I took this picture while The Man parked the car after dropping me by the door of my therapist's office. As of yesterday, it has been two years since I started some pretty intense therapy. He had to drive me to that first appointment. He had to shake my therapist's hand because I didn't touch people. Ever. Not even my husband by that time. He had to sit in the room with me for the first few sessions. I loved those shoes because they had little umbrellas on them, like panic disorder was an umbrella keeping me safe from everything in the world that scared me.
He had to drive me for the first few months until I renewed my license. He had to learn to watch me fuck up and not try to fix it. It was hard. We started seeing a therapist together to help us create new patterns, or as she put it, for me to stop inflicting my OCD on The Man. Which is accurate. I needed to stop treating him like a child and he had to stop taking care of me to such an extent that it was enabling me.
Some things came up that weren't things my behavioral therapist could tackle, they were traumatic and trauma has to be handled more carefully. For vomiting I had to watch that horrific food poisoning scene in Bridesmaids hundreds of times. Watch it until I felt no panic at all, over and over. By the end I could watch them all vomit and shit themselves and eat dinner at the same time.
You can't do that for sexual assault, so it meant a third therapist who does PTSD and trauma work. It meant poking at things and having flashbacks. It meant learning how to pull myself back into the moment when I would begin to dissociate. It meant being vulnerable. It meant feeling pain, a lot of pain. So much pain that I had built my whole life around not feeling it. I won't lie, it fucking sucked. And I am so angry sometimes, so very angry.
Last January, I was discharged from my behavioral therapist and left to staying responsible for my OCD and panic on my own. This month with my other therapist we have started to discuss wrapping up, maybe having her be on call instead of scheduling monthly sessions. Or scheduling them and I can call and say I think I am OK for the moment. Or say that I am not OK for the moment.
We will still be touching base with the marriage therapist on a semi-regular basis as we move forward with trying to build a family. We need the support and feedback, this is so much harder than anything else we have tried to do.
So that's where we are two years later. I don't have the shoes anymore, I don't walk around with an invisible umbrella anymore, either. It means getting messy when life happens. Sometimes my feelings get hurt. Sometimes they get hurt a lot. And I can say so. And I may even cry. And it's OK.