Ugh, blegh, *rolls eyes*
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I’m being one of those annoying people being like “oooh, therapy” blah blah blah.
But like, for real.
When I was growing up, I thought if you had to go to therapy, that meant you were somehow weak – like why can’t you just handle everything on your own?
But like, therapists are doctors, yo. And you know what doctors intricately know? A whole lot of stuff I don’t.
I know people compare physical injury and mental injury a lot, and that I do it too, and it can get old sometimes. But, I’m gonna do it right now anyway, because it just feels like the easiest way to explain/understand.
Sometimes, we think something is “normal” because it’s “always been that way.” And we don’t even know it’s a problem to look at.
The best example I can think of to crystalize this is when I was going through all of my heart stuff, one of the doctors asked, “And in all these years, you didn’t notice your heart fluttering?” (as he could clearly see it in a multitude of tests). And then as I looked at him, kind of confused – basically before I could even answer – he answered his own question with a realization. “Oooh. You never knew anything else. You just thought that’s how your heart was supposed to feel.”
I was alive and kicking, and everything seemed “fine,” and I had a ticking time bomb in my chest. And I’m not saying that all of our mental problems are “ticking time bombs” that will definitely kill us or anything.
But you know, if we had gunk in our arteries or something and we could breathe easier with some changes in our diet or medication or whatever, even if we thought we felt “fine” with all that gunk inside us, we might be amazed at how much better we feel if we clean it out. (And we might not even realize it’s there if a doctor doesn’t tell us…
Before therapy, I, of course, always knew that I’d been abused as a kid. I was around for that and experienced that. That was not a secret (to me). And I definitely knew to some extent that it had affected me. (“Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I have intimacy issues. Totally. Nbd.”)
But, I didn’t know to what extent it had affected me. I didn’t realize that the brains of abused kids grow differently than non-abused kids. I didn’t realize my neurons are wired differently, and my brain chemicals are kinda a different make-up, I guess. [I’ve talked about how a huge reason I was able to get involved with sexual assault guy was because abuse sets you up perfectly for that.]
And when I was a young adult, the people who’d known that I grew up like that were really like, “You should get some help. Therapy would probably be good.” And I was all, “Psh! I don’t need therapy! What on earth? I’m free now. I’m fine. What could therapy possibly help with?”
Even knowing I had some intimacy issues, it was like, “pssh, that’s just being cool and strong and smart.” I thought I didn’t need therapy, and that my past affected me very little.
But little did I know, until I saw how it affects my relationships in ways I didn’t even realize, that it has made some underlying problems for me – ones that could’ve been, even if not completely fixed, at least improved upon earlier in my life. (And potentially, it could’ve kept me out of the situation I was in with sexual assault guy… Maybe. Maybe not. Who really can know.)
I just wish I would’ve gone earlier.
(And, maybe I wouldn’t have been as receptive earlier. It might’ve changed nothing. Who knows. Still… Just a small wish.)
Does that mean I’ll go forever? I don’t know.
I love the therapist I have, but she is specifically a trauma therapist. I’m working toward “graduation” with her. By this time next year, I will not get to be having therapy with her anymore.
So, do I wanna find somebody else? I’m not sure. I guess we’ll see how I feel after therapy graduation. Maybe I’ll have enough tools to not feel like I need weekly therapy. (I don’t see a cardiologist aaaaaaall the time, like I used to. Maybe the problem has been fixed, or fixed-isa, enough I really don’t know…) I’m not gonna worry about that for the time being. I’m just gonna focus on trying to, basically, “graduate” trauma therapy as best I can, and take it from there.
But the point is, I think therapy is really worthwhile and worth trying, and I personally wish I would’ve done it sooner, and recommend it very highly to someone who’s never tried!