One year Later: What i've learned in therapy
Anxiously, I drove down the interstate with dark clouds looming over me and the sound of raindrops pelting down on my front window. The voice of the GPS made its way through my speakers, interrupting my music and informing me that my destination was nine minutes away. Though I was only a few minutes away, I was running behind my scheduled appointment time so I frantically texted my therapist to make her aware that I would be arriving a bit late, to which she reassuringly responded, “That’s okay, be safe. I’ll see you when you get here.”
It felt like I was going on a blind date, my nerves were doing the cha-cha slide and I felt the weight of my legs with each step that I took. I swiftly approached the elevator, glaring at the red light above me as if I had the power to make the elevator reach the first level faster.
As I walked down the hall, I surveyed every door that I passed by until I came across my therapist’s name plastered on a sign outside of her office-- the door was wide open, and crossing the threshold felt like it meant something deeply symbolic about the journey ahead of me. Slowly, I turned the corner and saw a five-feet tall Black woman with dark, auburn brown hair and a warm smile walking towards me to welcome me into a room with low lighting and two plush couches. The sound of the white noise maker in the corner comforted me as I sat down and slowly exhaled. And so it began.
As of February, I’ve officially been in therapy for one year!
Therapy, for me, has been more than I can even begin to put into words or a few paragraphs. One year isn’t an incredibly long time, but it feels like I could write a full chapter book. I came into it during a time in my life where things were going seemingly well, besides a few changes. The mentally tumultuous and emotionally exhausting year I had experienced two years prior was not my reality when I decided that I wanted to do this thing for myself-- when I decided that therapy was my next stepping stone.
This leads me to the first thing that I’ve learned from therapy, which is also a common misconception, you can be in darkness or in light when you choose to start going, the soil that you plant yourself in will take root and grow regardless. So, while there was nothing inherently “wrong” with me on the surface, therapy showed me that there was so much more, beyond my exterior, that I just did not see.
Therapy illuminated parts of me that I never considered existed, much less was having such an effect on how I navigated through the arenas of life.
Instinctively, I overwhelmed myself with intrusive thoughts and harsh criticisms with the first assignment that my therapist gave me because there was no way for me to manufacture the best version of myself and present it on a silver platter. My therapist was not interested in seeing my representative, she wanted to see me. This allowed me to choose grace as I held space for myself while I maneuvered through the murky waters of my past and the emotions/feelings of my present.
“The power of mindfulness is that there is no good or bad, right or wrong.”
Therapy has not been a quick trip down a straight, narrow path to one grandiose destination. For me, therapy has been a slow stroll through an endless enchanted garden with many twists and turns-- even on my darkest and ugliest days, I can still see through the fog and marvel at the beauty that surrounds me. I’ve learned to love and accept myself for myself, even if that meant staring in the mirror and acknowledging all of the things in me that I simply do not like.
I’ve learned the value of strengthening my emotional intelligence and broadening my communication skills-- firmly telling people how to treat me is not a waste of time or breath. Some conversations are going to be harder to have with the people I love and that’s okay. Often times my perception of what’s going on and the reality of what’s going will battle one another, and that’s okay too. Logic and feelings are not the same.
I’ve learned that stillness and my intrusive thoughts cannot coexist. Sitting still in my emotions/feelings is not a bad thing because they always point to something when I take the time to listen. A lot of the things that I’d felt for years upon years pointed back to my childhood, and my inner child was begging me to acknowledge her.
With each session, I begin to wholeheartedly believe the truth I spoke over myself: I’m deserving of the time and care I put into nurturing the woman I am presently and the woman I’m becoming.
Therapy has led me to find healing and wholeness. There is no magic behind the work that I put in and a lot of the time there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about it. Each day I truly try to show up for my authentic self, failing unabashedly and continuing regardless. My mistakes only verify that I am human. My tears only water the soil that I grow in.
If there’s one thing that will always be certain, it’s that I don’t have to have all of the answers and I never will. You don’t have to have all of the answers and you never will.
Will I stop going to therapy now that I’m able to say I love it here? I’m not sure, but I know I get to celebrate myself here and now. As my therapist says, “You don’t do therapy just to do therapy, it needs to be helpful and beneficial to your life.” It’s been substantially beneficial to every aspect of my life and I’m grateful and blessed to know that I have the tools to keep going at this stage in my life.
Some seasons are meant for doing therapy and some seasons are meant for reaping the seeds that you've sown in therapy.
Thanks for reading, and as always... be great! xoxo