Recently, I started therapy again. This is probably my fifth therapist in seven years. One awesome therapist I saw I had to stop seeing because I graduated from college – she was part of my college’s counseling center. Another great one got a new job at a prison so I obviously wasn’t eligible to see her anymore. And then there’s been a few other ones in the bunch. I had one that told me I needed to take a shower at the end of each night to “wash away” the negative energy. At the time, I was not in a good spot and all I could think was that I already took a shower in the evening. Another one, I would talk to and get no response or feedback. I felt like I was talking to a wall. Nothing. And there’s a couple more in the mix.
It is frustrating. But I knew I had to give it another go.
The benefits of therapy are many; it can offer you a fresh perspective and a better understanding of your own emotions. You can learn communication skills to convey emotions and different coping mechanisms (I need that one). You can understand yourself better and other people better.
One thing therapy does is let emotions out. Keeping emotions in as permanent residence are not a good thing. Repressed emotions do not go away.
You know a “weight on your shoulders” or the “pit in your stomach?” Those are physical symptoms of stress. Emotions, including repressed ones, can cause those. Therapy can help eliminate them.
Therapy can help you deal with future problems or talk current problems out. You can identify underlying causes of issues.
You’re not trying to take care of yourself, alone. You’re also not alone. That is important to remember. I know it is hard to. I have to tell myself all the time that I’m not alone, even when I feel very much alone. Talking to someone in therapy is a good way to feel like someone is in your corner.
But going to therapy isn’t like going to a restaurant. You can’t just order what you want. You might have to try a few therapists before finding one that works. You’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process and what you need from a therapist. But, therapists are in high demand, and it can be really hard to get an appointment. And then when you’re going through therapists, it can be really frustrating when they don’t work out. It is really easy to get defeated.
I knew I had to go back. I’ve made a lot of progress over the past couple months; my leg working and not in pain all the time has really improved my mood. But I know there are issues that I need to take care of, and I’m not going to be able to do it alone. I always say treatment is like a puzzle. I do a lot of things to take care of my mental illness, but some things need talk therapy. Some of these issues are going to require me to take a good, hard self-reflection, and I can’t do it alone. I know some of my issues are situational, like my leg. Others will require me to work on some things. I’m lucky to have an amazing psychiatrist and medication that keeps my mood stable at least. Now I need the therapist to complete the puzzle.
I’ve only had one session, but I’m optimistic that this time might work. It might be a gut feeling, but I can’t deny I felt comfortable. I also sat and planned out things I wanted to talk about which is something I’ve never done before, so that’s something. I think it says something about my mindset and how I want this to succeed. Also, I opened enough my first session that I was crying, and I never opened enough with my last therapist to cry. I feel like being able to show these emotions is a good sign.
You don’t have to be mentally ill or suffering to benefit from therapy. Self-care needs to be prioritized more in our society, and therapy is one way to do that. You don’t need to be mentally ill to be suffering either. Life sucks sometimes. Shit happens. Sometimes, you need a little extra help either untangling the mess, an ear to listen, or a different perspective.
You are not alone.
You are not alone.
You are not alone.
I know I can be better, feel better. It is delightful to be myself as much as I am currently. But I know that there is still more of me in there that the mental illness is repressing. I am hoping that therapy helps me regain those parts of myself.