I walked in and sat down in the chair for my second round of brain ping pong, and for the first time in approximately two months of treatment I wanted to be there. Typically, when my therapist asks how I am my response is that I wish I was somewhere else. I follow that up quickly with the classic ‘it’s me, not you’ so it’s not offensive; it’s just honest. But not this time. I genuinely wanted to go back in to my brain to see what I could shake loose. My curiosity had peaked.
I chose to stick with the same memory. I was stressing a bit trying to think of what I wanted to remember for the second session. Then it hit me during a point of journaling that there was more left to explore in the first memory. After I dumped the outside world in my box and sat on my mental beach for a while, she asked me to pull up the lowest point of the memory. To my surprise, my brain didn’t go to the door I desperately worked to get open and escape through like it did during the first session. It went to when I tried to walk back in through the door. It went to when no one wanted me to come home.
I’m not going to go into how much these sessions hurt. I was a kid. It all hurts. I want to talk about how the pain has changed and the connections I’ve made from the pain. As you can probably guess, I am not in therapy because of one instance with one door. I’m there for a series of things that took place long before and long after. When I compile all of those together, I never considered the damage from not being allowed to come home. I had a new home. I took care of myself. I went on to be a self-sufficient, successful adult. I considered all the things I did in between character building.
Thoughts have flickered from time to time that possibly some of my greatest achievements come from places of hurt. It’s a huge mind fuck so I tend to brush that off as quickly as possible. But there is something there to think about, not in terms of measuring success but in terms of analyzing the motivation stemming from feeling abandoned.
Along with that internal motivation has come a whole host of misguided feelings, misinterpretations, ridiculous standards placed on myself and others. Bad has come from bad, along with a shit ton of good. That’s where I am at in this mental storm. I’m making peace with the fact that motivation from pain worked when life was uncomfortable. It worked when the struggle to eat was a daily battle. It worked when substance abuse was a common environment. It worked when I was trying to achieve a handful of educational and career goals.
But now, it just doesn’t work. My life is beyond comfortable and my goals are smaller, more streamlined to build on things I’ve already achieved. The people in my life are caring and dependable. So why am I still operating from that closed door? And more importantly, how do I stop? Thus, the journey continues….