July 2, 2012

I See a Therapist And I'm Not Crazy

Last week marked the last day I’d be seeing my therapist. You see, I am not the least bit ashamed that I have been seeing a therapist weekly for about three years now. I think a huge part of not being ashamed has to do with the amazing relationship that has formed between the two of us.

Once upon a time when I was in the depths of sorrow, not sure I’d find my way out of the hole that was the worst of undiagnosed depressive episodes. I sought out counseling. I sat across an older woman who stared blankly at me and made me feel quite uncomfortable. She was number two in a long string of therapists I had found from my insurance’s provider listing.

So I stopped going, fell even deeper into depression to the point that my husband accompanied me to my general practitioner where I sat and filled out a survey and gladly took the medicine he prescribed. This led to the cycle of antidepressants that lead me to a psychiatrist who was heavy on the prescriptions and light on the therapy.

Eventually, we conceded that while antidepressants helped me get out of bed in the morning they did barely anything to cure the root of the problem, depression. Wanting to have a baby in the near future, it was decided that my goal was to treat this thing without the aid of meds.

I called my current therapist. Out of all the therapists I have ever called, her voicemail message was the kindest (she said she really appreciated my call and meant it). Her scheduling was different and forced me to come in to a set appointment. This abandoned the common problem I had of being depressed, terrified of my telephone and not calling to make an appointment.

To be honest, I don’t even remember those first few appointments. What I do remember is year after year, episode after episode she was there for me. The most memorable of these was two weeks after Gwyneth was born. My parents had left and it was just us three. We gave the baby a bath to which she screamed bloody murder while being dried off. As I dried her off with a towel a momentary blip of, “hey, if I put this towel over her face she won’t cry anymore…” flew into my mind. As quickly as it had come the shame and guilt followed.

We were on high alert for any signs of postpartum depression. Like crazy high alert, we saw that episode of Scrubs and knew that this was just like when Jordan said she wanted to throw her baby out the window. As I sat on the couch uncontrollably sobbing after having thought these terrible thoughts Jake had called and made an appointment.

So in I went, certain I was falling into some horrible case of postpartum depression and coincidentally was a terrible mother because of it. As I sat on her couch, filled with so much guilt and shame she made me realize that:
1. This wasn’t postpartum depression.
2. I was normal.

Imagine that happening for three years. Coming in all depressed and wracked with anxiety only to have her break the cycle. She renewed my diminished self-confidence, showed me time and time again that I am a capable, loving human being and empowered me to love life again.

This is the first time in three years that I won’t have that reminder on a weekly basis. Am I scared? No, because I know that I can live my life with depression. I can identify it and use the tools I’ve learned to not let it get crazy out of control.

And that my friends, is why I’m not ashamed to say I see a therapist. That therapist changed my life and made it better. Without her I would most likely have killed myself by now or be living in a constant zombie-like state of self-pity (which you can read about here, here or here).

Everyone in my life must get sick of me saying they need to see a therapist because it’s my go-to advice for most of life’s problems. But seriously, ignore the stigma that comes with seeing one because it shouldn’t exist. If you’ve been thinking you should call one, do it, because you never know, you might find your life-saving friend like I did.






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