How the NHS failed me and mine.
What it did, to the most important person
in my life and how it could happen to you unless
we do something about it!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Freedom (well of a sort) Maybe

She cupped her hands, lifted them high, and said "it's time to fly free!". I told her she was a sarcastic bitch, but I knew from the smile, she was just joking. And so we parted. It was the end of an era; an episode in my life that had been perhaps the hardest I had to endure. But she had helped me come to terms with a life less ordinary, that has taxed my identity, my very being at times.

She came to be, that very significant 'other' in my life, someone I became dependent on to help me find a path through the swamp of misery and self loathing I waded through. Someone who became my emotional crutch, my guide, mentor, teacher and so much more. She was all that I did not believe therapy was all about. I have always been a sceptic, a doubter, but this woman treated me with respect, with kindness and did not hector, condescend or in any way act like that I had assumed a therapist would.

She gave me permission at first, to be this incoherent wreck who almost lost the last thing left in his life, and then went about destroying himself in blind rage at the iniquity of it all, and in sorrow for all my failings, as a father, husband, son, and much more. No one had ever done that before, especially for me. I was the serpent, the destroyer of lives. I was not worthy, so I set about proving just how pointless, it all had been, and in the process, nearly lost, that which I had sacrificed much of my wealth, my status, my self worth, for.

Over quite a long time, she set about restoring my soul. That essence of life within us all, that lets us get through each day. With kindness and humility, she teased out, all the horrors, in the Stygian corners that harboured my bleak outlook, were laid bare. I came to depend on those hours; one a week. Sometimes with tears, often with black humour, and eventually, some laughter. She fortified my well being sufficient to face each day. I relapsed many times, but as time went by she tasked me with visits to my worst fears, the place, the time, the events that had shaped my life, and had brought me to her in terror and misery.

I think I owe her my life, and yes, it did get that bad. I had experienced much stress in life, and trauma, as have we all. But I had no idea of what Post Traumatic Stress was about, except that battle scarred soldiers sometimes suffered from it. I really had no idea that I could get it. But I did. It's a dark and terrible place to be. Those who visit it's halls are always left with scars, often worse one's than those that brought them down in the first place. She taught me to honour the experience, that it was not a weakness, merely a symptom of strength that had been stretched beyond it's limits.

Then, she said one day, not too long ago, that we had to part; my time was over. It was her job to impose her own redundancy upon our relationship. I viewed this with some trepidation; fear even. It seemed again that she had trumped the stereotypical view I had held, that this does not happen, that therapy goes on for years. Keeping the fees coming, the subject held to dependence, always seeking new areas of one's psyche to explore, was my cynical take. Well, I had been wrong, and now it was a bit scary to be alone again, responsible for negotiating my own way across the swamp, without a guide!

I kept putting it off, saying I was not ready, that I still had issues we needed to address, but she pressed me, hard. Implying if I did not do it, she would have to. All of course, in the nicest possible way. I have a backstop, an escape route, if all goes wrong. I can ring her for help, talk again in a few months time. In some ways our relationship had changed, with me preempting some of her strategies, even teaching her a few things about my knowledge of the side effects of drugs. I even think she humoured me sometimes to cajole me into taking the reins, not being lead.

It has been a journey. Some of it even a saga related. But. it's over, at least for now and she has my gratitude, my thanks, for leading me into a slightly less dark tomorrow. I hope to be able to walk again without that crutch. I wish I could tell her name, but that would betray all the tenets she lives by. But thank you, you know who you are, and hopefully now, I know who I am too..

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