Edited 2-12-08 to replace Life is a Highway video.
In 1994, 10 years after my mother's death, I had what I call my functional nervous breakdown – I could still do my job, but that was about it. My marriage was in trouble. Twig was in the beginning of his drug addiction, but I had no idea what was so wrong with him that he would act the way he did. Bug had withdrawn into his world of books and RPGs. I was unable to handle even the smallest of tasks without melting down or blowing up.
The day I sat in the car for over an hour, screaming, crying and banging on the wheel I knew I needed to get some help… or end the pain once and for all. I chose to try getting help first… operative word here being “first”. I had no expectation that there was anything that could be done to help me. Lots of counselors had tried before with only temporary success.
Being the stubborn individual that I am, I continued to try and do it on my own for several weeks. When Hubby told me that he wanted to leave I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. I begged him to stay and give me another chance. Because he is who he is, he didn't give up on me. I started looking for a new counselor by calling those on a list provided by the insurance company. Cheryl was the first who had an appointment available. I took it fully expecting to go there, hear the same things I’d heard a dozen times before, leave and then… I didn’t know what “then”. But God knew.
A few nights before my appointment I’d had a dream about a woman who seemed to be an angel, but I knew she wasn’t. I saw her face clearly and it lingered in my mind long after I awoke. When Cheryl opened the door, I was staring at the woman from my dream. I knew then that I’d finally found someone who could help me make my world work again.
Four years, one month, and fifteen days later, on December 9, 1998, I graduated from what was typically a 2-year trauma resolution therapy group. It was not easy work. It involved a lot of painful self examination and the re-evaluation of most of my beliefs. It involved the use of medications to help me cope with everything. It involved learning to give and accept forgiveness for myself as well as others.
There were many times when I wanted to just give up. But Cheryl and I had an agreement that if I truly wanted to quit I could – after coming to 2 more sessions. If I still wanted to quit then, we would close things up and part as friends. I wanted to quit at least a dozen times, but when I came back for my “final” session, things never seemed as bad as they were the week before, so I stayed. And stayed. And stayed. And, thank God, stayed.
Today is my 9th year of Cheryl-assisted sanity. The woman you see reflected in these pages is only here because of that kind, loving, caring, and very wonderful professional. All together I spent 6 years with Cheryl trying to overcome a horribly traumatic childhood. She, literally and figuratively saved my life. This post is my very public display of extreme gratitude and love.
Throughout our time together, Cheryl was often “treated” to my life analogies as portrayed in songs. For me, music speaks more than mere words can ever convey. When it comes to explaining my time with Cheryl, this first song says it all, telling the story of our journey together in a way that I could never hope to express so beautifully. She truly gave me wings and made me fly. I will be forever in her debt for standing by me until I could stand tall on my own.
Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion
Cheryl, if you ever read this, know that this next song is where I am today. Because you loved me, I am now able to ride life’s highway with all its bumps, twists, and turns, and I know that I will reach my destination safe, sane, and secure. Your Littlest Angel is riding high on the highway of life and loving every minute of the life you helped save.
Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts
For anyone else reading this, if you are hurting there IS help out there. Please don’t give up on yourself – keep looking and you, too, will find a Cheryl. From the bottom of my heart, I promise, it will be worth it because YOU are worth it. So please, just STAND!
Peace, Blessings, Gratitude and Much, Much Love.