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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Counseling 2: Fifth Session

I was very anxious to go to my counseling appointment. Something happened this weekend and I really wanted to discuss it with Therapist. I had forgotten to cancel one of my students, so we hurried through her lesson, then I drove the 55 miles to my appointment WAY too fast. I was 15 minutes late and frustrated--I wanted that whole hour! Therapist makes me fill out what I call "state of being forms" when I come. Basically, it's the same form each time, which poses statements such as "I feel fulfilled and happy in my sexual relationships." or "I am frequently angry at co-workers." or "I have thoughts of suicide or dying." Then I get to mark the box that appropriately describes my feelings about those statements--never, rarely, sometimes, frequently, always. Each response has a point value assigned. Those numbers add up to indicate my emotional, social, mental states. Usually I don't mind the form--today it was a nuisance. Therapist wanted to talk about my progress. Basically, according to the forms, there was none. Today, my numbers were higher than ever--which is not necessarily positive for all areas. I told Therapist I'd had a busy week, and was a little stressed, and could we talk about something else?

So we talked about my assignment: Analyze my relationship with God. What does He represent? How do I feel about the fact that He is the creator of the body I'm trying to get rid of? I told Therapist that I'd tried to do the assignment without success. I talked about my different strategies. I outlined the development of my relationship with the Lord. I worked out my feelings for Him currently. I thought about the connection between Him and the creation of my body. Nothing. I can't make this work. I'm not getting anywhere.

Therapist asked me if I'd had anymore thoughts about my role as the abuse victim. Actually, I had. I told Therapist that I'd been thinking, and I realized that I've always defined my life's beginning at the point in time when the abuse happened. I've never really thought about my life prior to that. So I sat down and pondered it. I realized that when I think of myself before the abuse, I think in terms of a child. I remember childish feelings. I did silly, childlike things. But after the abuse, my memories are all in terms of adult feelings and reactions, which makes no sense because I was still a child. Therapist asked me to describe something that 10-year-old Samantha did that was within the realm of childhood. I told him how I decided I needed a job, so I applied to a mail-order supply to be a door-to-door salesperson. They sent me a kit, and I went selling. My mom told me she wouldn't help me at all (she wanted me to stop). I didn't care. I sold lots of stuff. Then it came for delivery in a big box, COD. I used almost all my money to pay the delivery charges, then a friend and I rigged the box to my bike, we both sat on the seat, and we pedaled to each house to deliver the merchandise. I'm certain we looked amazingly silly. But we felt pretty cool as we made repeat sales and delivered "stuff".

Therapist laughed. He said that's just the way a ten-year-old thinks. She wouldn't care how she looks, she would be very focused on what her goal was. Therapist asked how much money I ended up making. I believe the actual sum was between $7-$8. He laughed again. Then we talked about how, one year or so later, my thinking was entirely changed. My life had changed. Therapist asked what kinds of feelings I had for my cousin prior to the abuse. I acknowledged that I probably had a crush on him. He was older. He treated me like I was special. I watch my daughter have crushes on older young men, trying out those feelings of attraction in a safe arena--one where she doesn't have to worry about the feelings being returned or complicated. I believed I, too was safe in exploring those feelings when I directed them toward my cousin. I was wrong.

Therapist believes that because I was forced into an adult situation, my brain adjusted its thinking to reflect that. Even though I was just entering puberty, and still a child, my thoughts were very adult in nature. I still wonder why I didn't try to leave, why I didn't tell him to stop. Therapist says that is because I am attributing adult reactions to a child who was in no position to act in the way I wish she had. My assignment this week is to talk with Darrin about these sentences: "If I could have gotten away, _____________ would have happened." and "If I had done _______________, perhaps I could have gotten away." The truth is, I know the answers to those questions, but Therapist believes that discussing them in depth with Darrin, will help the belief move from my head to my heart. We'll see.

Therapist commented that I've lost more weight. I haven't seen him for nearly two weeks. I have--but it's negligible--possibly five pounds. Therapist asked about my weekend at the Evergreen Conference. FINALLY!! This was what I wanted to talk to him about. Here's the amazing thing: when I was at the conference, I ate. I didn't even really think about it. I ate two meals daily, and while I didn't eat tons, I ate more than I usually do. It didn't seem odd or remarkable in the least. I didn't even realize this until I got home. Then it hit me--I didn't even have ONE negative thought about my body or my eating disorder, the entire weekend (that would be Thursday-Sunday). So I asked Therapist, why?

Therapist asked me to just talk about the weekend. He had me go into great detail about the people I met, my feelings about them and the situation, how I was treated, how I acted. He asked questions about the gender of the people I was with, whether or not I stayed with Darrin the whole time, and how I felt about those things. He asked me if any of my phobias were manifested during the weekend and wanted details about how those felt, how I dealt with them, and how others around me reacted. Then he asked me what I thought happened.

I said I thought maybe, for the first time, I was in a large group of men, and I wasn't afraid. I felt at ease. By the second day I was absolutely certain that none of the men I was with would hurt me in any way. Those feelings were peaceful, wonderful, and joyful. Therapist said he agreed. He also pointed out how my interactions with the young men I was with were at once accepting and affirming. We joked and played, but could also take time out to be honest and serious. We were in a setting where nothing needed to be hidden. He suggested that for the first time, perhaps in my whole life, I was completely myself with someone other than Darrin. I was myself with people who knew of the abuse in my life, who knew of my SSA, and who still wished to interact with me.

Therapist believes that one of the problems I'm having in accepting the abuse and the reason I've targeted my body, is that somewhere inside me, I don't believe I'm of value. The affirmation and love I received this weekend contradicts the belief structure I've erected, and I absolutely forgot about it as I interacted with "men" whom, as a group, I have previously feared. So I asked Therapist, how do I keep this going? Now that I'm no longer around these friends, I'm feeling myself slowly returning to my norm. I don't want to do that. Therapist told me this is a problem which I have to solve myself. Second assignment: Make a list of ways to cling to the feelings and growth I had this weekend, which I can use to reaffirm myself as time passes. I suggested that I just import all those friends to my home and hold them there indefinitely. Therapist said that was not an option. I have to do this myself. Therapist also said he thought what had happened to me was " as heck!!" I do, too.

I left my session feeling still confused, but happier. I have lots to do in the next week. I'm glad I don't have to see Therapist twice a week anymore, and also a bit sad about it--because I'm in love with him again. He gets my jokes. He thinks I'm funny. And he's helping me get better. What's not to love?


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