Trust me, go to therapy
Honest to the god I don’t believe in, I wasn’t going to write about therapy this week. In fact, I have a blog about how I’m still struggling with the loss of improv drafted. Then this post started circulating. It’s why you should go to therapy. It goes on about even if you think you shouldn’t and something about just wanting to get to know yourself better and whatnot. It ends with saying something like go to therapy, trust me.
Okay, first off trusting a stranger on the internet is not my thing and I don’t like being told what to do. I don’t disagree with the statement but as someone who is significantly struggling with therapy, I don’t like this post.
I get that a post or meme cannot capture the nuance that goes into our society. There are people who want to go to therapy. They cannot. Why? Cost and inaccessibility. I write about this a lot because it’s fucking ridiculous.
Fine. Let’s let that one slide or maybe it will spark a conversation that leads to some real change. I mean that would be dope.
I also understand that people connect to these things on the internet like anything else, through the lens of their own experience. I find myself wishing this ridiculous thing had a small qualifier about hey, it might not be as easy as you think but it’s worth it. At least give some prep to whomever this might actually influence. I’ve been going to therapy for a year and I still feel completely ill-equipped to handle what happens both in session and between sessions.
During the early days of improv when I began performing consistently, I would experience this pretty big drop in mood after shows. It didn’t matter what kind of show we would have. About 15 minutes after the show wrapped, I’d suddenly want to withdraw and felt forlorn. No one else seemed to experience this. In fact, just the opposite. I quickly felt alone. One day I was listening to an improv podcast and I can’t remember who was being interviewed or even what podcast it was but the improviser talked about how after shows she would have the same experience and she even had a reason for why it happened (has to do with epinephrine and norepinephrine). Now whether the science is sound is irrelevant because I no longer felt like an outsider. There was validation in my experience and relief followed. I was then able to adjust accordingly and create parameters that would help my post-show blues. Maybe that will be a blog one day. I don’t know given the pain I have associated with improv these days.
My point is that feeling understood, seen, and not alone is important. At some point, we all feel misunderstood, unseen, and alone. That’s being human. However, this therapy thing has made me feel the most unseen, and alone I’ve ever felt in my entire life. A meme that tells me to “trust” going to therapy reinforces some of my biggest struggles. I often question my reasoning, my judgment, and my feelings around this experience. It’s not because the therapist is doing something wrong. It’s the framework that is therapy compounded with my individual experience.
People are sharing this and giving testimonies about going and it’s like oh, cool, I’m definitely the problem. That then opens the floodgates to some real deep shit I have yet to figure out. I am already convinced that I am not cut out for traditional models and modalities of therapy while also knowing there’s no way I’m that special. It’s not for lack of trying. I show up every week. If there’s homework I do it. Fuck, I even give myself homework. The result is an ongoing feeling of confusion, pain, and isolation.
I don’t go to therapy to learn who I am. I go to therapy because some real messed up shit happened then some different terrible shit happened followed by even more tragedy and if I can get a handle on that then when life has it’s high points I can actually enjoy the full experience and when the inevitable low points hit I’ll be better equipped to navigate the storm that follows. Maybe I can stop this cycle so my kids can learn a new way and have more meaningful relationships when they are older. That I might for once be okay that I’m the only one who thinks what took place was a big deal. If it was a big deal to me that in of itself is enough. That I’m allowed to exist.
I haven’t reached those places and I’m not sure that I will. This might be all part of change and processing. I don’t know because I have yet to arrive wherever the fuck I’m going and no one seems to talk about it. If you go to therapy expect to have your reality unravel, turn upside down, and as that takes place expect to navigate it unsupported and alone. Know with change comes fear, pain, and heartbreak, trust me.