For the most part, I don’t like to look at what ifs? Leaves me playing a game of creating a life that was never there. How ever, what if I didn’t have a counselor? Sadly, this is a growing issue.
Two things are hitting hard. Many insurances don’t cover mental health appointments or the number you get are so few it is laughable. The average 10 appointments wouldn’t uncover the issues I was having not to mention actually working through them. The other issue is finding a counselor that has trauma healing experience. I was fortunate and found one of the few a bit by accident and a lot of prayer. There are many good counselors, I worked with several at schools and for myself that helped with some of my struggles. The main portion of my work was with one counselor over 7 years, I saw him on the average of 45 visits per year, do the math 315 visits or more. This does not include the few emergency appointments, emails, and an occasional phone call. That is fairly intense work. At the same time, he worked with me maintaining and strengthening my current relationships, a rare combination.
What can a person do if there is no counselor in their area? Thanks to internet research is available all over the place on the Internet, books, and articles. PTSD Facebook groups, support groups, and others connecting with each other to help each other out. Other bloggers that were struggling with narcissistic parents opened my eyes to a wide variety of information that could not be found in any book. Information is abundant compared to when I started working through my behaviors. Also there are some online counselors….no I do not recommend counselors because each person is individual and what works for me won’t work for someone else.
I still struggle. I no longer see a counselor. The last counselor I had was very nice and that was the problem for me. I felt she was too nice to dump the ugliest parts of my life. I kept holding back and that did not help my counseling relationship.
One of the things I am working on is an IEP. I learned about these working in schools. IEP stands for Individual Education Plan. That simple. Education I believe is key to finding new ways of living. I believe in two main concepts:
Rule #1 Stop lying to yourself and others. Yes it takes a fabric of lies to cover up severe abuse and trauma….Stop lying.
#2 If you always do what you always done then you always get what you always got. Willing to change is the pivotal point.
A willingness to change is absolutely essential. I am seeing a growing trend of people wrapping their mental illness diagnosis around them and checking out of life. The thing my counselor did for me was not tell me my diagnosis. I didn’t know what it was for sure until my boss demanded answers. I asked my therapist why he didn’t tell me. What he told me made sense, he was concerned that when I heard the diagnosis I would get discouraged and give up. I didn’t. It is hard. Little reminder I use, “I made it through 100% of my Bad days.” Keep moving. Determination goes along way to coping and thriving. As my title implies the steps are Accept where you are at, learn healthy coping skills, and thriving will eventually follow much like the sun shine after ferocious storms.