As promised, here is part 2.
As I’ve mentioned life has been hectic, but now that things have calmed down where school is concerned, I can focus more on other aspects of my life – most notably right now is my relationship with Chérie.
Things have progressed well for the both of us – I’ve never found more fulfillment, and more happiness in another person than I do with her. I never thought I would ever find someone that not only accepts me 100% unconditionally, but who also has the same kind of goals, and perspectives that I do while at the same time always challenging me to better myself, to take care of my mental health, and to keep growing. I’ve also not found a person whom I could be 100% honest with without fear of negative repercussions – even when we fight, we always get back together again after the initial conflict.
I’ve been learning about what a healthy relationship looks like for the past 8 months (wow! 8 months! Where did all that time go?) and I’ve been growing in that respect. One significant way in which I’ve grown is that I am now able to articulate my displeasure, or bring up things that bother me relatively early and quickly. I still have the bad habit of filing things away and not wanting to talk about it until things have piled up to the “Oh shit” point, but I am definitely so much better at this than I’ve ever been before.
Yesterday, I told Chérie that she had hurt my feelings by being naggy, and her words had implied that I was stupid. I also explained to her how I had not responded well myself – identifying the trigger that had caused me to react by snapping and how that had come about from a lifetime of conditioning responses (I get nagged and I react in one of two ways: defenses go up and I snap back, or I just agree with the person and then my resentment meter fills up). We then talked this out, with Chérie apologizing and explaining that she never knew that she had been treating me this way or that she had made me feel less. She never meant to hurt me that way – and I knew that, but I also needed to stop making excuses for her, or downplay her fault. That’s what I did for 8 years in my last relationship – all the while heaping on resentment and bitterness. That’s also what I did with my parents for 30 years.
Instead of resenting, I am now opening up to talking things out. I’m also more mindful of whenever I get resentful, and once noticing this, I take action to remedy it. In our session today, S said to me, “It seems like a lifetime ago when you had said to me, ‘I just don’t know where this anger comes from! I don’t know how I can just suddenly get angry when it’s not even something worth getting angry about’! And now look at you! You’re noticing where your anger comes from, and when you start to be resentful” He looked positively proud as he said that to me.
I also have started to talk to my mother more. On that front, things have improved tremendously – my mother and I had reconciled. I tested the waters by asking her what she thought about me being queer. She told me that she and my father both would support me no matter what. To be honest, I didn’t anticipate that at all – I anticipated having to bear the feelings of shame for being queer since my parents have always been conservative. From that point onwards though, I started to share more of my life with them. I realized that it was time to bury the hatchet and if they were willing to do so, then why shouldn’t I as well? I told S today that I still get twinges of resentment or anger for the past misdeeds, but while I allowed myself to feel those negative feelings, at the same time, I also don’t linger or dwell in that anymore the way I used to. S reacted pretty strongly. He was very elated to hear what I had to share and looked like he was having an “Awww” moment internally. For the quickest of moments, I thought that he was going to cry or something.
S also told me that it was great that I am able to find myself in a place where I can acknowledge and recognize that the bad things in my past had happened, but also at the same time, move past it.
All this was great because today, for the first time ever, I felt that I am my own therapist. It happened when I was telling S about my parents. I said that I had wished my mother a Happy Mother’s Day last Sunday and in return, my mother had said something along the lines of, “I hope I’ve done a good job raising you and your brother”. I had at that moment, felt a slight rise where I felt that I wish that I had gotten such support when I was younger. That I’d felt a little anger. But then, I had allowed myself to feel that anger before responding to my mother’s message with, “You did the best you could with what you had. And for that, I am grateful”. The moment I sent her that message, my self critical voice piped up and said, ‘Did you just do that because it was the nice thing to do? Because you felt like you had to say that? Or did you really feel it?’. And I told S that it was at that moment that I realized that I did write that to be nice, but at the same time, that I do believe it too.
I said, “I started to ask myself if this was real. And S, it is.” and S had said, “Oh! I was about to ask you if that was real but you beat me to it…” – at that point, I realized that through my experience with S, I had learned the tools necessary to be S for myself. I am beginning to internalize him in a way that I never used to do. I used to always “hear” his voice or imagine a “S in my head” type situation, but this time around, I asked myself automatically without having to envision S in any way.
All this leads me to also give another update. S and I have agreed to start processing the terrible T word: Termination. He suggested me move our sessions to once ever 2 weeks (more to accommodate my summer schedule than anything but I think it serves a dual purpose) and that we start processing my departure from CAPS.
Like how I felt with group, I feel a deep sense of bittersweetness. I had managed to get closure and finish my last session of group in a way that ended well – we all had said our peace, and even the facilitators had joined in. We had closure, and we were all able to move on – we had worked hard together for an entire year (!!) and now we were all ready to go on by ourselves. It helped that T and J had joined in as well, admitting for once, that they were going to miss us too, and that though they were sad to see us go, they were also extremely proud, and extremely happy for us. It felt good to get that kind of closure.
I feel the same with S now. I know that I will be okay. I want to continue but at the same time, due to some circumstances that will prevent me from doing so (I will talk about this when it’s closer to becoming a reality), I can’t. So this brings termination as an opportunity for further growth because like it or not, I would have to depart from CAPS soon. S had mentioned to me that with change, I have two ways of handling it – either accept it gracefully, grow, and learn from it or fight it tooth and nail, but either way, change will happen regardless of what I decide. With that in mind, he told me that if we start processing the termination sooner rather than later, I’d have a better chance of leaving well and accepting change well.
I trust him. At the same time, I also trust myself. I know I can do this now. I am also saying that so as to convince myself that I can do this.
The only thing left for me to really work on is to get Dr W to see that her medical management is really not working for me and that either she agrees to change my medication or I find another psychiatrist. I’m tired of feeling like a zombie all the time. Worst of all, it’s not like I’m being a zombie so that I can be a productive zombie – I’m still missing quizzes, missing classes, being late, and so on. So if I can also tackle that issue that’s still persisting in my life, I think I’ll be in a better place.
Of course, just to make sure that people don’t think that I’ve suddenly got all my shit together, I’d also like to add that I still struggle with the anxiety, depression, and the ADHD. It doesn’t mean that just because I’m getting terminated, and all that, that I’m suddenly better. I don’t want people to misunderstand. I just want to point out that I am now in a better place, and I now know the steps, have built up my toolbox to cope with life, and is better at not dwelling in the negatives. I also want to point out that I couldn’t have done this and gotten this strong without my support system – they’re still going to be there to support me. S also said that he, and the rest of CAPS, will still be here if and when I need him/them.
I’m just taking another step forward. Another change. Another growth.