I remember almost a year ago sitting on a sofa in a cafe with a dear friend of mine looking out a window watching the snow fall. We got to talking about our lives and my friend mentioned how therapy was going well. My friend kept on saying so many great things they were realizing and have grown in. They asked if I ever considered seeing a therapist.
My reply went something like "I have thought about it, but I think I'm fine I probably don't need it. I think I've learned everything about myself that I need to know. But I know that I'm afraid to dig deeper, which probably means I need it." They then asked me if they could call and set up an appointment for me just so I could get the feel for it. At that moment I trusted them enough to do that. Let's just say I will be forever thankful for this day.
I never really liked the idea of telling people my story because who would really want to sit and listen for an hour with all my avoidances that I would tend to play out. I never really thought someone could see right through you until one day I was talking to someone and I smiled, laughed, and I went to go speak. The person I was talking to at the time said, "is that a mask...the smile and the laugh?" I then freaked out because that wall was seen so clearly when I thought I hid it so very well.
In our lives, we all think we can carry the whole world on our shoulders when in reality we can't. We tend to find a way to push back all our emotions in the trauma we have had and try to just move on. But, in the end, is it worth never talking to someone about?
As Claudia Black states, "you can't move forward without finishing the past." And as many people love to say, "it's just the past move on" I think that makes it even worse when you are trying to grow into the person you want to be and all you do is escape those true feelings that come up by whatever action fits that role in escaping.
Mental health is looked at as a problem. When in reality, we all are human, we all have emotions, we all have some hurt and pain that we need to heal and find a way to see the light in. It's not the end of the world if we say out loud "I am in therapy." Why is looked down upon?
It's a great thing to know what you need, even though at first it's scary to go. You don't know what person you will be when walking out at the very last session. However, coming from someone who recently began therapy again, being able to walk out each time makes your mind think a little deeper.
It's a process we all can benefit from. It's okay not to be okay, always remember that. And it's not wrong to talk about your whole story. It's not going to put you 10,000 steps back. It's going to make you realize 10,000 more things about yourself. Don't be afraid to find the truth because once you find it you'll feel it, and once you feel it you will start seeing growth.
It wasn't until this past summer therapy got real. Real in a way that every time I went I found my wall breaking. To see what had been boxed in for so long finally coming to the light. Crying was like a whole new thing that I wanted to not accept. It made me have this dichotomy of emotions. I wanted to cry but it felt "not right" to cry. I felt weak but I was reminded that it was okay.
We all have to mourn the loss, the grief, and let that inner-self cry about the things we had to miss out on because we never got the chance to. I think as people who do choose to go see therapists we don't want to fully be seen at certain points. We don't want someone to see past the wall we built. We get afraid of saying too much. If we say a lot then they might think we are a nut case.
However, that's not true. This person is here to help you connect all the dots. This person is here to help you see what you are trying to process. Your emotions are worth expressing. We all matter, and we have to remind ourselves that our heart, feelings, and past matter to the present. Sometimes it's about being honest with yourself even when we decide to open that file that we locked. It's better to start filing now and accepting what we find and talking through it to finally get the chance to say "hey this is the real deal."
I remember one time I took my journal out while sitting in a local cafe. I wrote in the journal "I know your environment isn't healthy, and you don't want to say to them you have anxiety or you struggle with depression cause you don't want to accept it. God forbid you let it slip and make them feel like you're a disappointment, but that's what you did. Now you feel you can't escape it."
That next week I showed my therapist. It took so much strength to even pull it out and say "here you go, this is what I really really feel. No one knows except you." We then sat, talked, I cried, and I found that power in me to say what I felt. It was like I got to take a new breath of fresh air. I remember reading this out loud and apart of me knew that this was something I hated admitting. Apart of me didn't want to accept that it was the truth. However, I met it face to face.
The world wants you to believe that you don't really need a therapist to help you. That you can just figure it out by yourself. It's not that serious. But, in all honesty, it's something that you need to find a common ground in. It's okay to not know that next step if you're struggling, but there is always an answer. There's always someone out there willing to understand you and help guide you through this time. They want to help people like us find that inner strength and finally accept and grow from all the trauma and hurtful things we have been through.
Those memories may never go away. But there is something beautiful when we finally get to speak about what we feel out in the open and get to challenge ourselves to really dig deep. We find a seed that can be watered after so many people, even ourselves, kept piling dirt over it. We will take what we know and start to dig up.
Sitting here today I am now back on the road to seeing a new therapist. I have been learning how important it is to understand that there will still be hard days and reliving old times. Therapy isn't just "let's fix it and it'll be gone forever." Old wounds might pop up and it's okay to feel that. I think we feel comfortable in the abnormal because we trained it to be normal. It's all we have known and have seen. It takes time, and that's what I (and we) always need to keep reminding ourselves.
It takes time to fully understand and grow. So a reminder to myself and to you, don't beat yourself up if you don't understand why. And don't be too hard on yourself if you can't seem to be comfortable with showing your true feelings. That my friend takes trust and trusting our own self even when that inner-self wants us to repress it. When we have been broken it's hard to build that back up. It's difficult, but there's always beauty in the process.
If you or someone you know is struggling please be 100% fully present to them. Hear them, listen, and comfort them in this season. It's not easy walking a broken road you have known. Feelings are a lot of work and knowing yourself is a lot of work. But therapy is where you get to lay out those broken pieces and try to fix them as best as you can. It's okay to be afraid. Therapy was the best choice I accepted, and if I took that step you can too. Just take one step at a time.
"Feeling your pain makes space for understanding. You're shedding. You're alive. You're growing. You're learning how to heal." -Alex Elle