On 05/30/2019, I went to my first appointment with my current therapist. I had been to 5 different therapist. None of which lasted over 3 months. I was unemployed and looking for change. I knew I had so much to unpack, and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. After going to five therapists, I knew what wasn’t working.
During my search, I made a decision that I needed a younger woman of color. It was the only way this would work for me. My previous therapists weren’t all terrible, except the one that fell asleep, but they weren’t great. There was a true disconnect. We just couldn’t relate to each other. There were cultural barriers that we just couldn’t bridge.
It took a few days of looking online before I finally found someone who matched what I was looking for. I recall being so nervous about even reaching out. Even though there was a phone number, I decided to email. My nerves wouldn’t allow me to make the phone call. Through friends, I knew that most were struggling to find their “unicorn.” Would I be so lucky?
Within hours, I got a phone call. I recall thinking to myself that the tone/voice would tell me if I wanted to even give it a shot. The questions were direct and to the point. I didn’t feel judged (previous therapists made me feel judged). We decided to book a session within days. I just recall feeling anxious and excited.
It’s been a year since that conversation, and it’ll soon be my one year anniversary of therapy. Can I believe it? Not at all. Looking back, I had a plan. I was going to go in and do the work. I would be in therapy for 1-2 years. I had things to do and places to be. I had no time for a long drawn out therapy schedule. I knew what needed to be worked on and I had a timeline. I still remember the laugh I got when I said that to her face.
As I write this, I am using a heating pad for the neck/shoulder/upper back pain. My trauma is stored within these areas. The pain a reminder of what my memory has seemingly forgotten. I’ve been told the pain will get worse before it gets better. I don’t know that I can handle that. It’s one of the most scary aspects of this journey.
In the last year, I’ve found myself discovering what makes me tick. There are still many patterns that I don’t quite understand. There’s still a lot of anxiety residing within me. There’s still a sense of not truly knowing who I am. They say that trauma becomes part of the identity… I find this to be true. At times, I want to hold on to it, because I don’t know who I am without it. At other times, I’m fully ready to discover myself. I’m still dealing with the shame. One big thing that stands out from the past year is how much I’ve compartmentalized myself. I’ve hid away significant parts of my personalities only showing them to people who know them. Right now, my focus is on authenticity. I’m learning to show up for who I am. I’m learning that not everyone will like all of me. I’m learning that in order to have the relationships I want, I need to be vulnerable.
I don’t know where I’ll be in a year. I do know I’ll continue to grow. I’ll continue to shed a past I cannot fully recall. I’ll continue to grow.