After going through silent turmoil for months on end, when I finally women’d up and started seeing a therapist I didn’t quite understand what all the hype was about. Sure, I thought the doctor I was seeing was giving me okay advice but I didn’t think I was getting what I should have been getting from our time together. However I continued going for nearly four months, once a week, until finally one week I didn’t go. And that missed week became a missed month, and that missed month become a missed summer. And I was back in my bleak, black hole with no hope in sight.
At first I thought I didn’t like the whole experience because I was already iffy about seeing a therapist, but it wasn’t until I started seeing my current counselor that I realized the initial doctor and myself just didn’t hit it off. And folks, that can happen. Now that I’m seeing someone that meets all of my requirements (which I didn’t know I had until after doc. #1), I’m a huge advocate for therapy/counseling.
Therapy helps you learn techniques that essentially aid in making things easier for daily struggles, i.e. coping mechanisms. My first therapist was very much like the one’s you see on TV – she listened, took notes, asked questions about my feelings every now and again and made sure I wasn’t going to run into traffic if I was feeling blue. While I appreciated the vent sessions, and a few connections for how my past effects how I handle things in the present, I always left with no real resolution to my depression. There was never an action item or homework, I just left to fester in my sadness. So I stopped going and called the whole therapy experiment a bust.
Enter a very difficult and crappy summer. I started having panic attacks and the inner turmoil started to have physical effects (stomach ulcers, psoriasis flare ups and insomnia). I knew I had to start seeing someone again but also knew it couldn’t be the doctor I’d been seeing. So I called her up and asked for a reference. Thankfully she didn’t take offense to the fact that I didn’t want to continue my therapy with her and gave me the contact information for someone she thought I’d “gel” with.
Leaving my first session with the new counselor, I knew that this was how a good therapy session was supposed to feel like. I had felt hope for the first time in a really long time, and I left feeling less broken than when I we started or session. It was promising and instantly I became a champion for therapy.
My hope for anyone reading this post wondering if therapy is for you is this – it’s for everyone, especially someone who is struggling. I think it’s critical to have unbiased ears available to listen and even more important to realize when you’ve got the wrong person listening. Don’t be afraid to find a new therapist if your current one is just not delivering the goods. It’s your wellness that’s important, so in this instance there aren’t any hurt feelings. Lastly, just because you didn’t jive with one therapist doesn’t mean you won’t with another. Don’t let one negative experience soil it for your recovery. There are so many willing and able doctors, with different paths of life, available to help you if you are willing to give them a chance. Sometimes you just have to do a little research, but don’t let that research deter you. At the end of the day, your mental health is what’s important so make it a priority, the ultimate priority.