I mentioned a day or two ago that I’d made an appointment to visit my old therapist for a few sessions before my insurance runs out. Just a check-in kinda thing as I’m about to embark on this big transition. Well, I met with her last night right after work. And it was fantastic. There is just nothing in the world like good ol’ fashioned talk-therapy. I’m of the school that believes anyone and everyone could benefit from it, and that it’s something everyone should experience at least once in life. It’s so freeing and peaceful to be able to communicate with another person whose number one objective is to listen to you, and to reflect back to you your feelings, without judgment.
My therapist, Karen, who I will probably only get to see for a few sessions because who can afford anything anymore, is one of the best. I haven’t really had any other therapists, so I make these claims arbitrarily, but all I know is that I left her office last night feeling more centered than I have in months. And I haven’t really spent a lot of time feeling un-centered lately. So this was special.
When I got there, I could not help but think back to the different stages in my life during which I’ve walked into that building. The building is exactly the same, the elevator is still slow and jumpy, the hallways still smell like they always have, even the magazines in the waiting room look to be splayed out on the table exactly as I remember they were seven years ago. It’s all the same, but I have changed so much.
As I rode up to the fifth floor, I thought about the very, very beginning, when I was obese and extremely depressed and living my own person hell, when I had nothing left to lose and was literally hoping for a miracle as I timidly sat down on her couch, looking – I’m sure – quite sad and pained. And then I thought about later on, as I slowly but surely healed myself, still stumbling quite a bit long the way, still in pain, still lonely, still confused, but getting better. I walked into that building during breakups, during makeups, during times of weight gain and weight loss, having just been fired, having just been hired, falling in love, fighting with friends, fighting with family, fighting with myself.
And there I stood last night. Seven and a half years after the first time. Now I’m all grown up. I sat sipping my small coffee as we chatted about my life, and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. I felt beautiful and strong and smart. I felt braver than I ever used to feel in that room – an adult who deserves to be happy, who doesn’t need anyone telling her what’s what. And I was able to communicate to her some things that have needed to be voiced. It felt great.
Then I went home – I’d taken the night off from my improv show for some down time – and dug an old, old journal of mine out of a hope chest. It was the journal I kept when I was, for lack of a better description, the craziest. I was at the height of my depression, the height of my anxiety, I was in what I can only describe as psychological and emotional agony. And these pages reflect that in an almost terrifying way. It was a little hard to read them, frankly, and to realize that they were real, that I wrote them through my reality at the time. I couldn’t write like that now, words that are clearly those of someone shrouded in pain and teetering on the edge of self destruction, if I were being paid to write fiction. It was raw and – yikes.
Therapy. Don’t be afraid to get some. Because it works, whether you “need” it or not.