This is the second part in my, ‘What I’ve Learned From Therapy’ series, the first part you can read here.
At the end of my last post, I mentioned that my first session began with two questions from my therapist, who for ease of this series, we’ll call L;
Vicky, why are you here and why today?
Those two simple questions opened up a gate to a wave of emotion, feeling and pent up thoughts I’d had and answering was easy.
It’s a funny one – knowing when therapy is needed. Often choosing to start therapy can be out of your hands if you go the NHS route and have to join a long waiting list. Although, it’s always worth speaking to your GP or Googling your local Talking Therapies services because you may find that the waiting list isn’t as long as you fear!
Fortunately, I’d looked over my finances and after years of telling myself I ‘couldn’t afford it’, I realised that if I’d just cut back on a few online shopping orders, had 2 less Deliveroos a month and took the 159 home from Oxford Circus rather than an Uber every time, I could afford it.
Part of me believes that the ‘can’t afford it’ excuse was exactly that – an excuse – because previously I wasn’t totally ready to open up and dig deep into what was going on inside.
So what exactly prompted me to finally bite the bullet and go, I’m not exactly sure of but I believe I was there because the deaths of my mum and dad in the last few years had devastated me. Leaving me feeling lost, abandoned and with relationships unresolved.
Furthermore, I was depressed and my anxiety was getting worse with each passing month.
I had a relationship to grow. A business to run and a sense of self that was suffering – it was the right time.
My ‘why today’ was that it was 9 months until I was getting married and I didn’t want to enter an impending phase of life with the same feelings, moods, hurt and attitude that had hung around for as long as I can remember.
It was that question that hit me the hardest. I had to take a little while to pin point exactly why it meant so much to start then and there.
I realised that I was entering into a new phase of life without being completely happy or resolved about the phase before. I didn’t want old issues, old pain and old me to hold me back from what I was trying to become.
The first thing L said after I seemingly rambled for more than half of the session was, ‘any one would feel depressed or struggle with the weight of what you’ve just expressed.’
Immediately I felt heard, seen and safe.
I wasn’t dismissed. I wasn’t questioned. I wasn’t judged. It was accepted.
I cried for the rest of the session. Having an outsider just accept what I was saying. Who didn’t try to ‘fix’ it. Who didn’t minimise. That feeling is indescribable.
By the end of the session we had broken down what we’d like to cover in our upcoming sessions. Grief. My relationship with my parents. My relationship with my sister. My upbringing. My attitude to life. And how I viewed myself.
L asked me how often I’d like to come and that she’d be happy to see my weekly, fortnightly or monthly – my choice. I asked if it would be OK to come weekly and then to see how we got on.
Our early sessions mostly covered my childhood and my parents and whilst I’m not going into the ins and outs of my ‘issues’, I’d like to share some of the revelations and practical changes that have come about since having therapy, starting with ‘Grace and Forgiveness’.
And I want to share about what I learned about that, next time.