Success Story: Ted's Story of No More Fear, Pain, Guilt, Grief or Anger
Ted Describing His Experience in His Own Words
I knew what death was: hate, fear, and many other drastic words to say, ĎIím afraidí. My unmarried mother gave birth to me at the age of 16, in 1959. An Aunt/Uncle in South Carolina raised me. I knew fear very well. My uncle was an alcoholic and I was the one to clean him, put him to bed, and take his gun away from him when he felt like playing with it while drunk. I was 10 or 11 years old. That night I went to his room to help him into bed. It was a success. He was not fighting or throwing up. He had taken his pistol out of the drawer and I put it back in the drawer. He went to sleep. I continued my homework.
I was sitting there on the foot of the bed, looking at myself in the mirror and suddenly the glass came at me. There was a very loud sound and I really didnít know what it was. I felt my body move just in time not to be hit in the head. He was not sleeping, but awake and playing with that damn gun. He was not concerned about me. He thought the bullet had hit my great grandmother. I was so afraid that night. I could not go to sleep. I didnít finish my homework. I just laid in the bed in fear. He pretended nothing happened after that. No one ever said anything about it.
Years later, I was about to step into the world of deep anger, depression, grief, guilt, low self-esteem, marital and family problems. The anger I was feeling was about not having parents and not having an understanding wife. I was slowly becoming depressed and unable to step into the world of living and happiness. I was so empty inside. As time went by, I realized I was still dealing with a lot of grief. I lost a dear brother one month before my wedding to my beautiful wife. I watched my brother die. No one ever asked me if it was all right. No one ever talked to me about him or how his death helped change my life.
I kept all these feelings hidden deep inside (so I thought). I learned from my wife that I was crying in my sleep. My brother was like a father to me. I never thought there would come a day I would bury him. Soon after his death and funeral, I got married in Canada, went on our honeymoon, relocated, and purchased a house. I had not allowed myself to feel the pain. I began to notice feeling guilty about leaving my family after his death. But now I had a wife who also needed my support as a husband. My dreams, hopes, and desires began to fade one by one. Now I was feeling so much guilt.
Iíve always known that helping others would be my calling. But what I did not know is how it would help me. As I was about to venture into the field of Case Management, it was required for each of us to make home visits and school visits. On this particular day, I had telephoned for a city taxi to take me to a home visit. At a red light, right before my very eyes, a young man of about 20, got out of the car in front of us. He walked passed the taxi, but made eye contact with each of us in the taxi. The guy pulled a handgun out of his jacket and fired into the car behind us. He quickly ran past the taxi, and got into the car in front of us.
They began to go through the light and were shooting into the air. It took me back to 10 years of age. I experienced the same sound, the same anger, the same meanness and another opportunity where I could have been shot. As the weeks went by I found it very hard to go to work, to even go out into the field when I made it to work. I had a fear in me that would not go away. I found myself in a deeper depression. How could I tell my wife what had happened six months back, when working is very important to any family these days. I carried this burden for six months because I didnít want to disappoint her.
But when the six month came I could not go any longer. I told her what had happened. She said she Ēunderstood and she would rather have me alive.Ē That really felt good, but soon after that I could see the disappointment in her face. I could hear it in her voice. And I could do nothing but go deeper into the depression. I relived my childhood on that very day and I could no longer live with it.
I needed help. That event changed my entire life. I left that job. I promised myself that I would not put my life in danger for the mighty dollar. Even though Iím in a different state/city, he fear and pain was very real.
Still I didnít seek help from my current therapist until after another brother died suddenly a few years later. By that time I hadnít worked in two - years.
I remember the very moment I decided to seek help. I just got the yellow page book and opened it without looking. It was very much a miracle that it would open to the page of a therapist who would help me through all this mess I had in my life.
When I made the call to his office to set the appointment I could feel that this would be the one to really help me. In our first therapy conversation, we spoke of all the evaluation sheets I had completed. I was off the chart for most of them. My stress symptom level was in outer space. He said it was 279, the second highest score he had ever seen. There were things that made me cry. There were hopes and dreams I once had that were no longer part of me and I wanted them back.
He instructed me through The Psychological Uplifter, which worked a miracle the very first day. I learned how to rid myself of negative thoughts, feelings, and other emotions. That Psychological Up-Lifter is part of my daily life and I know if more people would use it, they would soon notice results. I put it on my cell phone, so I could read it when I was stuck in traffic or at the mall.
Here is the beginning of my Psychological Uplifter: ďEven though I have anger, depression, grief, guilt, low self-esteem, marital and family problems, I accept myself deeply and profoundly and I am a good and magnificent personĒ. The words are so powerful for me and I do think they could be powerful for all who are searching for peace and inner forgiveness. Depression is nothing to play with. It will bring you to the lowest of lows. You will find that you donít even know yourself or can feel yourself.
Forgiving all things in my life is not an easy job; understanding the past of why I was treated in such a negative manner and the continued connection with the people who made me feel so bad about life and myself, seemed so sick. How could I love/like the people who hurt me? How could I continue to have a relationship with them? Trust me, it wasnít easy, but it had to be done. I went into therapy to learn how to love, forgive, understand, and move forward in my life. My life is very important me and I desire to have wonderful things, people, and events in it.
I set a goal to seek peace in my life and relationships. Having a positive relationship was something Iíve always wanted with friends and family. The willingness to forgive came from within my spiritual self. I knew that my higher power would love me and forgive me, no matter what. So I wanted to be more like him and I found in my heart that through all of my pain, I could forgive others. It was going to take time to reach the total goal of forgiveness and peace. Some days I had to remind myself to ďLet Go and Let GodĒ. I knew in my heart I wanted too. But there were times when I would become so angry. I also realized that I could only change and heal myself. Those around me had to make their individual changes.
Forgiveness is an everyday test and I work on forgiveness every day of my life. Moving toward the better things of the heart: love, peace, joy, laughter, positive attitude and forgiveness. I want my soul to be free of the heartache I know so well. Thatís why I choose forgiveness. I constantly refer to my copy of ďA 16 Step Forgiveness ProcessĒ sheet. I have it in a binder and I keep it beside my bed. Whenever I feel the negative thoughts coming into my heart, I began to read it over and over. I soon move forward and give it all to my higher power.
The next therapy was the Pressure Point Therapy. I had no idea what the outcome would be. As I tried the exercise I could immediately notice a change within myself. I just focus on one emotion and work my way through the entire process of pressure points. and the more I continued this exercise, the better I felt. It will continue to be a tool for me to use no matter whatís going on in my life. It really keeps me at a very safe place in my mind, body, and spirit. Iíve worked through a lot of issues and Iím truly proud of myself for stepping out of the place I thought was safe.
Iím feeling like Iím on top of the world and you know what, I deserve to feel this way. Iíve learned how to appreciate myself and others. Iím at peace, Iím living and Iím dreaming once again. In fact, by the end of the fifth therapy session I was feeling so calm and relaxed that I had a score of zero on the stress scale that my therapist gave me.
After finding the therapist I have now, Iíve made it through. Iím a stronger person. Iím a loving person, and a caring person. I know that I can do all things through my higher power that gives me strength to do so. I love myself and Iím alive to tell about it.
So for those of you who are not so sure about what approach to take to start your healing process, the magic of it all is to just take that first step to get help.Ē
(From CHANGES IN FORGIVENESS, GRATITUDE, STRESS AND WELL-BEING DURING PSYCHOTHERAPY: An integrative, evidence-based approach by Philip H. Friedman, PhD and Loren Toussaint, PhD International Journal of Healing and Caring-Online- May, 2006, Volume 6, no. 2)
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