Today is the one year anniversary of my first therapy appointment. The day I decided I wasn’t going to give up on this insanely hard thing called life.
Before I started going to therapy I had gotten to a very dark place. A place where I didn’t want to keep going. Where everything just felt too hard and I was just too tired and I didn’t think I could do it anymore. I had many people ask me to try therapy because they were worried, and rightfully so. But I didn’t want to go. I was scared. And I also didn’t see the point. At this point in my downward spiral I didn’t really plan to be around much longer. But 3 of my closest friends and my husband all practically begged me to try it so I decided that even though I didn’t care about myself I did care about them so I would try it. For them.
I called the mental health clinic associated with my local hospital to set up an appointment and they set up an “intake” appointment where they would basically ask me a ton of questions and try to place me with someone. The problem was it was for 5 weeks from that day. 5 weeks. Just to get a placement. Who knows how long after that to talk to someone. That felt a little like an eternity. I panicked. I went to my best friend in tears.
I told her I didn’t know if I could make it that long. I literally didn’t know if I would survive it. Calling had been such a huge and difficult step and I had finally gotten up the nerve to do it and then this? I started to spiral again. I felt like everything was falling apart, like maybe life wasn’t really meant to be for me anymore. I had no idea what to do. She found me a site that I could go to and enter my city and it would list all the therapists in my area with bios and info galore. It was incredible.
I found a woman who specialized in relationships and childhood trauma. She wasn’t fully licensed yet but was working on it. The plus side was that it was incredibly cheap. I called her for a consultation and she was able to fit me in much quicker. I was relieved.
I went to my first appointment terrified. I had no idea what to expect. It was the hardest hour of my life. She wanted me to fill her in on my background and why I was there. It was an hour of glossing over a life of trauma and issues and negative shit and when I left I was utterly exhausted. I ugly cried in my car. It felt horrible. But it also felt good. I had found a person that I could tell anything and know there would be no judgement. And that the info I shared would not be a burden to her no matter how negative and horrible it was. This was her job.
One of the things that had kept me from therapy was that I didn’t want to burden another human with all of my baggage and bullshit. I always felt bad sharing with people because they got that look in their eyes and didn’t know how to react. Also I am so deeply empathic that I take on other people’s feelings and I always assume other people do the same thing and there is no way I want anyone else taking on this kind of pain. But one of the first things my therapist explained is that I didn’t have to worry about any of that. I couldn’t believe it and I felt hope. Like maybe this was the thing I needed to heal.
So I kept going every week.
Therapy may have saved my life but it was 100% the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And that is saying something. I went to that office every single week and re-lived some of the most horrible things that could happen to a child. Things I hadn’t thought about in years. Some things I had completely forgotten about. Things nobody should have to go through. I went home and I read books that would eventually help me to sort through all of the feelings. Books that nearly ripped my heart out with every page. It almost killed me. I left that office every single week and I ugly cried in the car. I got back to work and I ugly cried in my best friend’s office. I got home and I ugly cried to my husband. So. Much. Crying. This went on for a couple of months.
But then the crying got less. It would only be right after. And then eventually not at all. I was learning to process my feelings in a healthy way. I was learning coping mechanisms and healthy habits. I was learning to care for and love myself.
Things got bad again in the late fall and we decided that therapy wasn’t enough and I started meds which in combination with therapy and all of the tools I had gained ended up leading me to happiness again. Not just existence. And it feels so damned good to feel happy again.
If I hadn’t gone to therapy a year ago I know I wouldn’t still be here. I am glad I listened to my friends. To my partner. I am glad I realized that my kiddos needed me. Not just alive but healthy. I am glad that even though I didn’t think I was worth it I had a chorus of people around me reminding me (and guilting me) and encouraging me to find help.
If you are in a dark place right now I encourage you to get help. Find a therapist. There are so many out there and even if the first one is not right I know you will find someone who will click with you. The site I went to was https://www.psychologytoday.com/us and it is a great resource.
So try it. You are worth it. I promise. You bring something to this world that nobody else brings. And we need you here. Don’t listen to the darkness. The voices. The lies. The bullshit. Your broken brain. Listen to people. Listen to me.
You. Are. Worth. It.
Make an appointment today with your doctor or a therapist and start the journey to happiness again. It will not be easy. But it will be worth it. When you realize you are smiling again and that first time you feel real genuine happiness again it will be worth it. When you laugh and actually mean it. It will happen. And you will be glad you stuck around.
If you need to talk to someone right now text 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255. Someone is always there to help.
Love to all of you. The unconditional kind.