Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Last Visit

Trey Smith

Yesterday I had my last visit with the mental health counselor that I have been seeing for the past 5 years. As an autistic person, it often is difficult for me to build somewhat intimate relationships with people. I built this sort of relationship with Bill. Since I am moving to a different county, I am forced to seek mental health guidance from a different provider and that won't be easy.

I have been to several counselors over the years. Some I didn't click with at all and, not surprisingly, I didn't see them very often...or ever again. There have been others that I have been rather ambivalent about and, in these cases, I didn't actively pursue the necessary assistance that probably would have benefited me. In fact, before I was assigned to Bill, the duration of my treatment never lasted that long.

But there was something different about this fellow. When preparing for our first session, I was very apprehensive, but he put me at ease almost immediately. Because of the rapport we built, I was able to address fundamental issues that I basically had avoided addressing my entire life (e.g., hallucinations, OCD, autism and deep-seated anxiety). I honestly can say that I am in a better place today because of my relationship with him.

As our last session was coming to an end, something happened that I didn't expect: I got choked up. I actually got teary-eyed. I was saying goodbye to a trusted confidante, counselor and friend. I drove home from Long Beach sort of in a daze. I remember pulling out of the parking lot and, in almost no time at all, it seemed I was pulling into South Bend. I didn't run over anybody or drive off the road during this 50 mile trip, so my brain obviously was focused on my driving, but my mind was somewhere else.

I know that I benefit greatly from counseling, but it will be a while before I call the mental health agency in Grays Harbor County. For starters, I'm still about one month away from making the final move to Ocean Shores. But the real reason is that I need time to mourn. It is like an amicable breakup with a girlfriend. I need time to deal with the sadness of the breakup before I will feel settled enough to try to strike up a new therapeutic relationship.

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