Slightly Broken: Initial Assessment with ISAS

I went for my initial assessment with ISAS (Incest and Sexual Abuse Survivors) this afternoon. Naturally I’ve caused myself quite a lot of stress and anxiety in the run up to it and developed a fine tension headache which I’m now self-medicating with codeine and alcohol. The lady was lovely and supportive and I enjoyed (kinda) our conversation. I’m starting to realise that I really do want to get into all this stuff – I’ve lived with the pain for too long and I just don’t want to anymore. So I’m oddly impatient with the (necessary) delays in getting to the point. I believe that though I fear it I am ready for therapy, and I’m ready to be challenged.

I didn’t enjoy the stupid questions which the government makes them ask in order to secure their funding. They start out okay, with questions about seeking support, previous pyschiatric care, self harm and suicide: the usual stuff. Then they hit the qualitative and it all goes to shit. Being asked to assess your own confidence and trust in others on a scale that goes ‘all the time’, ‘most days’, ‘less than most days’, ‘sometimes’, ‘never’ quickly becomes ridiculous. The questions degenerate into self-esteem, social network and addiction with a scale including the mind-numbing ‘others’ ‘self-reliant’ and ‘professional support’. Does knowing a drug dealer count as networking? Am I self-reliant because I can use the internet to find like-minded individuals?

Just dumb.

It highlighted for me once again the horror of involving government in anything about people (especially a Conservative government). These aren’t just the wrong questions and answers but the output data will be utterly worthless. I work with stats and such dumbass questionnaires every day and they are rarely insightful. That ISAS have to depend on getting stupid answers to stupid questions is dreadful. There are people out there in genuine need and our government makes them jump through these hoops. In fairness it proved an excellent icebreaker and  I was at least amused/appalled by the mind-bending difficulty of simultaneously answering ‘do I like alcohol’ and ‘do I drink too much’. Um… yes?

Anyway, I’ve successfully distracted myself from the more important matter of how it was. I’m optimistic, I think. We always have to identify goals for therapy, and I said I want mental peace and freedom from thoughts and ideas which are so frequently present in my mind. I also want to resolve the confusion I have about truth and reality  – separating or understanding the good things that I associate with the friendship I had with my abuser and the abuse itself. Understanding I guess, whether the good things were real, or remain real for me now. It’s problematic philosophically and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to a better understanding than “he’s a monstrous psychopathic bastard and you’ll never be able to see it from his side”. Maybe I don’t want to. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t understand why you’d set up such an elaborate network of lies just to get close to a young boy. Also, how can I love improv so much when it’s intimately tied to a man I would gladly set on fire and watch die? Tricky.

It also made me think again about the nature of improvisation – how it is bound up in consent and trust between the improvisers. I find it interesting that I’m so committed to the practice and theory embedded there. I guess it’s important to me, having been denied consent in the past, that we do choose to play together and make choices which are supportive rather than destructive. I have some stuff to think about.

Sometime next week I should get another call to arrange who my counsellor will be and when our sessions will take place. I’m fearful of what I’ll need to go through to make myself well, but I know I have the strength and capacity to do it and that I have the love and support of those closest to me to make sure I do it.

I’ll keep ya posted.

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