A few people have asked me how I remain so motivated to stay in therapy and so determined to become whole one day, in spite of the many setbacks I’ve faced and the inevitable triggers I’ve willingly confronted (as well having a stigmatizing cluster B diagnosis that many therapists don’t want to deal with). Even my therapist has said I’m one of the most motivated clients he’s come across. People wonder if I’m just a sucker for punishment and even have masochistic tendencies. Why on earth would I want to voluntarily embrace so much psychic pain instead of opting to remain emotionally numb the way I used to be?
I think the number one motivator for me is that I’ve learned to think of the road to wellness as an adventure of the mind and soul, not unlike climbing Mount Everest or exploring the ocean depths. The only difference is that it doesn’t involve bodily risk. Staying as emotionally dead as I used to be seems as boring as staring at a wall all day. Now that I’ve seen a glimpse of what I can attain, I never want to go back. Knowing what I know now about myself, remaining in that particular hell would drive me insane. So these days, I’d rather face the unpleasant challenges and do battle with them. None are too big for me to conquer, even though at times they can seem to be.
By nature, I’m not a huge risk taker, but I’ve always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind. My own mind is like a labyrinth right before my eyes, but within its dark tunnels and crevices I never know when I’ll find some treasure.
Being in therapy for anyone who suffered severe trauma and abuse can be extremely triggering and at times very painful. I’ve left some sessions and fallen into vast yawning depressions afterward, feeling lost within the emptiness that I always knew was there even before I knew what was really wrong with me.
Faith that a higher power (or God, if you prefer) will show me the way to the treasure chest I know lies deep within is a huge motivator for me, but even now, without knowing exactly where it lies, occasionally I stumble across evidence that I’m getting closer. A diamond here, an emerald over there, a small vein of gold embedded in the unforgiving granite. It gives me hope and motivation to keep going. I no longer doubt that it’s there….somewhere. All I need is to keep going. Therapy provides me with a compass to know which direction to go and the assurance that I won’t die trying to find it. The journey may appear dangerous at times, but I know it never really is. Staying mindful helps me conquer any fear that I’ve gone too far or too deep.
Discovering things about yourself that you never knew can be really sobering, even upsetting, but it’s also enlightening. Awareness and insight about your own motivations is the key to healing from anything that plagues the mind and soul. Self discovery is always fascinating and full of the unexpected. It may seem like hard work, and it is, but I know the reward will be worth all the pain, and there are enough pleasant surprises along the way to keep me trudging along the rugged trail. I can do this! You can too, if you want it badly enough.