Going to therapy is hard. I love it, but it can be incredibly difficult. Since the summer of my junior year before high school, I have seen around seven therapists or psychologists and two psychiatrists. For some, I only saw them for a session or two, but others I went to for a little bit longer. Each time I went to a new therapist it was new. Sometimes it was even hard just to make the appointment. I wanted to explain my journey through therapy. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone needs different things. This is just my story.
The first time I went to a therapist, I don’t think I was “ready” for therapy yet. I’m not sure what I mean when I say “ready,” but it was too much for me. I felt that my problems weren’t “therapy worthy,” again whatever that means. I only went to my first therapist once or twice. I didn’t feel comfortable and wasn’t pushed to go back so I never did.
The second time I saw one was not until I was a Senior in college and studying abroad. I saw a therapist in Cusco, Peru. I had to fight to see her, but it was worth it. I, surprisingly, only saw her for a month when I was there, but she gave me the courage to try which is exactly what I needed at that moment.
The next time I saw one was probably a year later. I was depressed. I didn’t really “click” with my therapist. I kept going for a month or two until eventually, I stopped making appointments. I didn’t feel comfortable telling her everything. I hid things. I made others look better than they were. I gave it a good try, but I felt that it wasn’t the right fit.
Maybe a year or two later, I started seeing someone else. Now, I think he helped. He introduced me to a lot of techniques that I still use, but again, I didn’t feel comfortable with him. I’m not sure why, he didn’t seem judgmental, but there were things I couldn’t tell him and they were things that greatly influenced my life. Eventually, he told me he didn’t think I needed to go to therapy anymore so I just stopped going. I’m still not sure if that was the right move on my part.
When I moved to Vermont for graduate school, I started seeing a therapist there. I liked going. I felt comfortable enough, and it was incredibly helpful to be able to talk things out. I appreciated going. It was temporary, though. I was only in school for a year. I felt as if it was pointless to go regularly because I was going to leave soon anyway. I only went when my depression or anxiety was too high for me to handle on my own. Thinking about it now, this probably wasn’t the best strategy.
This is also when I first started taking anti-depressants. My emotions were all over the place for the first month after starting taking them. When I upped my dose one week, I remember having to sit in my car to cry for an hour during lunch because I couldn’t bear the thought of going inside. Eventually, these emotional side-effects subsided. The medication helped me keep my obsessive checking at bay. Before medication, I would have to check my doorknob five times after I left the house. I would then, usually, run back in to make sure it was locked. It was exhausting. This was just one example of the type of things I needed to do. The medication helped with that for whatever reason.
When I moved to my current town, I went to see one therapist. I only had one appointment with him, but I knew since I walked in that he wasn’t the right fit. I didn’t make a follow-up appointment, though I thought about making another one for a few days after. I felt guilty that I didn’t like him. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find another therapist I would like anyway. All these thoughts came bumbling in my head. Eventually, I decided to keep searching, and I was able to find the perfect fit for me currently.
I am still on medication and seeing a therapist. I have been seeing this particular therapist since mid-August. I love her. I feel comfortable talking with her. I feel comfortable sharing with her. I tell her everything. I think I am making progress with a lot of things happening in this brain of mine.
Don’t get me wrong, even though I love my therapist and I appreciate going to therapy; it’s still tough for me. I struggle with it. There are some weeks where I can’t imagine going. I don’t want to deal with the emotions it brings up. I don’t want to deal with the past it brings up. I don’t want to do the therapies that we are doing that week. I don’t want to go at times, but I know I need to go. Therapy is hard. I will never go back to not going, though.
This is just one type of therapy. Some people don’t think they gain anything by seeing a therapist, and that’s entirely valid and fine. Some people see therapy as running, riding their bike, writing, drawing, etc. I have those as well. I just need a little extra help, and that’s okay too.