The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 34 My Therapists: Part Two

Posted by themirrenlee on 03/02/2012

Hollywood in October - a much better plan with the help of counseling!

My Therapists.

As I said yesterday, I’ve had 3 over the course of 20 years, with a break of about 7 years between the first and the second one, and then a break of about 2 years between the second and my current one. With the first one, I needed weekly sessions to work on all my issues, clean out the internal garbage that was cluttering up my mental processes, and reset my tapes/coding so that I could function better emotionally.

With the second counselor, I had sessions every few weeks to reset some thinking processes that had gone haywire because my increasingly acute chronic health issues (Fibromyalgia, etc.) had started to get to me. In other words, my shame/guilt issues over being sick, and not as “productive” as I had always been conditioned to be, came back with a vengeance. Then I also discovered some new Buttons/tapes/coding that had been hiding and needed to be taken care of.

By the time I got to my current counselor, who I started seeing last year, I was in “tune-up” mode, the same as a car service. I needed someone to talk to who would help me sort out my “emotional noise” when it got too loud, blocking me from thinking straight. Sometimes, I found that because I had been raised in such a crazy atmosphere, it was helpful just to be able to ask someone, when my brain felt confused about a situation, “Now, is it me, or is it them?” If we discovered, by talking it through, that it was me, then I could uncover what old patterns I had perhaps fallen into, and if it was “them” then she helped me decide whether or not it was worth tackling the situation, or just letting it go. After all, a healthy and happy emotional life is all about  how you react to what people say or do to you. Whether you realize it or not, you choose your reactions based on “where you’re at” mentally/emotionally.

Without counseling, I would still be living by the old tapes, coding, and Buttons that had been programed into me since birth, and trust me, that would not be a happy, fulfilled life! If you need counseling, for whatever reason, you can’t be pushed into it. You have to want to do it for yourself; you have to be committed to change within yourself. I was motivated by deciding that I absolutely wasn’t going to live my parents’ lives – dysfunctional, unhappy, full of regrets. I wanted something better for myself; I just didn’t know how to allow myself to achieve that.

So what was the big breakthrough I had yesterday at my session? Well, it revolved around one of the Commitments (Goals) I’ve made for myself this year. I want/need to go back to Los Angeles for at least a month for some creative input and a fresh burst of new energy. I had decided that I would go in April when the lease on my flat was up. I had been making plans and researching all the details to make it happen. And feeling more and more stressed. I even felt my Fibromyalgia flaring up as my pain levels rose with the underlying stress. What in hell was going on? I was looking forward to this trip, wasn’t I?

The wonderful thing about all 3 of the counselors I’ve had is what they’ve all had in common – calm, quiet personalities to “neutralize” my hyper, noisy one. They’ve all had the ability to listen to my chaotic ramblings, without making me feel like I’m “crazy”, and calmly interpret for me what I’m trying to clarify for myself. (This is where I have to say that if you’ve had a counselor you didn’t click with, don’t give up; keep looking for one that suits you. It’s no different than looking for a doctor, hairdresser or car mechanic – sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your Prince/Princess!)

I told her how stressed I was about going in April, but I really wanted to go, so what was wrong with me? She asked if I particularly needed to go in April. I said no, I’d prefer to go in October – it’s my favorite time of year there, as Fall sets in and the season of Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas gets under way. I love it all the way into winter, when snow covers the surrounding mountains in January and February. I then started saying the fares are cheaper, and I’d get two winters in a row because I can’t take the heat since Menopause attacked me, and I’d be able to move back to Philip Island in April instead of having to look for a place when I came back. (I lived on the Island a year ago and fell in love with it. It’s a small community near the beach with the slogan, “Relax, you’re on Island Time”, tacked up everywhere. You’ve got to love that, don’t you?!).

As I talked, I slowly relaxed and calmed down. I realized that I’d been so stressed because I didn’t know if my health would be good enough by April – I still have a lot of stamina and strengthening to catch up on. But I got stuck on The Plan (see my Post about “Plans”). “Why is that?” she asked me.

All of a sudden I burst into tears, which meant I’d hit a Button. I realized I had been subconsciously asking myself, “Is it okay if I change my Plans? Am I “allowed” to, without triangulating through someone else and asking for their permission?” This was a huge issue in my life, and it still comes back to bite me when I least expect it. All I needed was to give myself permission to make my own decisions.

Now you may read that and think how silly of me. But everyone’s issues, Buttons, challenges in their lives are different, and they all feel equally important to the person experiencing them. One person’s “Why don’t you allow yourself to have some you time?” is another person’s “Why do you allow that person to abuse you?” We can’t have the importance or validity of our life challenges questioned – that just discounts them, which is the last thing we need. If someone does that to you, tell them to read my Post on Empathy. To paraphrase the old saying, “Walk a mile in their shoes.”

Just a final note if the thought of counseling makes you feel kind of afraid. It isn’t scary – it’s emotionally tough at times, but ultimately it’s liberating and life changing. The most common question I’m asked is, “But what will I SAY?” Trust me, once you start, it will all find a way to come out!

I’ve been talking about this for 2 days because it is SO important to my Journey this year. My session yesterday got me happily back on track with my Plans and Commitments, and I feel like a heavy burden of stress has been lifted from my shoulders. All that, simply from someone helping me to see that I wasn’t giving myself permission to listen to my inner self. That’s the value of counseling – it’s a mirror that reflects what’s REALLY going on in your head.

Now this month and the next will be spent looking for a new place to live back on the Island, while taking it slowly with my travel plans for October. I have clarity, which makes me a hell of a lot calmer.

I’m just sayin’ …

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