In 2011 I began on a journey of deep, critical psychotherapy. Working to heal and resolve the huge burden of complex trauma and unhealthy coping mechanisms I had developed to be able to cope until that point. When I began on this journey I was still deep in a cycle of chaos that involved drug and alcohol use, stubbornness and an absolute terror of being with myself and holding my emotions in the moment. I felt fractured, my psyche and personality in fragmented pieces that never enabled me to feel whole beyond a brief moment in time. Mindfulness, healthy behaviour and hope spilled through my clenched fists at a rapid rate, I could never hold these moments beyond my initial contact with them. I could glance into the mirror for a split second but I could never hold my own gaze.
For seven years I have worked with my therapist to build a foundation in my life, a building block of stability, healthy decision making and critical reflection on my misguided thought patterns and perceptions, something I never had the chance to develop up to that point. We both showed up every session to work diligently on the muck my subconscious had brought to the surface that week, ever so slowly refining and filtering through the debris left over from the aftermath of the initial traumas during the first decade of my life. The goals were simple, yet far from an easy undertaking.
It was only in the past two or so years that I felt a tangible sense of this foundation being built. I began to understand I would always spiral, but it seemed like the lowest I ever went, wasn’t a place of complete external destruction like I had succumbed to in the preceding years, it was definitely still painful and involved some level of internal destruction, but it was no longer manifesting into external destructive behaviours that used to level my life into rubble. The peaks and troughs were becoming much more healthy in their oscillations. A dear friend of mine has always told me ‘life isn’t about the absence of problems but the way in which you manage them’, slowly I was becoming able to actively manage the ups and downs of life.
In the past few months, this idea of building a foundation in my life has progressed into something I never imagined to be possible. It’s difficult to describe the solidity, the true tactile sense of feeling whole that has recently developed. I hold my palm in the centre of my chest and actually feel myself existing. I really hate to use a Star Trek metaphor but it reminds me of when the characters are phased onto the ship, during my whole life up until this point my existence has felt fleeting and vaporous, at risk of being extinguished at any moment, but now I am struck with this sense of being a concrete form, substantial and consolidated, finally phased onto the proverbial ship.
I don’t believe the work will ever truly be done, there is a path of refinement that leads ever onwards but this moment in time feels like the most physically tangible and concrete threshold of progress I’ve experienced.