It came in the middle of the night, mostly unexpected, but in the middle of the night when mostly unexpected visitors show up. The drop-ins have never held much appeal for me, and wouldn't everything be so much more manageable if we always knew what to expect? It came, though.
I'd spent the better part of the afternoon involved in the questionnaire that accompanied an application to join a therapy/analysis study group. Most of the questions were routine, about where you grew up, how many siblings, parents alive etc. Most of them were short answer. It was easy enough. There were, at the bottom however, a few that required long-form answers or short essays. The one that nagged at me:
"Describe one incident (or series of related incidents) that you believe have had the most lasting impact on your life and your relationships with people in your life (family, siblings, spouse, partner, children)."
Hadn't we already discussed this in the office? It seemed plain enough and redundant and irksome. It was the following line that tugged at me:
"Think hard! It may not be what you've believed it to be."
I was about to respond with exactly the details I'd related to the doctor at the induction session, but that second qualifying line gave me pause. It seemed to be set up as a trick question, and of course why wouldn't it be? Don't we all trick ourselves into believing that certain things are so and that they've always been so? Still, I wanted clarification and with that goal called the doctor and asked.
"Just think hard and give your most honest answer. What you believe in your heart of hearts."
"But didn't we go through this already?"
"Then just repeat what you told me in the office."
It seemed a challenge somehow. Then as if reading my mind he clarified:
"It's about identifying triggers and we're going to be working with a lot with that. Many people begin therapy with a clear idea in their minds of what the problems are. This is just for a comparative example to measure where you are with that at different points in the study. Often, subjects change. Sometimes it's the same, but if you don't identify the triggers then you will keep repeating patterns. Don't think so hard. Just answer honestly."
Don't think so hard...
He really doesn't know me yet.
I set about repeating as near to the word as possible what we had spoken of in the office and how I believe it impacted my life. The issue was it all seemed so certain in the office but merely the suggestion that I could be using one issue to obfuscate the impact of another shook that certainty. My confidence in what has been my truth crumbled a bit as the afternoon wore on. Sleep didn't come easily, for varying reasons, this having been a difficult, isolated and lonely week after all. And then when it came it refused to stay.
A moment came.
A notion crept in.
Dawn came several hours later and the visitor hadn't left.
I think I'm going to have to walk my visitor home.
A new journey begins.