(dedicated to Ted Stein, my therapist for 7 years – thank you more than words will ever adequately express)
I broke up with my therapist yesterday.
We’ve broken up before, a few times. And it’s always been hard.
But this time it’s really hard. I now live in a different state in the U.S. than he does. And even tho’ he’s accessible via text or email or Google Hangout, this time is really goodbye. (I’m crying now, writing this blog thru blurred vision and between tissues. Please keep that in mind as you read.)
I know I can text him if I have to. I know he’ll schedule a video conference if we need one, but we’re both hoping that won’t be necessary. Ok, maybe I’m kinda hoping it will be necessary, but I’m also really hoping it’s not – that this is goodbye. I’m still a mess of emotions, even after 7 years. But these are normal emotions. And I’m experiencing them to the fullest – that’s considered progress in therapy. Normal emotions at the proper time. Sadness at saying goodbye. Excitement for my new adventure. Trepidation as I reach out to make new friends. Grief as I miss those who have been – still are – so important in my life but now I live so far away from them. A little fear at leaving my support systems, yet knowing I can still call them anytime.
We’ve been working toward this – that’s always the goal of therapy, right? To take what I’ve learned from someone wiser than me, to take the tools he gave me, the insights into myself that I’m now beginning to understand, and to put them into practice in the real world, not just the sanctuary of his office. To find myself in a place where I am stronger and wiser, and ready.
Am I ready?
We both think so.
I didn’t think it would happen so soon. I thought there might be more of a transition. But how much more transition can there be than moving 5-7 states away? Yes, social media is an amazing thing, and can shrink those miles. But the reality is that the refuge of his office – the respite that it has been in my life for such a long time, sinking down into his couch, hiding behind the pillow I hold on my lap – all of that is now approximately 1570 miles away.
I’m strong. I’m healthy. I’m in a good place. I’m brave. I’m ok, and I’m going to be ok.
He made me say that out loud yesterday. He said what I couldn’t, that it’s ok to be ok, and then made me say the words. I’m ok.
I haven’t felt ok for soooo long. This is a big deal. A big thing to admit to. To reach out and grasp mental health instead of hiding behind mental illness.
It sounds funny, I know, but it’s comfortable, feeling unsure and unsteady, because I’ve felt that way for a very long time. This step out onto the narrow platform of health – this is scary. What if I waver? Worse: what if I fall?
Yesterday’s devotional from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling – the same day that I broke up with Ted – said:
THIS IS A TIME IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU MUST LEARN TO LET GO: of loved ones, of possessions, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete. Take time to bask in the Light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into My care. You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of My continual Presence. The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes: I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you.
How’s that for a reminder? I am not alone. Ted and I have said goodbye, but I am not alone.
God will never leave me. (Hebrews 13:15)
Jesus is the same yestersay, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
I don’t have to be afraid, because I am not alone. (Joshua 1:9)