The best thing I ever did was get Therapy.
It was incredibly hard to reach the decision to get it though. In theory it should be as simple as picking up a phone and making an appointment, but the reality was very different for me, and for many other people I’ve spoken to about this.
There’s a stigma attached to any sort of mental health problems. If you break your leg, you go to the hospital, and they fix it. It’s so matter of fact that no one even comments on it, other than to say hope it mends soon, or how did you do that?
Tell someone you’re in therapy though, and you’ll get anything from a look of fear that you’re somehow not right to patronising comments as to how brave you are, and how difficult it must be.
You don’t get that sort of reaction for a broken leg.
Having counselling is often seem as a thing to be ashamed of, because of this stigma attached to it, as being something only really messed up people do.
I say this from a position of feeling that myself. It was one of the things that stopped me from going for years. I thought I could deal on my own, that it would be weird to talk to a stranger about such personal things, that I was somehow better than that, that it was beneath me because I wasn’t fucked up right?
I fully acknowledge that I was an asshole for thinking that, and I’m glad I had the self awareness to question my fear of getting to know myself. I’m glad because it changed everything.
This is what I know now, that helped make that change happen.
Anger can be a positive thing.
I never realised how angry I was before I had therapy. I was afraid to recognise that I was angry as well, angry at the unfair deal I got, angry at the world for making my life so much harder, angry at myself for not having the strength to do anything about it, angry at my own self pity.
Not recognising this, and instead just burying it, just made it even more poisonous and impossible to deal with.
Once I talked about it though, I found I could channel it, it became a righteous anger, a powerful, positive force, and I found I could use it to do things. It gave me strength.
That spiteful inner voice that puts me down can be challenged, and changed.
That voice is such an asshole. But it’s also all talk. Learning how to challenge it makes it quieten down enough to make other things possible.
The worst case scenario hardly ever happens.
Man do I love imagining the worst possible outcome. It’s an automatic response that kicks in if I’m confronted by any difficult situation.
Thing is, the worst case very rarely happens. Yes, things might be pretty shit sometimes, but worst case? Not so much.
At the end of the day you will survive, if you can let yourself survive. Counselling, Therapy, they’re like the key to unlocking how to survive. It won’t always stop the mess and the hurt, but, for me at least it did stop my brain running away with all this. It gave me back some control, when I didn’t have any.
(I’ve split this into a two part post, because as I started writing it became pretty clear there was a lot to say here, and definitely too much for one post, so more next time!)