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#435463 - 05/22/13 03:11 PM A Question on May 21
Dave PNW Offline

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 129
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I have a question if I can ask. How do I know if I need to see a therapist? I mean how do I know if I need help? How do I know it would even help me? Seems like such a simple question. When I broke my leg two years ago it was obvious it wasn't something I could fix on my own. This, I just don't know.

After three sessions my counselor wants me to focus on the here and now. Focus on the positive things that I have discovered during this past month or so. I am doing that. Sort of feel like I don't want to disappoint him. I know thats not how this is supposed to work. I am supposed to be in charge of the process. But I don't want to share any more embarrassing or uncomfortable stuff with him....staring at the wall, voice shaking, crying. I don't want to admit to him I am sad about this. He assured me in our first meeting when I disclosed some of my story that this is all pretty common stuff for kids to go through. Tried to make me feel like this was just a normal thing that I didn't process and now it's back and here we are. I should be over this. Maybe I am just making a big deal out of something I shouldn't be. I told him the caving analogy in my last session. He liked it. Saw it as evidence I was moving on, getting better. At least that is what I heard. The story just needs a good closing paragraph, something self actualized and slightly stoic perhaps and he is all better. The ghosts from Dave's past appeased, emotional health restored, now moving on to do good in the world......Fuck!
Today and since Friday I have been feeling really down. Saturday, I didn't want to get out of bed. Sunday I forced myself to pound out a one hour open water swim in wind chop. The endorphins helped, my favorite drug of choice. Didn't last. I am just going through the motions. I am sad. I wish I couldn't feel. I woke up last night and wondered if I am going crazy.

I might as well tell you. The fact I even know this scares me, but today it is 40 years exactly to the day when my "friend" abused me in my bedroom. When it all started. I actually checked a 1972 calendar online to be able to be sure. Why did I need to do this? Maybe it makes it real by seeing it was actually a real day. To know there really was a Saturday before the 21st of May when I was just another 12 year old kid finishing up 7th grade. This seems so messed up.

After dropping off my daughter at high school and heading to my morning workout at the pool, I had a thought. Knowing what I know, I didn't want to just treat today like any other day. I sure didn't want to go into the office and answer a bunch of public policy questions that I really don't give a shit about. I still had my gear in the back from Sundays open water workout. Without a second thought, I turned around and headed out of town to my workout lake. In a driving rain and stiff wind out of the SW I suited up in my wetsuit in the parking lot and just swam out. The lake was completely empty, all mine. If you swim all the way down one arm and back it's a nice neat 5 k swim. Haven't done this since last September, before I started my CSA work, before going back east to be with my dying mother, before my grief and depression of late winter, before disclosing this whole mess to you. My training has been way off for months. I usually don't recommend solo open water swimming, but today was different. No rules today. I had to do something real. Had to do something to feel alive. As I swam it was still cold, air 50 F, water in the low 60s, had to keep up a good pace. But after the first kilometer I started to feel good, warming up, feeling my stroke. At that point I decided to go for it, go the whole distance. A couple times I remembered how swimming had made me strong when I was a kid. I made the turn around spot in good time. Came back hard, riding high in the water, feeling good. The last 1000 meters the rain and wind just stopped. The lake surface became like glass. With ospreys overhead, pink rhododendron blossoms on the surface, I sliced through the water and cruised to the end. Swam 5000 meters in 1:13.0. in crappy conditions. Not bad. Not bad at all for the beginning of the season.
I felt I had to do something today where I felt in control, alive, pushing it just a bit, something to help me feel a little bit proud again. Back at my desk now drinking a hot mocha and eating my musli, no one knows where I have been this morning in the rain. No one except you guys.

Thanks for listening. Just needed to tell someone. Someone who might get it. Have a good day. Peace. Dave

Edited by dw1972+ (05/30/13 10:03 PM)

#435471 - 05/22/13 04:20 PM Re: A Question on May 21 [Re: Dave PNW]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2973

Edited by Chase Eric (05/26/13 03:07 AM)
Edit Reason: Deleted by Eirik

#435472 - 05/22/13 04:29 PM Re: A Question on May 21 [Re: Dave PNW]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Hello Dave --

You pose a question with which is pretty common for most of us on MS. It gave me impetus to go back and read some of the history you've posted here. Man, that's heavily detailed, painful, courageous stuff. Pathetic? Not at all. Neither you nor I have any idea how many people you've probably helped with those kind of candid thots.

To answer your question, I'd say, yes, with the right therapist experienced in CSA and SSA. Though I'd say it's normal to feel some hesitation to share things, it sounds as if your counselor has reached the end of his usefulness. It's okay to move on.

I think you might find a LCSW or similar helpful, particularly your conflicting feelings with the spousal/family issues. I'm not surprised, given your history, you'd be inclined towards keeping most of your feelings on many issues in check, being stoic. Lots of us are and use it as a coping mechanism. I also get the endorphin release and physical exertion (crying uncontrollably after a 5 or 10K). Yes, it's stimulating. I found it also takes my mind off whatever's bothering me, fwiw. I like that you were also noticing your environment...the here and now. Taken to an extreme, however, it has the potential to be used as avoidance or self-punishment. Just a thot to ponder.

I'm not certain how much, if any, of the CSA you've disclosed to the counselor. However, let me make it clear that CSA is NOT normal, especially the 18-year-old you described with your 14-year-old self.

You've brought up a lot of issues on SSA I can't reasonably address because, having been out as a gay man most of my life (we're the same age), the spousal/family issues aren't the same...and at this stage of your life it's loaded. Former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey, formerly in a traditional marriage, is a perfect example. You mentioned the Grindr meatrack where, for example, you're either in competition with 20-something hotties (i.e., you missed out) or, as a friend of mine is dealing with, "kids" who are looking for a "daddy". That's bound to bring up stuff if you've already had your sexuality stifled from a young age.

Though I, too, had a rigid, abusive home environment, I was abused over the course of year by a high school guidance counselor, not my peers. I got into the sex play with friends at the same age, but it became clear they weren't interested in anything except our brief exploration. I felt weird because I was still interested and being a "homo" was taboo. I was threatened by parents with being "put away" and also sent to a therapist who then committed suicide. (lol...and they thot I was fucked up?). However, with my peers, there was never any reciprocity issue. The issue was the adult in his 40s who used his position to take advantage.

imo, when it comes to the therapist, yeah, go for it...but when you're ready. Anyway, Dave, those are my thots. Naturally, PM if you need to. Hold on, buddy.

#435473 - 05/22/13 04:55 PM Re: A Question on May 21 [Re: Dave PNW]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1345

You bet we get it!

I certainly understand striking out for an open water swim. The endorphin rush---the tranquility of nature---that's a great therapeutic adjunct to everything else you're trying to do.

You are not "whining" in the least. Looking up an old calendar---yep-done that. We all have developed ways to cope with what happened. Sometimes these methods no longer work---and the entropy we kept at bay makes its presence known.

Our task---your task is to reestablish order. Continue doing what helps, but try new approaches as well. A new therapist? Since you are asking the question, I think that is a good indication that is probably an avenue worth exploring.

Other approaches may be in order---and I don't know what that is for you---since each case is individualized---but there are some generalized themes you may glean from interacting with others on MS. It may take a while, so please do not hesitate to share within your comfort level. No one ranks abuse by type, perp, or duration. One episode is one too many.

I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before

#435476 - 05/22/13 05:48 PM Re: A Question on May 21 [Re: Dave PNW]
cant_remember Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1070
(((( Dave ))))

You are my hero for today.

I don't have a wetsuit, but I'm about to go outside and feel alive.

I'll be just fine and dandy
Lord, it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But I won't let sorrow get me way down.

#435485 - 05/22/13 07:33 PM Re: A Question on May 21 [Re: Dave PNW]
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south

A short few weeks ago, I spent a span of days exactly as you described... in an emotional state I didn't want to be. I needed something more, and my fT could not help. I felt the same way you say you did until it became clear in my head that the control of the sessions was not mine- but her's. One quick phone call and I never went back. That massive feeling of despair has lifted, although I am still in a strange state emotionally.

But I have found a new T, and well, at least my emotions are stable. I am in a period of building the foundation of a relationship with the nT, but at least I regained some of the control again. And the issues of sexual abuse are never normal... or ranked. And in my case, never to joke about- which is what I heard early on. My only regret is that I wasted 3 or so months after I knew I was working with someone with limited experience of my issues. And I could tell by sporadic intellectual discussion that she had made no effort to read and study to further her knowledge or truly help me.

Your T sounds limited also. If he is limited, you will be as well. I wish you the best in making your decisions and I wish I knew how to swim like that....
For now we see through a glass, darkly.

#435549 - 05/23/13 04:10 AM Re: A Question on May 21 [Re: Dave PNW]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England

I agree with the others. Your fear of dealing with all the painful feelings resulting from your CSA, is understandable, but you should not let it stand in the way of your recovery. The only way out is through the pain.

I also agree that your therapists charachterizing what happened to you as "all pretty common stuff for kids to go this was just a normal thing.....I should be over this.....Maybe I am just making a big deal...." is flat out WRONG. It may be all to common (1 in 6) but there is nothing NORMAL about it, and he is INVALIDATING your experience by describing it this way. Only you can make this judgement, but he may not be the right therapist for you.

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#435550 - 05/23/13 04:35 AM Re: A Question on May 21 [Re: Dave PNW]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
all i know is i went through many therapists, and many different types of therapy. they all had something to offer. combined, i am sure they helped me. i have been getting professional consultation with my story since the early 1980's. i stop and start as i feel the need. trust is a huge issue. they are, after all, only people. if you cannot completely be honest with the therapist, you will only get incomplete results. but i always figured that was better than nothing. step by step i have built and rebuilt my life many times. the good news is... that is something we share with the entire human race.

anyway... i recommend you keep seeking help whenever you need it. here and everywhere. no shame in that.

i know it is hard being 100% open and honest with anyone. disclosure and memory come in waves. there are many layers. i am still discovering this.


#435620 - 05/24/13 02:40 AM Re: A Question on May 21 [Re: Dave PNW]
Dave PNW Offline

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 129
Loc: Pacific Northwest

My session with my counselor went pretty well today. Thanks for the advice. I may not have been totally fair about him in my post earlier this week. Should have used quotation marks to separate his words from my own commentary and inner monologue. Have to remind myself he is not a psychic. He is human. I am also a little defensive at times, its a bit vulnerable putting all this out there. I know I have to drive this thing. I have never done anything like this before, still figuring it out. But talking on MS helps, gives me a chance to figure out how to say some of this stuff. Waded into some challenging areas around my SSA concerns and current relationship issues. That wasn't easy. But being honest is good for me.

He mostly listens to me. Asks a few leading questions and I spill it out. Figure, what the hell, I am here, might as well. All in all he has been very compassionate. Respectful. I am going to stick it out with him for a while. I also realize he hasn't heard my whole story. Don't need to share all of it unless I see a need I guess. Just wanted to say thanks for the support this week. It helped me do a better session. And I answered my earlier post question..... yes I need help with this. He is a good start.


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