These day-long sessions would be split up in 1- to 2- hour increments, because they could get very intense. We would take a break, maybe go do some art time or meditation time, and then come back for more peel-back-the-layers of yourself time.
Sometimes all I was required to do was listen and offer encouragement. I usually felt relief...the microscope was off of me and I could relax. But as the days went by, I actually found myself offering up pieces of my past that I had never told anyone before, when I thought it might help.
The people who came and went while I was there were from all walks of life. People were there for anger issues...two very different people there had matching arm casts for hitting a wall with their fists. Suicidal ideation, auditory hallucinations, depression, referrals from the court. Two of the guys were convicts - one had served time for forging checks, the other for manslaughter.
Meeting anyone and everyone at The Place challenged me and reminded me not to make assumptions. Deep down inside, every single one of us that came through the doors of The Place had the same issues - we were afraid.
There was something inside all of us - a scared ten-year old girl alone in a foreign country, an eighteen-year old boy who killed someone in self-defense, or a twenty-year old girl who developed a chemical imbalance - that had set up barriers on top of barriers in order to insulate ourselves from feeling.
We had all come to a point where we were completely incapable of dealing with anything at all, because we were so busy protecting that something inside of us.
I was at The Place longer than most people. I saw a lot of my friends come after me and go before me...some before they were ready.
I wasn't exactly better when I was finally released to 'real life' again, but I had a much better handle on things.
I knew why I'd struggled with depression most of my life. I knew why my grandmother's death had been such a trigger for me. I knew how to recognize if I was falling again and what I should do if it happened.
I'm still working on the rest.
Pretty sure this will be my last of The Place posts...I think, anyway.
Thanks for listening y'all.