How Just Three Months Of Therapy Has Changed My Life

black woman in therapy - what therapy is really like

It has been approximately two months since my last meeting with my therapist.

I had struggled for years to make the final decision to go. I felt like if I could just get through this season in my life, whatever that season was—new motherhood, home buying, graduate school, husband’s promotion—then the fog would lift and I’d be able to get through my days.

But for some reason, whenever I checked out the achievement that would supposedly help life get back to “normal,” I would still feel anxious and tired and depressed.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I knew that I didn’t want to keep living like I was. I was constantly cranky and tired and filled with resentment and fear. It was a horrible way to spend day after day.

Even looking back through the archives on this site, I can see where some of my posts are clear cries for help or when I’m exhibiting signs of depression. Honestly, I don’t spend too much time in my archives from 2009-2011 just precisely that reason. Too painful.

But late in December 2014, I decided that 2014 would be the last year where I felt utterly defeated. It would be the last time that I smoothed over my feelings for the benefit of someone else. Enough of the fake smiles and insisting to everyone that I was okay when I really wasn’t. It was time to find a therapist and work through some of my issues.

I found a great woman to talk to. She’s short and Southern and reminded me a bit of Ellie Kemper – red hair and a smiley face. She was one of the best listeners I had ever encountered and I thought I knew how to be a good listener. Nope. I had no clue. We’d chat and she’d nod her head, giving me the encouragement to say what I really needed to say. I’d blow past something I’d figure wasn’t really that important, and she’d reference it two weeks later, nailing the reason why it truly was important and giving me insight on how we can work on it.

Spending those months in therapy helped me make some important changes:

  • I am much more vocal about what I need. You ever have those moments where you just don’t want to be a bother to anyone? That was me, all the time. I’d bite my tongue so often it’s a wonder that it’s still there. But now I understand it was a destructive habit. I have to matter in order to thrive. Quite simple.
  • I have to release anger over what has gone wrong and focus on the lesson. Funny how I’ve been preaching this for years but it took an objective party to get me to live it.
  • I stopped RSVPing to issues that really, have nothing to do with me. I carry everyone else’s stress. It’s part of how I’m built as a supremely empathetic person. But I had to learn when my empathy was truly warranted and how I can’t save everyone. I’m a giver and I tend to give and give and give until I’m all worn out. No more.
  • I look to future with wonder versus being stuck on the past with regret. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. I’m human. But as a result of those mistakes, I’m wiser. I’m better. I’m stronger. So now I have the power to make better choices in the future and that makes the days ahead seem much brighter.

I don’t write this to seem like “I’m cured!” I will say that I feel better than I have in years. This entire process has helped me see that while I go to the doctor for physical aches and pains, I need to also pay attention to those mental aches and pains as well.

Comments

  1. I’m so glad that therapy has helped you. Now you know what your depression triggers are and how you can manage them. I do feel like a lot of us carry around depression due to focusing too much on our past mistakes. It’s can be so hard to allow ourselves to be human at times.

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