When I started therapy for the 100th time last year, I knew that it was going to be different. It HAD to be different this time. I had been in therapy ever since I was 12 years old. I saw psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers throughout my teenage years. I even spent 4 weeks in an eating disorder treatment center so I was no stranger to therapy.
It had to be different this time…it just did.
When I walked through her doors last March, I truthfully hated myself and felt like I was the biggest mistake to walk this earth. I had no idea how to stop the painful and scary thoughts that consumed 90% of my days. The worse part is that I questioned my worthiness multiple times a day.
I didn’t realize how ill my mind was until I shared with her how much my heart and soul were hurting. How I was tired of pretending that I was okay. How the anxiety and depression had a solid grip around my neck. How I was getting tired of fighting the constant war in my mind. How I felt sad most of the time.
My therapist immediately picked up on the shame shit storm I was living in. She listened. She let me cry. She helped me understand the shame and we worked together to find the source. My deepest darkest thoughts were shared within those 4 walls and that’s where they will stay. She not only created a safe space for me but met me with compassion and empathy, not judgement.
60 therapy sessions have come and gone over the past year and I can honestly tell you that I am not the same person that I was a year ago. Actually, far from it. If there is one thing I am proud of…it’s not giving up on myself. My heart and soul have healed more than I could have ever imagined. I smile and laugh now because I’m happy. I don’t need to pretend anymore.
Was it easy? Hell no. It involved me owning my shit and looking at the ugliest parts of my being (yes, we all have them). It required practicing mindfulness, meditating every day, creating a strong morning routine and BREATHING. I had to learn how to do what was best for me and not care what people MIGHT think about me (*still working on this).
I had to starting retraining my thought process so that I could truly heal, grow and change. I had to learn how to sit with uncomfortable feelings instead of numbing out with food or alcohol. It looked more like Friday-Sunday numbing for me. I took this part very seriously and have now been 100% alcohol free for almost 50 days.
If there is one thing I learned it’s that I am a highly sensitive, introverted human that is just trying her best. I have an understanding of my true self for the first time ever and I am actually starting to like who I am. I have more work to do but I can’t wait to see what growth comes out of the next 60 sessions.
My therapist would say that she didn’t save my life. She would say “Emma, you saved your own life”. I beg to differ. I can’t help to think that without her and therapy, my life might look a whole look different.
I share my story in hopes that you might not feel so alone. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to ask for what your heart and soul need. Maybe it’s therapy. Maybe it’s reaching out to a friend. Maybe it’s setting new boundaries. Maybe it’s meditating or writing. Maybe you aren’t ready for therapy and that’s OKAY.
After all, we are all just trying our best to find our place in this world. I see you and I hear. If I could grab your hand and hold it tight, I would. We are in this together.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health if not more important (yes, I said it). Take care of your mind because it’s the only one you get.
P.S. To all the therapists, social workers and mental health professionals: I cannot thank you enough. You are angels walking on earth. I truly believe that.