As I answered the phone I could here her sobbing on the other end of the line. I quickly asked her if there was a way I could assist her, I could here the panic in her voice as she said, " Please I have to see you," "I have to get into see you right away ". "There is NO Way i can make it through another Valentines Day" and she began to sob into the phone. I quickly scheduled her for that afternoon, and when she walked into the office you could see her pain and dispair, her face was tear stricken as she began to tell her story. She had been divorced for 5 years, she had married the love of her life. They had planned the most beautiful wedding and vowed to love each other forever on "Valentines Day" Every since the divorce she said, "Every Valentines Day Im haunted with memories of his kiss, the romance of our dating, and of the lies and betrayal that shattered my life". She told of how her exhusband had cheated on her with her best friend and how no matter how hard she tried she felt as if she would never trust again. She told how she would be filled with anxiety every time a man asked her for a date and how in the back of her mind she would be thinking " He will just hurt you." "All he wants is sex" She reported that she had nightmares and could not even go out with her friends and enjoy herself because she was consumed with anxiety. As I listened to her story I began to share with her how betrayal affects us and how different things can trigger the pain. I explained to her what anxiety was and different effective ways to treat anxiety. I explained to her that her inability to trust was something that would take time to heal and that it would take time to work through. I encouraged her to begin to think of times in her past when Valentines Day was not so painful. She paused and thought for a while and then a small smile appeared on her face. She said," It was in seventh grade, I got my first real Valentine from a boyfrined"."He bought me roses, and chocolate.", "I was so very surprised." "It was the nicest thing a boy had ever done for me." I asked her to focus on those times when Valentines was not so painful. I encouraged her to continue to seek counseling to work through the pain of betrayal, rejection and abandonment. so that she could re-learn how to trust others and to trust men as the session ended she quickly said, "Do you think you could schedule me for Valentines Day?"
Valentines Day is not always a joyous occasion, for many people its just another day that Screams out how alone, unloved, single, or brokenhearted you are. It does not have to be that way. Our hearts are resilient , we do love again and we do heal. If your struggling with pain and brokeness of a past relationship or loss. Take the first step towards a new happy life. Call for help. Counseling is available and there are many therapists waiting to help you walk over the bridge of pain. Give yourself permission to heal the wounds and finally Enjoy Valentines Day.
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Darleena Anderson LPC MHSP NCC