A few days ago I turned 26. Most people love celebrating the day they were born, I however, hate it. In fact it's the one day of the year I dread the most. In the morning I had an appointment with my therapist, and in all honesty, I was looking forward to that more than acknowledging the fact that it's my birthday. Lets just say I've had bad experiences with my birthday, so I'd rather just think of it as another day, which got me thinking about my experience with therapy.
I was always ashamed to admit I was/am in therapy, it felt like I was weak and couldn’t face my demons by myself, and I used to refuse to acknowledge that I was actually doing something good for myself. I’ve been through so many therapists, and I’ve never really connected to one particular therapist. Sure, I’ve had therapists that have helped me, but I always found myself getting too anxious to be truly honest and I felt like I couldn’t open up. Therapy is an extremely personal experience, you open yourself up to your most vulnerable level, and when you don’t feel that connection it feels like you’re just wasting time. Most of the time it’s not the actual therapist, its just that lack of connecting on that personal level. It often happens with anyone we meet in life, if there’s not a spark, chances are a relationship, whether personal or professional, won’t last.
My mental health suddenly took a turn for the worst, and I was living in complete darkness. I was in such a poor frame of mind and I knew something needed to happen. When I decided to go back into therapy last year I spent a solid two weeks searching all over Perth for a therapist that I could go to. I had a list of 10 potential people that I wanted to talk to, and after a few more days I narrowed it down to just two. I spent another day going back and forth on who to see, but no matter how hard to look into both of them fairly, I kept getting pulled to one particular therapist. I immediately booked an appointment and within a week, I was sitting in a new therapy room.
It took all of one 50-minute session to know I had finally found the connection I was looking for. Not only did I open myself up, I finally felt something I hadn’t felt before. I was no longer ashamed to be in therapy, in fact I was the complete opposite. I was proud of myself for releasing that my life was worth fighting for. I had taken a huge step and I had put myself first. I was doing what I knew was the right thing to do and I had someone outside of my personal relationships that I could confide in.
I cannot tell you how much T* has changed my life. I used to dread going to therapy and I would always have bouts of anxiety as I drove to therapy, but now I actually look forward to my sessions. I am now able to face my problems head on, and not just run from them. T has not only been a support system, but she has literally saved my life and I am so thankful that I was lucky enough to find her. Towards the end of my sessions she writes my weekly tasks and she always write a positive message for me and when I’m struggling I read it and remind myself why I haven’t given up yet. Through this process I’ve learned just how important having a solid support system is, and to have someone I can talk to about my darkest thought, well it makes those difficult days just that much more bearable. “Therapy is not about having someone to take control of your life. Therapy is about learning to take control of your life and making changes for a brighter future.” I am now working with my therapist to face my issues head on and find a way to manage with my depression and anxiety so that one day, I can live a happy life.
After an appointment recently, I noticed some cards that T had on her desk. She advised me to shuffle them and pick one, and below is the one I got. I carry it with me every single day, and it's become one of my favourite quotes. I believe this card came to me for a reason, and it's a message I now hold closely to my heart.
The point of this post is purely for the fact that hating my birthday and having therapy on the same day made me realise that I put too much pressure of trying to have a 'perfect' birthday, instead of just relaxing and enjoying the day, no matter what it threw at me. Talking about my issues helped me head on my way and for the first time in years, I've actually enjoyed my birthday.
If any of you are struggling, please keep fighting. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. Stay brave and stay strong my loves.
*I have not included the name of my therapist in order to protect her identity.