I did that as I became a “mental health professional” and it was time to deal with what was PTSD, but back then PTSD was not the in vogue diagnosis that it is now.
I started this work when I was in my early 20s and have been in and out of analytic psychotherapy for the better part of my adult life. I do this as I treat people on the extreme edges of human experience, that is, psychoses and those with borderline personality disorders. Doing this work reaches into the darkest corners of my psyche so I treat myself to work with a therapist I have been working with for over 25 years. I’m not sure I could do this work without being in therapy myself.
I entered into therapy as a result of the ravages of an autoimmune disease that regularly tries to bump me off. So, Staci, you might imagine that living with such a murderous little number might impose on me the necessity of frequently confronting issues of my life and death and continuing loss can impact my emotional availability.
Of course, having to live with such a thing and being in therapy has helped me continue the work I do with people who wonder about their ability to survive; and they often wonder and talk about my obvious health problems and their worry that I will die before they can rise up from the depths of their own madnesses.
The only really good thing about this is that my patients know I’m someone who’s been there, done that. Many patients with severe symptoms of madness also come to realize how resilient all this has made me and they eventually tell me that they came to rely on my resilience.
Additionally, Staci, if you are going to work with the population that I work with, being in therapy is a necessity. I could never continue this without the relationship with my therapist.