The cancer was a wake-up call and Julie knew she had to change if she was to survive. However, she didn’t know what changes she needed to make and the thought of making any filled her with fear. Julie embarked on a serious detoxification regime that, day by day, led her to new insights about herself and her lifestyle. She had a mundane office job that was way below her capabilities but it enabled her to act as a support system for her husband and family. I remember Julie on her first visit: she had her blond hair swept up in a very ‘80s style and was dressed in a flimsy suit and camisole on a cold winter’s day. I wanted to wrap her up in a warm sweater and jeans, but the image she portrayed was the one her husband liked – the feminine woman who needed him, was there for him and who didn’t rock the boat.
As Julie progressed, she started to read alternative books, make new friends, and became vegetarian. She studied counselling at night school and although she wanted her husband to be part of her new life, he was clearly not impressed because she wasn’t always there at his beck and call.
Julie blossomed and grew stronger as the months passed. Eventually the inevitable happened and she left her husband. She was willing to stay, but only if her husband was prepared to accept the person she was – but alas, he wasn’t. He wanted life to go back to the way it had been because that meant he didn’t have to face his own issues (Julie had always rescued him from these). Leaving was very tough for Julie as she had to face many fears. Would she be able to support herself? Would she be able to stand up for herself and cope with the running of a home on her own? Would the children understand why she was doing this?
Julie not only survived but went from strength to strength. She finished her counselling course and was asked to go back and do some teaching. She set up a private practice and became very successful – and guess what? She changed her hairstyle and threw away the flimsy suits!