How We Fight Our Battles Matters
As a person in the profession of counseling, I can tell you that I came to it from my brokenness.
As I have grown through the years, I have sorted the helpful from the unhelpful advice people have freely, and for profit, given to me.
I have come from a place of innocence through ignorance to insight, understanding, knowledge, and awareness. I am moving to enlightenment, wisdom, and illumination. I am a life long teacher and learner.
I was born a warrior. That is a good thing, because I have fought hard for myself.
I was recovering from physical, sexual, emotional, and religious abuse.
I was gaslighted into thinking my loved ones were only doing what was best for me. I was brainwashed by religion to the point where I completely lost myself in the process.
Racism and bigotry colored many of my thoughts, words, and actions through my unconscious mind. I honestly could not help myself. I was a perpetual victim, always and innocent victim of unfortunate circumstances outside of myself, always preoccupied with my safety and fearful of death.
Then, I started learning my lessons. I started by having an interest in Spanish Language. I studied it for years. I also had a love of music. I studied that for years also. My father, before he went blind, suggested we take a guitar class together. I accepted his invitation. At that time I had not woken up to his abuse.
My mother "prayed for me" every day of her life. Her selfish obsession was worry. She taught me how to worry about everything.
I have hence completely forgiven them for all and have a good relationship with them though they are both passed on to wherever we go after this life is finished.
My sisters, they were a different story. I was the outsider, always. Both reluctantly invited me back into the family until I got sober from alcohol, drugs and stranger sex. Then, I started talking about things they did not want to hear.
I became the outcast I have always felt I was when both ceased to speak to me. One died of alcoholism, she drank every day. The other is an enabler of patriarchy and religious abuse. She no longer speaks to me, though she is still alive.
I was told when I was 16 that I was not college material by my high school counselor. He told me to learn to type and take shorthand. I followed their advice to the letter. I worked as a clerk at a cleaners and a waitress at a fish restaurant at the Redondo Beach pier my first two jobs. I was a secretary for the next four jobs.
Weird things kept happening to me. Once, I was in the restroom on the 10th floor of an office building where I worked, in a stall, when I noticed someone was laying on the ground, looking under my stall. He was masturbating. I was unsure what was going to happen next so I started yelling and screaming. He disappeared, but the damage was done.
Yet, I recovered myself. I went to a community college all this while and accumulated 72 units. I was not going to give up on myself even though I wanted to die every day.
In 1981, I had my first break through. I was working at the YMCA and watched a young boy die from choking on a marshmallow and a piece of candy which had combined in his trachea to cause a large enough blockage so that he could not breath. A coworker and myself were called into the bathroom about 10 minutes into this crisis and the boy was already dead. I felt like I had done something wrong. I felt like I was responsible for that boys death even though I had nothing to do with it. During my years at the YMCA, I engaged in all of my addictions, living a double life as a wife, mother and bar slut.
Once the boy died, I went crazy. I began having panic attacks, sometimes lasting days at a time, rolling from one to the other like birthing contractions. I had to stop all of my addictions and get psychiatric care. I was terrified I was going to hurt someone or myself. It was then I regrouped and started a Master's Degree program in counseling psychology with a focus in health psychology.
I completed my bachelor degree between 1976 and 1981 while I worked at the YMCA. I learned a good deal but wanted to target my education toward helping others.
I went to many self help group meetings from 1982 to 1987 but I did not stop drinking. After all, everyone I knew drank alcohol and was fine. Alcohol was not my problem, other people were my problem. I was in the right place.
in 1987, after five years of counseling, psychiatry visits, self help groups and hard work, I thought, "I can stop my medication now, I am normal again, I don't have to worry anymore."
The panic attacks return with a vengeance, even worse than before, I was sure my future would be an unending cycle of hospitalizations, releases and recoveries until I either killed myself or died from alcoholism. It was then I got sober. I went to many self help groups for years. During my first 30 years of sobriety, memory after memory came to me in puzzle pieces as I tried to figure out what was going on with my life.
I lived in San Jose when I got sober, worked a full time job at Santa Clara County Department of Alcohol and Drug Services. I had a wonderful mentor and a great boss who were not worried about my anxiety, constant fear and worry. They slowly but surely mentored me as a professional. I was ready and able to accept their mentoring. I was hired in the end as a manager of seven alcohol and drug county treatment centers and ended my 13 year career as a bureaucrat with a pension which I had contributed to and health care for the rest of my life.
This set me free to pursue a long held dream. To study Yoga and Ayurveda.
My first experience was with a Yoga Teacher Training which I took with my daughter just before retirement.
Once I moved from Northern California to Southern California to pursue a relationship with my daughter and her two children, I founded a non-profit. Sadly, I was not ready to accept the responsibility for this huge endeavor and my family was not interested in supporting me. My fear scared everyone away.
Never the less, I had made a commitment to clients so I kept it open from 2010 to 2019. At one point I had a staff of associates, I became an AAMFT Approved Supervisor (which required 20 mentoring sessions at $100.00 per session), I became a Yoga Therapist and learned as much as I could about Ayurveda and when I closed that non profit, I was exhausted. It took me two years to close it down. I just signed the last tax form today.
Now, I am pursuing my profession in a few different ways. I just started and Ed.D. program, on line at American College of Education. It was the most affordable program and I could pay for it per semester over five years. That fit with my current plan. I set myself up on ZOOM Pro at $2000 a year to see clients via Teletherapy. I now Teach Yoga Training On Line and offer my services as a mentor, consultant and supervisor of people interested in what I have to offer. I believe in attraction rather than shameless promotion.
This blog may seem like a series of unconnected events, but believe me when I say that each and every one of these experiences has led me to my healing.
I love helping people put their own stories together. I have the ability to listen and challenge at the same time. I am willing to work through conflicts (though I find not many people are) and I will make a commitment to you for as long as you and I are in a healthy relationship.
I was just interviewed for a teletherapy organization called cerebral who is interested in hiring me for supervision of associates using teletherapy. This is a full teletherapy position paying a great salary. I certainly hope I am accepted into this great opportunity.