It’s been a long warm lonely summer.

I spent most of my time studying for a professional exam, which has a passing rate of 55%. If I did not pass, it would cost my company thousands of dollars of consultant’s fees. And I could not retake the exam for 6 months and a retake would be too late for the proposed project. No pressure.

For decades I have fought the image of myself that was left to me by those who came before me. The outer shell is reasonably strong, the inner still brittle. Stress makes us go back to what we know; old habits and thought patterns are comfortable, even when they hurt. I did not want to fall into the abyss of merciless self-defeating thoughts and the resurrection of the negative self-image.

As best I could, I prepared the company president for the possibility of having to find a consultant. That was honesty, not negativity.

I missed participating in my favorite hobby. Occasionally Susan became upset with the amount of time I spent sequestered in my room. I spent somewhere around 200 hours preparing for the 3 ½ hour 125 question exam. I slipped from view of my adult children and the rest of my family.  river

In the end, the exam proctor said I passed. It didn’t start to sink into my head until I walked onto the streets of one of the greatest cities in the country, if not the world, to feel the afternoon sun, look at the blue sky peppered with cotton ball clouds and enjoy the building views that I felt the meaning of accomplishment.

Susan and I no closer than where we were some months ago. She has made some great strides in understanding herself and the others within. She is thinking of them more and more as a part of her whole and not some bits that orbit around her. She spends a lot of her waking time within herself and the others.

For the past few months I have rarely spoken about her in my therapy, instead focusing on my thought patterns, understanding what was lost and what I learned in my own abusive, alcoholic dysfunctional family, frustrated that I am still dealing with this after so many years. I jokingly fear I will be shuffling through my therapist’s parking lot, stooped over, supported by a cane, and almost reaching for the office door, dying of a heart attack. When is enough therapy enough?

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