After a bit of a hiatus, I decided to go back to therapy. I’m a big fan of therapy— I’ve been going on and off since I was nine. And I’ve had all sorts of therapists— fantastic ones who literally saved my life and brought me back from the brink of trauma, teaching me coping mechanisms and giving me amazing support; and others who used my therapy sessions as way to help their “nephew” or whomever break into the business. Yes, you read that right.
One great thing about not being a stranger to therapy is knowing when it’s time to go back. After having a year that has consisted of getting hit by a truck, my Grandmother dying, my dog dying (and feeling stalled creatively, having my marriage suffer, and trying to balance being a working mom), it felt like it was time. And fortunately I found an amazing therapist who I immediately connected with, who also happens to take my insurance and is walking distance to my house.
Part of the reason I want to be open about my experience with therapy is there’s still a little bit of a stigma about going. Not to toot my own horn, but people constantly tell me how amazing I am. And I admit balancing multiple jobs, projects, and, well… life is very hard and I’m actually doing it. No easy feat. But, I often feel overwhelmed and may not cope in the best of ways. When I find myself resorting to unhealthy habits or endlessly worrying to the point of obsession and sleepless nights, I know I need some extra support.
For me personally, it’s been immensely valuable to have an objective 3rd party normalize things for me since I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt or excuse behavior. I have a hard time advocating for myself since times I have in the past, it’s blown up in my face. And I’m more concerned about people thinking less of me than putting my own needs and interests above that fear.
I’ve also gotten pretty good about self-care and self-soothing techniques over the years, but I recently realized that in times of stress, my relationships (especially my marriage) tends to take a backseat. Relationships, just like a career and parenting take fostering and work. Even if things may not be my fault, I can’t expect to ignore a problem and hope it’ll work out eventually. I need to be active in how I handle things. Therapy provides excellent tools for that.
Already in the weeks since I’ve been back in therapy, I started writing for me again and cutting back on vices that seemed to be overtaking my life. I still have a lot of work to do— namely on learning not to take things personally career-wise, and trying to balance being a mom with a woman with her own needs and desires. But, I’ll get there. Humans are forever a work-in-progress until we take our dying breath. All we can do is try to be better and make peace with the parts of ourselves that aren’t perfect.