Last week, I got a good giggle off my chest with My Inner Party Monster post instead of writing about the original, more serious topic I had in mind. The topic I was referring to was therapy, and I’m going to tackle it today. Writing about therapy (as in talking to a therapist) has been on my mind for quite some time now, but the task has not been as simple as I thought. The reason you haven’t heard from me for going on two weeks now is because I literally feel like I could write a novel on the topic, so trying to condense my thoughts and still get my point across has been a challenge. My goal in writing this post is to help strip away the shame that too often surrounds therapy and help people believe it’s a gift worth giving yourself. So, here we go…
Making the decision to see a therapist is not an easy one. In fact, it’s quite difficult. It takes courage, time, effort, admittance, patience, hope and love. Contrary to common belief, seeing a therapist does not mean something is wrong with you. It means something is right with you. It means you have enough compassion for yourself to take the time you need to sort out your feelings and make sure you feel your best. I truly believe we could all benefit from talking to an unbiased person – someone who can provide a listening ear and deliver effective tools that will help us stay on top. Whether we need to work through the day to day ups and downs of being a parent or something as catastrophic as a death in the family, there should be absolutely no shame in therapy.
Before I really understood what seeing a therapist meant, before I ever even gave it a chance, here are the ways in which I felt about it. I felt:
• Superior to It (I don’t need a therapist, I can deal with my feelings on my own.)
• Annoyed by It (I don’t have time to see a therapist let alone find a good one.)
• Ashamed of It (If I see a therapist, it means I’m weak.)
While I can’t fully explain the chip on my shoulder, I think a big part of it had to do with the fact that I felt I could take care of everything life threw at me myself. Like a toddler says, “I’ll do it allllll by myself!” I was so used to bottling things up inside and never wanting to inconvenience anyone else with my troubles. I was a religious user of the phrase “I’m fine” followed by pushing my true feelings to the side. Well it turns out, opening the door to help isn’t such a bad thing and is certainly nothing to feel so negatively about.
It all started when I lost my Mom to cancer when I was 25 years old. Despite my hesitations, it was time to give therapy a shot. Giving it a shot turned into years of therapy, learning how to cope with my grief and uncovering parts of myself I didn’t know were open for business. Throughout my journey, I met a handful of therapists but it wasn’t until I met THE one when I noticed my life really start to change for the better. Her name is Stacey.
Right out of the gates, I knew Stacey was different from the others. She wasn’t going to ask me the typical therapy questions, she wasn’t going to just be a sounding board, and she wasn’t going to rush me out the door the second the hour was up. Instead, she was going to listen and understand me, help me dig deep within myself and give me the tools I needed to help me get back to feeling my best. Because of Stacey, I learned that I do not have to wallow in my feelings, hold them in, hope I’ll figure them out, or settle in them. I now understand my feelings deserve attention and that I’m at my best when I openly tend to them. I have found that no matter what is going on in my life, therapy will always be a part of it. Not because it has to be, but because I want it to be. It has been one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself, and for that, I’m forever grateful.
So you see, there was never a reason for me to feel superior to, annoyed by or ashamed of therapy. Without it, I wouldn’t feel like I do. I feel:
• At peace with It (I’m so relieved I don’t have to do this on my own.)
• Fulfilled by It (Making time for it keeps me at my best.)
• Proud of It (Going to therapy means I’m strong.)
If therapy is something you have been entertaining, I hope this gives you the extra push you need to get going. Not everyone is going to have parenthood issues to deal with or a death to process, but whatever your inner struggles are, it is important to believe that talking to someone about them will make your life better. It might take a little work to find your Stacey, but trust me when I say you’ll have a lot to celebrate by doing it. It will give you that daily dose needed to be the best version of YOU there is to offer.
And with that, Happy Therapy-ing! Cheers – Charlotte