You know, I'm beginning to understand the value of talk therapy. Very much.
OK, so I always had a 'tude about therapy in general. "I don't fucking need to talk to no steenkin' shrink."
Wrong. So wrong. I'm almost ashamed to say that while I would pop the pills the shrink gave me, that's all the cooperation I'd give. Yeah, I'll take the pills and be done with it. For a long time, that's how I saw it. And that's why my treatment was really half-assed. Because I wouldn't open up, to anyone. I kept my dark manic secrets to myself, completely. Nobody, not even my husband, knew some of the things I did and thought.
I inhaled Oxycodone, while keeping my addiction a secret. I spent money and hid it from my husband. I went out and did wild things in the flush of mania. And then, I'd come down. Nobody knew what drove me to depression. I did and I hugged it tightly. I suffered through the horrors of Oxy withdrawal because I was too full of myself to seek help. I wasn't giving up my nasties to anyone. In fact, they were my blankie. I'm a BAD GIRL and I should punish myself for my sins by torturing my psyche. Jesus, how pathetic.
And then, along came my best friend, N, who is a recovering alcoholic, which is why I do not name him. He's known the depths of despair, the misery of life, and the epiphany that one needs to have when you hit rock bottom, whether it's through alcohol abuse, substance abuse, or the agony of mental illness.
When we first met, N told me up front that he was a recovering alcoholic. I, in turn, told him that I was bipolar. And knew then that here was the first person I had ever met with whom I could unabashedly and without any reserve talk about the awful things I had done in the past. He would never pass judgment on me, nor I on him. I would trust him with my life and I hope he would trust me with his.
I started talk therapy again six weeks ago. This time, I went with an open mind, checked my ego at the front desk, and gave myself completely to my therapist, Mim. One of her initial questions during that first therapy session was, "Who's your gatekeeper?"
Huh? What dat? "It's the person who knows you the best, who can tell you when you're getting off balance, the person in your life in whom you can confide" says Mim. Oh. I didn't hesitate with my answer. Yes, I knew immediately. N. He's as sensitive as I am, so he knows when I'm out of kilter right away. "Boy, you're AWFULLY snippy this morning." And he's always right about my moods. (Of course, it works both ways--I sure know when he's out of sorts, too.)
Between N and Mim, I've begun to see the light. For the past two Saturdays, I've gone with my beloved friend to his AA meetings. And today, I had yet another mini epiphany.
It's good to be with people who understand your illness, who've been there themselves. It's past good. It's wonderful. And where I always pooh-poohed group therapy, I now see its value. The group supports, the group loves, the group knows. Although my addiction was to a different medium, as it were, addiction is what it is. Often, it's self-medication to mute the sadness, the insecurity, the agitation. But the lesson I have learned from attending these meetings is that when I open my heart, nobody's going to thrust the stiletto into it.
Tonight, before I began writing this entry, I went to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance site to make contact with the East Stroudsburg support group. I will continue to go with N to his meetings, because I love him and I want to support and understand him always, but I will also go to my meetings too. And with an open heart, an open mind, and a giving soul. That's the guidance I've received from my Higher Power.
So stop. Look. Listen. And keep yourself open to all possibilities. You'll benefit endlessly. Life is filled with these epiphanies, if you let life happen to you.