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by evidenceoflife » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:43 pm

I didn't mean for this to be this long--many apologies--skip to the end if you so desire.

I had lost all hope for ever finishing a semester, let alone graduating college. And I haven't yet graduated, but I crossed the first hurdle I had and that was enough for me to feel proud.

I had lost all hope of ever doing right by an employer. Lost all hope of ever doing a job worth being proud of. I have now held a job for a year and seven months. I have been late only once in that time and never missed a day without calling ahead. Not a big deal for most, but for me it seemed like an insurmountable goal way off in the distance in a land of unicorns and fairy princesses.

In a way I feel proud because I did it myself. I reached my goals. I did that. But I definitely did not do it alone--I couldn't have.

I think part of what helped me was finding a therapist who refused (and continues to refuse) to give me advice. She asks the right questions and she gives me resources, but she forces me to draw my own conclusions and stand on my own two feet. It drove me crazy at first because out of the heap of counselors and therapists I've had, she was the first to work this way. And though I originally felt like I was paying her for nothing, I swear, ever so quietly it made me feel like a viable citizen again.
I had no confidence left in myself after those four lost semesters and all the chaos I caused over the last few years; she was the first clinical-type-person to treat me like a capable human being even when I didn't feel like one anymore.

I didn't understand the gift I had been given in having her as my therapist until the last session of my psychology class at school when the professor (an educator who played a major role in getting me back on track, which I will go into more detail about in a second) devoted a class session to Rogerian Therapy. It's apparently also called person-centered therapy. And I am eternally grateful for it. My professor had no idea that I had a therapist using this style with me and the lecture wasn't directed at me, so when I connected the lecture with my own life it was easy and natural.
It all clicked.
This was one of the last lectures of the semester and I had already made it much farther than I had in years. It just took a 10-minute, generic explanation to tell me HOW I had made it that far.

Another major component in my (huge-only-to-me) success was my psych professor. He knew very little about me and what I'd been going through, and what he did know was immediately lost in the mess of being a college professor. The most important thing he did was appreciate a trait in me that I had long discarded as negative. He didn't just adequately answer my questions, he praised them. He offered me extra work (which seems awful to some, but to a formerly-gifted kid it was a godsend). He legitimately handed me a key to the psych lab and set me loose. I looked (and still look) up to him in such a way that the last thing I wanted was to disappoint him by giving up.
He treated me like I was useful--and I wanted to show him he was right.

The point is, you've got to find people who treat you like you're a useful, viable, capable human being even when you don't feel like it.
THOSE PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE. I know they are. It took me this long to see them.
If you can't find one in the wild just yet, find a person-centered therapist.

To some, our goals may seem silly. Went to work five days in a row, *rah, rah, good for you*. But it's nuts how these little things other people take for granted become huge hurdles with bipolar.
Your goals are important and you absolutely can reach them. The first step is to surround yourself with people who treat you like the real, important, useful you--and then to take some of that energy and finally put a little faith in yourself.

It sounds sappy and cliché, but I'm serious.
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by clare_hart » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:22 pm

It's good to hear from you evidence! I don't even know where to start to address all you wrote in such a heartfelt and sincere way. So, I will just say the first thing that came to my mind as I read this.

Congratulations and may you keep moving through the hurdles and recognize them as gifts, as you obviously do. 8-) You are an example to the rest of us.

Thank you for this uplifting post. Which could easily have been posted under accomplishments and good news. This is both.

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by Mocha » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:10 pm

Evidence, clare is right, this could be an accomplisments & good news thread, so that's where I've moved it to.

I can't begin to tell you how happy I am for you, for how far you've come. You should be so proud for everything you've accomplished. You certainly did the hard work, in school and most importantly, in therapy.

I know the type of therapy you talked about. I've been lucky enough in my life to have had two tdocs that practiced this, along with my current say they changed my life would be an understatement.

For sure Carl Rogers knew what he was talking about imo.
And it sounds like you had an amazing professor.

As clare said, you are an example to us all..... :)

Not A Professional of Any Kind ~ Just Your Garden Variety Nutjob

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

~Martin Luther King, Jr.~

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