I may be an enthusiastic mental health advocate now, but rewind about five years, and you wouldn’t recognize me. I used to feel like therapy couldn’t fix me and assumed it was for people who were broken. And damnit, I was irreparable. I don’t know if it was the pandemic or my mother’s near-death experience in 2019, but in early January of 2021, I was sitting in my basement, waiting to hop on my first ever virtual therapy session.
A year later, and I was still seeing the same therapist. Most days, I didn’t feel like we made a dent. Granted, I know I have lots to work through, like learning to live with my depression, anxiety, and CPTSD, and of course, work on my body acceptance. That last one was what had really killed me since I was 12-years-old.
I have lived with body dysmorphia as well as some seriously concerning eating habits for the majority of my life. Which my therapist knew… because I told her. While I’m not a therapist, I have to imagine one of the primary things they teach you is to not call your client crazy. Oh yes, she went there.
During this particular session, we talked about my eating habits, and as apprehensive as I had been, I finally felt like I was able to let my guard down. There was no fear of judgment or her thinking I was losing it. Feeling safe and being able to express myself openly was something I hadn’t been able to do for a long time. And with her next six words, all of it was destroyed.
Yeah. That does sound kind of crazy.
Instantly, I shut down. Crazy? Crazy?! She was telling me I was crazy? So much for all that safe space bullshit. Now, I know what you’re thinking. She wasn’t calling me crazy. She was just using the word crazy to describe my issues. But still, it stung just the same. The thing is, I have a hard enough time giving myself grace and compassion. So when I heard the person, who I seek help from, make me feel some kind of way, I knew it was time for a change.
When I got to thinking about what truly got my knickers in a twist (yes, they were hella twisted), I realized it had less to do with the crazy description and much more to do with a betrayal of trust and breakdown of communication. It’s not always easy to ask for help. In fact, it’s one of the scariest and bravest things a person can do. But just like friendships, romantic relationships, or really any other partnerships, sometimes the first try doesn’t go as expected.
My therapist always told me I needed to have more compassion for myself. Ironically enough, her advice is ultimately what helped me make the decision to break up. I deserve to feel comfortable in therapy. I deserve to be my most authentic self unapologetically, and so do you.
So if you’ll excuse me. I’m off to find myself a new therapist. Maybe they’ll be the one, and if they aren’t I’ll keep on searching.