Truth be told, I’m doing much much better with my mental health compared to how I usually feel this time of year. And maybe that’s why I’ve started going to therapy: Yeah, I’m feeling shitty, but still have enough energy to try to get help.
I’ve gotten counselling in moments of crisis in the past, but this is the first time I’ve sought out some serious head shrinking as part of a general self-care regimen. Which is scary. When in crisis, it’s pretty easy for me to go into someone’s office and just wail about whatever specific trauma has me all fucked up.
But going in there when I’m holding it all together? Tricky, tricky, tricky.
I found my therapist the usual way: Asked a lot of friends. Fuck, I love the West Coast! OF COURSE, everyone has several recommendations, because we heart therapy, hardcore.
I chose mine based on the fact that she’s a pagan, and also because she specifically made mention of respecting “all genders” several times throughout her website, which was a relief from the usual “we welcome clients of different sexualities” or whatever, that I read on other websites. Just a little nod to those of us who don’t subscribe to the gender binary, but enough to make me feel like I could do this.
And I am, I am doing this: I’ve only had two sessions, and I won’t pretend that it’s radically changed my life, but it’s… Nice.
Insipid, I know, but I’m not feeling terribly eloquent.
Okay, here’s one thing I will tell you about, that came from therapy: I realized that I’m not that worried about my stepmom, despite her health scare… I mean, she’s getting the best healthcare in the country, and she’s youngish, and they caught the polyp early. Selfish person that I am, what’s really stressing me about the whole situation is what it’s bringing up about my place in our family.
Of course I want to go visit during the couple months that my stepmom will be recuperating, but then I really don’t, because I don’t want to set a precedent. I don’t want them to rely on me, to be that sort of daughter who’ll fly in at a moment’s notice and take care of them. Because this is only the beginning, the start of my four parents’ decline in health… And I love them so much, but I also love my life here on the other side of the country. If I go, it’s giving fuel to the idea that that’s where I belong, that I’m supposed to spend my life with this family-of-origin as opposed to my family-of-choice. (An idea, I might add, that is most vocally supported by my father and my older sister, and more quietly by others in Ontario.)
How has therapy changed my experience of this revelation? Well, in the past I’d get really anxious about such things, so full of angst that I’d get insomnia, fretting over my choices late into the night. Instead, I just feel sad. There’s a lot of grief in my heart, grief for the things my family and I haven’t shared since I moved away over ten years ago.
And yet I’m so damn confident that I’m where I need to be, that I spent those ten years doing what I needed to do, that I can’t really get all ramped up and stressed about it. Instead, I kinda just want to cry. Which is actually a huge improvement, because crying is something I can do, and afterwards I feel better.