Right now, as I write this, I am sitting in a quaint vegan cafe that has been recommended to me more times than I can count. It’s one of the things I like to do the most after my therapy sessions – find a new cafe, try out their coffee or tea (depending on my mood), maybe even grab a snack. Usually I read, sometimes I just sit. All that matters when I walk through the doors is that I relax.
I went back to therapy in late November, 2015. Or, to be more pacific, I went back to outpatient rehab in late November, 2015. After moving country and starting university – as can be expected – my life changed drastically. I was making friends again, and sometimes we would even go out (although not often because, let’s be real, we’re literature majors). One night, while out at the university held “club night”, a random drunken guy asks me to dance. Thinking nothing of it and having a fun night with my girls, I agreed and we started dancing together. However, it quickly turned uncomfortable.
I felt his hand pressing the back of my neck, trying to make me kiss him. When I turned away, he grabbed my butt. I moved his hand and he tried, again, to kiss me. Upon be rejected for the third time he slapped my butt, kissed my cheek, and called me a bitch – then walked away.
On the scale of the worst things that had happened to me, this was low on the list. That being said, I felt trapped. Out of control. Like everything I had left behind in Canada was trailing behind me. These feelings led me to start back on bad habits. I wouldn’t leave my room, I had trouble eating – especially in front of other people – , and I cried all the time.
This went on for two months before I asked for help. When I started back in rehab I was humiliated. Embarrassed of how I couldn’t control the things I knew were hurting me and completely disappointed in myself. How did I let myself get to this point? And, moreover, how did I let this happen again?
Now, being almost a year after starting, my vision is a lot clearer (what is they say? Hindsight is 20/20?). I think it’s too common that people shy away from therapy, whether in conversation or as a means for comfort and support. Personally – for my anxiety and eating disorder alone – I have been an inpatient once and an outpatient twice now, and that’s not including all the times I went to therapy for other anxieties and sleeping disorders.
Here’s what i can and can’t tell you about therapy.
I can’t tell you it will always work. In fact, I have seen more therapists who didn’t help me than ones who did. This has been for a variety of reasons – moral differences, lack of understand, etc. – but mostly because of an overall personality clash. I also can’t tell you that you’ll like it – especially in the beginning. Therapy is hard, and it’s work. It can be exhausting, scary, maddening, and annoying. You’re probably going to hear a lot of things you don’t want to hear. All I can really say about his is, trust me, you’ll get there.
I can tell you that eventually, it all pays off. You do find the right therapist. You do talk about things that happened years ago that still bother you today. You will find out that all those pent up bad feelings are okay, and you’ll also find out that now it is okay to let go of them. I can tell you that it’s okay to be selfish – if only for that hour. Most of all (and the biggest cliche in this post), I can tell you that it does get better. Asking for help is A GOOD THING. In fact, it;s something to take pride in. If you’ve asked for help, you’ve already done the most difficult step. It can only go up from here.