I looked at the therapist from the deep woods where I remained hidden. Friend or foe? Only time would show. I was wild since I had learned from experience to distrust man. He remained silent as I considered my next move. Should I show myself or continue to watch him from the shadows? He looked very relaxed as he sat in his chair. His long legs were crossed at the ankles and he looked like we had all the time in the world. He was looking at the carpet while he waited. I studied him and decided that I liked his face, his demeanor too. He looked wise and patient. And, not one given to sudden movements. I slowly came out from behind a tree and stood before him. He raised his eyes slowly till they met mine and he smiled a small gentle smile. I stopped breathing for several moments and then had to look away. I felt too revealed when our eyes met. A bit dizzy, I sat down upon the ground. I tried, but I couldn’t bring myself to make eye contact again so I just looked at his shoed feet. I felt something stir inside me. A feeling, a new feeling. It had no name. Or none that came readily to my mind. I studied the feeling. I decided that it felt good. And then, a word entered my mind. “Safe”. Yes, that was it. I felt safe. I reached out to touch the ground but instead felt carpet.
It is hard to find people in this world who will try to understand just what PTSD is, let alone how it impacts your life. Even people who love you are apt to know more about the president’s dog than PTSD. Even if they read up on it, they may not understand it in an empathetic way since it is not something they experience. There are days that I feel more understood by the cat than a dear friend. (Of course, this is anthropomorphism — but heh, whatever gets me through the day… 😉 ) But, here at WordPress, I can find others who walk my path — who “get it” — because they are walking it too. It may not be PTSD, but instead depression, anxiety, OCD, DID, bi-polar disorder, or any number of mental and emotional health challenges. But, we can understand each other because we have shared experiences. Some days, we write a post and feel heard when we see a “like” on it. We press “like” when we find a post we can relate to. Sometimes we even comment on each others blogs and share a thought or two. We see others on the path sharing our journey. The loneliness abates. Other people’s ignorance is easier to bear. There are others who understand and whom we understand and this is a very good thing.
My imaginary friend refused to grow up. She is still five years old. She is still trying to have the childhood she never had. Severely abused, but safe now, she wants a life of bright colors and laughter. Tears of relief are okay too. Her name is simply Little One. She plays with her own dolls that are no longer taken from her. They have tea parties with sugared tea and many smiles. Watercolors, her own watercolors, are taped upon every wall. These pictures that she has painted of her dolls, stuffed animals and her new Mom adorn the room. I am her Mom and I love Little One with all my heart. I do my best to try to make up for her years of sadness and hurt. She is sad less and less and even dances sometimes. Can you see her spinning about with her dress twirling as she laughs?
Her imaginary room has a bay window with long, soft curtains that move in the breeze from the open window. Sitting there, Little One basks in the feeling of being safe. Safe to be. Safe to be little.
I just got home from a really good therapy session. I have been really blessed to have competent and caring therapists over the past couple of decades. Decades? How good can they be if you still need therapy? Ah, but you don’t know how screwed up I was! I thought and felt like I was garbage and now I know I am a person of worth. I felt dirty and low and now I feel clean and can hold my head up. I felt deep shame and now know I did nothing to deserve the abuse I received. Yes, a few more decades of therapy and I should be as good as new. LOL. My loved-ones often do not think my therapists are any good because I am not “fixed” yet. But, I know they have shined a light into the darkest recesses of my heart AND have not looked away or walked away but journeyed with me. They have listened to my life’s stories that I thought were unspeakable. And they have witnessed my tears. So, a toast… here’s to all the good therapists!