In May 2020, I was lying on my bed, unable to sleep and ready to rip my brain out. My thoughts were going a million miles an hour and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t put the day behind me and rest.
Now, this wasn’t the first time my thoughts had kept me up at night, but I wanted it to be the last. I found myself on the Hertfordshire self-referral website looking for ways to access some kind of mental health service.
Eventually, I found the form I was looking for, entered my information and pressed Next. It didn’t immediately alleviate my busy brain, but I’d finally done it, I’d admitted I needed help.
Although very grateful for the free option, I didn’t want to let this fire dwindle and by the time they’d called me back a few days later, I’d already contacted a private therapist and booked my first appointment.
It’s been 365 days and while I’m not ready to completely delve into the intimate details of my therapy sessions, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned.
So, if you’ve ever considered therapy, or just want to learn more read on.
I say this to my therapist all the time, but therapy is genuinely magic.
You’ll go to your sessions and not notice much progress in your life. But then something switches in your attitude and you’ll have no idea why you feel differently or acted in a new way.
It’s fascinating how your progress seeps into your daily life without it feeling like you’ve done anything differently. Trust the process.
The journey isn’t linear
Therapy isn’t a course that needs completing. You can’t tick off tasks along the way. It’s messy, unpredictable and sometimes exhausting.
Some weeks you’ll take two steps forward and five backwards. On others, you’ll declare that you don’t need any more help because you’re all fixed — and then something crushes you.
And remember, some people only need a few sessions to work through their issues, but it can take years for others. It’s your journey and you should work with your therapist to decide when you feel ready to stop.
It does get better
I know it’s cliché, but it’s true.
When I think back to who I was a year ago compared to the person I am now, I’m amazed. I never believed I could be someone so full of love and joy. I thought my cynicism and hate was a fundamental part of who I am and it’s just not true.
As long as your open to the help, it’ll work eventually.
You’ll know when the time is right
I’ve considered going to therapy for years and even had a few free sessions at university. But I know I wouldn’t have been successful if I’d started earlier.
I was in the right headspace to receive help and I wanted to grow. If you don’t feel like you’re there yet, that’s okay. You may never be because it’s not right for you. Or, something may trigger something in you that makes you reach out.
Whatever it is, don’t listen to me or anyone else, trust yourself to know what’s best for you.