Friday, October 26, 2012

Finding A Therapist Part 3 or It's Time To Let Go

So I guess this is Part 3 in my "Finding A Psychologist" series.  It's the end of the series, but not the end of therapy.  I am my own therapist now and I use it every day.  For myself and to help out my family, my friends and my students.

When I first started going to therapy I couldn't wait to be finished.  I am a busy person.  Giving an hour each week, plus the co-pay, plus the drive time.  Ugh, right?  But Dr. S told me to not be so focused on the end but on the work we were doing.  Then I became used to going.  Used to hearing that I am normal.  It's nice.  I spent so much time thinking I was crazy that to have a degreed professional tell me that I am normal was amazing.  He made me realize I don't need to feel guilty all the time for being me.  That I can relax and be happy.  It has been about two and a half years since I first started seeing Dr. S.  In the beginning my huge accomplishments were things like taking the boys to Crown Center.  Going for a jog by myself.  Meeting friends after work.  Gosh, just getting to work and back or to the grocery store was a big accomplishment some days!
With the help of Dr. S I learned how to tackle my fears head on.  How to stand up for myself, how to deal with issues in my life that I had taught myself to ignore.  Each session was filled with questions, answers, homework...a plan for the week or few weeks ahead.  And then...  I was okay.  I mean, I still have bad moments, bad days, bad weeks.  We all do.  But last April, on a bright, beautiful, sunshiny day, I had an appointment with Dr. S.  I was already only going about once a month.  It went like my appointments as of late had been.  He asked how I was doing, I told him things I had accomplished, ways that I was using CBT to get through my days.  He would congratulate me, tell me I was a success story.  It's a great way to spend an hour, having a doctor tell you how normal you are.  But it was time to let go.  We had already talked about the fact that he would always be there for appointments whenever I needed them.   A check in, so to speak, every few months.  I can also email him whenever I need to.  We have also chatted on the phone on days when I needed a boost.  So we talked about just going in to maintenance mode, where I would make appointments only as needed.  Great, right?  Yes, very exciting.  I got in my car, drove away, so proud of everything I had accomplished.  And burst into tears.  Happy tears.  I thought of myself those first few appointments, those first few months.  Scared.  Alone.  Uncertain.  I then thought about myself on this day.  Vibrant.  Unafraid.  No longer chicken little.  A chapter in my life was ending, had ended months ago really, and that day was the actual closing of the page.  Do I still go back to Dr. S?  Absolutely.  I have an appointment next month!  But the days of "needing" that appointment, wanting to hang out in his office all day just to feel normal, are gone.  I know that because of the tools I now have that I will NEVER be the person I was 3 years ago.

I would like to mention something that I haven't had room for yet.  When I first started seeing a psychologist I felt abnormal.  I was told, by several professionals in the field, that more people than not see a therapist, are on some sort of medication to help with anxiety, depression, etc.  The more I open up, the more I find this to be true.  I am not alone and neither are you! It's hard for me to share sometimes, I don't want anyone to think differently or less of me.  So far, all the feedback I have received is positive.  I hear how others are in the same boat, have similar fears and things holding them back.  I encourage any one reading this to share in a way you feel comfortable.  Sometimes just talking to a family member or friend, hearing that they have felt the way you have, can do a world of good.  I was also told that most therapists see a therapist.  This has stuck with me because, as other trainers can probably relate to, I tend end up being a therapist for my clients.  I feel like this is the case for trainers, massage therapists, hair stylists, etc.  I love being able to give my students sound advice, but it can also be difficult to take on their problems and then be able to let it go.  Why am I mentioning this?  I am not sure.  I just feel like it is an important piece of my story that doesn't really fit anywhere else.  I know some of my students read this, and I don't want any of you to feel like we can't talk about your day, talk about your highs and lows of the week.  I more want to share this because I think it is interesting that therapists go to therapy :)

Thank you so much for reading this series and my blog in general!

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