I keep extensive notes, I think that should be obvious. I also have a somewhat Eidetic memory which helps fill in gaps. The following has been edited as I do not wish for any personal information to be released. This conversation has occurred many times in some form or another. This following one was recent.
“You have something stuck in you today.”
A surprised look, “yes” with a firm nod. “How did you know so quickly?”
“You are picking at lint that is not there, on your top, you haven’t looked at me yet and you checked your watch just after you sat down. So, what is stuck?”
“I am not healing, after x number of months and I don’t feel any different”
“What was the first thing that I said to you?”
She grinned and said “HOLD ON” and you shouted it.
I smiled and pointed to her grin. “That has changed, you have been doing that a lot lately and I meant the first session, not the first thing I said to you.” I had shouted “hold on” to her, the first time we met as she had arrived for her first session after taking an overdose of meds and we rushed off in the ambulance together.
I continued, “When was the last time you attempted suicide?”
“Just before you yelled Hold On to me”
“Why did it stop then? The attempts, there had been quite a few'”
“I don’t know, things felt different.”
“You had some hope?”
“Is the hope gone now?”
“No, I think that I have more hope but I feel that I am not any better.”
“Is work going ok right now?”
“Yes, but you got me that job. No one was interested in hiring me.”
“I am not sure that this is true, the biggest obstacle for you getting a job was you. I have also spoken to X and she said you are doing an incredible job.”
“How did you know that I would?”
“Because I could see into you, the things you were not looking at. I knew with your empathy that you would be amazing. Now what was the first thing that I said to you, in our first session at the hospital?”
She thought for a moment, I knew she knew. “You will heal when you want to”
“but I wanted to right away”
“You wanted a pill that would make everything go away, that you only had to take once and would work right away.”
“Those were the words I used.”
“This is how everyone feels though.”
“You have smiled a few times this morning, you are working and you talk with your Mom quite often now. You are managing your rage, asking yourself questions before you reply or react.”
“Yes. But it is taking so long”
“It took a long time for you to get to the way you were, on our first meeting. It takes some time to sort things out, to undo the way you perceive some things, the way you react to some things. How do you feel now as compared to, say, July of last year?”
“Because, this is when you started to want to heal. This is when you started trying, when you asked more of me, when exercises I gave you made more sense and you felt they helped. It is when you started talking in group. When you started to question the effects of some of your meds and started to provide feedback so we could adjust them. This is when you started to heal. Before that, you would show up and tell me how nothing worked, give me no feedback on medications, answer ok, to most questions or to complain about how unfair some things were.”
She thought for a moment. “It is unfair!”
“Yes, it is. What changed in July for you?”
She thought again, “I noticed how the breathing exercise you gave me helped calm me down.”
“That was the eye opener that something may help?”
She nodded, it was such a simple thing, but if you don’t really try and try again, and again, and again, until it becomes second nature, it just doesn’t work. That it had helped calm her opened her eyes.
“You just said a moment ago, that you have even more hope now. This is when healing speeds up, you are trying more. You are the key to healing, I am just the tool to enable this. Because you see hope, feel some changes, you crave more, it snowballs, you start asking more questions, demanding more even arguing with me but now, in a constructive manner, not just to be difficult.”
She grinned again. “I have been difficult, haven’t I?”
“You had every right to be, I wouldn’t let you go, I told you to hold on, when you didn’t want to.”
She nodded slowly. “I am glad that you did.”
“I am also, who else would I argue with?”
“You argue with everyone in group.”
“What does that do?”
“It makes everyone talk and then, most often you tell them they were right. OMG you do that deliberately!”
It was my turn to smile. “I do?”
She nodded emphatically. Then thought again. “So I am getting better?”
Now it was my turn for the nods. “The past two months Mindfulness exercises are actually being attacked by you the snowball is getting larger. Interpersonal effectiveness is not a battle with you now, when you argue it is logical not emotional, when your Mother makes demands you are able to say no to her now, without a huge confusing outburst, she understands the no. Your emotional outbursts are fading you are identifying your emotions, justifying them before reacting.”
“Is this the E part of Improve” (E being Encourage)
“I always encourage. I am pointing out however, that you, will always be the last to observe the change in you. Others will see it first, the feedback of this to you, is slow, you don’t see it, but you feel it. You will not notice the changes in you as quickly as others do, you are surprised when people comment on it, then you think about it and realize what others see.”
“I am getting better”
“Because you want to.”
She nodded. She nodded a lot.
This is when you heal.
it is not easy
it is not a pill
it doesn’t happen overnight
You HAVE TO FIGHT
but… when you truly want to, then you try.
You can argue, many will, I know, I see it.
Those that have healed will nod though
They wanted to.