’m getting stuff done, I’m focused and I was like, I don’t know how much of it had to do with the 7 hours of sleep, how much of it had to do with that Zoloft that I took, how much of it had to do with the Strattera that I took, and how much of it was the green tea I drank… So uh…”
“Well the Zoloft, might be helping at this point…” S reminded me.
“Maybe…” I said, I’m still hesitant about meds. I don’t want to seem like the meds were the only reason I was happy. “Maybe in combination with everything…”
He didn’t say it but I think he noted my hesitant tone when talking about the medication. I definitely still need time to get used to the fact that I’m going to need medication to get through this depressive episode.
I then continued to talk about how the rest of Sunday went. I talked about how I had met Hubster at the college after walking around downtown from my workplace. I had gotten lost as I explored parts of the city that I’d never seen before. I gushed about the architecture that I got to see. I talked about how many pictures I’d taken during this adventure. I also talked about how I didn’t even mind getting lost – I didn’t feel upset that I was. I eventually was able to find my way again thanks to the magic of Google Maps. But in all of it, I’d enjoyed myself.
“That’s amazing!” S said.
“Well, when I got home, Hubster and I rewatched A New Hope and then when he went to bed, I rewatched The Force Awakens. As I watched The Force Awakens again, I thought to myself, well, the funny thing is, I named my car Ren because it was Hubster’s suggestion actually cuz it was Star Wars day that we got the car. And he was like, ‘Oh oh! You should totally name it Star Wars related’, and I was like, ‘Oh what should we name it?’ and he was like, ‘Kylo Ren’ and I was like ‘Why?’ At first, I was like, I don’t like Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren sucks but then I was like, but Ren kinda sounds cools you know? So we kinda tentatively named it Ren and I was kinda upset about that. I didn’t want to name the car, ‘Ren’, but then I looked at the front bumper and I was like, it kinda looks like Kylo Ren’s helmet, his mask. And I thought about it after I’d watched The Force Awakens last night, and I was like, ‘I hate Kylo Ren because I hate myself’. It was like this epiphany kind of thing.”
I then proceeded to explain to him all the things that I had talked about in my previous post (“Why I Relate to Kylo Ren”). He listened intently and easily followed by line of thought. I talked a lot as I told him how much I related to Kylo.
“What are the things that really resonate with you about his experience that you relate to?” S asked.
“Well the parent thing, you know? The need to have approval. The feeling that I’m weak for fighting my Dark Side and he feels weak for fighting his Light side. I realize I feel like I’m weak for having a Dark Side. That he just went with whoever took him up. And in the story that we read, Snoke took him up. Snoke realized who he was and what he had powers for. And so Snoke took him as an apprentice and he just went with the first person that took him up. And I realize that I do that a lot. I just go with whoever shows most interest…”
“And always wanting to be this somebody – somebody important. Somebody strong because I feel like I’m not strong. Um… Having all this anger… Sure, I don’t have a lightsaber…”
“You’ve got the anger…”S reminded me.
“Just thinking of his lightsaber too, he had made it from a broken crystal. And the lightsaber is very unstable… You can see it…” And I wiggled my fingers to illustrate the flickering light.
“That’s right, you can see it,” S said, as he realized that I had told him something he’d never really thought about.
“It’s not solid, it’s always flickering. You know that’s like, his emotional state. He’s always flickering. He’s always between light and dark. Light and dark… He’s so seduced by the Light side. While I’m so seduced by my Dark Side. And the scene on the bridge when he finally said to Han, he said, ‘I feel torn apart. I just want to be free of this pain’. And I was like, I feel torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. And that somehow relates to my sexuality. And it came back up this whole week. I’m struggling with that again. Saturday, I was struggling really badly. Saturday, I was just like, I have a Saturday off, maybe I should be like these people that I serve at the restaurant and hangout somewhere, go to a bar or something. I told a friend of mine, ‘Hey maybe we should go to the bar’. But then I was like, ‘No, I feel kinda crappy’”
“Is that what you really wanted to do?” S asked.
I looked down at the ground, feeling shame creep into me again.
“Yeah… I really did. I kept texting my friend and talking about how I wish that we had gone to the bar. It was like I had an itch that I needed to scratch. And I thought to myself, I realize that the feeling of being torn apart – right now that is fueled by the conflict with my sexuality…”
“Does it fuel the anger too?” S asked.
“Some of it… Uh… There’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot guilt, there’s a lot of shame connected to it… There’s some anger of just like ‘Why can’t I be normal?’ I think I wrote in my journal a couple of times, ‘Why can’t I just be normal’? ‘Why can’t I just be happy?’ So it goes back to that feeling of not feeling normal, feeling weak, you know?”
“You feel weak because you have these desires for women?” S asked, to clarify.
“Yeah. When I was younger, I made a resolution that I’d never be gay. I can’t be. And that’s what I’m struggling with right now. That’s what makes me feel so torn apart. And at one scene last night, in The Force Awakens, Maz told Rey that the light, it’s always been there. The light guides you. Take this lightsaber and Rey says, ‘No I don’t want any part of this’ and runs away. And that part stood out to me because it was like God’s always been there. God guides you. Take this part of you and I was like, ‘No! I don’t want any part of this’.”
“You feel like you’ve been denying God?” S asked.
“I feel like I’ve been denying this part of me for a long time…” I said. At this point, I had started to cry.
“Which part of you?” I realized that S likes to make things as clear as possible and he’s always asking very directed clarifying questions.
“This part of me that likes women…” I said. “My friend told me that I’ve been hiding my gayness for a long time. And she said to me on Saturday, she said, ‘You know… Didn’t Jesus come to take away your sin? Didn’t he die because of that so that you don’t have sin anymore? Didn’t the Bible say that if you believe in him that your sins are washed away?’ and I thought to myself at that point, ‘An atheist right now is telling me what the Gospel is…’. Something I’ve believed for years, since 2010 and I can’t accept it…” I said, in tears. “And I thought to myself, last night, I was like, Rey ended up with the lightsaber she didn’t want. Regardless of what she did, she did this, she did that, but she ended up with it… And like Kylo said you know… ‘I know now what I have to do, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it’. I know what I have to do… I have to accept this side of me. Um… I know that. But I don’t know if I can do it, you know?”
“Mmhmm… So you’ve had your own Dagobah cave moment (I laughed because the Dagobah cave thing has been mentioned by both of us at least 3 times now before this – so it was kinda funny that it should come up again) where Kylo took his mask off and it was your face… The same thing with gays and lesbians, you realize you struggle with the same things that they do…” S said, as he made all the connections I was trying to make.
“Yeah… I realize that God has been there…” I said, as I tried to calm myself down. I was crying quite a bit.
“Yeah… It’s interesting to me that you’re talking about your feelings for women in a similar way as you’re talking about the light and about God, like they’ve been there, for your whole life it sounds like…” S said thoughtfully.
“Yeah… I guess I never really thought about it until recently. And I looked back in my life, and the choices that I’ve made and the things I’ve done, the people I’ve become friends with, they were all influenced by some unconscious desire – the unconscious desire to be away from women, the fear of women that I have… Of relating to women… And realizing that every time I become close to women, I start developing feelings for them. And so because I can’t accept that, I break off friendships…”
“So it might be, that goes with the feeling of like a burden sort of thing…” S said, bringing up another issue that keeps coming up for me. I always feel like a burden unto others.
“Yeah… Um, I guess… I thought about it last night and I was like, ‘I’ve been running away… I’d been running away from everything… Because I can’t accept it. I can’t… I can’t accept being… Weak…’ and all the time it’s getting harder and harder to deny the Dark side…”
“So the fact that you like women makes you feel weak…” S said, voicing my unvoiced thought.
“Mmhmm… And for some reason I equate that to the Dark Side you know? Part of it is just the anger, the unconscious rage that I have sometimes that comes out…”
“Is the rage connected to those feelings?”
“Um… I don’t know. Maybe sometimes. Um… I think I’ve told you before like how angry it makes me when people just say things like ‘snap out of it’ or ‘just accept who you are’”
“I feel a lot of anger for that. I feel a lot of anger for people who are openly gay, and I’ve told you that…” I said.
“Because to me it’s like they’ve reached a point where they were able to accept who they are and I’m not like that and I think I’m angry because I feel like that’s where I need to be but I can’t allow myself to do that so I’m angry. I think in a lot of ways I’m angry with myself. I think that’s why I hate Kylo Ren so much because he pretty much embodies who I am. Everything that the struggles with is what I struggle with in a different way, in a different aspect, but same exact things…”
“Mmhmm… You actually see how conflicted he is. How he’s using his anger to mask that…” S said. For some reason, hearing him say that made me start crying again.
“Yeah… I used to think he was just this 2 dimensional character but he’s not…”
‘Not at all…” S said.
“Not at all…” I echoed him as I wiped away the tears. “And I think there’s just that part of me that’s like, constantly telling me that it’s so pathetic that it’s in the movies that I live, you know? That I find parallels to characters that I relate to them so much that I don’t relate to real people. But… In some ways, these movies are very powerful for me. A lot of them have shaped who I’ve become you know… I don’t really know why…”
“Well, I think it goes along with just… With that the acceptance too, there’s nothing wrong with accepting movies that you really like these movies and that they are powerful influence. Even with like, ‘Civil War’, you felt alive, you felt really good…” S said, trying to help me understand that I shouldn’t feel guilty for using movies to relate my life to.
“Yeah… And I think it’s the same voice that calls me pathetic that also calls me pathetic for liking women, for having these feelings. It’s… The same… Feeling.”
“The part of you that wants to deny…”
“Yeah… So from there, comes all that pain, all the anger, all the guilt and shame and… The feeling like I just need to die…”
“So that’s that part… Whatever you’re drawn to… Whether it’s movies, women, there’s some reason why that’s bad. It’s either just pathetic, or it’s wrong, or you’re weak for feeling that way…”
“Yeah, that somehow… That makes me unworthy…” I said, finishing his thought.
I then asked S for his perspective on what I was struggling with, on the basis of his own Christian faith. I felt desperate to know what he thought of my struggle as we both shared one commonality in our faith. I’ve always been afraid of peoples judgments, more so when they’re coming from other Christians. I knew S was not conservative in his thoughts on a lot of topics, especially those relating to the LGBT topic, but still, I needed to hear it from him.
He told me that he doesn’t believe that two men or two women who want to be in a monogamous relationship as being sinful though he made sure to tell me that he doesn’t know if he’s right or not and to warn me that he has had plenty of Christian friends who have disagreed with him on his reasons. I felt relieved to know his views. I didn’t really stand on his side but I saw his reasons as legitimate and sound. They were not bigoted reasons nor were they illogical.
“What were some of your thoughts as we were talking about it in regards to what I was thinking?” S asked, checking in to see how I’d taken his perspective.
“That it makes sense. Um, that I think I forgot that aspect of it. That um, I think I thought about how God could easily take it away… God could easily take these feelings away from everyone. Take it away from Christians even. But he hasn’t and I’ve always wondered what the purpose was and why. What’s his purpose in all this? And I feel like the more, people… I feel like in recent days especially, people who are anti-gay, they just make gay people hate Christians… They’re not helping people see who God is…”
“I’m right there with you!” S agreed.
“And people equate God to these people… And people hate these homophobes and they equate those feelings to God and they hate God in response to that…”
“And it kills me because I’m like, I can’t talk to people anymore because the minute I say something, the minute I say I’m a Christian, people think, oh I must hate gay people. And now it makes me wonder… (I had a sob caught in my throat – a sudden bout of crying was about to happen and I didn’t know why) If that’s why… (I choked out the words)… God… (I was struggling to speak at this point) has made some Christians struggle through this… So that they can talk to gay people… And say no, I feel this way too, and God doesn’t hate you…”
“That makes sense to me” S said.
I just sobbed. I couldn’t hold it back any longer.
“And I don’t know why that hit me so hard…” I said, as I recovered.
“I wonder if you’re worried that God hates you because of these feelings,” S voiced a fear of mine.
“I think a part of me does probably think that… That… I suddenly thought about how I feel purposeless, hopeless… And, I think a lot of it, goes back to this. A lot of it, goes back to how far away I feel from him. And I learned a term this week, it’s spiritual atrophy. I think I’m going through that…”
I think it was at this point that I realized that I had taken one step closer towards the acceptance of my sexuality and myself.
“I told Hubster, what if this depression is causing the spiritual atrophy and he says to me, ‘Are you sure it’s not the other way around? That your spiritual atrophy is what’s making you so suicidal, so depressed and so hopeless, that you feel like you’ve lost your purpose?’ and as we say that, I suddenly thought when I told you, ‘What if that’s why there are Christians who struggle with these feelings is so that their purpose is to reach the gay community?’”
“You feel like that might be your purpose…” S said, pulling my thought out of my head for me.
“Maybe… And inside I’m screaming ‘Why?!’” I said, my voice faltering and trembling.
“’Take this cup from me’” S said simply, quoting the Jesus when he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane.
“Yeah…” I said, with a sob. “Why can’t I be normal?”
“It’s still hard to accept, huh?” S said. There it was again – the warm and compassionate, fatherly tone that he always uses with me. The one that I’ve come to really appreciate.
I sobbed more. “It’s so painful…”
“I still don’t want this. And I don’t know why…”
“It sounds like for years, you’ve resolved not to feel this way for God’s sake…” S said. It was helpful to hear his interpretations of what I’m feeling because a lot of times, I have the answer. I just don’t want to accept them.
“Yeah, and I feel like lately he’s been telling me. Many different ways and forms. You know? In some ways, through the movie. And yet I mean… I know, a part of me knows that I can’t run away. I can delay it…”
“Maybe for next time, I’ll say what I said last week and maybe you should pray about this, just be praying is this what God wants for you?”
Then as we wrapped up, S asked me about my suicidality and I told him that I’ve been a little better lately. I haven’t had as many of the thoughts and they haven’t been as intense as they had been for the past 2-3 months. Satisfied that I was ok and wasn’t going to hurt myself, S let me go, telling me that I had done a great job and that he looks forward to our session tomorrow.
So that was Monday’s session. It started out light hearted and superficial but it got deep and dark really quickly. When I said that “I still don’t want this”, I really mean it. The part of me that struggles against this desire that I have doesn’t want me to be this way. It is fueled by a lot of fear and reluctance. Fear for the unknown – what would it be like to accept my “gayness”? I don’t know what that would be like, hence why I deem it to be so threatening. Reluctance because I want to be “perfect”. I know I can’t be and that’s upsetting to me.
Today was a good session. I feel like we’d made progress. I feel like I had done a good job at pushing myself. We’re one step closer to acceptance. Something I don’t want to happen but will happen anyway at some point in my life. S will make sure it happens, as much as I try to delay it. I know he will.