I just finished reading a book Tricks by Ellen Hopkins. The story follows the lives of several teenagers who end up working in the sex industry. One of the lines in that book that really stuck out to me was "Why reach for a dream when you're at ease within your nightmares?" Well, that kind of describes where my mind has been over the past week or so. Or if I am to be truly honest, over most of my life.
I do not like change and yet I seem to throw myself into a whole tornado of change if one little thing is out of order. I take one change and create an environment of chaos where I feel more at ease. Last week I found out that my therapist is retiring in a month. I was not totally surprised by this but that doesn't make it any easier. After I left her office that afternoon and drove the 3 blocks to my apartment I had decided that I was going to change everything. "I'M GOING TO GET A NEW DOCTOR! I'M GOING TO QUIT TAKING MY MEDS! I'M GOING TO GO BACK TO DRINKING! I'M GOING TO PACK UP MY KITTIES AND RUN FAR, FAR AWAY! I'M GOING TO LEAVE ALL OF MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY BEHIND! I'M GOING TO GIVE UP ON FINDING A PURPOSE IN MY LIFE!" You get the picture. That has always been my immediate response. And for the record, it has never worked out well for me.
I know that I am in a better place this time though. Those thoughts came and went several times but did not linger or send me running off to Utah (that is a whole other story!). I think this shows some progress on my part. I know that my physical health is starting to improve again but perhaps my mental health is as well. I am going to miss seeing my therapist. I felt she was a good "fit" with me and I always felt safe and supported with her. But beyond that, she has given me a little extra "gift" of encouragement to seek out and follow my dreams. I don't remember how it came about, but at one of our sessions I shared some of my writing with her and she has been encouraging me to write ever since. Now I know that a lot of therapists encourage clients to journal as it can be very therapeutic. But she has encouraged me to go a little deeper and explore writing in many new directions. The night after I learned that she was retiring I attended a support group and one of the gentleman asked me what my dream was, what gave me a sense of meaning and purpose. My response was immediate - writing. It felt good to say that out loud and not feel that that was a wasted dream because I didn't major in English in college or haven't published anything. For me, that's not what the writing is about. It is about expressing and sharing some of my thoughts and ideas and experiences with others without fear of being judged. That is what my therapist has encouraged me to do. She has never told me to think of a "better" or "more realistic" dream. She simply has encouraged me to write whatever is on my heart.
So, I will be meeting a new therapist soon. I will do my best to approach this change with an open mind. And I will not throw the baby out with the bathwater and change everything about me. I think that just maybe I'm ready to reach for that dream and step away from the uncomfortable yet familiar nightmares I stroll around in. Perhaps I am changing as well, little by little.