Grad School, Round Two

My first full year of graduate school is complete! In three weeks, I’ll start all over again, albeit in a more stable mind and body than this time last year. 

At times, it has felt like surviving, at best. The past two weeks I was taking a class that was just HORRIBLE. It was the first time in months that I’ve busted out old behaviours and were it not for some friends, some prayer, and some stubbornness on my part, I would be in a very different place right now and probably on track to go back to treatment. Instead, I am a bit flustered and frustrated, but I survived the class.

Actually, I was sort of proud of myself for how I handled those two weeks. And my therapist was too, though she wanted me to dig deeper into some of the stuff that came up. Herein is where I become really confused about what is left to do in counseling.

There’s obviously stuff. My trauma has come up more than once this summer through the course of classes, and, in the strictest sense, hasn’t really been dealt with. Nine times out of ten, I just refer to it as “trauma” and leave it at that, neglecting to say what really happened. And we dealt with it some last year, but that was sort of out of necessity – in order to have sex, I had to shut that shit down mentally and it always came back a few days or weeks later in force. When I stopped seeing/sleeping with the guy I was spending time with, it wasn’t really a pressing issue any more. 

And when we do try to delve into that stuff or my attachment stuff, I shut down. Not on purpose, really, but my therapist said she is just not going to push it any more. That I’m not ready to go there, that now’s not the time, and everything else is fairly stable, so there’s no reason to meet every week. Or every two weeks. Or even every month. So after September, it looks like I can stop driving to Charlotte on a regular basis. And when I do go, it won’t cost me an arm and a leg. 

I am just really, really scared at this idea. (Not only that, but I feel a bit like some sort of therapy “failure” for not being ready/willing/able/whatever.) It will be the first time in five years that I haven’t seen a therapist on AT LEAST a weekly basis. It will also put me face-to-face with the general lack of nurture in my life. I love my mom and respect her, but I’ve never really felt nurture in that relationship. She’s not someone I can cry in front of, not someone I want to be comforted by, not someone that feels safe enough to do that with.

A has been that person for me for the past two years solidly and I don’t know how I’m going to handle that void. The other person that I associate with care and nurture has just moved six time zones away. And then I start to cry and feel stupid about crying because, HELLO, I’m twenty-nine and shouldn’t I be past the point of needing to be nurtured?

I haven’t taken individual and family development yet, so I’m not sure where that puts me on the typical/atypical development scale. I’ll take it in the spring. I’ll keep you updated on that, but I’m sure it’s related to my attachment issues. 

To some degree, I think grad school is about me becoming self-aware enough to know where my issues are so that I don’t wind up making my clients’ issues worse. 

And to that point – I’ve pretty much decided that I don’t want to be a counselor. 

But more on that later. Tonight, I’m going to nurse this weird head pain, cry a bit, and crawl under the covers with The Catcher in The Rye. 


7 thoughts on “Grad School, Round Two

  1. congrats on one year down! re therapy, sounds like you made a good choice. The “point” of therapy is essentially to allow you to lead a stable, healthy, happy, productive life; if you’re able to do that (to a certain extent), then I say don’t sweat it if you aren’t ready to tackle some of the trauma stuff at the moment. It sounds like you are doing great.

    • Thanks, Kaylee! As a future counselor, I definitely understand that the point of counseling is for the client not to need counseling any more. I just feel woefully under prepared to do life like normal humans. :-p

  2. I can imagine that stepping down from counseling is incredibly difficult, and is probably a situation of will-I-ever-feel-more-ready? Or does anyone ever feel 100% ready and not scared? I’m so proud of you for all of your hard work in school and also outside of school. And I hope you can give yourself some grace on not being in a place to work on the trauma stuff–one can’t force working on those things. Hang in there!

  3. Great book!

    I can imagine that no longer having your therapist would be scary. Honestly I can’t fathom that for myself right now, but I’m kind of messy. I’m also starting grad school in the fall… that’s bound to bring up more shit (since it’s in counseling psychology). But it sounds like you have a solid foundation to go on, and that’s great! I think you’re going to find yourself being successful and you know what? If you have trouble, you can ALWAYS go back!

    I could also relate to your stuff about your mom. I have a hard time really breaking down in front of my mom because in the past she has told me that I’m too sensitive and has shot me down. Also, she’s dealing with my sister who is in organ failure right now and not doing well. I don’t feel I can burden here with my “problems.”

    Anyway, you’re really inspiring and I really like your blog. Let me know if you’d like an invite to mine. I’d be happy to gain another reader (I only have a handful).


  4. I love you, Jess. I have faith that you will be able to make decisions that will ensure a wonderful future ahead of you, as free as possible from numerous + difficult-to-handle triggers. You’re a very intelligent woman. I know I’m struggling myself, but if you ever need to talk, just know I’m available and totally willing to listen any time you might need a friend to vent/talk to.

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