Therapy. Oooooh, it’s a dirty, dirty word. Whispered in circles everywhere. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone if you’re in therapy.
I wish people knew that sometimes we all need help figuring out our jumbled thoughts and that it is not contagious to admit that sometimes we need help putting those thoughts back in order. I wish it were contagious as more people would benefit from seeing a therapist.
Why is it, when something is perceived as being wrong with the brain, people assume that we should just be able to get a grip and solve the problem? To essentially “cure” themselves. If someone lost an arm, the last thing we would do is to look at them and tell them to just grow another. So why do we think it would work for issues with a brain, such as depression or jumbled thoughts?
Yes, I’ve seen a therapist. The coolest lady that I’ve ever met. Yes, she had a couch. No, I was never encouraged to lay down. Although many times I believed a nap for an hour would have solved so many of my problems! Yes, she asked me “How does that make you feel?” many, many times. And yes, she was equally prepared for my “How the fuck should I know?” answer. I mean, wasn’t she the professional? Couldn’t she figure out what I was feeling? I was paying her big bucks to get me through this!
On more than one occasion my therapist told me to sit with whatever I was struggling with. Sit with it?? But I had been sitting with it! That’s why I’m here lady! I would often think to myself. She would encourage me to think about all the steps that lead up to my struggle. Only then was I allowed to answer with what I thought the issue was.
Many times the answer was through tears because I knew how it made me feel, I just didn’t want to admit it. And so we continued this way for months. Every second week, I would show up and we would talk, trying to put all the pieces in order. Eventually, I started giving in to this process. Slowly but surely I stopped fighting the development we were making and I learned that feelings, good and bad, were okay. It was okay to feel the way I felt. It was normal, actually.
Society seems to deem it okay to show our good feelings. The smiles and happy things that happen in our lives. We post all these warm fuzzy moments on Facebook for all our friends and loved ones to see. We tend to scroll past the posts that aren’t the happy joyful faces or ideas we want to see. Being lost or confused in life just isn’t the picture of bliss we are willing to accept.
At the time I thought I had lost my happy so I continued in therapy every second week for months. Then one session, without warning, I figured out I didn’t need her anymore. I knew how I felt before she asked and I was dealing with it. I owned it. I thought that was the beginning of my journey of self-discovery, but it had happened all the time I was sitting on that couch. It had started well before I walked into her office. It started around the time I decided to pick up the phone and to make that first appointment. I just needed a little help getting started on this path.
For so many years I hid the sad or mad or wounded part of me. Or I thought I had. Funny thing, as I look back, I see that I was the world’s worst player of hide and seek with my feelings. Those feeling were coming out, just not in productive ways. They were coming out as angry at the world. Every little thing that I could not control was met with the disdain. My family suffered. My friendships suffered. All unknown to me at the time. I thought I was handling everything quite fine.
We all experience these strong negative emotions at some point in our lives. The ones that really throw a wrench in our happily ever after. It may happen after the loss of a job or break down of a marriage or relationship. Sometimes it is something bigger than that—a death of a loved one. Sometimes those feelings will come when we least expect it, like during happy times in our lives, after a big promotion or reaching a goal that we have been striving for. We just feel a complete and utter loss in our lives.
We are not broken when those feelings creep up on us. We just need to regroup. And sometimes we need help gathering up the pieces to put them in order to make sense of them. That is where a therapist can come in handy. They are trained to help us pick up pieces. They are trained to help point us in the right direction when we are disoriented in our day to day lives.
By no means am I an expert but I know that seeing a therapist worked for me and I would go back in a heartbeat if I needed help unjumbling again.
Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to admit that we can’t do this alone. That we need someone to talk with. I encourage you to seek out some help with those negative thoughts if you are experiencing them. The first therapist may not be the right one for you. Or the second. You will need to find one that works with and for you. But I guarantee there’s one out there that’s a perfect fit for you.
And just like if you’d lost a limb or your sight, you would need help figuring out how to deal with it. It’s no different just because it’s your brain. From time to time it just might beneficial to get some expert advice on how to move forward and deal with all those chaotic thoughts.
Author: Debbi Serafinchon
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Movie Still