To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

 A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.   (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), King James Version of the Bible

 

If you follow this blog, you have probably wondered why I have not posted recently. Have I lost interest in writing? Have I lost interest in therapy? Am I “cured” of my Complex PTSD? The answer to those questions is “NO!” I have not lost interest in writing or therapy, and I most certainly am not “cured” of my C-PTSD. But I AM at a point now where I am ready to end therapy.  

When I began therapy with my present therapist, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating people who have developed Complex PTSD caused by abuse, I was at a point in my life where I knew that if I did not get competent help and get it soon, my symptoms would cause me to isolate myself to a point of no return. In other words, I would withdraw from all social interaction to a point where I might not be able to return to the “real world.” Why? The flashbacks and the other symptoms I experienced were so daunting that I simply did not want to be where other people were. Also, because I lived in a big city and used public transportation, my symptoms were constantly triggered every time I left my apartment.  

Thus, I knew in April of 2010 that that I needed to find help, the right help. Over the previous thirty years, I had seen a succession of therapists, only one of whom had given me an accurate diagnosis. He could also have helped me, but he moved away before we had time to get started. The others? Well, some were well-intended but were not capable of diagnosing me and then offering me treatment options. Others wanted to stuff me like sausage meat into their well-practiced treatment modalities and force me to accommodate myself to their requirements. A few therapists during this time wanted me to be their therapists. They were more in need of help than I was. In total, during this period of thirty years, I saw fourteen therapists. By April of 2010, I had given up on finding competent help.    

Then one Monday evening in mid-April, 2010, I suffered a flashback so debilitating that it took me five days of hard work by myself to get back on track, and I decided to try one last time to find somebody who could diagnose me and then help me to heal. I phoned a woman who had been the head of the psychiatric department at a prominent teaching hospital and asked her for some names of psychologists who worked with trauma patients, and then I began calling those names until I reached my present therapist. During my first session with her, this therapist not only gave me an accurate diagnosis, but she gave me treatment options. I chose the option that sounded like the best fit for me, and—as people say—the rest is history.  

Now, slightly more than four years later, I am ready to stop therapy. How do I know I’m ready? For one thing, my symptoms have abated to the point where they simply do not interfere with my daily life as they once did. I know that they can always reappear, but now I am no longer afraid of them and no longer afraid they will reach a point where I cannot control them. Now, when I am in a situation where I begin to feel spacey—a signal to me that something about the situation is not working for me—I take a “timeout,” analyze the dynamics, and help my ego states work together to restore my inner equilibrium.  

Another reason why I know I am ready to stop therapy is that I simply don’t have time for my sessions. When I began four years ago, I met with my therapist twice a week, 2 ½ hours per week. If I had been allowed to, I would have met with her every day, for my mind was working full tilt at getting myself out of my psychic “mess.” I did, however, work on my EgoState Dialogue almost every day, and by doing that, I accomplished what I needed to accomplish despite not being able to see my therapist every day.  

By the end of the second year with this therapist, my PTSD symptoms had faded in intensity, and I was able to focus on other aspects of my Complex PTSD and to do some important EMDR work. Recently, in the past month, my therapist has taken a few weeks off. Did I miss my sessions with her? No! I was glad to have the time off and not structure my Thursdays around my therapy session. I missed seeing her, as I would miss seeing any friend or person whom I liked and enjoyed, but I did not miss my sessions. I’m just too busy now for a session per week! I’m too busy for any sessions at all now!  

Finally, I now live in a small town, and I am feeling confident about my ability to deal effectively with any social interaction in which I am involved. Life in a small town is not so overwhelming as life in the big city was, and I feel quite capable of taking care of myself. I’ve already gotten myself into and out of some sticky situations that could have been nastier if I had allowed them to be. But I didn’t allow them to grow nastier—I called them as they were and put up my boundaries and probably “unfriended” a few people in the process, but I have no regrets. They were what they were, and I’ve moved on.  

This next Thursday, July 10th, I will have one more session, and it will be my final formally scheduled session. My therapist and I have discussed the fact that I am ready to end therapy, and she is okay with my decision. I plan to let her know that I’d like to be placed in the “as needed/if needed” category. Of course, I don’t know for certain what she will say, but I would like to think she will be happy with my decision. It’s time.  

In closing, I would like to thank my therapist by quoting the following:  

(New Blessing in the Celtic Style) 

I lay my head to rest and in doing so lay at your feet the faces I have seen

the voices I have heard

the words I have spoken

the hands I have shaken

the service I have given

the joys I have shared

the sorrows revealed

I lay them at your feet and in doing so

lay my head to rest

(http://www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Blessings_and_Prayers.htm#ixzz36jEqRjfv) Copywritten, John Birch, Author

 

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