Not backwards, but moving back into equilibrium. I went to the support group last night. It was a vent your story night theme, so everyone did. Repeating your story, or at least the parts of it that hold energy for you, helps to get rid of the power that what happened has over you. Over me.
I had a difficult time sharing what happened when I first got out, because doing so put me right back into the circumstance. I relived it, which seemed to be a stupid thing to intentionally do, you know? It was so bad that I did not think that I would be able to participate in support groups, much less therapy. I thought that being out meant being safe from all of it, including having to remember and share it with anyone.
It was so stressful and I was continuing to have so many panic attacks that I thought I might not be able to go on. But, I did. The process seemed too whiney (yeah, even for me...) and pointless. I mean, what is the purpose or point of dwelling on the past, going over and over it. It is the past; just move on. I guess that even then I realized that I had to find a way to divest myself of those parts of my life, or at least the power it had over me. And, bad stuff that happens to us hold enormous control over how we feel about ourselves and how we manage moving through our lives.
Even when it seemed that being thrust back into those experiences would finally do me in, I did it. It was so hard. But, I did it.
Last night illustrated that so wonderfully. Listening to the other women share is an honorable way to spend my time. It is a blessing to simply be there to witness their stories. I am one year out of that mess, but today is new to them, and I recognize so much of myself and my experience of sharing with their fresh release from the terrible things that happened to them. One of the younger women shared her story for the first time last night because her doctor has been telling her to do so over the past two weeks that she has been in the shelter. I am in awe of what she has survived. I am in awe of all of these women, all of the women with whom I have been in contact since I left my old life.
Last night's counselor is great at the group dynamic. She always manages to ask the right questions, helping to keep the narrative moving, productive and in the right direction. She truly understands how the process of groups is intended to work. It is not always possible to process what I need, to feel at least marginally better at the end of group, but I am going to continue this and keep going to therapy for as long as it takes to make whatever progress I can make. This feels as though I do not have a strong enough commitment to my own mental and emotional health, and maybe I do not, but I am willing to keep at this as long as I can, or as long as I am seeing some progress in how I handle things.
It will be interesting to discuss this tomorrow. I have so much more to think and write about this process, but I have to go to work soon.
Spring began less than an hour ago. New beginnings. For all of us.
One of the advocates at the shelter snagged me last night. They are very interested in starting the book club we have been talking about since I left there, and the times that works best for the shelter, the women and everything that goes on there is not good for me. I think that I will make that little accommodation and begin soon. We will work out the details this week and begin soon. So, that is good, too, yes? I think so.