Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How I Felt (Excerpt passage from a book I am writing)

Coming out of the adoption at age 5, I felt like there was something wrong with me.  Like I wasn’t good enough compared to others in my peer groups and that I couldn’t emotionally stand up for myself.  This feeling in some way or another would persist with me all the way though about my fourth year at USC at which time, while starting to get panic attacks, I looked for a therapist to talk with.

I found one at the USC campus via a Dean who was also a friend of our family.  But this therapist was into a type of therapy which used a mechanism of creating an awareness of how I felt through the physical actions I was making such as when I would raise my fingers, he would try to extrapolate my momentary feelings out of this action; just the wrong method for someone who was already painfully hyper-vigilant at the time.

So, though a friend of my mothers, I was able to get in contact with a therapist who was known to be good with young adults.  We hit it off immediately, and I was able to start working towards understanding what effect an under-stimulating and unstable early environment piggy-backed by adoptive parents who were overly critical and not particularly comfortable with themselves probably had on me.

The result was that I defaulted to wanting to feel safe and not put myself out there.  The feeling that something was wrong with me was my problem; nothing more than that.  Gradually, when I began to look around and see that life shelled out challenges and limitations to everyone, I was able to feel more like I was ok and even outstanding and dynamic at times.

To this day have a lot of thanks to this therapist because as we would talk about current events in my life or about my personal history, he would stop me and ask me what this or that moment meant to me.  It was a way for him to point out where my framing of a circumstance had deviated in my mind from it’s actual meaning, most often unrelated to me.  He was patient with the process.  And I think that the reason it was so effective was that he was genuinely caring underneath it all.