There have been times when I have been at a loss as to what was going to help me.
I was depressed, having passive suicidal ideation, and feeling like things just weren’t getting better. My panic attacks were daily, and nothing seemed to help. I tried everything from going to a Reiki healer to an acupuncturist. I saw a variety of different therapists including gestalt, psychodynamic and psychoanalytic ones.
Nothing seemed to work. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Was it me or was it the therapy or both?
I wasn’t getting better and I needed to, desperately, but that isn’t the way getting well from mental illness works. It wasn’t like I could just snap my fingers and make things okay. In psychodynamic therapy, I was asked to recount my childhood trauma that could be influencing depression. I didn’t like rehashing my past and I wasn’t a fan of doing hippie dippy new age stuff entirely to make things better. I like hippie dippy new age stuff but it’s not the end all be all solution to mental wellness.
I remember searching through my insurance provider’s handbook and calling around to different therapists and asking what kinds of therapy they practice. I spoke to this woman who said that she practiced a form of therapy that was “eclectic.” At the time I didn’t know that meant. I asked for further explanation, and she told me that she combined different disciplines into the treatment plan for her patients. I never ended up seeing her but I don’t necessarily believe that this sort of therapy would work for me. I need structure in a treatment plan especially having ADHD. Things that are too “free-flowing don’t fix me. I like the stream of consciousness feeling when I’m writing, but not so much when I’m receiving mental health treatment.
What I found in the end (regardless of how much therapy I had) it wasn’t up to the therapist to fix me it was up to me to fix me. A therapist isn’t there to make you better they are there to guide you on the journey to healing so that you can find who you are.
A good therapist is not going to tell you what to do but help you find out what you need to do for yourself. You are in a sense your own therapist.
Being your own therapist doesn’t sound exciting to me, but it can be empowering. There are times when stepping into this role can make you feel like you’re in complete control. Experiencing distress is uncomfortable for everyone. Nobody wants to be in pain or hurting, but when it comes to healing your emotional wounds, there will undoubtedly be some level of distress. You will be uncomfortable or in pain before you start to feel relief. That’s been a hard thing for me to reconcile within myself. I want someone to relieve the pain, fix it, make it better. But that’s not the way emotional growth works. You have to ride the painful waves until they subside. They will become less intense, those waves, over time. I’ve seen this firsthand, but at the moment we can forget that the pain ends. I’m here writing this, telling you, and telling myself that it does end. You will be okay again.