I have a confession: I’m seeing a therapist.
Now, this is not something I feel compelled to hide, nor am I embarrassed about it. I have noted though that people often don’t know how to respond when I bring this fact up. Sometimes I sense an uncomfortable, almost agitated need to suppress whatever they are thinking and trying not to say. I suppose it could be that they want to say, “it’s about time!”. I more readily suspect that the reaction has less to do with me and more to do with what seeing a therapist might mean for them.
Therapy is not easy. For me it has meant tearing open parts of myself that I thought could remain quietly hidden. It has meant talking about my relationship with my Dad- a relationship that was deeply loving and very complicated and quite honestly, hard. For the first number of sessions I hardly spoke a single word without weeping. From the comfort of an over-sized armchair I have said some very uncomfortable things, including confessing which parts of me are broken. There have certainly been times when the process has felt like too much. I have grown weary of crying, of sagging under the weight of things, of talking and talking and talking. There have also been real moments of breakthrough.
On a recent visit I was able to announce that I was truly feeling okay. I don’t like the word “okay”, I often use it when I don’t have a better descriptor. However, on that day I was able to say it and mean it. The process that my therapy has begun (yes, it is not over) is bringing me to a new place. It is a place where I am more aware of the way my past has shaped my present; where I feel exposed and raw and free; where I feel more responsible for my actions. While I could argue that this is the result of finding a great therapist (which is true), I actually want to point to something different.
That something different is God. Over the last number of months I have felt as close to the end of myself as I ever have. It was while hanging on the edge that I realized there is nothing for me to do except trust God. I have to choose to believe that God loves me passionately, mercifully and gracefully. He sees me. He knows all those quietly hidden parts and just asks that I take some responsibility for opening them up. And with the guidance of my great therapist I am opening up more and more.
As I unfurl I am recognizing how I need to be present in each moment. This is no easy feat for a self-confessed worrier. I have wasted a lot of time and energy worrying about the what the future might hold. For today I am not going to do that. Today I am going to meet some people about PNC, I am going to have lunch with Cate and my Mom, I am going to have coffee with a dear friend and I am going to stand beside my step-mother Susan as we give out the Barry Grant Memorial Award. I am going to be grateful for this day.
I’m also going to be grateful for therapy.