I had my second appointment with my new therapist today. She’s amazing. I’ve had some decent therapists and my last one was awesome, but she left after being fully qualified for less than year. It was devastating to lose her but she left me in good hands with my new therapist.
Last appointment we had an hour of “getting to know you” and she was awesome. I didn’t tell her everything I need to talk about, but we hit the high points. I told her about my journey to become Zander and that I found a name I loved. She happily said ‘I’m here for all of this. Can I call you Zander? Can we add it to your info” And I said yes. So today, when I checked in, the girl asked “Zander?” And then my therapist called for me, saying “Zander?” And then she gave me this card at the end.
It was euphoric. I really am Zander. My old name sucks. I hate it. It just doesn’t fit me. But I feel myself shedding that name and really becoming Zander. I don’t think of myself as *sucky name* anymore. I never did as a child either. I was always renaming myself back then. Andrew, Samuel, Timothy, and Max were my favorites. But none of those fit anymore. I liked Lazarus but that didn’t stick. I considered Lazlo, but that’s what got me to Lazarus, which I liked better. Max is just too common. And the other ones just didn’t feel like me. But Zander…there’s just something about it that I love and that feels like me. My only worry is that it’s a bit trendy, but I decided that I don’t care. It feels like me.
We spent a lot of this appointment talking about people and how they just need to be nice. Too many people are just assholes to everyone around them, probably because they are unhappy with themselves. I want to be nice and accepting, and supportive. I want people who know me to feel loved and cared for and like they can tell me anything. I have the amazing ability to meet people where they are, with no judgment. Nobody wants to be judged. Life is hard enough with people who don’t care. If you care about someone, you should love them completely, with no judgment.
I used to be afraid of therapy. I started online and it took me a couple weeks to feel comfortable enough to tell this person anything important. I was worried she would judge me, or think I was too broken, or just refuse to help me. It was silly and stupid. She was great. She helped me scratch the surface of who I was and what I needed to work on. I wasn’t comfortable telling her about how I used to cut, until I cut on that one deployment. After avoiding her for a week, I finally wrote and told her what I did. She didn’t judge.
Mostly I didn’t want her to know that I had struggled with suicidal thoughts for most of my adult life. That it was still happening in bursts where I thought everyone would be better off without me. I was so used to hiding it and just feeling it deeply that I never admitted to it, even when asked specifically. Sometimes I would say “I did feel suicidal before but not anymore.” That seemed safe. Safe enough to not get kicked out of the Air Force, anyway. I didn’t want to be forced into an inpatient situation, but I did want to feel better. I didn’t think I was very close to actually doing, just that it might be something I did want to do. I always seemed to sense when I was too close and I’d do something to not do it, like talk to someone I knew would help me but not admit what I was really thinking.
It was like I had functioning suicidal thoughts. I was still doing all of daily life just fine to the outside world, but I was crying every moment I was alone. I was trapped in misery that no one could see. I couldn’t tell anyone because I assumed they wouldn’t care. Or they’d think I was just looking for attention. So I kept it to myself and didn’t try to get lasting help. I think a lot of people live in this place, where they know they’re hurting but they don’t think anyone can help. I want to reach those people. I want to help them know they aren’t alone and someone will listen. I will listen.
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