Let’s Just Jump Right In
So after my last post, which turned out to be a great success, I got lots of questions about therapy. If you missed it, I had a short sentence about it on this blog. This is actually nothing new to me as I am usually pretty open about my experiences with seeing a therapist. I’ve had lots of people ask me even prior to this blog about my therapies! I’m going to try to relay the how’s and why’s of my (very) numerous visits. I know even thinking about seeing a therapist is really difficult for some people, but if you invest in it, you can get so much out of it. Like I’ve said before, everyone can always teach you something. Therapists happen to be excellent teachers.
The First Time I Went to See a Therapist…
..I was somewhere around 11 or 12. My parents were going through a divorce, which meant I was going through a divorce, and they thought it’d be best. I don’t disagree with them that children dealing with things like divorce, or grief, shouldn’t see a therapist. If I learned much from her, I can’t really say. I was a child who at a really early age compartmentalized a lot of things. I can never remember feeling like the divorce bothered me much. It was just a thing that happened to lots of families. It did, however, help me to provide a buffer between my mom and myself at the time. That’s pretty much what I used it for.
Anyone who knows my mom knows she is a truly wonderful human being. She doesn’t give herself enough credit when it comes to just how great she really is. She’d give you the shirt off her back even if she had nothing left. She is kind, sweet, and dedicated. She really needed therapy more than I did, I think. We went through a pretty rocky time trying to figure out our new lives and to be honest, she was a little nuts. 😉 I realize now that divorce does weird things to people. It’s really difficult for people to find themselves in a “normal” place after a separation. This is true for all relationships, really. When your world is turned upside down, how is someone supposed to just pick up and move on? You don’t. You kind of just fumbling around until you find your new way of life. If anyone tells you they did it differently, they’re probably lying.
The Second Time…
..I found myself opposite of a therapist, I was around 17 or 18. I think I saw this lady about 3 times before I decided this was a no-go. She was every bit of 80 years old and I found it really difficult to relate to her with my teenage issues. She also wanted me to get a $30 workbook and work on the exercises in there. Um, lady, I didn’t have $30 and I didn’t need any more workbooks. I was in high school after all.
..to my mid-twenties. My life was once again in emotional shambles. Go figure. One would think with all of these trips to the therapist, I’d be a little better at coping, right? Wrong. I was concerned that my hormones were out of whack because I was just a wreck all the time. My gynecologist, yes, my lady doctor, decided it was a good idea to put me on anti-depressants. I’m sure he just wanted to help, but it was probably the worst thing for me. After the meds he put me on failed, I was referred to a psychologist. She was a wonderful woman, but her job wasn’t to talk to me about things, it was literally to spend 15 minutes with me and prescribe me medication.
I have lost count on how many different medications I was on. I had bags and bags of them. They all followed the same path. I’d really try to tell myself that things were getting better, but really I was just more exhausted. We upped every medication dosage each time. The last medications I took were a mix of several antipsychotics. I was on a dose 5x more than they would prescribe to the adult male and I was still miserable. Finally, I had enough and asked her to refer me to someone just to talk. I couldn’t live the zombie life anymore.
..is probably one of the most influential people in my life up until this point. She was the person I was referred to and things started to change for the better. I came off all of the medication and started focusing on working on the things she was teaching me. The compartmentalizing I mentioned before was at an all-time high. She noted she hadn’t ever seen someone do it as much as I was doing. The only time I would release any emotions was when I could be angry. Anger was about the only emotion I could express at the time. Even things like sympathy and happiness were hard for me. She and I worked together for about 4 years until she decided to take her practice elsewhere. I didn’t follow her, but I still think of her often and fondly. I typically give people her number or her website info, which you can find here when they ask me about my therapy trysts.
I saw Dr. Beth for a variety of reasons. The biggest reasons being my inability to be in a functional relationship. I had one awful breakup after another and I was in a real complicated state of grief. Combining that with no closure on relationships, but honestly, with my lack of coping skills, I don’t think it would’ve mattered. I was a very lonely individual. I wasn’t a good friend. Making bad choices was a way of life. I had issues with myself that I didn’t even realize I had. That, combined with people who made me feel “less than” was a lethal combination. I lost a whole lot of myself during those years. I didn’t like any of the things I used to like, I couldn’t find any passion for life, and I just could not for the life of me figure out how to move on. Honestly, I felt like it would be just one miserable day after another, forever.
..I am a changed person. I learn how to deal with new things almost every day. I am not the best at coping by any means, but I am better. It was like an epiphany several years ago when I realized I just stopped being able to say I had bad days. I can’t tell you the last “bad” day I’ve had. Sure, I’ve had hard days, exhausting days, trying days, as well as great days. But what I haven’t had is a day that I felt like the world was going to end. My world keeps on moving along now. I am able to look at things that happened without attaching emotions to them. The person I am now is so much happier. I am so grateful to all the people who have shaped my life and didn’t give up on me when I was at my worst.
If you are going through something and feel like you just can’t shake it, it may be wise to see a therapist. Feeling weighted down all the time and having negative thoughts is no way to live your life. Therapy can help you set boundaries for toxic people and free yourself from a whole lot of burdens you may not think you’re carrying. Medications aren’t always the answer, but they can help. My advice is to really work at it, even if it’s not in your nature, and don’t let ANYONE treat you as a “less than”. You are worth it. You are capable. You are strong.