Why having a therapist is my must have accessory
It’s Thursday morning. I’m dressed, I’ve packed the eldest child off to school and I’ve arranged daddy daycare for the baby.
I walk out the door, my head swimming with thoughts and a notepad tucked tightly under my arm. In it are recollections of feelings and incidences over the past month – a jumble of scribbles where happy hovers over sad, and clarity fights for space amongst the confused.
When I arrive at my appointment, I relax into the comfy chair in my therapist’s room. The door shuts quietly behind me, exhaling a wisp of breath in time with my sigh of relief. The outside world is temporarily shut off, and for the next hour it’s all about me.
It’s a time when I can vent frustrations, cry tears of sadness and joy, and arm myself with strategic ammunition for life outside those safe four walls.
A compassionate pair of eyes meets mine and looks deep into my soul to try to understand the complexities within. With some gentle coaxing I open my mouth and my mind.
What spills forth is a river of mixed messages from both my heart and my brain – the two of which very rarely coincide.
They are messages that need unscrambling – translating into some sort of order. Messages that I need to make sense of and understand why one doesn’t always hold hands with another.
What my heart wants, my head can’t always reconcile and what my head wants my heart can’t always fulfill. It’s the crux of suffering with a mental illness.
It’s a constant battle of wills. It’s a tennis match in your head, whereby your feelings are the ball. You bounce between happy and sad and sometimes skim over the net in between.
Yet, talking helps so much.
For a long time I sniffed at the idea of therapy, associating it with those who had huge issues to deal with – something I was in denial about in terms of myself.
Images of lying on a couch and being interrogated did little to sell it to me any further, and I found it hard to grasp how rehashing the bad could culminate in any good.
But what I didn’t realise was that talking is one of the best therapies there is.
In fact, for someone like myself who’s suffered with the tightening and suffocating grasp of depression and anxiety, it’s a relief that’s long overdue. It’s a non-judgmental cocoon into which I can briefly escape.
Bearing my heart and soul, my darkest thoughts and my mixed array of contradictory feelings is not something that comes easily to me. IN fact, putting these into words, I sometimes even shock myself.
Yet, when I leave my appointment I walk taller and more confident than before, and can face the world with a renewed vigour, energy and attitude.
In many ways, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders for years has made me stronger. But, ironically enough, it’s only since some of that weight’s been removed that I’ve realised my true strength.
And it’s from this realisation that I’m choosing to continue on this path.
I know that managing my mental health will be an ongoing battle. There will be days when I’m in the trenches desperately fighting for cover, and there’ll be times when I’m on top of that mountain singing for all to hear.
But to be the best version of me I need guidance and help, and therapy offers me exactly that.
Walking out from the room is a me who can see through the fog. It’s a me who can effectively categorise big problems versus small. And it’s a me who can get up each day knowing that every minute in some small way is truly worth living for.
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