Hard Stuff

“Tissues Are On the Table If You Need Them”

The only time I had ever been to a therapist was about 10 years ago when someone (seemingly) close to me berated me and made me severely question my self-worth. Over a decade later and I think I’d choose prison over therapy if that same person tried that shit again, but I digress…

I saw a woman who was fairly helpful, at first. Then, towards the end of the appointment, she got out a color wheel and told me that many of my problems could be helped if I knew more about color auras. I can’t even manage to match my freaking foundation to my skin color and she wanted to fix family problems through Native American spirits and healing rainbows. The bitch was crazier than ME.

Obviously, that left me with a pretty tainted view of therapy. As I grew into adulthood, I realized that wine, running, anxiety medication and unfiltered and unapologetic honesty were just as successful than finding my spirit color with a stranger wearing ill-fitting ponchos.  

But then “it” happened and it felt as if my mind fractured into several, misplaced pieces. The flashbacks, the replays of the procedure, the regrets…it was overwhelming.

So, there I was: a day into my 34th year of life and in a therapist’s office.

Tony Soprano & I now have something in common

I know there’s been a big push by society to openly discuss and destigmatize mental illness and rightfully so. Life is fucking hard. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, grew up in a storybook home or in a dysfunctional shit show. Our brains can be mean spirited assholes and despite our best efforts, sometimes it’s just a damn struggle.

The therapist let me talk.

No interruptions.

No distractions.

No judgment.

No unhelpful, insensitive, cliche remarks.

I opened up about guilt, moving forward, my raging hormones, my dramatic meltdowns, my resentment towards certain people and my adoration of others.

I just fucking talked.

She listened.

One hour of talking to a stranger I found on the internet (not recommended to any teenage girls reading this) and I felt better. There was no magic pill or a profound realization. In fact, there were many moments of pure silence which ordinarily would cause me great panic, but it was oddly peaceful.

I needed a soundboard.

A safe space.

She validated my feelings.

It’s okay to meltdown in front of the kids.

You are showing your children true emotion.

That was your baby.

This is a loss. Not a traditional one, but it is a loss.

It’s common, but not to you.

And most importantly, she made me re-think the way I looked at myself in those moments of sadness. The dark moments when the grief catches me off guard and I’m in the middle of something mundane like making the kids dinner, watching a show about affluent housewives or making lesson plans about the Revolutionary War. Those moments when I can’t see straight, hear anything and want to just absolutely, positively runaway from my own deranged mind. Those are the moments when I feel alone and feel frustrated by my own actions.

I’m not crazy. I’m grieving.

The world is moving again. I’ll catch up.

She is right.

I’ll regain my clarity. I’ll see things rationally again.

I’ll catch up.

This is just one step in that process.

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