Thursday, September 29, 2011

Next Time ... I'll Book a Dance Lesson

I went to my first-ever counselling appointment last night.

I am sure that my experience would have been different if I had gone a week or two ago. A week or two ago, I would have been a puddle on the floor. I wouldn't have had the ability to articulate and effectively communicate my thoughts. The lump in my throat prevented me from saying all that I was feeling.

Throughout my recent 'journey to the dark side', I frequently picked up the phone and talked with people. When I quit calling, I had a friend that called me. She talked me through the days when I went silent. She planted a lot of seeds that are taking root.

My family has had the fortunate experience of living with me throughout this fine experience. I have done my best not to dump everything on them. But I haven't been able to mask my inner doom and gloom. I have not been myself and even I was getting sick and tired of the Negative Nellie that had taken up residence within.

It hasn't been all bad. I've had spells where I thought that I was through the worst of it. Only to be proven wrong. The unexpected turns, jolts and not knowing how far I was going to fall before I 'hit bottom' has been the most un-fun roller coaster ride that I have endured.

I was having a hard (impossible) time stifling the negative self-talk. It was like living with a stranger. Even though I recognized that my thought processes were unhealthy, I seemed to have lost my ability to override the negativity.

So I booked an appointment with a counsellor.

I had to wait a week before I could get in to see her. A week can make a big difference. I had the ability to cancel the appointment if I deemed it unnecessary. But I knew that there can be a lot of ups and downs in one week. So I kept my appointment.

I had such a good day yesterday. I felt my inner 'happy' for the first time in months. I knew that I had turned a corner and that I would go on from 'here'. But I still wanted to incorporate some positive coping strategies into the inevitable challenges that may lie ahead. So I went to my appointment.

I felt like I was in the wrong class. I attended Beginner Counselling 101 when life experiences have fast tracked me into an Advanced Session.

I didn't need the drawing to visualize that my thoughts led to feelings which physically affected my body and behaviours. I was already telling her that I had advanced to the stage where I recognized the need to unplug, reboot and start over when I got derailed. I was focusing on making a difference - one small step at a time. Focusing on the positive. Side stepping the danger zones ...

Twenty seven years ago, Alanon meetings taught me that I cannot change others - that I am only in control of my own feelings and how I react to them. The valuable lessons I learned from Alanon have stayed with me. Yet at my Beginner Counselling 101 session, this was key.

I can't say that I walked out of that appointment feeling any different than I did when I walked in. I don't think that I learned anything that I didn't already know. Perhaps I was reminded of a thing or two. She explained the thought processes that has led to my 'running in circles' when I am uncertain and overwhelmed.

But the thing is ... this session was not free. I paid for it out of my own pocket. It is money that I will never see again. And for a mere $10.00 more ... I could have had a one hour dance lesson!

Next time? I'll dance!

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