July 25, 2012


This post is going to be a continuation from a previous post (that can be seen here) of what I took out of the last few sessions of the POWER group. It's going to be a long post, so I apologize in advance.

One of the group members gave me in writing what she shared with me about the progress she saw and suggestions she would make for me. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing what she wrote here!

I've been so impressed with your courage and commitment to yourself and your healing. I've seen you go from engaging in self-harm* to setting an intention to not self-harm; then working with yourself to gradually reduce the type of self-harm and then through your commitment to yourself the urge to self-harm becoming less intense and less frequent. I thank you for sharing your artwork and your blog with us. While I'd recommend to you a DBT or CBT group to continue to support your healing work; because you have so much to offer, I also see another next step for you as perhaps finding a program where you might volunteer with students to encourage their artistic abilities and their self-esteem.

My parting, symbolic gift to you would be an alchemist who would transform the guilt and shame you carry because of your suicide attempt and transform it into courage and wisdom that you were the one to save yourself and that you are definitely more than worth the effort.

(*I just want to clarify that the self-harm behavior she was referring to was not cutting or anything else that breaks the skin, but more minor forms of self-harm such as pinching or digging my nails in. I'm about 10 months cut free!)

I especially appreciate her symbolic gift to me. That is something that I would like to work on believing and it was really meaningful to me that she feels that way. I also appreciate her suggestion to find a way to volunteer to help students. One of the group leaders also expressed that she thought that I was a good student but would probably also be a good teacher and I would be able to help a lot of people. That was nice to hear from both of them since it's something that I want to do but I'm afraid that I wouldn't be good at it.

The other symbolic gift that I was given by another group member was an everlasting Sennelier jumbo pastel. It changes to whatever color that I want and allows me to embody my emotions on paper. If only that pastel could really exist!!!

Another member gave us all a card with something she wrote that was based on Mary J. Blige's "Stay Down".

We didn't expect all this drama and stress. We've got a lot more work to do but we're almost to the very best part.

We've been strong for so long, we can pass these tests if, "We Stay Down." We're almost to the very best part, this won't last forever. One day we will look back on this and smile because in the end, "We Stayed Down."

We are all in this together, your healing is in me and my healing is in you.

You will ALWAYS be in my heart and prayers.

I think it's a really amazing adaptation of the lyrics so that it applies to our healing journey.

One of the leaders made some suggestions for what she thought I should focus on next, which I found really helpful. She suggested that I look for a group that focuses more on narrative and grieving the past. She recommended that I work on becoming more aware of my inner parts (like in Internal Family Systems (IFS)) and listening to and being a voice for them. She also suggested that I try to allow myself to be more vulnerable since I still have difficulty being OK expressing emotions, particularly sadness, around other people.

I think that pretty much sums up the main things I got out of those last two groups. There is a lot more, but I just can't get it all down!

I'll finish this post off with something that I drew that represents hope and growth.


July 21, 2012
I realized in the middle of drawing this how similar it is to a previous drawing I did (that you can see by clicking here). I was just trying out the new pastels that my roommate got for me and I wanted to try all of the pretty bright colors... but I guess it has turned into a theme that represents growth as a result of therapy. As well as the personal growth that I've experienced during therapy, I've found that, though terminations can be painful and sad, there is always something that I learn about myself and the world and I can grow even more from them.

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