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!