Beating It Back


Today I said goodbye to Jonna, my therapist of 14 ½ years (halves are always important to me). I had four weeks of notice. Not a lot of time to wrap up all the loose ends.

I thought I would be devastated. I thought I might break down and cry. Certainly, there were nights in the last two weeks that I did. She was my witness. The holder of all the secrets. She modeled so much for me.

Her voice, her questions, her approval, and even her anger at what other people had done to me, gradually replaced the harsh and cruel voices I had created in my head. Rather than a judgmental and shaming superego, I now have a (mostly) balanced and reasonable one.

She helped me to detach from my father, my ex-husband, and my best friend from high school (dare I say my soulmate?) whose memory I had clung to. Believing in his love, even though he withdrew it, helped me to survive for decades.

Toward that end, she allowed me to use her as the anchor to this life I needed. Not that long ago, I realized that anchor had become a tether. So, now, I feel like I can safely live, thrive, and be happy even when she is not there.

It took Jonna’s departure for me to fully realize how far I have come. I am not going to go back into long term therapy. I don’t need it anymore. I will be doing some short-term therapy to deal with a few remaining issues.

For years I’ve been saying I am going to write my memoir. I believe I am capable of it, now. I do not believe any of the memories are more than I can bear.

Jonna told me that she will keep track of me through this blog. With that knowledge, there is nothing left to hurt. I want her to know when I publish my book. I want her to know when I meet a companion. I want her to know that I am thriving.

Though I won’t see her or hear her, I know she is still out there. I know she still cares. I know she will be proud of me. That is the greatest thing.

The mental health clinic I’ve been going to for the same 14 ½ years has decided they can’t continue to treat me long term. I live in a different county now, and it is their policy not to take patients from that far away. Apparently, Jonna had been keeping that particular wolf at bay.

 Faced with a change in doctor’s, and nowhere to call if I had a crisis I was in shock. I expected to be frightened, lost. Certainly, cutting off all my professional help at once didn’t see wise, or kind.

But then, nothing happened. I moved my appointment with the psychiatrist to next week. I am looking for a new doctor. In the meantime, I expect her to be there if I should need someone.

With all these changes I half expected to get depressed. Instead, I am feeling strong. Dare I say, I even feel happy sometimes. Gratitude is just pouring out of me. Gratitude that this didn’t happen before I was ready. Gratitude for having known her. Gratitude that, against all odds, I am whole and free from my demons. At least, most of the time.

We already had gone to every other week. I was already relying heavily on journaling. I have friends and a sister I can lean on if I must. More importantly, they are people I can spend my time with. People I can share my successes and weaknesses with.

So, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home. I intended to buy some huge sugary snack. I looked at four-packs of muffins, at a cake, at a cheesecake. But I didn’t need them. Then I saw a single piece of cheesecake. That didn’t seem quite enough. So, I bought a package of three pieces.

I had a piece when I got home. I ate it slowly, mindfully. It was really good. And then I stopped. I just didn’t need to gorge. I didn’t need to bury the pain. Because it is a loss. I will be sad for a while. But I will be ok. I will be free of so much.

Besides, it turns out it is not a complete break. Somehow, that is making all the difference.

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