My lifelong best friend made my first therapy appointment for me.
I was having 2-3 panic attacks per day and I was terrified of my own body.
The panic comes out of nowhere. It seizes my breathing, my brain, my pulse, my rationality, my logic.
In the darkest of days, I dreaded waking up. I dreaded going to sleep. At any moment, panic would jump on my chest and grip my lungs and convince my mind that I was dying.
I realize that this sounds dramatic, and according to my family, I can be a TAD dramatic. Whateverrrr. I, am an artist.
But I swear to you, I’ve never experienced fear like that in my entire life. I was afraid of my own body. Of my brain. Of my life.
I hate to be cliché, but therapy fucking SAVED me.
I will tell anyone and everyone that I proudly go to therapy, because IT WORKS.
And the stigma attached to going to therapy is absurd. It’s really fucking dumb you guys.
Human beings have emotions. The bad ones suck.
And if you’re anything like me, you might just shove those bad boys waaaaaay down deep until they break down your door one day, SWAT style.
So I went to therapy. I said, fuck it. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I will try ANYTHING.
So my first session, let me paint you a picture.
I force myself to show up. (at this point, driving was still causing me a shit ton of anxiety, so driving took a lot of energy.) I show up to the wrong fucking building. Not an ideal scenario for an anxious person. So after a humiliating exchange with a random receptionist who had no idea who I was, I make it to the correct building. 10 minutes late and basically holding back tears because draaaama but I’m seen anyways.
This smiley woman maybe 10 years older then me brings me back into her very zen colored office.
There’s a couch just like the movies. I don’t lie down though. I may be dramatic, but that’s a bit excessive, even for me.
We’ll call this nice lady B.
So I sit on B’s couch. She smiles at me, looks into my soul with more empathy then I’ve ever experienced and says, “So, tell me what’s been going on.”
And then I cried (like, CRIIIIIED) for 55 minutes. Very productive.
You know how you can keep your shit together until your mom asks you what’s wrong and then you immediately burst into tears because for some reason moms just do that?
It was like that. I guess that makes B my anxiety mom.
It is a very rare occurrence that I tell someone what’s been going on with me. Like really going on. The good stuff.
I just feel super weird talking about myself. Yeah, sounds like a load of bullshit, it’s not. I’m just better at listening.
But guess what folks, after crying through session 1 of therapy, I realized that I LOVE to talk about myself. But only with a complete stranger. Who I’m paying to listen to me.
One of my favorite sessions was when I had a panic attack in B’s office. I mean, if it’s gonna happen, is there a better place to be while it does? Verrry convenient.
As a therapist, I think she was genuinely excited about it. What an opportunity to put her skills to work!
She acted calm, cool, and collected about the whole thing. Kept her composure. But her eyes said, “LET’S FUCKING RAGE!”
Moral of the story here, if you’re a human, you can benefit from therapy.
I can’t even explain how good it feels to get things off your chest and to talk to someone who is completely objective. Who validates everything you’re saying, while also sneaking in her sneaky therapist advice without you even realizing it. It’s a goddamn art form.
So if you’re someone who thinks you might want to give it a try, DO IT.
I had to do a lot of talking and it wasn’t always fun, and I cried a lot.
And sometimes I had to do really stupid things like blow bubbles when I was having a panic attack, and talk to my anxiety like it was a person.
But I ALWAYS felt better. And most importantly, I am no longer afraid of my own body. My anxiety went from being my mortal enemy to being more of a helicopter mom. Always worried, always annoying, but there for my protection.
Going to therapy does not make you weak. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy. And it has absolutely nothing to do with your value as a human being.
And if you’re someone who DOES think going to therapy means you’re weak and crazy, well my friend, you need it even more than the rest of us.