Friday, 4 April 2014
Therapy and how it helped to shape my self-esteem!
After my castration thoughts left my mind vacant, I realized that I would have to try again to face my psychological conflicts to find a solution to gain some sort of mental structure in order to compartmentalize my feelings and emotions. To my very own surprise, I encountered something that opened the door for a new ocean of discovery and it was exactly there and then when I made my first deep contact with my inner-self. This new discovery could have gone either way, because I was about to face and fight my own demons, in order to be able to become the strong person I am today. It was not an easy task, but I did it and I gained more than I expected.
I was 23 years of age and studying at university. I was also working in a hotel to support myself. I was a little bit more mature and more wordly-wise by then. I believed I was in a better emotional position to gradually address my psychological difficulties and to start constructively to shape my future, not only as a gay man, but also as a person and human being - little I knew by then that I would end up in beautiful Ireland, but this is a new whole topic for future writing.
I went to a hospital and asked for an appointment to see a psychologist. I clearly explained my psychological and emotional circumstances to her, which she totally understood, but she advised me to go and see a psychiatrist. I accepted her advise and I was referred to this extremely intelligent and warm woman whose understanding of human and mental behavior was beyond belief. She became my doctor for the next 3 years, but to this date I have to declare she still is one of the most remarkable people I have had in my life. The marks she left in my existence are indelible.
I first explained to her that I wanted to change my sexual orientation, that I did not want to be a homosexual. She understood my plight, but she also suggested that before going any further with our therapy, I needed to make a well-informed and documented decision. She provided me with rich literature about homosexuality; with a bundle of reading covering human development issues; sexual anatomy and all sorts of literature related to emotional human progression. All of this was like Nirvana to me.
I read all the material she gave me and visited her once a week. Every session was different, but in some ways there was a continuity. Some sessions were painful, but others were very happy. In every session, it felt like I gave her the keys to the door of my soul, and after the session she would return the keys to me in order for me to re-enter my soul. When re-entering, I learned that my mother tried to redeem herself with me, because she made so many mistakes with the rest of my siblings (she had 10 children, out of 7 men). I learnt that she carried the gene that procreates hearing impaired people (I had 1 brother and 2 unindentical twin sisters who are victims of this condition). I learnt how to face and fight my demons; I learnt how not to be a victim of my own anger; I learnt how to look inwards and not outwards. Basically, I learnt a lot about myself.
In terms of how my self-esteem was shaped and solidified, she advised me to put myself in situations that, at the time, I considered threatening or judgmental. The judgmental bit travels back to my bullying episodes in school. The threatening bit travels back to learn how to just be yourself and not to feel that you need to apologize for who we are, think or feel. This helped me hugely to face social and moral prejudices.
I'm sure you're wondering how I achieved all of this. This is the answer, therapy works in different ways for everybody, depending on the individual circumstances. Mine was based on relaxation, my doctor thought me how to relax, and from that relaxation stage, how to travel through my thoughts, feelings and emotions; and how to touch base with my inner-self. This is something I still put into practice today, and something that provides me with the essential tools to face the challenges of every day life. That's why I feel and think that nothing and no-one represents a threat to me. Something or someone may represent a challenge, yes, but never a threat, in any way.
The message I'm trying to convey today is that psychological help does work and help - it did for me. However, I would like to outline that if you need help - in any way- go and look for it, make it happen, because it does help. Whatever it is, whatever you might believe in, whatever is going to help the core of your psychological, emotional and even - spiritual - well-being, go for it. Some of you might believe in doctors, some of you in angels, some of you in the horoscope, the card-reading, the spiritual healer. That's OK, that's fine, because at the end of the day, you will benefit the core of yourself and, in one way or another, the shape of your self-esteem will be touched and altered - in a very positive way. Remember, you are the most important person on earth. You are important to me, to god, to the doctor, to your family and friends, but you must learn to believe that you must be - primarily - relevant and important to YOU, that's the secret and I genuinely hope it will work for you.