Thoughts from Therapy is a series where I talk honestly about my struggle with and recovery from depression and anxiety. My hope is to promote mental health awareness, and to let anyone else struggling know they’re not alone. See the other posts here.
I’m just gonna say it. I have a therapist. I need therapy.
It’s not easy for me to admit. It’s not something I want to broadcast to the world. As I’ve talked about before, discussing my mental health struggles, or really just personal struggles is very difficult for me.
But it’s important to talk about. Being silent doesn’t make the problems disappear. I was overwhelmed by your support on my last mental health post, and it made me realize I’m not the only one with these struggles. This is why I want to share my experience from therapy with you.
The first meeting
I had been so nervous leading up to my first appointment, I had to pretend it didn’t exist simply to stop myself from constantly worrying. It had taken so much courage for me to ask for help – what if she wasn’t able to help me.
Luckily, there was no need for me to worry. She didn’t bombard me with information this time, or go into deeply emotional topics (yet I couldn’t help but cry multiple times). She let me get a read of her, and her of me. We discussed expectations, to the therapy, to each other, and to the outcome.
Together, we set up these goals:
- Learning to cope/tools to handle negative thoughts and feelings
- Finding ways to be calm/decrease anxiety besides exercise
- Getting in touch with my feelings and inner workings
However, what made me realise she is going to a great therapist was a question. It came out of nowhere by the end of the session.
“Do you go to great lengths to live up to other’s expectations?”
That hit something in me. And the more I think about it, the more I realise this is one my biggest problems. I don’t share my opinion very often. I tend to answer based on what I think the other person wants to hear rather than taking the time to figure out what I like. It’s not always intentional, but it happens often.
She made me realise therapy isn’t going to work if I base my answers on what I expect she wants me to say – I’ll make her think we’re on the right track, when really I’m not talking about myself.
She challenged me. She’s not going to sugarcoat it. She’s going to be honest. And she cares.
She made me feel hopeful about the future again.
How was your first experience with a therapist?