My therapist told me that there are different stages of therapies. Of course as a licensed psychologist, she works with severely damaged person who is not functioning and needs to be in the residential treatment center. People with severe schizophrenia, personality disorder, bipolar..and these people have to focus on first getting their symptoms under control by taking appropriate medications, being in residential treatment facility as necessary and seeking intensive counseling sessions. After their symptoms improve, they may be able to go into the second phase of their treatment plan. Apparently, I was among the first group of dysfunctional people when I first met her in 2005. I was not taking medications, didn’t really understand how serious my issues were but I knew that something needed to be done and she did recommend that I make an appointment with a psychiatrist to get on medication. It has been 9 years since then..wow the time has flown by and of course a lot of things have happened in our personal lives so I have not been always able to see her every other week..when she was pregnant with her first son, I did not see her for three months or so but by then, she determined that I was stable enough to take care of my needs and my symptoms were under control.
Now that I have come a long way and symptoms are under control, she told me to really visualize where I want to go from this point on. Where do I want to be in 10 years..? When I was really sick 9 years ago, I couldn’t even think about the future because I was too busy getting through this moment and TODAY. Now I feel emptier than ever before because the storms have passed and there seems to be nothing left in there. That’s when the sensation of being sucked into a huge black hole comes take over my body..it is time to focus on where I want to go, where I want to be in the future and I live everyday with the goals and the dreams.
People who grew up in a dysfunctional home often have not had a chance to think about these things because they were too busy surviving daily abuse, traumas and all of that. But once all these issues are taken care of, it’s time to reparent our inner child and start to build “new me”. You can go in any direction you want and it’s all about you. You may feel really empty at first because you are not used to think about what you want and figure out what kind of life you want to lead but this is the time to dream big and live your life.
“Self actualization” therapy talks about different stages of happiness and we need to have a safe place to live and the food and water must be available for us to survive and without these basic needs, we can seek a higher level of satisfaction that can make us happy. But after you build the safe base, you can explore different possibilities, new hobbies, new friends..and even start dating different people before finally settling in one relationship.
Take one step at a time and it has been a long journey for me and there are issues that I will struggle for the rest of my life (I think) but I do have better coping skills to get through the storms. and we can choose to live happily and happiness is a choice.