For 14 years, I was the 4:00 p.m. appointment on Wednesday. Fourteen. Years. With insurance. Without it. With a job. With no job. Married. Divorced. Horrible weather. Pretty weather. Half sick. Tired. Depressed. Hopeless. Trying to hang on. I was there almost every single Wednesday of the year for all those many, many, many years.
When I finally got a job this January after 6 months of unemployment, it became evident very quickly that keeping this appointment was going to be a problem. They are attendance Nazis. I had a couple of doctor’s appointments already set up prior to starting work. I told them about the appointments before I started and got approval to go. But when the time came, I felt the cold, the nonacceptance and I realized I was clearly getting a black mark for taking time off work. When I had to have a follow-up appointment, I was afraid to say anything. I made it for as late in the day as I could. I fearfully told my boss. No response. Just cold. So, it didn’t take me long to figure out that leaving work 30 minutes early every Wednesday to see my counselor wasn’t going to be embraced the way it had always been in the past. I mean, it’s not like I only work 40 hours a week. I typically work 9-1/2 hours a day. That’s normal. So taking off that 1/2 hour weekly was very much a non-issue at any other place I had worked. Not here. Not with the attendance Nazis.
When you have been pursuing healing for 14 years…not just through weekly counseling, but when that has been an integral component…saying goodbye is emotionally wrenching. For me, it represented an acknowledgement that I am not going to get any better than this. No more support. No more encouragement. No more help untangling all the massively tangled thoughts. No more assistance uncovering buried feelings. No more intense work. It’s done. It is finished. And I know in my heart of hearts, it’s not good enough. I know I am still very broken and needy.
I also know I’m out of options.
Letting go of my appointment and discontinuing counseling was an admission of defeat. It was giving up hope. Giving up on life. On myself. I’m alone now; totally and completely. There is no one to turn to. No “maybe today will be the day I realize a breakthrough” moments in my future. Not even a sliver of expectation. I fought long and hard and I lost. I am not healed. Not even close. I’m unloved and unlovable. Too much baggage. Too much damage. There will be no rebuilding. No restoration. No happy ending. I have to let it go. I have no choice.
I started counseling a few months after my father died. I finally felt as if I was at a point where I could talk about what happened to me when I was growing up, under his control. I no longer had to protect him…he was dead. So I didn’t have to keep silent any more. I could try to figure out what was left of me, what the years of abuse had done to me and what needed to be done to put me back together into some semblance of normalcy. It was hard initially. I was so closed off. Took a long time to trust the counselor. But I finally started talking a little and then a little more. I had hope. Not much, but enough to keep going; to keep trying.
I kept trying even when my marriage fell apart. Even when I didn’t see results. Even when I tried to kill myself. I knew if I stopped trying, I would be giving up on myself completely. And I was afraid to do that. Afraid of what it would mean. What I would become. Without hope.
Saying goodbye was gut wrenching. It hurt. It was so much more than an end to a counseling relationship. It was utter defeat. Loss of the last thread of belief that my life could be better…someday…maybe…if I kept trying and working and praying. I had put a lot of time, effort and money into this endeavor. And now, it was over. I didn’t get the return I had hoped for. I don’t know why healing has eluded me and even my counselor has been perplexed at my lack of progress. In light of that lack of progress, perhaps I shouldn’t be so devastated to end the process. But when that’s all you’re hanging on to…letting go means a free fall. Nothing to stop you. No parachute. You’re a gonner.
That’s where I am now. Awaiting the smack of harsh reality when I hit bottom. Because I am falling. And there is no safety net or parachute. At the moment, I’m numb, suspended in this Netherland; a world between. Without anchor or rudder. Without direction. I am being thrashed by the storm, tossed about, slapped senseless, knocked around, beaten. I am utterly lost.
Sadly, it appears doubtful now that I will ever find my way. The howling wind throws back its head in manic laughter at my plight. The thunder claps in approval. My tears are lost in the endless rain. The darkness wraps me in its cold, unyielding arms. Alone, I fall. I reach out tentatively, but grasp only air. The lightening dances across the sky, rejoicing in my demise.
Wednesday provided a miniscule amount of shelter. And that small place of semi-safety is gone. That tiny light of hope has been extinguished.
My parents should be proud. I thought I could escape them. I thought I could overcome the damage of their touch. I was wrong. They have defeated me, even from the grave. What they began is playing out and nothing can stop it or alter the path. I have lost the battle. The storm, the darkness, my parents have won. My destruction is now but a matter of time.