It was so long ago, episode 43.

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I saw Karen today.  It seems like these weeks are going by so fast, and yet it feels like forever since I was last in there.  Today was no different.  This week had New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in it.  So she asked which days we had group.  I told her Monday and Thursday.  So she asked how that was.  

I told her on Monday I talked about what we talked about on Saturday.  And she asked, “and?”  Deliberately mistaking her meaning, I said, “and, I talked about what was going to happen on New Year’s Eve, over at my sister’s with my brothers.”  And then I said, and, “the conversation I had with my dad on Sunday night.”  She did ask about that.  So we talked about that.  

Dad is reading A Short History of the Christian Church, which he tells me is not short.  I expect a better title would be an exhaustive history of Christianity.  Be that as it may be.  We got to talking about the problem in the Catholic Church of pedophiles, and how they move them around and cover it up.  And dad said, you can’t fix those people.  So I said, well I think there are different types, and as the conversation progressed, I realized a few things.  Dad doesn’t believe any type of perpetrator of child sexual abuse is fixable.  Dad doesn’t know that the perpetrators in my case were my brothers (he probably thinks that mashing incident was my whole problem).  And there is no point in disabusing him of this idea.  

But it does hurt that one of my main support people in my family doesn’t get it at all because either he doesn’t want to know and is letting me know that, or I don’t want him to know or at least, I don’t want to tell him because I perceive that he doesn’t want to know, and my perception may be off.  I added a few things to Karen about how I do that with her and everyone.  I don’t need any encouragement whatsoever NOT to talk about it, and the moment that I think people don’t want to hear it, I shut up.  We talked about the masher a bit because I had to explain what I think Dad probably thinks.  

Then we went on to what happened on NYE.  It was pretty much a whole lot of nothing, but I went 3 hours later than I normally would have and that was a lot better.   Cathy told me that she wishes I would have not gone this year, but we had talked a lot about that in group, and after saying I would, I felt I needed to.  Well anyway.  I managed to successfully avoid the first thing we talked about, and we hit the 45 minute mark, which is when I usually bring up the hard stuff.  (I have to quit doing that.)  

I told her that I told Cathy I had to graduate.  She asked what brought me to that conclusion, and I said the bill.  The new paperwork.  Ok, the bill I got was almost 3x the amount we had agreed upon, starting in November.  $275/day x 3 days a week, I don’t bring home that much, and I don’t know a lot of people who do.  I figured it was a mistake and they would figure it out.  But then the new paper I signed was something like $175 a session, and I just can’t afford that either.  I e-mailed her and I think we have it down to $100 again, but I am only able to put $300/month in the HSA — less now that there is a full year.  So that is $900 per month that I am just making a bill for.  There is no way I can pay all that.  At least not if I keep letting it grow.  I’ve been in there for 6 months.  The insurance did not pay anything.  Well, once my deductible was met they kicked me off.  So, I had to pay 1,500 to Karen before my insurance kicked in, then the 3K deductible, then we renegotiated to for the 100 per session, so I have a bill of about $5500 at this point.  And I need to graduate. 

So, we talked about that, and Karen is trying to convince me to see it as a positive thing.  I tried to explain, I work every day.  And some folks can’t, she came back that I am very strong, the most highly functional person who has been through as much trauma as I have.  But I am saying if I am intelligent, I should be done with this; if I am strong, I shouldn’t be having this trouble.  But the thing is, there are no shortcuts, and I have to go through it, and it may take me even longer than some other folks.  I don’t know that I am strong, I feel weak and fragile and anything can knock me over right now.  But if I am strong and intelligent, it doesn’t mean I do not need or want the validation and support in getting through all of this.  

Well anyway, the hour was up, and pressed into the idea that I need to feel liked and she wasn’t playing because she says it doesn’t matter, and I don’t agree. But I talked about how I worry that once I am no longer in the group, she can then give me the heave ho, and that I have maybe gotten a little better about the neediness stuff, but I still suck on the abandonment stuff.  But the hour was legitimately up.  She says that I will be thinking that two weeks is too short a time between sessions at some point and I looked at her like she is crazy.    I should have said we could change positions now, because she belongs on the couch, but I didn’t.  She believes in me, or is trying to convey that to me.  

Well, thanks for reading.  I told Cathy I need to graduate from the group, and she asked when, Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, and I panicked and said Thursday, so I bought myself another week.  

Join the Conversation


  1. Kevin Casey Volunteer

    Sorry to hear what you went through and that you have to give up something that’s helping you I hope everything works out and you can continue going to your sessions if you have any questions or anything you need we are here for you thank you for letting us read your story

  2. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey Solongago,

    I’m sorry you’re in such a tough spot. It really doesn’t seem like there is much you can do about it, and that is so unfair. Like everyone else said, our healthcare system sucks. Thanks for keeping us updated. You really are doing so well and things seem to be looking up for you. Stay strong, you’re a fighter!


  3. Jess Volunteer

    I’m so sorry that you’re having to give up something that is helping you, basically only because our healthcare system sucks. I think you’re right (in your comment below) about how maybe some of the panic you’re feeling is because you’re officially leaving the group. You have to remember to stick with your self-care, even when the panic is coming, though. Your medications are incredibly important to maintaining all of the progress you’ve made. I know Karen and Cathy are both on you about it, but please ensure that you listen to their advice. You have worked SO HARD to get where you are. You are so incredibly strong. Please keep fighting. I know it’s hard right now, but you can do it. If there’s anything else we can do, please let us know. We are always here for you, Solongago.

  4. SAL Volunteer

    Thanks for updating us. I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with that. Our healthcare system does suck. I know how hard it is to believe, but you are strong and you’re doing great and it will get better.
    Stay Strong,

  5. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,
    Our health care system sucks!! It is incomprehensible that people are not able to get the help that they need in whatever form they need it. I know that both Cathy and Karen are after you about taking your medication and doing self-care, but I am going to jump in as well. Don’t throw your hard work down the drain!! You have come a long way and you have fought for every inch of it. You are important and you need to take care of yourself<3
    Would you be able to start some type of support group in your area? Could your Rape Crisis Center provide you with information and support in creating a group? At least until they are able to start a formal group in your area? I understand that it wouldn't have a therapist, but sometimes it is more about hearing other people, having your experience validated, and knowing that you have a group of people who will listen and understand what you are working on. Maybe pick a book and do a book study or something of that nature….just a thought. You are strong and intelligent and you have the experience of doing the work.
    Sending you love, strength, and well-wishes for a better week,

    1. Solongago Volunteer

      Hi Roxie,

      I have put much thought into a group, facilitating a group. Since I have been in this IOP, more than one of the group’s members have either just come out of in-patient, or ended up in in-patient treatment. All for being suicidal. Occasionally, I get to thinking about it. I don’t think I will do it, and I generally do not talk about it, because of my history with Mom being suicidal. My uncle’s wife found her mother who had hung herself, when she was 18 (my uncle’s wife was 18 at that time, and it did send her into in-patient).

      The facilitators of the IOP and the therapists at the center I am going to, and the lady at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, all of them, do not jump to get folks committed, it is kind of a last resort. They do tend to share the thought that you are better off in in-patient than dead from suicide, so they have been trained to recognize when folks are serious about it, and they will take action.

      Too many of our number have suicidal ideation. And it is far better if they can express this in a group, with a therapist, than to be too frightened of being pink-slipped to say anything. A girl at my workplace, a few months ago told me that she left work a few days earlier very distraught, that her boss told her to go home. She went home, and told her son that she loved him, and got the revolver and loaded it, and was going to shoot herself, but she didn’t. Her boyfriend was trying to break into the room where she was, and she was afraid of being pink-slipped, so she stopped. This does not make a lot of sense. They cannot pink-slip you if you are dead. But I wasn’t arguing with her about stupid stuff. We discussed our histories, and sure enough, her history, while different than mine, includes this stuff. I told her that her son needs her, and her answer was that he deserves a parent that isn’t crazy. I told her that I care about her, and I was frightened about her going home and completing the suicide. But I did not call the police. Her biggest fear was being pink-slipped because she was after her son was born. And it was a horrible experience. She was separated from her month old baby for a week or so, and she told me about the place. It terrifies me. I totally get the idea that going there is worse than being dead. She also told me she is too afraid to go back to her psychiatrist or to any type of therapist.

      I talked about it with Karen and in group with Cathy. And this is why I cannot possibly start a support group for folks like me, like us. And, I won’t go into a group that isn’t headed by a therapist. This on-line stuff is a little different. But even here, one of the fellows had his girl friend commit suicide. I feel totally incompetent in asking people if they are having thoughts, when to call and have them do a wellness-check, what to say.

      During the time in the IOP a lady in the group died. She was a year older than me, but had some long-term health issues. It wasn’t suicide. But that was what we were thinking. And it was good that we had Cathy to explain what happened and give us an opportunity to process it. If I started a group, and one of the members completed a suicide, I wouldn’t know how I could live with myself. I know ultimately we, none of us, have control over other people. If someone wants to commit suicide on Cathy, they will do it. And she will feel really bad about it. But, she will also know that she did what she could to prevent it, sometimes it is not preventable, she has been trained, has experience with people and trauma, people who are suicidal. And me, if they commit suicide while I was facilitating. I would be in a chronic state of blaming myself. So no, I can’t start a group.

  6. Deanna Volunteer

    HI Solongago,
    I am glad that this week was a little better. I think I may be able to help a little in regard to therapy and group. Insurance sucks. If you are a survivor of sexual assault then you can find free counseling and groups. I’m not sure of your county, so I can only point you toward the right direction: you can find your local group. No one should have to worry about their mental health services. If there’s anything else I can do to help, just ask.

    You’re pushing through and not shutting down, that in itself is a triumph.

    1. Solongago Volunteer

      Thank you, Deanna. I checked that out. It has a great big gap between Erie, PA and Lake County, Ohio. I am currently working in Lake County. A lot of them are the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and I am working with them trying to find a group either in Lake or Ashtabula County (where I live). I am having some individual with the CRCC in Ashtabula. Really, my problem is my work schedule. Because I work second shift, it is hard to find groups. Because I live in the sticks, I have to travel to get near one. They (the CRCC in Ashtabula) are hoping to have a group sometime around April. Since I am a current client that has an interest in a group, they may make the time a time I can make it. I hope so.

      Still trying though.

      I’ve bee really depressed over the holidays, the stuff with my brother, my little 3 year old bitch who is dying of oral cancer, and knowing that I need to be out of the group. I stopped taking my maintenance drugs. I told Karen a little more than a week ago, and she got me to take them that day. But, I’ve taken them maybe 3 times in 3 weeks, and one of them was today after I mentioned it in group today. Cathy is upset about that, and had me make another appt. with Karen for next week. I’m being really stupid and immature and unreasonable. There are limits and I am getting there. I don’t know what I am going to do. There is just so much grief right now. It is just life — the ups and downs, but it is hitting me at the absolute worst time. And I’m overwhelmed.

      Ah well, I need to get up in another six hours and go to group. It is helping. But there is just so much going on, that it is like the worst time to quit. The ball is rolling now though. And maybe half of this panicky stuff is because I am ending it.

      1. Deanna Volunteer

        Hi Solongago,

        I am SO sorry for not replying sooner. I will be sure to catch up on your stories to see how you are. My cat, Socrates, died shortly after this original message. I was beside myself and barely left my bed for a couple of weeks. How is your sick dog doing?

        Did you intentionally skip your meds or did you miss them because you were feeling down and forgot them? If it’s the latter, I am fond of a little app called Mango Health. Please don’t skip your meds, your body won’t like you for it. I’ve read a study about how depression comes back worse if meds are discontinued. If you feel comfortable, we can discuss (maybe compare) meds. I have a solid knowledge of pharmacology. So maybe I can help you there.

        I don’t think you’re being immature. You be whatever you need to heal and at least in my opinion, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, it’s what YOU need.

        I’m sorry there isn’t a shelter right in your area. I will see if I can find any online groups. Do you think that might help?

        I’m sorry again. Hope you are well.


  7. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I think your strength comes from the fact that you have been working through the ups, downs, and everything in between. There is also strength in being vulnerable with others and letting them support us, and it can help us work through everything. Asking for support and validation is not a sign of weakness.
    I’m glad that you’re getting a lot out of the group sessions, yet I understand why it’s hard to leave the group. I hope you’ll be able to find a more affordable option as well as get the support that you’re looking for.
    I also hope that things get better for you. We’re always here for you, and we’re glad to read and respond to your updates. You can get through this.

  8. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thanks for sharing more updates with us. I’m sorry you have to leave group, but I think you should remember Kathy’s words, that it’s a good thing that you are ready to. Let us know how else we can help you.


  9. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    It’s good to hear from you again! You are right that there are no shortcuts to healing. You can be strong, and still struggle. It’s normal to have days that are more difficult than others. Dont’ be ashamed of those days. You are so strong, and it is great getting updates from you!


  10. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m sorry that your group is causing you money issues. Is there a way to get you to go to a different group that is under insurance or maybe there is online therapy that you can try. There are many therapists/groups online, free, or under insurance. Maybe Karen can help you with that or if you want we can help you with that. You can use the “find help” tab at the top right corner of this page. I hope things get better. If they do maybe you won’t need the group or therapy at all! Thank you for updating us.

    1. Solongago Volunteer

      The group is very helpful because it is three times a week, and it is in person. What is it, 90% of communication is non-verbal. I think I get a lot out of being there, because I can see what people model and not just what they say. I have seen people cry when I talk of some stuff, and while I do not want people to cry, it brings it home to me that yes, that was a horrible event. My emotions are inexperienced at best. So they show up in their own time, or they do not necessarily fit the facts. I learn a lot from the folks in the group.

      I also feel validated and cared about. I can get some of that on-line. Ah well. I am going to miss the group. It is a problem financially, yes. But already, Cathy has said that it is a mistake and it should be the lower amount. The problem is that the lower amount is still not really doable. But they are very patient with me, and I am paying what I can, and making a bill for the rest. The reason for leaving is that the group is for DBT skills, and having been through the course 3 times now, I am ready to move on. The part of the group (more than half) that is CBT/checking in, that is the part that I am not ready to move on from. I have more confidence in Cathy, and I get more out of the 3 days at 3 hours/day group than I do, the 1 day at 1 hour with Karen and the same with Denise.

      Six months ago, I was managing without the group. I’ll be ok. We are trying to find me a group with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, either in Lake County or in Ashtabula County, but I’m on second shift and that kind of makes things more complicated. As it is, the aftercare program for the IOP is an evening program once a week. I can’t do that because of work, but being in the group 3x as long as I should have been, I probably will be ok without it.