How Therapy Benefits My Everyday Life

Thank you to Next Level Urgent Care for generously Title Sponsoring this very important series during Mental Health Awareness Week.

As I sat on the sofa, shoulders stooped with my coffee recovering from the night before, I was handed a familiar business card. I acknowledged the card with a nod of my head. 

“I am worried. You need to call Allie,” my husband said in an unthreatening tone. 

Allie was my therapist. I was on a “I think I am cured. I do not need weekly sessions” break that was not going well.  

My husband is the one person who has never been fooled by my “everything is fine” line. He has seen the lack of sleep. He has comforted me through panic attacks at 3 am. He has too often woken up to find I abandoned our bed to fight the demons that revoke my ability to sleep.  

I started seeing Allie three years ago when shame and perfectionism ruled my life. I walked into our first session very cynical – I had been down this road before. I attempted therapy a handful of times through my early adulthood. Two sessions was my typical average before I would blow it off because, “it wasn’t fixing me fast enough”. The fear of no one being able to help me was still present, but our first session was a far cry from anything I had experienced. I feel that I had either gotten to the age where I had outgrown all of my excuses to not seek help or I just found the right fit {the right person}.

I had many hard traumas to treat and process. Much of the discussion the first year was around identifying the true cause of my symptoms. Then, we worked to rewire my beliefs related to the dark memories of my life. By the start of my second year I was successfully recovering from ordeals of my childhood. 

Having the tools I needed to prevent my toxic shame and manage my emotional flashbacks made me feel powerful enough to discontinue my sessions. It took awhile for stressors to build and become episodes that left me hollow and sleep deprived. That was my state the morning  my husband asked me to seek help. 

Why Do I Go to Therapy?

I have since learned that weekly therapy benefits my everyday life in many ways even if I am not working through hard things. 

An Hour to Talk it All Out

Therapy has given me an hour to talk unapologetically. It’s a safe place for me to get angry. It allows me to speak unfiltered words about my life without the risk of straining any of my relationships. I get to express my true feelings about food left in our playroom and I can even cuss if I feel the need {the need is always there}. 

An Hour to Just Breathe

Therapy allows me to just breathe, literally. I have walked into many sessions overwhelmed and distraught by events of the day. There have been many sessions where we don’t talk about the details that are overflowing my life. Instead I am coached through relaxing breath exercises. 

Permission to Feel all the Feelings

I remember the first Allie said, “those are your feelings, you are allowed to feel that way”. The permission to be angry and not have to justify that feeling was a huge milestone for me. I learned in childhood that upset children needed to just get a hold of themselves. Crying was caused by me “being overdramatic”. Not only did I have the right to my feelings, I also learned the power of stating my core feelings {sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, tender}. For instance, I am not stressed, I am scared and that is causing me stress. 

An Hour with Someone On My Team

Each week I have an hour with one of my strongest, loudest cheerleaders. Allie’s goal is to get me better. She provides the reassurance that I can walk into difficult situations and stand up for myself. She is anxious to hear how holidays with my parents went and is delighted that we made it through without a single fight. We celebrate the big successes {getting me from shaming to forgiving myself} and the small {I wrote in my journal four out seven days}. 

I can say with utmost truth that therapy saved my life, but you do not need my level of trauma to start therapy. Yes, I have overcome some hard things during my sessions, honestly though, what has mattered most to me is the ability to just be myself for sixty uninterrupted minutes. Therapy does not have to break the bank, you can find perfectly qualified individuals that are covered by insurance. The key {and what I should have done much earlier} is to not settle for someone who is not the right fit for you. Do not give up – on yourself and on finding the therapist that will become your Allie. 

For more on how to care for your mental health during Pandemic, check out this resource from our friends at Next Level Urgent Care. 

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