Wednesday, May 02, 2012

2nd May 2012

Introspection is a luxury I’ve found rather elusive for most of my life... until now! I actually felt quite self-conscious taking my own photo on my iPod whilst out walking this afternoon! Of course many times over the years I’ve found myself disgruntled with my situation, and as often as not that was work related. Occasionally I sought counsel and prayer from different people, but that particular problem was only resolved when I became ill. I have a strong suspicion that being overworked in a stressful sales environment, for too many years, had some connection with the eventual Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Nonetheless, despite my regular groans about such as that, my real focus has always been upon my wife and family. Raising four kids was always going to be a challenge, but also a wonderful time consuming privilege. Then, as Jane developed her career with an excursion into teaching before working through a couple of degrees at University all I wanted to do was support her in all of that. In different degrees she was physically ill for maybe a dozen years with hospital visits all through that time. But the real challenge came when she was obliged to go through personal therapy as part of her training as an Art Psychotherapist. To be honest that really messed her up. Artificially forcing issues, dealt with years ago, to the surface caused a real emotional turmoil. The problem was exacerbated by her therapist’s core belief, apparently, that problems never ever go away… therapy is for life and can only temporarily alleviate emotional problems. You have to keep going back for help to keep things in check, especially as a mental health professional. Maybe that’s a necessary part of the job but unfortunately it cuts right across basic Christian understanding of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Yes, as a Christian I believe that a changed life can be complete and permanent. But though it is an ongoing process that continues for the rest of our lives; that should not mean we go over the same thing time and time again. We’re supposed to mature and not dwell in the past.

So week by week for a couple of years I had to help Jane unpack the emotional turmoil of her 50 minute therapy session. On so many occasions she was left hanging, as the clock demanded the session end, irrespective of any valid conclusion. It usually took a very intense few hours to help her relax again. I’m totally convinced of the value of therapy for those with more obvious mental health illness, but to intervene using such powerful skills just as a training exercise certainly caused Jane some problems. Nonetheless, as I supported Jane over those years I began to recognise my own need for expression and resolution of a number of traumatic events I’d lived through. And still live with today. Unfortunately I don’t have a personal therapist to hand anymore, though the few occasions Jane chose to give me a clinical session were particularly enlightening, though a little scary! Anyway, all I have is this blog. I may not have a qualified professional to guide me and help understand what I’m going through, but it seems beneficial just to keep rambling on about how I’m feeling. Day after day, month after month. I guess my blogging agenda will change before too long, but right now sharing the pain of bereavement helps me survive. One day at a time.

Acts 3:19-20 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord’ (NLT)

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