If you have engaged with me at all through social media, then you have seen the hashtag #therapyishard. It’s usually an indicator that I just got out of a session where I put in work on myself. I hope it doesn’t come across as boastful, like “therapy is hard and I’m awesome for doing it!”. Nor do I hope it comes across as discouraging like “therapy is hard… Stay away!”. I usually just say it as an exhale. Imagine, next time you see it on my social media as (sigh)”Therapy is hard… But what’s the alternative”.
This week my therapist and I talked about ADD. She has mentioned that I demonstrate ADD tendencies for at least a year, but with everything else going on, I left it to the side. This week I decided to follow up. What she said made sense. I experience obstacles in “executive functions”… Focus, organization, time management, etc… I feel like everyone does to an extent, but maybe not in as crippling a way as I do. I think about how this has affected my work life in the last few years and it makes sense.
What I’m feeling about all of this is… “are you kidding me? Another fucking thing?!” In the last few years I’ve been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, and now this. We also talked this week about how stress triggers asthma, which I’ve been fighting the last couple of weeks. So… Yay!
At some point, you just get tired of feeling like you and your own brain aren’t on the same team. In my brain’s defense, it kept me pretty high functioning through some pretty awful stuff. I guess it was owed this time. Still… It’s exhausting.
I’m a big believer in therapy. I think everybody needs a therapist. It’s only ego that keeps people from being able to unpack their shit with a professional. It has to be the right relationship. I’ve been blessed to have had some excellent therapists, which leads me to believe that there are more good ones out there than bad. My current therapist took me awhile to warm up to. At first she seemed dismissive… I think she even said at one point “I’ve seen your type before”. I realize now that she needed me to get through the layers of bullshit I had used in the past to protect my ego so she could get to the real stuff. I get it now. She doesn’t let me off the hook. She’s very real with me. She can also be very encouraging when the moment calls for it. Finding a therapeutic relationship that works for you is key. I’m glad I’ve found one, even if some days I leave her office feeling far crazier than when I came in.
It’s hard to take an honest look at yourself. You will inevitably see things you don’t like. Tendencies, habits, survival skills, defense mechanisms… quirks. It usually requires the willingness to look at some of the formative traumas in your life and to sit with the pain. No one likes to do that. The hope is that you gain self awareness. You see yourself in a new light and maybe that new light helps you break some of those bad habits. Or at least recover more quickly when you fall. And you will fall. Therapy isn’t about fixing you. Usually it’s about acceptance of the broken you because really only love can fix us and that love almost always needs to be self love.
I can’t imagine a time when I won’t be in therapy. Sometimes I just need a tune up. Sometimes it’s an overhaul. Lately I’ve felt like we’re rebuilding an engine. So be it, I suppose. As long as I have to live this life, I want to navigate it the best that I can. I’m grateful that we have professionals who are as skilled with the mind as some are with what’s under a car’s hood. Tonight, I’m exhausted. The work has been hard lately. But I guess if therapy has taught me nothing else, it is that I’m worth the work.
Most of the time…