I had had a couple of sessions with JoAnn when I truly realized that she was meant to be MY therapist. At the end of each of my sessions, she would give me homework: a challenge to think of something differently, a question to ponder, a journal entry to write, etc. At the end of this particular session I asked in reference to my normal assignments “what do I need to work on?” Without missing a beat her response comes out of her mouth boldly “Oh, there is SO much you need to work on.”
The minute she said it and realized what she had said, she immediately backtracked and said she didn’t mean it like “that”. I didn’t take offense. I laughed. Out loud. Hard. It was that moment that I knew that she was the right person to be my therapist. Let’s be honest on a couple of things: 1) Umm…good? I’m paying a lot of money for you to be my therapist, so it’s more beneficial if you can see the things that I need to work on. 2) Thanks for keeping it real and being able to laugh about it with me.
Let me back up. I’ve been to different therapists and counselors in my life. Some of them have been great. Some of them have been okay. One of them was horrible. Over the last 20+ years, I would see various therapists just long enough to get me off the cliff that made me want to kill myself and then quit going. Eventually I’d plunge back into a darkness until I was ready to die again and then I’d reach out and try someone new. I’d do the same thing with my medications.
Last year (actually to the day), was the last time I saw John and his wife. It was the day that our 4-way relationship broke up and blew up in epic fashion. It was a day that needed to come, but it was also a day that I lost two people I loved and cared about. I will never forget the hurt in her voice when I told her to come get her kid because I couldn’t continue to watch her…or the fact that I was never able to say goodbye to John despite the love I felt for him. Fast forward a few weeks and my (now) BFF was concerned. She was the only person who knew what was happening who wasn’t pretending like it didn’t happen. She would reach out and make sure that I was okay…and she’d ask about my relationship with them and ask the hard questions that the few others who knew avoided asking. She was calm, but persistent that I try therapy. In her words, I had been through a “trauma”…although at that time, I didn’t see it as that. My BFF has a background in social work, so she saw the warning signs long before I did.
BFF helped direct me towards a therapist that she knew. Would this always work? Probably not, but I was also honest with the idea that I wasn’t going to make it with a therapist that I didn’t connect with. Enter JoAnn.
Yes, I see a therapist. JoAnn is amazing. I see her every other week from the comfort of my home via online. I can go into my sessions with specific things I want to talk about or nothing at all. I can ramble on aimlessly for an hour while she listens to me in a judgement free zone. She challenges me when I need it and reassures me when I have doubts. She’s impartial and able to guide me in healthy ways. She is my lifesaver. I look forward to my appointment each time…knowing that the stresses and fears that I feel will seem less important…even if it’s only for that hour.
I am such a advocate for people to go see therapists! Without getting into the aspects of how much it monetarily costs and who should pay for what, I believe that when you find the right therapist for you, it is priceless. There is NOTHING wrong with asking for help. There is NOTHING wrong with talking to a professional. There is NOTHING wrong with helping end the stigma that goes with therapy.
Am I crazy? Maybe…but only in the best ways possible.