Today, while I was scrolling through Facebook, I noticed a photo posted by a colleague of mine. She was posing holding up a poster that read: “I am a therapist and #ihaveatherapist”. She came from a space of wanting to spread awareness that seeking help for mental health is just as normal as going to a doctor for one’s physical health issues. After all, every doctor has a doctor, so why should it be any different for a therapist? In fact, I often tell my clients that they should always seek a therapist who has a therapist of their own to ensure that they are in good hands; however, just when I thought I should follow her example and post a similar photo of mine, I noticed the insides of my stomach lurching and churning making me aware that there’s something in my space that’s making me feel uncomfortable. Earlier, I would have just ignored it and returned to the task I had at hand, but nowadays, I have started listening to my body more and hearing what it has to say…
Most people who know me define me as a person who has everything under control. Many of my peers tell me that they feel jealous of my social media posts because I seem to just be breezing through life – effectively managing work, making time for friends on weekends, finding time to go on vacation, spend time with my family, as well as trying out new things be it a dance-class or an endeavour to learn a new language – and, to be honest, while it is true that I am able to have a healthy work-life balance, things aren’t always so great all the time. A few months ago, I was not in a good place mentally. I felt emotionally drained, my mind would just not shut up and kept racing with horrible, negative thoughts even while I was asleep; and I felt physically exhausted all the time. Every morning, I woke up with no desire to get out of bed, and no matter how many hours I’d slept, I just did not feel well-rested. One day, finally, not able to handle it anymore, I sought a therapist who was available, and immediately booked an appointment. It took me three sessions to finally feel like myself again. I felt good, my mind was quiet, and life seemed to have a purpose yet again. I remember the first time I got sound sleep after what felt like ages – I don’t think there is a word to describe that sense of calm euphoria! Therapy made it possible. Yet, it was not an experience I shared with anyone except two close friends.
I realized there is a part of me that just tightens up at the idea of showing my vulnerable side before the whole world. As a child, I was often ridiculed for being a cry-baby and for not being good at games the way my cousins were, and after a point of time, the taunts weren’t funny anymore – they just used to hurt, as if someone had just poked at an open wound with a knife. I still remember the crystallizing event that happened for me at the age of eleven years – the day I decided that no matter how much it hurts or troubles, I will not cry and show them my tears, or ever let them know my pain – little did I know how strongly this vow would carry through in its own way and run my life…The need to be perceived as strong was so high that, overnight, the quietest girl in the classroom became one of the most talkative ones. No longer was I shy; I confidently voiced my opinion and strongly aired my views. While I remained friendly with everyone, I had clear ideas of who were and who weren’t my friends. Till date, it takes me time to warm up to a person and include them in my inner circle. However, once they’re in, they’re in for life. Loyalty is of utmost importance to me.
Therapy helped me uncover and heal these hurt parts of me. It helped me feel at ease. Everyone feels overwhelmed at some point of time or the other, and it isn’t easy all the time to manage on one’s own. That’s when therapy helps! A therapist won’t “fix” you, but they’ll help you understand what you’re going through and help you find ways to overcome your issue. And going for therapy does not mean you’re weak. You are allowed to feel what you feel. Everyone feels all kinds of feelings. You don’t always need to be a lone warrior drudging through life and its challenges. Ask for help and embrace it when it comes your way. Even if you’re a therapist yourself – remember, sometimes the rescuer needs rescuing too!