I believe in therapy. Strongly. I don't believe seeing a therapist is anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed about and, indeed, I think every single person I've ever met could have benefited from therapy (or could still) at some point in Life. I know many people who have, myself included.
Now, while I know people who have been in therapy for the long-haul -- years at a time, I haven't felt that necessary. And though I know people who have found medication to be effective in dealing with psychological issues, I've never felt that necessary either. But I have found it necessary to ask for help to develop techniques for coping when Life gets really tough; to figure out how to find clarity and balance; to find some direction or a boost when I'm stuck in what feels like a deep, dark hole.
Clara was the name of the wonderful therapist I saw when I lived in Charlotte. She's the one who helped to guide me through the intense grief I pushed way deep down after my father died. I saw her then, on and off, for about a year-and-a-half. She also helped me a couple of years later, to navigate the turbulent feelings resulting from my ex-husband's cheating and departure from our marriage. That was another year of pretty steady once-a-week sessions.
Then she declared me sane. Heh.
And I declared her delusional. Heh heh.
I'm not certain I was actually kidding.
There have been other times in the past nine years when I would have given my right arm to be close enough to Charlotte to make it back to Clara's peaceful office and her welcoming, accepting, non-judgmental "arms."
(I have long wanted Clara to be my mommy.)
Alas, I'm not in Charlotte anymore. And therapy, while so beneficial, isn't always easy to come by, as it's not always covered by insurance... and we're not always covered by insurance. Sigh.
So there have been a few times in recent years when I've muddled through on my own, though I really could have used an objective ear.
See, that's what therapy is about, for me, anyway.
Talking to friends or family, while soothing to the soul and absolutely helpful at times, is not about objectivity. People who love you cannot be objective. They always want certain things for you -- they want what they feel is best for you. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. At. All. But what they want for you might not actually be what's best for you.
A therapist is someone who isn't invested in you on a personal level. Her goal is simply to help you figure out what's best for you... and how to accomplish what you need to do to be your healthiest self. And I think when you work out what you need for yourself, rather than having someone else tell you, you're more inclined to follow through... to actually do the work.
Since I haven't been able to figure out lately what I need to do to become my healthiest self, I recently sought the the assistance (again) of an objective, un-invested party.
It never fails to amaze me how easy it is to just spew what's on my mind and heart when I'm in a therapist's office. It's like word vomit and I simply can't stop talking. And the hour flies by and the tears pour out, and afterward, I feel spent. Utterly spent.
In addition to the talking, there are questions asked... and answers sought.
Today, the question was, "Why do you think you're so hard on yourself? Why do you think you don't give yourself the same consideration you give others?"
Ooooh. Good one.
So that has to be my focus for the next week, because I believe that particular trait affects me in every aspect of my life. Every single one. So I'll think about it... I'll write about it...
...and I'll work it out.
... with the help of my handy-dandy therapist.