I met Millie last spring at her house in Lake Claire after she was recommended to me by a friend.
At that point, I was, and had been for some time, trapped in indecision. I had made pro/con lists, talked to trusted friends and family and each time had come to the same conclusion. Still, I couldn't move.
I only knew one person who was seeing a therapist, and so I asked her for a name. Then I sent her an email. Then she called me. And then I went.
I didn’t think that I needed help with me, I thought that I needed help with the situation. I still felt uncomfortable, and even undeserving of, this kind of attention. I was there to talk about someone else and so I did.
But Millie mostly asked about me.
Maybe you know me, or knew me, and you can try to imagine me, sitting with a stranger, talking about myself, for an HOUR. It was so hard. But I didn’t know what else to do.
So, every Tuesday there I was. And now, every third Tuesday, there I am.
Even after all of this time, I still struggle to make and maintain eye contact. Even though I have pointed out how my very obvious body language speaks to a need to make myself physically smaller, less obtrusive, less bothersome, I still lean forward with my legs tightly crossed for most of the session.
This is work. It may be the most important work and I wish, I wish, I hadn’t waited so long to get started.
Millie asks a lot of questions – the kind I used to ask myself before I stopped wanting to know the answers. On the second or third visit, she asked me this:
“What do you want, Laura?”
I answered without hesitation. I felt light and free and then horribly guilty. I smiled and then dropped my head into my hands.
I wasn’t supposed to want this. This was supposed to be a tragedy. That I could feel so sure and so relieved, well, that made it one.
Much of my time with Millie has been spent unlocking a truth that goes against so much of what I was taught: that I get to take care of myself; that my needs matter; that the mean things I had been saying to myself weren't true and my belief in them was breaking me.
Millie asks a lot of questions, and sometimes it's so hard to face and then answer them. But when I couldn't move, these questions helped me stand up and start walking again, and I didn't know how to ask them.
I'm so glad that she did.