Welcome to my therapy journey.
I see you. I have noticed the people reaching out after I started to talk about my mental health and experiences. I have seen the different posts of friends and strangers opening up. People who felt they were alone and wanted to thank me for opening up about my struggles. It makes sense. The idea of being alone or different when dealing with mental health makes me feel isolated and alone. As a society, we put a negative light on needing help with mental health. If I was saying I am going to the doctor for a broken bone, no one would think twice. (Well other than Tina what did you do now…) When someone says I am going to a therapist today, the world gets worried. What is wrong? Am I the reason you are upset “depressed”? Why am I not enough? Are you mentally ill? What are you diagnosed with…? When we call out from work because we need a mental health day, how often do you think we actually say that reason in fear our employers/HR would not understand. This is why we need to END THE STIGMA of mental health. Our minds and emotional well being are just as important as our physical well being. (Honestly, I would rank it higher).
So today is THE DAY. I have always wanted to find a therapist in the Denver area, but it is extremely daunting. I would call, send emails, and fill out contact forms all over town. This pandemic makes it extremely difficult to find a professional that. Honestly, I have heard it is just difficult to find a therapist taking new patients. After my grandfather died a month ago, I have been spiraling into grief and depression a lot. I panic attack almost daily and life feels hard. This time I started my search again, but I started with my work EAP (Employee Assistance Program). They gave me some names/numbers that were accepting NEW patients and I ran with the information. I am lucky I NOW have a work environment I can be open about my life and needing to seek help. My manager has gone above and beyond to make sure I had the resources I need. It is important to have this kind of atmosphere. It is OK not to be OK.
I focused on the one therapist from the EAP referrals that dealt with trauma and grief. I focused to where I left a voice mail stating how much I needed to find someone. I sent an email explaining how my grief is physically hindering my day to day tasks. I even sent in a contact form referencing the voicemail and personal email. I WENT FOR IT. I was ALL in. I poured my heart out in the emails and voicemail. Instead of focusing on getting out information everywhere to find ONE person, I gave ALL my information to ONE. I figured if she didn’t respond within a couple days, I would do it again to someone else. I was lucky and within 6 hours she replied and got me an appointment. It was daunting, but I pushed through it. That was Two weeks ago.
My appointment is at 10:30am today (I am writing this at 8:00am). I am nervous. I have been nervous and slightly panicky since the beginning of this week. I am going into the unknown and that is TERRIFYING. How are we going to start our talks? Is she going to be the right fit for me? Am I going to know if she is the right fit within the first appointment or is it going take a couple times? Will she truly understand my trauma? Am I going to cry…and not be functioning throughout the day? The unknown brings SO MANY questions to the forefront. Literally SO MANY QUESTIONS.
I am starting to have flashbacks of my first therapy session I ever had. I was 24 years old and just lost my mother. My last conversation with my mother was her begging for forgiveness and me saying I had time….I had time to forgive her. Little did I know that would be our last conversation. My first therapy session I let it all out. I let out all the mental abuse and trauma that I could fit in an hour session. The therapist cried. Obviously, she was not the right fit for my therapy. It hit a lot harder that a therapist couldn’t handle my childhood history. It took a LONG time to try again. SO….as I am gearing up for my first appointment, I am FREAKING out that this could happen again. That I am going to feel judged. That I am going to be pitied. Obviously, no one wants to feel that way. NO ONE wants to feel they are a lifetime movie of a hard childhood overcoming obstacles. I am using this to help calm my thoughts before I leave work. It has taken me this long to get through my thoughts- I leave to drive there in 30 minutes. My stomach literally just dropped as I wrote that time. 30 minutes I drive to my first session to discuss my grief…..no wonder I feel overwhelmed.
So here is my first free thought journal entry on my therapy journey. Journey Journal. Therapy Thoughts. Breakthrough Blog….. I don’t know. All I know is hope my ramblings help make you feel not alone, that it is OK not be OK, that therapy is not a sign of weakness, that it is OK to ask for help, it is normal to NEED professional help from time to time. You can find someone to help you make a plan. That is what I need right now. I need a plan to get myself back.