I guess the short answer is I haven’t been doing well.
The long answer is a bit more complicated, and to understand where I’m at now you probably need a quick backstory. There are things that I’ve been dealing with for 5 or 6 years now, and the hard times come and go. The past year or so has been really good for me, and the dark times have been few and far between. But that means each little slip hits me a little bit harder. It’s a really difficult thing to explain, but it’s so frustrating when I feel like I’ve been doing really well and then there are a few weeks that are so horrible and I feel like I’ll never get back to doing okay.
I started therapy in January 2016 but I stopped going in April 2017. At first it wasn’t a conscious choice – I went on vacation, and then when I was back my schedule didn’t work with my therapist’s. But then I started feeling like I didn’t really “need” to go to therapy because I thought I was in a pretty good place. And I was for a while – almost a year and a half, actually. I mean, yes, there were ups and downs but there wasn’t a big chunk of time where I felt like I wasn’t doing well.
Everything was going well until about a month ago. One thing about me is that I push things and emotions down that I don’t want to deal with, until it all piles up and explodes. And that’s what happened this time, except on a much larger scale. A lot of things were going on in my life that I wasn’t letting myself deal with, and I didn’t notice until I was in the middle of it. For most of October this year, I was extremely anxious and paranoid. I wasn’t eating or sleeping, and I was feeling really lost. I got to a point where I was feeling very hopeless and I had no idea what to do, so I decided to try going back to therapy. So far I have only had 2 appointments with my therapist, but I already feel like I have a much better handle on things.
I wanted to write about going back to therapy for several reasons. The biggest one is that I felt a lot of shame going back to therapy. I had been doing okay without therapy for so long, so why did I suddenly need to go back? It was something I kept putting off even though I knew how beneficial it would be to me. And that’s another reason why I wanted to write about it – because I’m not in therapy because I’m in crisis like when I first started, but it has been so helpful talking things out in a way I can’t always talk about with my family or friends.
I want to leave you with some insight that my therapist gave me when I first met back with her. She told me that being a teenager is hard, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that your 20s are also a time of massive amounts of change and flux, and it can be extremely overwhelming. This decade of my life (and everyone else’s) will see friends, relationships, and jobs come and go while everyone around you seems to “have it all figured out.” This time can be really stressful and you can feel like you lose yourself in the chaos a bit, but I really believe that working with my therapist can help me sort out these feelings and give me the tools I need to take on this decade and the ones to come.
Here are some things my therapist said to me, in case you need to hear them too:
In times of chaos and change, you need to know who you are and hold on to that
Define yourself based on who you are, not by the people around you
You may not know what you’re doing but that’s okay, and you’re not alone
Don’t worry too much about the future because there’s not much you can do about it, enjoy where you are right now
Trust that you are enough
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that therapy is totally normal and very useful, and you don’t need to be in a crisis to go. I think everyone has things that they aren’t sure how to work out on their own or even with their friends/families. Sometimes you need someone completely separate from the rest of your life to help you work things out, and that’s okay.
By: Hana Wilson