If you've made it to thirty-five years old or older and haven't had to take antidepressants and/or be in therapy, you must be part of the 1%.
I'm twenty-eight years old and have seen ahem *five* therapists and have taken two antidepressants in my life.
Most people would consider me a happy, free-spirited person. And, for the most part, I am, HOWEVER, I am one of those individuals who live high in the sky and low six feet underground.
I tell people I am the happiest and saddest person that I know.
Along with the high, comes the low. And a lot of art.
Why in the world would I see *five* therapists? And how do you know if therapy is right for you?
Here's the thing. I discovered while living in Idaho that nothing was really wrong with my life, but I struggled to just feel okay. And then I went through my first big heartbreak and I literally could not stop crying. Go to work. Cry. Bike. Cry. Eat dinner. Cry. Talk with my bestie. Cry. Facetime with Mom. Cry. And I was the one who broke it off-- I knew it wasn't right and I was struggling this bad?
I figured there must be something else going on here... so I went to therapy for the first time in 2016.
She was wonderful and really helped me focus less on my ex and more on myself. Instead of worrying about if he was going to sleep with one of our mutual friends (he did) in the two weeks following our break-up, I began to focus on myself. What did I want to do? What did I want my future to look like? What were the reasons our relationship wasn't working? I was CONVINCED that nobody would ever love me as much as him. I thought that was my one shot at love. He was it. And now it was broken forever and he'd move on because he can do that I'd be stuck.
Five years later, I can tell that young beautiful starlit girl that other men will love her and she will love other men.
She will find ones that are a better fit for her. And the still small voice inside her that told her to move on from that relationship was right. But, oh my, that breakup wasn't peanuts compared to the future ones. Those ones caused thousands of dollars in repairs-- to me. In therapy. In moving out. In taking programs titled "Move On From Your Ex For Good."
It felt like there were 1,000 pounds of bricks on each of my feet that I was walking through life with, and the pain was physical. My heart was truly broken in 2020. Very recent. And then, I hit an extreme low.
But here's what I noticed-- when I fell in love that time, I thought that being in love would be the "cureall" for my depression, insecurities, and struggle to accept myself.
I can tell that beautiful heart-broken lover-woman that it won't. I'm only one year older than her, but I can tell her that falling in love with a man won't change how she feels about herself.
In the allotted amount of time, before he wanted to skip down the aisle to matrimony, I couldn't "fix" myself and make myself feel okay. I just couldn't swim up to the surface.
The second therapist came in 2018 with another break-up, also initiated by me (knew it was wrong). And then the other three came after the excavation that was the break-up in 2020. Tried one, she retired. Tried a second, she was too expensive and not realistic. Tried another that acted like were girlfriends chatting on a front porch. And now, the one I currently have, I really work well with and feel like I'm making some ground.
So, now that we know that seeing a therapist is normal. Is therapy right for you?
If you are reading this and questioning if therapy is for you then therapy is for you.
How do I know this?
Because your body/mind knows when they need help and there is NO SHAME in seeking help for your mental health. We all need therapy at some time in our lives. And I find it extremely difficult to return to a midwestern community that (for the most part) believes that you just rub some dirt on it and keep going. Ignore how you feel. CONCEAL DON'T FEEL.
That doesn't heal anyone. That doesn't work.
I met today with a therapist to partner with her clinic to offer trauma-centered yoga at their facility. And while this is an amazing opportunity and I am going to circle back in the fall, I had to say that I need to table the discussion for now-- to protect my own mental health.
Here are a few things you can know:
There is nothing wrong with taking medication and anyone who says there is can "fuck all the way off," as Glennon Doyle says in Untamed.
Seeing a therapist is sexy. Working on yourself is sexy, men.
Talking about childhood trauma and learning techniques to deal with them is invaluable. I kept it hidden that I experienced sexual trauma when I was seven years old until I was twenty-seven. That's a lot of years spent in painful silence.
It's Okay To Not Be Okay. I have accepted that I am a person that struggles with depression from time to time, and when I feel low-- I know that I will feel okay again one day.
Tell Someone. Please tell someone how you're feeling. I've struggled with suicidal thoughts. And talking to someone else about it really helps.
You're Not Alone.