My Amazing, Ridiculous Therapist

therapy

well.blogs.nytimes.com

My therapist has had a run for her money when it comes to me. Then again, most people in therapy probably think the same thing.

She has had to see me weekly, bi-monthly, and now monthly. She has seen me on and off medication, and talked to me on the phone when I couldn’t stop the onslaught of thoughts. She has heard me weep, shout, and laugh deep belly laughs.

She has told me when things are all in my head (which is most of the time) and congratulated and affirmed me when I accomplished something difficult. She has written notes of advice for me to carry to combat a recurring intrusive thought. She has given me words of wisdom that my fiance swears he told me first.

She’s even told me I need help and should see someone for it. On more than one occasion.

She’s snarky and no-nonsense, so while she’s gracious to me, she doesn’t let me get away with acting on all my bullshit. She’s sensitive and tears up when I tell her something really sweet and sentimental. She looks at me with pain in her eyes when I ask her why I’m plagued with such awful thoughts, and she genuinely tells me, “I don’t know, girl.” When she sees me in the waiting room, she greets me with a big smile and a “Hello, my dear!”

She’s been someone whose wisdom, knowledge, and words I’ve sought for over 4 years. She has helped me get through significant hurdles and taught me how to make life with intense anxiety more manageable. She’s helped me make decisions about medications and lifestyle changes and taught me how to be more gracious to my family and friends, especially Bryce. She’s helped me affirm myself, where I am and who I am. She tells me I am more than my thoughts, more than the anxiety which can stop me in my tracks, more than what I do or don’t believe about myself.

She’s not a friend. She’s not my family. But she is so important to me, and I am beyond thankful for her.

*****

Seeking therapy isn’t always easy, and it isn’t for everyone. I had a number of therapists and counselors from the time I was in middle school, and my therapist now is the only one I’ve ever had long term (more than one year).

Some people go to therapy with open minds and hearts, while others go into it with fear, trembling, and trepidation.

Some people only need to see a therapist when their needs allow it, while others (like me) go through times when the next session can’t come soon enough.

Some seek Christian or other faith-based practitioners, while others (again, like me) insist on seeing someone with no particular faith background.

Some people have great therapists, mediocre therapists, and sometimes even downright bad/harmful ones.

Therapy is, if sought, something to take seriously. Finding a good therapist can sometimes be difficult and take a while. This is a person to whom you should be able to bear your most troubling thoughts and know they will handle you well. This is someone who should put your mental health needs before their own agenda and paycheck.

To those who have been hurt by a therapist, I am deeply sorry and hope you find healing. This should not have happened to you. You deserved better.

If you are in therapy, I hope it is with someone who deeply cares for you, who values your mind, body, and soul. I hope they are someone who helps you in your times of need and can sit with you on your good days, too.

If you haven’t found a good therapist yet and are still desperately seeking, know there are good ones out there, and continue seeking them, along with other people and resources, to aid you on the journey.

And if you’re not in therapy, continue to be loved and supported by your people, whoever they are.

Whatever your situation, no one should have to go it alone. Let us seek and support each other through it all.

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