Last week, a friend thanked me for sharing the fact that I see a therapist. He was very kind and very genuine. It was, he told me, a brave thing to share. He thanked me, he said, because he sees a therapist too and was glad not to need to be embarrassed or ashamed.
The funny part is that I never actually intended to share that. It was just a little fact that wandered into a post about self-help books.
Funnier still, I am the kind of person most people would not assume needs therapy. I am, in general, a happy, patient, even-keeled kind of person. The friend who thanked me is also a happy, patient, even-keeled kind of person. We aren’t the poster children for psychotherapy. Except that we are.
A few years ago, my life went haywire. My typical habits of coping and perspective-getting began to fail. I accidentally adopted new habits of thought that made my life more difficult, my thinking cloudy and my perspective short. I became anxious and needed help finding new, better habits of thought. I needed someone to let me work my way through knots of emotion that kept me caught in anxiety and dread.
It was the best decision I could have made for myself. I don’t lie on a couch. I don’t touch my inner child or talk very much about my mother. I just talk about the things that have me feeling stuck and listen when I need someone to point out when I’m being dramatic or silly or lazy. I am reminded to take responsibility for my own feelings and not to take so much responsibility for the feelings of others. I am reminded that life is growth and situations change and that worry and anxiety usually happen when I try to live too much in the past or too far in the future. I get reminded to be where I am and feel what I feel and do positive things to control the few things I can actually influence and let go of the rest.
I don’t know what my friend’s experience of therapy might be. I suspect he would say some of the same.
I want to thank my friend for being kind and generous and for taking the time to say thank you. He has me thinking about the merits of having a professional partner to help you keep your thoughts in order. Things are much better for me, but I’m not done yet. I still need the therapy. You probably do too.