Sigh.  I saw this cartoon YEARS ago and it’s stuck with me ever since. It sums up my thoughts on how most therapy should work. Well, maybe not exactly, but close enough. I mean, I spent time in therapy – I went in with two stipulations. Number one, no drugs. I was self-medicating enough as it was, I didn’t want to throw any real mind altering substances into the mix. Number two, I wanted my therapy to be action oriented. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time rehashing the past. I know my past shapes who I am, but I didn’t want it to remain a crutch; an excuse for continuing to self-destruct. My therapist moved shortly after we got started and the person she referred me to thought I’d gotten to a point where group therapy would be good for me. And it was, sort of. But I found that the group wasn’t much into DOING anything about their circumstances, there was the usual talking and some rituals, but after a few sessions I realized the other women were content with the talking, which I suppose is a form of “doing”, much like my writing, now that I really think about it.  At the time, though, I was tired of talking, I wanted to feel fixed. I wanted to move beyond the shadow the bullying, my parent’s divorce, the date rape and all the rest of the crap that I’d felt was hanging over my head. I left the individual sessions with some tools in the tool box that I use to this day when I see that shadow looming on the horizon.

But even more so than those tools, I would come back to this cartoon. It’s never as cut and dry as this. I wish it was, but that shadow…that shadow is a lot more solid than it looks.

I was under its veil most of last year. Didn’t realize it until late in the year. By then I’d already done some damage, gained weight, been self-medicating again to excess. I’d withdrawn into the darkness of the shadow. I’m working my way out now. It is these moments that I come to appreciate the darkness because without it, this light wouldn’t shine as bright.

If you’re in the darkness right now, hang on. Hang on as best you can. There is light, I promise.  There is light.

Taken from the deck of a cruise ship the year I turned 40.
Taken from the deck of a cruise ship the year I turned 40.

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