“I’ve been on her waiting list for months! How did you get in with her?”
When my therapist took me on as a client, she told me that she had a six-month waiting list. It’s not that I didn’t believe her. I just wondered who can wait six months for something like trauma therapy. However, she agreed to take me on as a client and I graciously accepted.
So how did I get an almost instant appointment with the highly sought-after CEO and trauma therapist, Dr. Kim? Well, it was a struggle!
When I first left Baltimore I knew I wanted to continue with therapy, but I had some other pressing issues to address first. After about three months I was ready to tackle my mental health. I called a few local counseling centers and asked for what I needed – a therapist who specialized in trauma that could see me on either Tuesday or Thursday from 9:30am to 10:30am. Most didn’t even call me back, but this one not only called me back, they said they had someone for me!
My new therapist was a white male in his early 20’s interning for the facility. Most people would’ve thought I was crazy for even agreeing to something like that. I was a 40-year old black woman with a child his age. I was seeking help with PTSD from child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. What could this kid have to offer me on this journey?
The answer to that is...nothing! In fact, I started feeling more burned out during our four months together. I was tired and cranky from morning til night. I had insomnia. I would have dizzy spells throughout the day. I stopped sending weekly emails to my supporters, recording podcast episodes, and blogging. I even shut down my social media accounts. I would snap at my twins for the smallest infractions. I even gained 25 pounds in just three months. I felt even more disconnected than I did when I started.
Of course, I contemplated not going back week after week, but I really wanted to keep trying. Maybe there was a breakthrough coming. But alas, I accepted that it just wasn’t worth the effort. I needed to find a new therapist. Then, came the breakup.
I did express my concerns to him, and he asked for another opportunity to help. I agreed and we had our session as scheduled that day. When I left, I felt even more sure that he could not help me. I called a few therapists and even some support group coordinators in an effort to find an alternative to therapy during that week before our final appointment. Then, I went back to address him face to face and let him know I was ending my treatment. We shook hands and said our goodbyes.
I was scared shitless!!
I was actually in worse shape than when I started therapy. Not only was my PTSD still an issue, I was now burned out and feeling dejected. None of the other therapist were able to accommodate my schedule. If this was the only therapist in this small town that could take me, what was I going to do?
Just then, my prayers were answered! I found a company that had mobile therapists that come to the client's home for appointments and they took my insurance. I scheduled an appointment during the twins’ usual nap time and was ready!
By the second appointment, the therapist insisted on meeting the twins, told me that one of them appears to have autism, but not to worry, her company has some great resources for kiddos like her.
I was pissed beyond measure!
At this point I wasn’t sure what to do. I hadn’t given up on therapy as a modality for my healing, I just didn’t know where to turn. The very next day I received a call and voice mail message from a number I didn’t recognize. When I checked the voice mail it was the owner of the therapy place where I was seeing the intern. She wanted to talk to me about my experience with him.
I called her back for what I thought would be a very uncomfortable conversation, but she was very down-to-earth and kind, yet straight-forward. She was even from Baltimore as well! She offered a truly authentic apology for my experience with him. She also told me about her waiting list and her upcoming month-long trip out of the country but offered to see me during that same day and time if I was still looking for counseling services when she returned.
She has been absolutely phenomenal! And to think, had I not been willing to endure the struggle of telling my most shameful life details to some college kid, I would have been on a six-month waiting list too. Or worse, I could have been still sifting through shitty therapist.
How did I get in with her? Through the struggle! I wasn’t willing to accept the waiting list. The struggle is dirty and messy sometimes, but it could be the quickest way to what we need.
We often try to skip the struggle for a multitude of reasons. Most of them are pretty good! We don’t want heartache or disappointment. We don’t want to waste our time or any other resource. Shit, we just don’t want to struggle. All valid arguments, but the struggle is often the preparation. The journey isn’t easy nor is it gentle. The journey to greatness is full of bullshit and chaos. Parts of it can be relatively decent, but most of it is hard. It’s the struggle. Gear up, takes notes, and get messy. It’s worth it.
Yes, in that struggle I did land a pretty good therapist, but I also practiced standing up and advocating for myself. I practiced persistence and resilience. These are all things that get lost when you become a victim of abuse. I was able to practice some pretty important skills that aid in my healing and recovery while still getting what I needed in the end.
Don’t skip the struggle.
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After spending a year in grief counseling, I started to see that my life needed a major overhaul. Yes, my boyfriend died making me the single mom of our infant twins, but I was still grieving my loss of innocence from decades of abuse. I decided to turn my pain into a new purpose and to share this journey with others that may need some motivation.