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We start to talk about the easier stuff – neighbours and the weather. As the conversation progresses, my vision of you evolves as I see what’s been happening in your life.
You’re scared and lonely; it’s hard for you to look me in the eyes.
You tell me about your ex-husband, who is angry with you, blaming you for his misfortune. You had no idea what to say or do in response.
You’re cut off from the world and virtually all the people you once knew. You say it’s only because of your dog that you survived.
I’m not what you expected. You’re cautious around me. But I surprise you: I listen to every word. I give you time for every reply. You’ve been depressed before: your dad kicked you out and also blamed you for what happened.
I help you realise it’s not your fault. You have got rights too. I help you care for that little girl who’s hiding behind you.
Things start to change.
I see a different side of you now. It turns out you’ve got humour, and others start to see that too. You’re connecting. Growing. Even your dog starts to change the way he is with you!
Things warm up, and your GP writes to me. He’s pleased and is seeing what I see.
You tell me today’s your last day, that you’re moving on, and in a good way. You’re strong. Your hope allows you to see a brighter future.
I hope you know I meant it when I said, “Today, you’ve made my day”.
It’s quite remarkable when we reflect together on how you have changed.
You say goodbye, and shake my hand with energy and pride.
By Matt, APS psychologist
Are you an APS Psychologist? Email your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.