View this post on Instagram
A therapist is supposed to be one of the most trusted people in your life.
You are opening up and telling them every deep and dark or happiest moment of your existence. They are there not to judge your choices but to help you understand the reasoning for why you chose them.
Some can simply help you decide how to manage your reactions to things and determine how you prefer they were different. Others will go far into your past. It would be best if you were ready for this. You have to time your decision to start the process for when you believe you are strong enough—when you can face what your past holds.
It took me 30 years to find a therapist I trust and respect enough to open up entirely about every secret and moment in time that I’ve tried to forget. Every thought I was ever too ashamed or scared to share. I have finally found someone who has knowledge greater than anyone else I’ve ever met in the workings of mental health.
Therapy, I’m finding, is like sitting with yourself. Except, this other version of you knows all of the answers to the deep, painful, and truest questions. This is the most infuriating and beneficial thing you can have as a tool for your healing.
Sometimes the answer is obvious the moment he or she asks the question. You will be relieved but occasionally disappointed in the way you so quickly could have come to that answer. But remember, without them, you never would have asked that question.
Sometimes I can ask and answer the question for her (my therapist), having a full conversation with myself as she sits and watches. After so long of this back and forth, I know the routine. But, this doesn’t mean I will be applying the answers to my life, and I know that frustration. The key to change is right there. But I still need to process this through. Then I can start putting these answers into my everyday motions and thoughts.
Then there are other times she asks a question, and my mind is blank. My eyes gloss over, and I’m simply left staring at the other version of myself, digging for whatever she already knows but won’t tell me. She makes me sit with the thoughts swirling in my mind.
Sometimes the memory or hard answer surfaces only for a moment, and I pull that explanation from the swirling thoughts. Others hit me when I’m driving days later. These answers or epiphanies I have can sometimes take my breath away. Such major and enlightening thoughts I never could have come to without her (sometimes annoying) persistence to bettering me and my life.
Therapy is gaining insight into your life that you’ve held all along. You either couldn’t or wouldn’t see and process the thoughts and actions you have experienced. The therapist sits through that—guides you.
Those thoughts and realizations are how you understand who you are at this moment. All of them wrap together to make this you walking around in the universe. With understanding comes power and the capability to start to heal.
This is not a quick-fix in most cases. For me, I joke I’ll be there every Friday at four for the rest of our lives. My trauma and past experiences have made me who I am today, but that doesn’t mean I have to stay this way. I can begin to accept the things that have happened to me or the things that never did. I can try and bear the thought that I will never have some of the conversations I want to have.
Therapy is a path of so many things. Acceptance seems to be one of the biggest. For me, it’s trying to accept that I am a good person.
It’s knowing I did not choose to be this way; I am fighting something a lot of people will never understand; I don’t have the support I expected, but I am strong. And it’s okay to fail.
I believe everyone needs therapy. If you’ve never been through this experience, you should consider it. (Even those of you who seem to have no trauma or major symptoms of illness.)
Just try—learn a little more about yourself. See what things you may have never known were there.
By dealing with our own sh*t, we can begin to show the world and generations before us that we are who we want to be, not who they have created.