The jet lag passed after a few days, as did the dark mood. Although I know only too well how these moods come and go, because I’ve lived with them all my life, clearly they still have power over me, as I can still be blindsided when they happen. When it happens, all previous crises cease to matter, because this is the worst one ever. Whatever it’s about, this new problem is too much to bear. Those attitudes are what continue to feed the dark thinking. I wish I could say I’ll be more prepared next time, and I won’t feed the darkness again, but it’s impossible to make promises where my head is concerned.
The therapists that I contacted all got back to me quickly, and by Tuesday I had chosen one who has the right availability and price. I’ll be seeing them for the first time this Friday. Hopefully we’ll get on, and I’ll see them every Friday from now on. I’m excited – I’ve known good things to happen in therapy before. It has never fixed all my problems, but it has provided some powerful solutions. I am looking forward to talking again, really talking. I honestly can’t wait to travel down on Friday morning and see this person whose website makes them sound very suitable.
Maybe I’m too excited? Honestly, I think there’s a part of me that is hoping for some miracle to happen on Friday, despite all I know about therapy and how long it can take for anything to happen. As this is a brand new therapist that I’ve never seen before, I don’t know how they’re going to work yet. They could be the wisest person ever; they could say something in our first session that simply changes everything.
But I need to be realistic. I know the theory behind counselling now. I know that if any miracle is to happen it will come from me, not the therapist. I will be the one that does all the work. I will get support, but I will be the one that has to solve my problems. I’m going there because my feelings about my sexuality need to change. I foresee a lot of heavy conversations, possibly some tears; I foresee the answers coming out of my mouth and, unless there really is a miracle, I don’t think I’m going to like them. I need to keep going, this isn’t something I can keep avoiding.
Work was fine. The bad atmosphere in the office has completely lifted, and I’m actually getting on with my colleague P. We chatted about our holidays and settled back into a friendly working relationship. In the evenings it was nice to be back at AA meetings that I’m familiar with. Since everyone had seen my holiday photos on facebook they didn’t need to ask me how it had been, so I didn’t get to talk about it much.
Someone said they were having a facebook ‘detox’, and I decided there and then I needed to have one. I’ve spent far too much of the past few years scrolling through my facebook feed, looking for likes. We all know it. So on Tuesday I logged out of facebook and have only been back on it once, for a few minutes. A break from social media was long overdue. When I will return is undecided. Maybe the best time to go back will be when I no longer feel like I want to. At the moment I’m thinking about it every five minutes. When that stops then I’ll consider my detox to have been a success.
It was nice to return to college on Saturday and see everyone. I had missed them, strangely enough. It was a great day. There was more interesting work to do, and the closeness in the group hadn’t dissipated during the three week break. Some of them feel like genuine friends now. I don’t want this to end. I want to continue in September on the next level and experience this education for another two years.
The tutor was as happy to see us as we were to see her. Everyone had a lot of questions about the application process for the diploma, which she kindly spent much of the afternoon answering. It seems that most of us are keen to progress and become professional counsellors. She had a warning for us concerning the availability of jobs in the field: apparently they are hard to come by. It put a damper on the discussion. I hadn’t thought that it would be hard to make money as a counsellor. I’d’ve thought the country was crying out for them. In my fantasy, I would have qualified in 2019 and gone straight into a £25k a year job, where I’d be helping clients day in and day out from the start. Now it seems it could be a long, slow road to career success, if it happens at all.
It hasn’t put me off continuing with the training, but it has made me think. Which is what the comment was intended for. If I’m not meant to make money as a counsellor I’d need to think about what else I want to do with my life. I haven’t a clue what else I’d do at the moment. So I need to start thinking.
Since it’s been a bank holiday weekend I was in the mood for a day trip somewhere interesting. After a look on google maps I thought it would be nice to get the train to the countryside west of London, somewhere I’ve never been before. My friend P tagged along and we spent an afternoon walking around admiring a historic town. On the train back P showed me a whatsapp message that he’d received from a friend. There was a picture of the friend (in his forties) sitting next to a cute young guy, and a message that read “look what I just had for lunch.” We got the connotation instantly, and I couldn’t ignore a feeling of revulsion that immediately rose up in me.
P agreed that the message was pure bragging. He said, “It is a bit…”
“Distasteful?” I finished. It’s exactly what I don’t like about some men, this need to show off about sex. P retorted with something like, “but he’s a nice guy normally,” which I wasn’t buying. To this friend, the nineteen year old he’d just slept with was little more than a piece of meat, worth referring to as “lunch” so that others could have a good giggle. This is why I have felt so inclined for so long to just give up on sex altogether, because this kind of behaviour is so crushingly common amongst gay men. My future therapist has his work cut out for him, trying to solve this dilemma!
My new part time hours start this week. Hooray! I’m at work tomorrow and Thursday, and that’s it. From now on most of my time will be spent outside of work. I have every intention of using the new free time that I’ll have wisely. Whether it will last is to be seen, but I hope it will go well. From today I’m on a significantly reduced salary, so I have to start budgeting properly. There can be no half measures now. I know most of the money I waste is on expensive food that I don’t need, so I’m hoping on Wednesday I can go to the supermarket and buy ingredients that will last the week, and not just a day or two. I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to get in the kitchen and cook them. For years I’ve been saying I’ll give up the microwave meals; they’re expensive and un-nutritious, unlike real food that takes time to cook. I’ve never managed to break away from those microwave meals because of how lazy I am when it comes to the kitchen. Working full time meant I had an excuse to keep avoiding this change. Now I will have two more days every week to use, I hope (and pray) something shifts.