On Going to Therapy

I thought about going to therapy back in high school. I think I developed some mental and emotional habits somewhere along the line that have obviously just gotten worse this 10 years later, but at the time, my dad was the main problem. I figured I’d wait it out ’til college, especially after I enrolled at Pitt-Greensburg and found out they had free counseling services.

Once in college, I kept forgetting about it. When Terra transferred over and we lived together junior and senior year, we made a pact that we would make each other go–she’s been seeing therapists off and on for years and wanted to take advantage of the freeness, too.

Then college got busy, as college does, and we either kept forgetting or were swamped with work and pushed it off. Funny how mental health was not a priority and still isn’t with many people, but that’s a whole other post.

Now, since I considered it in high school and college, it logically follows that that in adult, working life, I was still considering it. Hell, I even remember paying attention to my benefits when I got hired so I knew what mental-health services were covered.

The busy part of life was a deterrent, but there’s also the fact that my desire to go came and went in spurts (and still does). Sometimes I’d feel depressed or shitty about myself and think, “I need to find a therapist,” and other times I’d remember I considered going and thought I was fine, was just being silly, and didn’t need it after all.

I’ve been extremely forthcoming about what a shit year 2012 was for me. The emotional repercussions of that are pretty obvious and would be for anyone, really. Obviously, people handle things differently, but few people are going to be completely unfazed by being put down, shut out, kind of sort of almost but not really lied to by a few people and then betrayed by a few others in the sense that they weren’t okay with all this but didn’t exactly stop it.

Sometimes, it still hurts. Sometimes, I still get angry. Sometimes, I look back and think maybe I overreacted in choosing to go my own way (sort of), but when I look at the bigger picture and especially how I had been feeling about things leading up to all this, I know I did what I had to–I acted in my best interests. In fact, the therapist I ultimately chose told me in one session he finds this admirable, but I digress.

The problem is that this is both isolating and a major change. I was stuck in this bizarre middle ground of missing the way things had been but wanting to move forward, wanting to hang out and be included with those who I still was on definite good terms with but being unsure of who that actually was. Hell, sometimes I still don’t even know, but I admit I don’t exactly make it easy for anyone else to figure out on my end, either, especially when, duh, I said outright I was done. That makes things even weirder in my head because when I was feeling especially shitty, I had to say to myself, “Remember, you chose this and you chose this for a good reason.” Does that make it easier? A little. It’s a good reminder, but it’s also a major change. That was part of the problem with the whole fallout to begin with, I think–I was blindsided. It’s very disorienting and made me feel like I’d been sort of toyed with to get revenge, whether or not that was actually the case, and it made me feel like a dumbass for not having seen signs or figured something out sooner.

Now, aside from the anger and hurt and confusion going on that still shows up sometimes, things were actually going pretty well–except for one really, really bad night. Honestly, it came out of nowhere and was more a combined product of my own mind completely overthinking and a culmination of everything else that had happened and everything else I had felt. I’m not gonna say when and I’m not gonna say why  because it feels ridiculous and I’m not ready to admit it, but I felt so alone that I considered suicide. Didn’t help that it was a bad combination also of it getting to be late at night and Paul was asleep, so I couldn’t talk to him. Or I felt like I couldn’t, anyway, because I didn’t want to wake him and was pretty sure he was really damn tired of hearing me whine about this shit. Obviously, I didn’t do it. I didn’t try it. I didn’t even leave the room, but I was thinking about what I had access to. Instead, I decided to look up therapists but couldn’t find any close to me that sounded good and took my insurance. That made me feel even worse and quite hopeless, and that’s why we need better access to mental-health services in this country. Ultimately, I decided to see how I felt in the morning. Obviously, I felt a lot better. I’ve made it pretty clear I still have bad days but have never that bad since.

Somewhat strangely, there was no catalyst for me to finally go therapist hunting again, really, though I did coincidentally cry lots because of Paul’s mom in the week leading up to my appointment. I’ve been wanting Paul to see one almost as long as we’ve been together because he struggles with self-esteem issues and what I suspect is also depression. Currently, he’s having the same problem I was–no one good nearby that takes his insurance. But he sent me a link to someone he was looking at, and it was on a psychology website I hadn’t used for myself and decided to do a search.

And lo, I found a guy that sounded really good and like a good match for my personality and he took my insurance.

I told Terra I found someone promising. Since she sees someone and is in grad school for psychology, she asked for his name so she could creep around for me. When she Googled him and saw his picture come up, she actually recognized him–he worked at her middle school (before she and I met, by the way), used to be in the seminary, and would help her out when her dad was being a dick. She said he was really nice and she liked him, and we took this as a sign. I mean, really, despite previous failed attempts at finding someone, what are the odds the person I do find actually knows my best friend? My grandparents are meddling.

I worked Saturdays in August, giving me Mondays off, so one Monday I took the time to schedule any appointments for things I need. One of those was an attempt to get to the gynecologist to get back on birth control, but they stopped taking my insurance and my upcoming trip to Planned Parenthood to get it is a whole other story. Anyway, obviously, one of those appointments was for my new therapist.

I love him. I’ve only gone a few times, which is actually good because he seems to feel pretty confident that I’m doing okay–I’m grieving, basically, and letting things get to me, so now it’s just a matter of examining how I think and trying to change it. It’s not always easy, but it is helpful. One of the other things that’s been really helpful is just talking to someone who is 100% uninvolved, for one thing, and his perspective and observations as a result have been good, too, especially for getting me to see things in a way I didn’t before. Now I just have to go the work.

Major bonus–we have very similar taste in music, he’s funny, and he swears a lot. Perfect match. I get nervous but also look forward to sessions, but ultimately, I feel like they’re doing a lot of good. I just need to remember to apply everything to change the way I think so that it’s more healthy and more positive.

Sometimes, I feel silly for going, like I don’t really need it or it’s stupid that things affected me so intensely and so negatively that I had trouble moving on by myself, but in reality–and this is especially true for anyone struggling with anything–talking to someone is a fantastic, healthy, and even courageous step to take. Sometimes, people just get overwhelmed and you need someone to help you, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging an need and asking for help. The only way out is through, and if you need someone to help you through, that’s okay.


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