I just made my first therapy appointment in years, and I'm feeling hopeful
I remember the last time I went to therapy. It was on a Saturday, and I somehow had convinced my then-boyfriend to come with me, even though it wasn’t couples therapy. I was crying in the waiting room before we even went into her office — partially because I knew the visit would be fruitless, and partially because I felt like it was all my fault.
The reason I had started seeing my therapist in the first place was my own long history with depression and anxiety, as well as my current relationship problems, which stemmed from a lack of healthy communication between me and my partner. At the time, I blamed my current manifestation of depression and anxiety on the state of my relationship, and I blamed the state of the relationship on my depression and anxiety. Thus I was folding in on myself, over and over, and I could feel my organs compressing — most of all, my heart.
I should’ve known therapy wouldn’t work when my therapist and I simply didn’t connect; she was an older woman, and not very in touch with me, my vernacular (“what’s a ‘like’?”), or modern dating practices. I had to explain not only why it hurt me that he never once posted a picture of me on Instagram, but what Instagram was in the first place. This should’ve been a sign that I should look for someone else to cry to once a week, but when you’re in the depths of your pain, that’s such an exhausting process. Inertia is everything; it’s hard to put the breaks on the sad train and redirect your potential healing in another direction, when any forward motion was hard to start at all.
So, I kept seeing her for about four months, and two months into it I started to bring my boyfriend every so often. He would go begrudgingly, and I’d feel guilty. I wanted him to come with me because I felt like he wanted to break up with me, like he was cheating on me but not telling me, or like there was some other big, scary secret, but he was unable to reveal it to me in our home. I was desperate, and thought he might open up with a neutral third party. However, he didn’t, and he only used these sessions to make me feel guilty. I associated this guilt with my mental health, with my therapist, and with the idea of therapy itself, and though he never said “no” to going with me, the way he sat there silently after we returned made me feel like I’d forced him into going, and is likely why I quit and didn’t pursue another practitioner.
He and I kept our unhealthy patterns going for far too long after that, and broke up about two years after this fateful last appointment. It’s now been a year and a half since then — I’m still struggling with anxiety and depression, albeit doing much better in my personal and professional life. I’ve started writing a lot about my mental health, talking about it with friends and strangers alike on the internet, and being open about it with my friends and family so that I can ask for what I need. I’ve also started taking medication — a daily medication that helps with depression called Effexor, and Ativan in moments when I’m feeling particularly anxious. All of these things help greatly. However, I’ve also been realizing that there are some things from my past that I’m not “over” yet, and that as a human-being who wants to heal and move forward, therapy might be the last puzzle piece in my self-care plan. That’s why finally, today, I made my first therapy appointment in years.
While I know that the therapist I scheduled an appointment with might not be “the one” (let’s face it, it’s kind of like dating) and I might have to go through five more (or even 10, yikes) before I find someone I feel understands me, I’m finally committed to the process. I want to talk these things out, and get to the root of my depression and anxiety and the things that hurt me. While I’m finally doing okay on my own, I want to be doing more than okay. I want to be everything I can be.