Today is day 365. The day arrived inauspiciously, to be honest, but it is indeed here. As I look back at my calendar, this is the last day of my first year of therapy for anxiety and depression, and where am I? To put it bluntly this me wouldn't recognize that me in a room where we were the only two occupants.
My therapist has made a remarkable impact on my life. I'm very lucky, I know. Most therapists don't have this sort of impact on their clients, and most people shop for therapists for years before finding one they click with. By virtue of whatever forces in the universe wanted me to heal, I truly have progressed in ways I can't even put into words. In fact, the last time I spoke to Lisa, my therapist, I told her I wished she recorded our sessions because I would love to hear what they sounded like when I first started with her versus how they sound now. Crying was a regular occurence. Throwing my hands in the air and hating everything was the norm. I had no answers, didn't understand the questions, and felt miserable. At that point I was lost in a tangled mess of string I couldn't find the end of, let alone begin to untangle.
I cracked in one session, badly, but it led to a complete perspective shift, and one that I've employed rigorously since. I don't stand in front of the waves of depression and try to fight them. I redirect their energy, feel what I need to feel, and let them pass through me. As Lisa has taught me, "You don't have a right to feel good all the time." Her influence has taught me that I can feel the bad, feel the good, and still be okay. I stick my chin out now and dare the world to hit me on it with their best shot. When it knocks me down, I lay on the ground, laugh like a lunatic, stand back up and dare it to hit me again. I've developed an almost impervious skin to the negativity that used to consume me and turn me into a wrecked ball of burnt out emotions. That phase of my life is over and I do not miss it one bit.
They say no one is ever really "cured" of depression, and I imagine that's true. It's not just feelings, it's chemical. All of the feelings are just the physical manifestation of a damaged body chemistry, but I'm here thinking about how much more positive I've become since this time one year ago and it's remarkable. I don't have to fake a smile, it's a real one.
I truly believe that therapy saved both my life and my sanity, and I implore you, if it's something you think you need, seek it out. Whether it's through a service like Betterhelp or a local provider. Nearly all therapists have some kind of sliding scale for payment, meaning you pay what you can afford to pay for their services. Find one, see them, listen to them, and be open and honest with them about everything. I've told my therapist some incredibly uncomfortable things, but that's the only way it works: you cannot hold back and you cannot lie. Everything you do to manipulate your stories beyond being honest lessens your chance of your therapy being productive and successful.
If you're struggling, please do what you need to. Your mental health is just like every other aspect of your health. It needs to be nurtured, treated, and cultivated. It took me a long time to learn that lesson, but the fact that I did has changed everything.
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