The single best thing I did for myself this year was work up the courage to go to therapy. My entire life I’ve heard the stigma that surrounds it. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need something to “be wrong with you” to go to therapy. You don’t need “a reason” and you don’t need it prescribed. Friends had recommended it to me over the years but for some reason I never took the plunge.
I finally mustered up the guts to send my information in to arrange an appointment in January. I remember writing “I’m just looking for some fresh perspective in my life.” Things weren’t–and aren’t–bad. I had/have a few deep-rooted issues that I’d boxed away and no longer give attention. Really I wanted to give therapy a try. I had lingering questions and goals I wanted to reach. But I needed someone to talk them through with in a new way. I needed someone who wasn’t “in it” with me on the daily, and could look at any situation through a different lens.
Ironically my first appointment was during the inauguration. I had been reeling since the election for reasons I’m not getting into right now, and it was by pure coincidence. By the time my first session was over we had a new president. I had cried for 20 minutes over things I didn’t realized bothered me. And I had another appointment scheduled for one week later.
Fast forward to today. It’s been eight months of therapy and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. It it something I look forward each time my next appointment comes around. I’ve talked about a slew of things and gotten the perspective I was looking for. Sometimes it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it was something I needed. Some days my sessions can be emotionally exhausting. They’ve turned over stones of the memories I had grown over and forgotten about. Other times I leave so excited to get to work and focus on what’s next until our next discussion. I’ve been goal setting and I’ve been healing.
In fact, therapy has been instrumental in processing my grief from miscarrying earlier this summer. Because of it I had the tools to process what I could until we met after it happened. Even though we could have met earlier, those tools gave me space. When my appointment arrived, therapy allowed me to be raw and open and broken outside of my own home. I had placed tons of pressure on myself to put on a happy face. Like so many other women do when they suffer the same thing unbeknown to us. But my heart was at war inside my chest because I didn’t want to be silent. It was on the advice of my therapist that I chose to write a post on Facebook announcing what had happened. At first I was completely overwhelmed by the thought. I was scared of what people would think: what if they thought I was looking for attention? I was exhausted thinking of having to repeat the story over and over again. I was worried about how it would affect my husband. Cacy is grieving too.
I walked out of that room and called my husband. He told me he thought it would be a good idea for me, if I felt like it would bring me healing. So I posted, asking for privacy and guiding the conversation. I requested comments and condolences remain with that post. I asked those who saw it to refrain from calling or texting. I later learned the last part was both praised and was very hard for so many I love to do. But they did it out of the respect of my request. Therapy gave me that power, and doing it allowed me to begin to heal.
With my whole heart had I not filled out that form I would have processed (or not) this life event completely differently. Grief still catches me off guard in the most random of times. But I know what I can do to allow myself to feel those feelings and still strive to be the person I want to be. Each time in therapy is different. Today we’re working on some of the things I’d like to do before I turn 30. Tomorrow we might talk about how the state of America sometimes brings me to my knees. Next week we could talk about how the book I recently read challenged my thinking in a positive way.
I’m sharing this because I want you, whoever you are, to feel like you don’t need something wrong with you to go to therapy. You don’t need a reason to learn more about yourself and to dig into goals or issues you have. Therapy is a wonderful and beautiful thing. Far undermined than it should be. I truly believe if more people gave it a try, we’d all be a bit gentler–to ourselves and with one another. We’d be more loving, and would all feel a little happier.6 Comments