Sunday, 2 November 2008

The universe unfolds as it will

I just reread all my postings since February. Oh, the typos and I am so hard on my students. One day, I will go through and fix them all, but not today.

Timelines are always a tricky thing. I was struck by my explanations of how long I have been running the therapy gauntlet. Certainly I was trying for years to find someone to talk to who a) would actually hear what I was saying; b) was someone whom I could trust; c) could ask the necessary questions that I had to find the answers to. This is a hindsight moment. Looking back, I can see that that was what I was trying to do. At the same time, I know that even as I was trying to sort myworld out, the memories had their own agenda. It is almost as if they weren't going to let go until I was ready to remember.

When I was at the University of Waterloo (Honours Math & Computer Science, if you will!!), I saw a "counsellor" - what a waste of time and energy. When I finally moved to Ottawa, after a major meltdown with my mother (par for the course - but this one was just too much to take), I started to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Bela Kerenyi. I will remember him forever with great fondness. He gave me one piece of advice that kept me going for years: "Just because they're your parents, doesn't mean you have to love them." I still have a letter he wrote to Canada Student Loans stating that it would not be advisable to depend on my parents for financial support. (I ended up getting married instead of goint back to U of W in French and English [had started to come to my senses!].) When I was talking about the fact that I had no memories prior to the age of 12, he said that there was something there and that when it was necessary to deal with it, he would be there. That in and of itself was enough to relieve me of my discomfort - a security blanket. Looking back on it, do I think that we should have gone willynilly into the past? Given everything that I know about the 70s, and my subsequent life, I am just as glad we didn't try at that point. I certainly was coping well enough except when I had to interact with my parents. And if I hadn't been sexually assaulted in Paris, who knows how long it would have been, if ever, that the past would have intruded into my present. I would have been like my mother - never quite knowing what was driving me [My first husband said to me once that it was a good thing that we never had girls because I would have been way too hard on them - a remarkable insight from him and I didn't disagree with him even when he said it. We will never know, but I still accept that he was probably right.]

So we are overseas and I am sexually assaulted. No Bela to call, just pull up my socks and get on with it. I was in a major PTSD episode (not that there was a name for it at that time). My way out of it was to get pregnant. In many ways, my second son saved my life, just as my first had moved me away from a massive depression after my father died. (again hindsight) I loved children and would have had a gazillion more if things had been different. My children drove my life - most of the positive decisions I have made have been to make their lives easier on an emotional level. [I'll talk about career decisions, marriage breakups and remarriage at another time.] In the middle of the pregnancy, we moved to Australia. Still no therapist. I continued to have the odd nightmare and things were slowly making some sense. When we returned to Ottawa, I had to debrief with the FO's psychiatrist (standard procedure). I used that time to unload everything that had happened in Paris, my nightmares and possible conclusions. He used a personal anecdote as part of the discussion and then talked about the "trickling of the memories through a break in the dam of my walled up memories". I remember the discussion to this day. He was not there as my therapist, but he did say that I was certainly managing well now. [the story of my life, no one can tell - see my first posting "Stigmas"] He reiterated Dr. Kerenyi's point that the memories were so well hidden that it would take another crisis to break down the dam further (to continue with the analogy - this is a paraphrase of what was said in the office).

It was another 5 years before that happened. By that time the marriage was gone, I had my Master's and I had started a serious relationship again. What led to the next episode of PTSD is way to complicated to explain at this point. However, what I had this time was a therapist in waiting that I could trust. He had been our marriage counsellor and we continued to see him over all sorts of issues that dealt with the children and life in general during those 5 years.

I will say that it was almost as if I had put myself into situations that would force me to confront the past and my demons. Every time that I would attempt "normal", it wouldn't work. I just couldn't make myself fit. How I ended up in history of religions only made sense later on. There were the logical reasons and then there were the emotional reasons. The PhD choice seemed initially quite bizarre; nobody in the department thought that there was anything there - were they proved wrong!!

It just dawns on me that I do a lot of my postings on Sundays. The day of rest and contemplation? What I do know is that insights come when they will. When I tried to push myself into remembering, it never worked. I just got frustrated. It is almost as if the brain and the body have some kind of synchronicity that works on its own. That is part of learning to trust one's self. I now believe that everything has its time. My friends all have wonderful ideas about what I should be doing with my life. I take them all under advisement, but in the end, "what will be, will be" and it is seldom what can be planned for.

The adventure continues, and what is becoming my tag line, "the universe unfolds as it will". It is nice to be able to relax.

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