No one seems to care. We do our best to disappear…I’ll find some of hope this year.

(Snow Falls—Carried Away)

This post got kind of complain-y and a little more pointed than I intended it to be…please consider this your warning, and understand that while I try really hard not to hurt anyone, that this is also a place for me to express myself, and there are some things that no amount of editing will have the ability to completely remove the potential for hurting anyone…so I apologize in advance if you feel offended, but know that it was not my intention, and I’d really prefer you just didn’t read if you are sensitive to my words.

One thing that I got distracted doing yesterday when I ought to have been focused studying was looking at some of the stuff on my computer, and I found some things I wrote last fall (2013), and it is so hard for me to understand how I could possibly have missed how wrong things were going…the few friends who knew what was going on were urging me to get out by September, and tried to support me, but I was afraid of upsetting the balance and so sure I could make it work, so ready to give third, fourth, tenth et cetera chances…so I naïvely believed the best and kept trying to make it work…

I know hind sight is 20/20, but when I was facing rejection and drafting letters or applications to counselors by early September, that probably should have turned on a lightbulb that perhaps there was a problem here…perhaps instead of forgiving and jumping back in whole-heartedly I should have been analyzing the situation and realizing that I needed to escape and try something else…

Then I found this, which was part of the notes I intended to share with my second year counselor in November if I had met with her—as it turned out I didn’t connect with her and ended up finding my way back into the abusive situation I still couldn’t let go of, so sure I could fix and turn into a supportive environment…reading this section of my notes was really eye-opening as to what was going on…in my little everything is awesome revisionist mindset, I had re-written the time in between explosions as usually pretty neutral. Though not necessarily wildly positive I hadn’t inserted it into my memory stores as hurtful…but, well, the words speak for themselves…(only edited to remove names of people and places…obviously the writing isn’t beautiful—I was in a crisis, holding on for dear life)

“[name removed] said the reason she doesn’t want to meet with me is because I do not talk enough. That was really frustrating, because I think that is the biggest reason I have been coming to counseling. She also says I have made no progress and she thinks if anything I have regressed and that is super frustrating, because everyone else in my life has been telling me how much more I talk than I used to. I have not worked on germ issues at all with [name removed]. She told me that if I wanted to work on that I needed to go to [name removed].”

Hmm…five sentences revealing four major problems…

  1. So while everyone else is noticing my progress she is indoctrinating me with how I am doing so lousy that not only am I not meeting her lofty ever-changing goals but am moving backwards…I suppose this did effectively erode my self-confidence. In September my writing said I am independent and mostly just need some accountability, while later in the year while I did recognize the progress I had made, I started to believe that I was mostly just a mess up who required an unacceptable level of assistance to get through life…In reality I was doing better, but the words of someone I was trying so hard to trust had penetrated deeply enough to undermine my own view on how I was doing…luckily after nearly a year away, I have regained my confidence and regained my ability to look at myself and see someone who has overcome rather than someone who is hopelessly messed up. It is my understanding that it is a counselor’s job to help people towards realizing their self-efficacy, not to tear apart a person’s self-esteem for no apparent reason than simply because you are in a position of power and can get away with it.
  2. She was supposedly pushing me away for the same reason that I was seeking counseling…the same reason I came to her with very transparently a few months before when at least her spoken words to me said she was happy to work with me (though her actions spoke differently and I now know away from me she already at that point was openly not at all interested in working with me). That is kind of a problem. If you are not willing in working with students with social anxiety then first, I question your presence on a college campus, because depression and anxiety are the two most common mental health problems students have in college, and social anxiety is a reasonably common form of anxiety. Second, even if you do think you can just not help those students, that is something you should be up front with…if I present my primary problem as social anxiety, and have been working on it in counseling for two years, then I see two possibilities for agreeing to work with me: either because you are willing to help, or because you are not willing to help but think you can magically make the social anxiety go away so you can do something else…which presents another problem: if I have been working really hard on it for two years then it is either arrogance or delusional to believe that you can fix it immediately, and once you get rid of that problem, who is to say that my next problem is one you will like any better? So basically, either this is a really bad cover up for why you don’t want me, or else you should have told me when I asked that you don’t work with social anxiety and directed me to someone who would be willing to work with it.
  3. Finally, not working on the germ issue and directing me elsewhere if I wanted to do that…oh my, not even approaching the issue is kind of a problem…especially since it is another thing that I made no attempt to hide when I sought you out…and if telling you in my email weren’t obvious enough, the fact that I came in clutching a computer a pencil and a pen but no paper should have been another tip off about my germ issue…so that is another thing that should have been mentioned in May rather than in November when I started suggesting that perhaps ERP might be beneficial…I did finally get her on board with ERP in I think it was January, but…well…that is something that should have happened a lot sooner and without my having to orchestrate it…especially considering we’re talking a girl who, for example, would rather be without computer than charge it in class at that point…
  4. Last but not least, even if you wanted to suggest that I try something else, if you are going to make a suggestion, make it realistic, because an unrealistic suggestion is going to go in one ear and out the other…let’s see, I am currently getting counseling for free at a location that requires absolutely no transportation and with someone who in theory allows continuity…the best suggestion would be one that maintains at least two if not all three of those qualities, and directing me towards one of the other counselors on campus…but even if that isn’t what you want to suggest, solely suggesting one location, and a location that requires transportation, a lot more communication than I am probably capable of right then, and a location that will cost multiple hundreds of dollars every week is not realistic, and not helpful. Sure, the transportation might not be *that* bad, and sure perhaps if I showed interest you’d be willing to help with the initial communication aspect, but I really doubt that you have any intention of picking up the tab at the end of the day, and a college student who still isn’t even sure she really even needs counseling is not going to be so thrilled to spend more on one session of counseling than she spends in an entire year on food…

Yikes…I know I am not dumb, I just didn’t have the ability to assess the situation holistically and see that this was not good, but it is really hard not to look at that and blame myself for not high-tailing it out of that situation and enlisting real help…I really wish one of my friends whom I had let in had alerted someone to my situation who could have recognized the problem and helped me out of it.

Looking back, I also wonder if this was being directed towards me because I wasn’t very verbal and was (and still am to some extent) a very passive people pleaser who would take it without complaint and without letting on, or if it was happening to many people…I pray that it was something mainly happening to me, but I do know for sure it at least occasionally occurred to a lesser extent with other people though I do not have proof of anything to the extent of what was happening with me seeing as how much of what would have been happening would have occurred behind closed doors. I worry that there are still many people being hurt. For a long time I have believed that in an ideal world she would have a basement office job working as the director of counseling but having no access to records or students so that she could feel important yet have less ability to hurt people, but this isn’t something that I have the power to set up…so I just have to pray that there are not too many more victims…

So as not to end on a negative note, I just wanted to say how thankful I am for the incredible people in the world. I have learned more than ever through this to appreciate and cherish the people who are treating me right. I am deeply thankful for the people who have gone out of their ways to show they care and support me. I really appreciate the people who rather than being scared off by my pain have been willing to walk into it with me so as not to leave me completely alone. I treasure the people who have shown me that the world is a softer more loving place than the harsh world I had been experiencing…there really are people who will see me showing emotion and instead of freaking out and backing away or getting upset will come into my world and love on me…a mistake doesn’t mean I am a horrible person unworthy of anything, it just means that life is a process, not perfection, and I am learning…

I am more sensitized to certain things now after all I’ve been through, but I am also learning not to jump to conclusions…like how I thought maybe I was intentionally left out of something recently (so as not to incriminate anyone I am going to refrain from details in discussing this) and I was SO mad…and as it turned out it was an oversight and when I brought it up I wasn’t shamed and steps were taken to make it right…and I had to remember that mistakes happen…like how my brother wasn’t invited to the senior celebration at church when he was a senior in high school…yeah, that happened. My guess would be that since most of those kids had been on the same roster since birth, coming in as a ninth grader he didn’t have any reason to be remembered in particular, whereas, though I was late to the party coming in as a sophomore, I earned recognition through having trouble adjusting…oopses happen, so I can’t hold it against anyone when the incident is unintentional…sometimes I might be intentionally left out, but sometimes it’s not that I am unwanted, just that someone dropped the ball…I am learning to forgive these mistakes while still being careful to not give my heart away to anyone who hasn’t earned that trust. I can be kind without leaving the door to my heart wide open for anyone to come in and trample…

Also, I saw this on facebook and it is so amazing…like I am seriously in awe of the amazingness of the people in this post, and I really hope I one day have friends like that…actually, I shouldn’t sell my friends short, I think I already have a few friends like that…also, how amazing would it be to be able to bless someone like that without feeling awkward about inviting yourself over…I do occasionally invite myself into people’s lives, but to invite a whole group? Wow!! Oh…yeah…you might need me to actually give you the link or actually link this…haha http://www.thehouseofhendrix.com/2015/04/01/why-women-rock/

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