Well I won’t lie and say that I blinked and a year went by in therapy. It’s been more like a grueling year of deeply getting to know myself and knowing that every step forward is coupled with two (or more) steps back. I’m finding a balance in loving the person I am growing further in love with and while also pushing her to be the best version of herself possible (and extending grace when “best” feels like I could have done better).
Grueling probably sounds a bit extreme, but then again maybe it doesn’t. Facing your grief, uncovering parts of you that you’d prefer to keep hidden, taking one baby step forward each day — even when you don’t feel like it.
I also won’t lie and say that therapy has completely *cured* all of my issues. I am actually writing this blog post in a depressive state and even though I know the sun will shine again, the past few days have been hard. I’m ways away from not needing consistent therapy, but I do celebrate the small signs of growth that I see — like me recently transitioning from meeting every week to meeting two weeks on and one week off.
I’ve spent just about every Monday for the past 12+ months in front of my computer screen on a HIPAA compliant video teleconferencing service, pouring my heart out to a woman I have never actually met in real life, and now this COVID afterworld has me wondering if I ever will.
Therapy has helped me in so many ways and even though I’m not where I want to be with my mental health, I am still celebrating that I am further along in my journey than I was when I started right around this time last year. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting deeply on where I was emotionally when COVID stepped on the scene in March 2020. So many of my friends were picking up new habits and routines and I decided that this season for me was about working through my grief, anxiety and depression with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, consistent wellness rituals like meditation, breath work, and nourishing my body with healing foods. If you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve also picked up an insane walking habit — I’ll take you on my 9 mile loop sometime on stories, ha.
I dug in and set an intention that April 2020 would be the month that I got back into therapy and commit to a consistent treatment plan because as we all know, we can only run so far from our grief, anxiety and heartache before it all catches up with us and the broken parts of our lives are on display for all to see.
I may write a blog post on how to find the right therapist for you, because let me tell you, it can be tough to find the right fit. I compare it to dating — you may hit it out of the park on the first date with the right person, but 9 times out of 10, you will either need more time to figure out if it’s a good fit for you or you may know immediately that this therapist isn’t the one for you.
I received a therapist recommendation from a girl I was in small group with and I was so nervous because at the time, a few months prior I had a terrible experience with a therapist that came recommended from an acquaintance. Honestly I should have done more research on her before scheduling an appointment, but as soon as we started talking about grief I knew she was not equipped to help me work through my feelings.
I could have let that experience keep me from trying out another therapist. My current therapist could even hear the hesitation in my voice during our consultation.
Side note: alwayssss do a consultation before establishing care. If the therapist won’t offer a quick 15 minute chat to align on needs and services, I’d keep it moving. I really appreciated this Balanced Black Girl podcast episode where Les talks through how to find the right therapist for you.
I’ve been on a journey to self for 4 or 5 years now, but last year’s expedition was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.
I have seen myself grow and evolve, I have also seen myself take two or three steps back and I’m slowly accepting that this is just a part of it. As I uncover the parts of myself that I’ve kept hidden for so long and work to heal them, I also realize that healing is not a linear path especially in these uncharted territories — I mean there’s a reason I’ve kept these parts of my life under wraps for so long.
This past year of therapy has taught me more about myself than the previous 27 years of life combined. I have to stop myself from recommending therapy to everyone, but truly — we would not hesitate to go to a doctor if our bodies needed medical attention. If it’s in my financial means to do so, why would I not also give my mental and emotional health the professional attention they may need. We’re complex humans with complex emotions and even if we haven’t experienced a life changing traumatic experience like losing your husband to cancer, I think everyone should embark on their own journey towards healing.
My latest update from therapy is that we are taking the month of May off and will pick back up in June. I have been working through quite a bit so far this year and it’s gotten a little emotionally exhausting. We agreed that we could take a month off and our plan is for me to continue my mental health education and weekly journal entries so she can keep track of how things are going and if we need to book a session sooner. I love the trust we have built between each other and that I get the space to breathe when I need it.
I’m still in awe of all that we’ve worked through this past year and I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days have in store.