Therapy, just like recovery, doesn’t happen on a linear path. You can start therapy and feel like it won’t help you and then come back again 2 weeks later and watch your life change. You can start therapy and need to go every week, and then decide you want to stop. And you can even stop and start back up again.
Recovery does not happen over night. It takes time and some days will be more difficult than others. I remember I did a speech recently, and the student asked me if I thought I had won my fight for myself and for my life. I told him I feel like I am a winner and that I have won this fight, but I have to do the work every single day to continue this winning streak. And some days, I don’t win, but that is more than okay, because I know if I have won in the past, if I have gotten through the pain and struggles I have gotten through, that I can get through anything that comes my way and keep on winning.
I started off going to therapy every week, then slowly decreased to every two weeks, and then my therapist said to me “You are doing pretty good, how do you feel about continuing on or would you like to stop therapy?” The thought felt pretty liberating, like I had accomplished something, but also really scary, since therapy had been so beneficial for me. So I told her we would schedule one last appointment and then I would stop. I remember telling my friends that this was my last therapy appointment and I was so proud of myself. About two weeks after what I thought would be my last therapy appointment, I started to struggle so much and I longed for my therapist to talk to. Another two weeks went by, and I was wishing I had a therapy session coming up. And after a few more weeks of putting myself through this pain, I decided that stopping therapy was not the best thing for me. Therapy hadn’t become a crutch or a safety net, but it provided me with a non-judgmental outlet that I so desperately needed.
So we decided to meet once a month as a check in and if I needed to meet more frequently, she was just a call away. I remember walking out of therapy after re-starting and feeling so amazing. I felt like I was able to unload all that had been weighing me down and I felt like I was on a steady path to continue my recovery journey.
Essentially, what I am saying is that it is more than okay to start therapy, and once you start, it is okay to change the frequency of how much you go, it is okay to take breaks, it is okay to check in with yourself and recognize you need more or less time with your therapist.
You have a voice and a story and just like the rest of us, you have pain, and you are worthy of seeking help through therapy. You are worthy of knowing that it’s okay to stop therapy and re start and not feel like a failure because you have to go back. Some days we will feel better than others and that is completely okay. If you are going through a time where amazing things are happening and your life feels aligned, it’s okay to stop and come back to therapy when and if things start to feel less aligned.
I didn’t feel bad about myself when I went back to therapy, I felt empowered that I could recognize my struggle and that I needed help and that I spoke up for myself and told my therapist I needed therapy to continue my recovery process.
You are your own best advocate, remember that. You have the power to decide what is best for you. If you are in the space that you feel therapy will be useful for you, you are amazing. If you aren’t there yet, you are amazing too. My wish is that whatever journey you choose, you put you and your mental health first, seek help through some type of outlet and recognize that it is okay to be exactly where you are and that your voice has power to help you to heal.