Since starting my job over six months ago, I’ve had my nose to the grindstone and haven’t really been paying attention to my mental health and well-being. So in January, I decided I’d try going to a therapist again to try and fix that. I’ve had therapists in the past. Several, in fact. All my relationships with them ended for different reasons–generally due to a massive (and often geographical) change in my life (leaving college, leaving my AmeriCorps program).
The search was long and grueling. That grueling part was mainly driven by the sheer lack of practitioners that take my insurance provider in this area. As a young professional drowning in student loan debt, you can bet that I’m going to take full advantage of my insurance.
Mid-January I found one. A woman, in fact. I hadn’t seen a female therapist in years and I thought it’d be a refreshing change and one that would suit me well. So I made an appointment.
I’ve always thought about therapy like dating. Those first few appointments are like the awkward first few dates. You know you have things to talk about but that trust just isn’t there. It’s awkward, small talk like “why are you here? What are you looking to get out of this?” I don’t trust you enough to tell you about my demons and insecurities yet. It takes me more than just one 50 minute session.
After three more, you’re still not used to the way I berate myself in the chair and I’m still not used to actually laying on the couch–like the stereotypical therapy sessions you see in movies. I know it’s not clicking.
You recommend I come see you three times a week. I try it.
It’s definitely not working for me. I’m finding myself more and more stressed out as I try to fit my work and meetings around having to travel a half hour each way to my appointments in the middle of the work day. I’m finding myself having to hide why I’m leaving the office–not wanting my coworkers to know, not yet, that I’m in therapy. I’m answering emails in Ubers, writing out of a notebook I keep in my purse.
I get more used to it as I battle the three-times-a-week schedule…and as I rediscover the magic that is keeping a journal. (Which is why I originally started blogging.)
You try to push it to four appointments a week and I finally push back.
We keep it at three, but I know it’s still not working.
You bring up a topic that I’m not ready to breach. I get angry. I’d never gotten angry in a therapy session before that, and my first therapist was one that liked to try and push my buttons and was quite judgmental. I’m not an angry person in general, so that reaction was completely out of the ordinary. But no, I got “ramped up” and you stopped me from telling you to stay away from that topic. As that session ended, I remember apologizing for my reaction…and as I left the room, I wondered why I did that. I shouldn’t apologize for the way that I feel and the way that I hold that topic very close to the vest.
And yet, you push the issue. I talk about it to appease you in our next appointment. I cry in front of you for the first time…and have to go back to work with tear stains on my face. As someone who is known for having a positive disposition in the office (and is incredibly noticeable during an “off day”) that is unsettling.
I finally decide that enough is enough. Passive-aggressive voicemails, emails, texts… It was like you had become dependent on me. I understand that you tried to help me. But the key word in that last sentence is “tried.”
I’ve been in relationships and tried to make them work even though I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t getting what I needed. I was getting worse and lying to myself to say that “this is what I need.” I was lying to myself saying it was working, saying that things would get better when in the end, they never really did.
I finally broke up with my therapist this week. I finally officially severed the ties, and I feel so much better.
And as I’ve always believed…
Respect yourself enough to walk away from something that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.