A blog about travel, books and navigating your twenties in one piece

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Thoughts on Finishing a Year and a Half of Therapy

I was listening to a podcast the other day (I know I know, how out of character of me) with the amazing Emma Gannon interviewing Katherine Ormerod. In the episode Katherine talked about how while she thinks that sharing things publicly can be great and really useful to both yourself and other people, it's important not to put things on the internet while you're going through them/things that you haven't fully processed.

I'm probably what you'd consider an oversharer. Not with everyone, but as soon as I'm comfortable around someone, I'm usually quite happy to tell them things ranging from my entire life story, my religious beliefs and even TMI things like my toilet habits (I have IBS so you could say that they can be interesting - my friends are super lucky). I've never worried about sharing things on this blog. But I don't think I've mentioned before that over the last eighteen months I've been having therapy.

I have written very briefly before about having therapy when I was younger but this time I think I felt like it was something I only wanted to write about when I had finished it. Like Katherine said, it was something I needed to fully process on my own before writing about it. And so here I am, having had my last session with my therapist after a year and a half on Wednesday evening.

I've been aware of the benefits of therapy from a very young age. After my parents divorced when I was six, my Mum retrained to become a psychotherapist and it was the best decision she ever made. She loves her job and because of that I've always seen therapy as a great thing when it's needed - just like going to the doctor when you're physically ill, in periods where you don't feel completely right mentally, therapy can be amazing.

Eighteen months ago I wasn't very happy at all. I wasn't clinically depressed nor did I have another mental illness but I did have spouts of anxiety and mostly I was just quite miserable. I felt very lost and confused by my feelings and my Mum suggested therapy might help. So, with nothing to lose and with some positive experiences of therapy in the past, I thought I'd give it a go. And I'm so glad that I did.

For the past eighteen months during which I have gone through so much change and felt so many feelings, I have had the constant support of my therapist to help me through it all. And I can't tell you what a comfort and help it's been. While I think of myself as a pretty emotionally-healthy person, I've been through a lot and definitely had some baggage that was causing me to find life pretty shitty when I first started seeing my therapist. And while we started off discussing/working through that, she later helped me through some really difficult times that came up during my last year of uni.

In fact, she was the one who made me realise back in August that I was so upset and having anxiety for the first time in months because I wasn't acknowledging to myself that I didn't have to do the masters I'd signed up for. She made me realise that my fear of what people would think was stopping me from admitting what I really wanted to do with this year and that is what gave me the courage to take this year out, and is why I'm getting on a plane to New Zealand on Monday evening.

Our last session was one of those rare opportunities in life to reflect on the past year and a half. It was lovely. I'm not the same girl I was when I walked through her door midway through 2017. I'm so much more confident, unafraid to ask for what I want (for the most part) and, most importantly, happy. Of course I'm not perfect and never will be and I still have days where I feel rubbish or have moments of anxiety. But I'm so much better equipped to deal with those now than I was then. And it was so lovely to mark the end of this chapter of my life before I go away in that way.

I am so incredibly lucky to have a Mum who made it a priority to pay for my therapy (and to have one who was in the logistical position to be able to make that a priority) and I'm very aware that many aren't as lucky and that NHS waiting times can be awful. But as my therapist said on Wednesday night to me, therapy is something that one can benefit from throughout life because life will always throw difficult things at you. And when those things knock you more than you can cope with, therapy can guide you through. So if you are in any way able to get that support, I'd really suggest trying it. It's truly one of the best things I've done over the last year and a half and I can't recommend it enough if you feel like you need that support.

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