Wow, I have a nice buzz on. Seven hours ago, I had my intake interview to begin therapy. Now that I am three weeks back in the USA, I can get services. If I had returned to Israel, a country of socialized medicine, I would have been eligible for counselling… or meds, but in Canada, I couldn’t get any help, eh. I went online and selected a women’s shelter for survivors of trauma and abuse. As usual, Hashem guided me to a good place because… where a person’s inclination leads them, Shemayim assists. I woke up at 630 am and caught the bus towards town to go to my intake. The shelter/ women’s counselling center was gorgeous. Beautifully furnished, toys for children, clean bathrooms, safe, helpful staff. With each step, I was more impressed. They don’t know it yet, but when I am slightly healthier, they will have an advocate in me. The intake began with a self-assessment questionnaire. The questions assessed my level of victimization, trauma, self-confidence, and PTSD. Just answering the survey sent me into waves of panic. I was starting to see colors, as happens before a migraine attack or a severe panic episode. Then I met with Megan and she explained that every counsellor has a Master’s of Social Work and that my sessions would be free. Awesome. Megan spent the next 90 minutes interviewing me. I had to name all my abusers, including David, give their address, relationship to me, and summarize the abuse. This one sexually molested me, this one raped me, this one used to break furniture to frighten me, this one wouldn’t let me sleep, this one tried to kill me, and David put his hands around my throat to strangle me. On a thirty step scale of emotional, verbal, sexual, and physical abuse my marriage to ‘Ned’ took up 25 steps, stopping short only of beating me, raping me, strangling me, stabbing me or murder. Damn. I knew it was a crappy marriage, but I didn’t know it was abusive. And my beloved David? Well, he took the lead at putting his hands around my throat. Megan explained that choking or strangling someone is the absolute largest red flag and that it quickly escalates to murder. Awesome. Just to show how much therapy I really need – I refused to give David’s name. I said, and I quote, ” I am not comfortable listing him as a ‘bad man’. I know he is a ‘bad man’, but I’m just not okay with doing that.” phew. Megan was very understanding. I judged that the process was not as painful as I expected. I felt reasonably rational and was able to walk away on my own two feet. I did not cry. Unfortunately, there is a waiting list but I can attend group therapy on Friday afternoon, and I am eligible to see a hospital psychiatrist at no charge. All in all, it was a tremendously positive leap forward. I feel that this week of Pesach was the perfect time to begin therapy. The Kabbalists would say that I am drawing the energy of Pesach down to me to release my bonds of slavery and move from a time of mourning into a time of redemption. Amen. It sounds good to me.
After my intake, I thought, “Fuck it. I don’t care how much it costs and that I don’t have work, I deserve a reward for doing the intake. I want a couple of beers, and some lunch, at a place where the local Texans hang out.” I randomly found such a place and spent three hours talking with Ariel and Nicole over beers. Total strangers when I walked in, friends when I left. Texas is going to be good for me. If I can get therapy here. I complained that during my six years in Miami, I met plastic smiles, plastic boobs, and plastic friends. Texans are much more like me: real, gritty, and honest. I have a headache, but I feel like I can heal and recover here in Dallas. May Hashem help me in all the works of my hands.
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