Beyond Help: A Lesson on Relationships from a Therapy Session

“Now…Can you promise me you won’t try to hurt or kill yourself? Or that you would go to the ER if you wanted to?” says my therapist at the end of a session.

“I…can…try…” I reply hesitantly.

“Yeah, if you’re going to do that I don’t think we can work together. Very selfish I know, but I had a client that committed suicide and it was very hard for me.”

I had never felt so beyond help before. That March 2019 therapy session was the last one ever with that therapist in particular. Before him, I had tried for months to find someone. I reached out to multiple centers and private therapists and psychiatrists only to discover that they were not accepting new patients or my insurance. There were innumerous nights I prayed and cried myself to sleep because I didn’t have the courage to go to the ER for temptations of self harm. I reached out to family members and church friends throughout this waiting process and received advice such as “you shouldn’t feel that way” and “how have your times with God been?” Granted, this wasn’t all of them and some of them proved more helpful than not, but I still felt defeated. Not even a licensed professional was willing to truly work with me if I couldn’t get over this, I thought. I didn’t know how to respond to him. I can’t promise a stranger something I can’t even promise myself. I respect that he was straight forward, but over the course of the week following our meeting, I felt more pressure to stay alive just so he wouldn’t get hurt. I was terrified of myself after that session, and it made me want to let go of life even more. So, I fired him as a therapist and prayed for the hope to keep trying to find help elsewhere. I didn’t want to give up just because of one bad experience. Not all therapists would respond to me that way, right? That’s what I hoped for at least. Lesson learned that even the most professional human being with years of experience and more degrees than a thermometer is still only a human being. Despite it all, I try not to give up on trying. I did find another therapist (reluctantly might I add for fear of similar reproach), but I am still just taking everything a day at a time and proceeding with caution even with her. 

I’ve learned alot about people and the pain they cause me by our interactions with each other. I have surely contributed to my fair share of hurting others as well. Believe me when I quote 1 Corinthians 4:4 that my conscience is clear but that does not make me innocent. Not by a long shot. We all learn the hard way in some way with people though, don’t we?

Maybe you can relate?

  • Are there people whom you would move heaven and earth for who wouldn’t lift a finger to help you?
  • People who claimed to have your best interest at heart but had already worked out a deal for themselves in the process.
  • That not everyone who smiles in your face intended to put one on yours.
  • The ones who praises you up front would be the same ones who tarnish your reputation behind my back.
  • Where some of your deepest friendships were only short term.
  • Or maybe the ones who toted bibles or quoted religious doctrine were sometimes the most toxic you’ve met?

Over 7 billion people in the world as I write this and I still believe not all of you 7 billion people will intentionally try to do harm or wrong to me. Tally that to the last ounce of my belief in the good of humanity. Call me gullible. Call me naive. Fill in the blank. It hardly matters anymore. 

I pushed through the pain. I sucked it up, dried my tears and kept it moving. I’ve always done that. Surely…maybe…I won’t get that all the time?

My greatest fear is that I become the personalities that dealt me so much damage. It would devastate me to look in the mirror and see in me those who hurt or abused me. That’s why I try not to “get even.” For me, the only value I see is that revenge feels good in the moment but not if I have to sacrifice me to do it. Trying to be the “bigger person” and move on doesn’t always resonate with my desire for justice, and I don’t always pick it. But I try and I wonder if that’s enough.

Despite it all, I’ve gained a few relationships that I consider diamonds amongst the dusty coals, but they are diamonds nonetheless. It just took a long a time to discern which is which since both coals and diamonds come from the same material.

I think part of my problem was that I kept coals around seeing their potential to be diamonds and was so blinded by my hope and expectations that I neglected to see the reality of them. To turn a coal into a diamond, you need the carbon in it to be exposed to extreme pressure, a long time and high heat. Only life and maturity can provide that. In the end, I can not. Or rather, I know longer choose to do so. So…I have become content with letting coals become diamonds on their own, before letting them interact with my carats. I know what it took for me to become who I am. I don’t think that deserves anything less from those around me.

So I’ll keep looking. Better friends, better therapists, better things overall because well…I’ve grown to believe that may be next time, I’ll experience something much better than t

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