Lesson #10: People have a lot of opinions about your therapy
It's hard to explain to people - friends and strangers alike - why I've been in therapy for so long. There are a lot of assumptions made - is she ok? She seems ok. If she's still in therapy, then isn't her therapy not working? Is she a crazy person? What kind of person goes to therapy for that long? Hasn't she worked out her issues already?
Many of these questions have swum in my own head, of course. I have internalized so much stigma about what my therps should and shouldn't be. I went to therps to heal from the tragic death of a close friend. To realize and accept my depression and anxiety. But now why do I go? There's nothing particularly terrible about my life that I'm trying to sort out. I can do it alone now, right?
I've had loved ones have lunch with me to tell me how I shouldn't use therps as a crutch, how I need to leave, how my therps is irresponsible for keeping me in therps for so long. It's difficult to respond to. I nod a lot. On one hand, I am so overwhelmed by my own response that I find myself speechless, trying to find the perfect analogy to justify my continued therapy. On the other hand, I don't give a shit what someone's ideas are about my therps, and I know it's my own journey to figure out.
Generally our society has a pretty judgmental attitude about mental health. We're supposed to go at it alone - no therapy, no meds. My aunt has rolled her eyes over and over - just have faith in God, it's so western of you to love therapy. Just pray to God and God will help you. "Yes, Maasi. God answered my prayers. God gave me therapy and meds." Why isn't it ok to find someone to support our growth as a person? Is therps a tutor who helps me get through my challenging lessons, then lets me take exams on my own until she's no longer needed? Or is she a personal trainer, who helps me maintain my strength and dedication even when I'm strong and disciplined enough to work out by myself? What is she supposed to do?
The truth is - I don't know exactly why I'm still in therapy. I think it's because - I love my therps and have come to cherish the time we have together. She provides a safe space for me to enact my patterns of loss and goodbyes. We spend a lot of time now, discussing my transition out of therapy. And one day, I'll have some great lessons about that. But right now - it's still too raw. Right now, all I know is, I'm there because I don't want to leave. I'm scared to leave. I get something out of therapy that makes me feel whole. I don't want to go at my life alone without her.