I have been in therapy on and off over the years, mainly for a place to get perspective and validation. I have always found it valuable to feel heard, seen, and challenged. Probably not surprising that I went in to the field!
However, my whole appreciation for the helpfulness of therapy was strengthened a few years ago when I started experiencing a tremendous increase in my anxiety and depressive symptoms directly related to a negative work environment. My anxious thoughts prevented me from falling asleep, woke me up in the middle of the night, and made it hard for me to breathe deeply. I even started questioning my own worth and if I had entered the wrong field. My depressive symptoms made me feel like nothing was worth it and I wanted to hide from everyone and everything in my bedroom. I felt like I went from one extreme to the other with no in-between multiple times a day. It was exhausting. I have NEVER felt like this before. My empathy for extreme anxiety and depression significantly increased. I thought I understood it…but I didn’t. I do now.
I remember seeking my own therapist for help because I wasn’t able to “self-help” my way out of this. In talking with her, I remember stating that I felt inadequate in that I “shouldn’t” be feeling this way as a therapist. I “should” be able to figure this out by myself since I am in the field. But folks…sometimes we ALL need help, support, and validation. I don’t care if you are a therapist or a helper yourself, or not. I don’t care if you have been able to do get yourself out of ruts in the past, or not. We are ALL human. If you are feeling like you “should” be able to figure it out on your own, what pressure you must feel. That is simply unnecessary to put that pressure on yourself. There IS help. There IS support. You don’t have to be “crazy” to see a counselor. You also don’t have to be in therapy forever. Give yourself the gift of validation that you are, in fact, human, and that is OK.
My work with this therapist helped me clarify what was in my control, taking back my power over HOW I respond, if at all, and determined if the pros outweighed the cons of staying in this employment setting. This experience of therapy was one of the best experiences of my life. She never told me what to do or how to feel, but she validated that I wasn’t “being ridiculous” and challenged me to take back my power where I could and rise above the chaos. This was worth it’s weight in gold.
If I could offer anyone any glimpse of this powerful experience, I would consider it an honor.