Debbie Downer

I read a blog today where someone referred to a negative email she'd sent as a "Debbie Downer email". I kind of liked it, and it was timely because today I'm writing a Debbie Downer post. Please indulge me; you know I don't write them very often. Or if you don't want to indulge me... uhh.... well, I guess your only option is to stop reading now.

When I started this whole counselling roller coaster ride I also started keeping a journal. I thought, "When I feel okay and have my sh*t together again - say in two or three months - it will be interesting to look back over this process via the journal." Okay, now I realise the 'two or three months' part was completely misguided but I was young and innocent then. The thing is, though, that first journal entry was in September 2007. That's 16 months ago and I can't help thinking that after doing this for so long I should feel a lot better than I do. Shouldn't I be fixed by now??

It's not even that I don't like counselling or don't find it helpful. I have found it enormously helpful and I've learned so much in the process.

* I've learned that the way my brother treated me while we were growing up was not funny, nor was it 'normal' sibling rivalry. It was deliberate abuse and that's NOT okay.
* I've learned that this abuse has affected my self-worth, my self-esteem, my family relationships, my friendships, my confidence, and a whole lot of other things.
* I've learned that just because the abuse stopped 18 years ago it doesn't mean the effects of it have disappeared.
* I've learned that not all counsellors are helpful and continuing to see an unhelpful counsellor is a very bad idea.
* I've learned that not all friends are helpful, even if they love you, and it's okay to be selective about who helps you paddle your boat.

That's a whole lot of learning, and there are many other things I'm continuing to learn... all of this is good, good stuff. I'm not saying it's not. But this is the double-edged sword that is counselling - things come up that you didn't know were there, or that you knew about but had disregarded, and they entirely change the equation. I said to my counsellor this week that when I started therapy I thought I was dealing with one issue, and as we've talked I've discovered more and more things, so that I feel worse - and more broken - than when I started. She assures me that all the things are related, and I can see that, but still I'm feeling tired and discouraged. She also assures me that I'm way further along than I think I am, and that healing is not nearly so far away as I imagine. Most of the time I believe that, but on Debbie Downer days I am scared that this is as good as it gets; and I will never really heal.

I know I've made progress. I've worked hard and I've really come a long way... but this is a marathon, not a sprint. I've been running this marathon for so long that I have lost sight of the finish line and some days I wish I'd never started the race at all.



The Blonde Duck said...

You've got a great attitude! Keep going!

Givinya De Elba said...

I hope you continue to heal and enjoy life. You are a great encouragement to me and many others I'm sure. Keep going, we're all cheering for you.

When I saw the title of this post, I thought you were referring to some female relative of the former federal treasurer.

Hippomanic Jen said...

I hope that if I ever have to travel a long and hard road (be it emotional or physical) I would have the same ability to keep going despite not feeling that I was ever going to get there.

I hope that one day you round a corner and realise just how far you've come, and that your destination isn't as far off as you'd thought.

Dee from Downunder said...

I can understand your needing to see the finishing line, I truly hope it emerges from the mist soon for you.

Lilly's Life said...

Yep I understand exactly where you are coming from. I am on the same journey. Look at it in a visual way. Picture yourself on a road and look back at where you have come from. You have covered a lot of ground even if you have some way yet to go.

Abuse is evil and has such horrific effects. You are smart and brave enough to recognise there was an issue and are doing something about it. If we dont we take the trauma with us and it undermines any future relationships. I agree, the key is to keep personal boundaries intact. Any person that tries to cross those is out in my book. No second chances.

I think you will find the destination is going to be sweet, truly! Congrats for lasting the distance!

Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

Hiya, I have had this page open for a few days trying to think of exactly what to say.

First - I love the way you share this with us. It is great. I don't find it as easy to share the bad stuff as the good stuff. So I appreciate that you share both with us.

Second - I think that difficult stuff makes us better. Better people, better Christians. I had some bad stuff last year. I didn't blog about it - for lots of reasons - but I know that it has made me better at my job/extended my work skills, drawn me closer to Him and reminded me of the benefits of being open about my problem/asking for help. I am not trying to say that you should be glad about the crap stuff. I don't know what I am saying, actually. Maybe just that difficult things in our life can be catalysts for us pushing ourselves to be better and that He has a plan for our lives. I look for the positive in everything - And I have seen positives in even the most crap things that have happened in my life. I hope that there are positives that come out of this journey of yours too.

Lastly - well done for pushing yourself! Well done for facing up to the bad stuff head on and opening yourself up to heal. It takes a lot of courage and guts. You should be proud of yourself. I know you will keep going even though it is hard. You were brave enough to start this marathon and you have more than enough heart to finish it.

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