On starting therapy

I’m seeing a psychotherapist weekly at the moment.

I wanted to run away from my first session. As soon as I got to the waiting room, panic set in. My body and mind were telling me to get out of there. As if I were waiting for a dangerous predator to come and kill me. My heart was beating fast, my head felt like it was spinning, I felt sick, and I felt short of breath.

“RUN. RUN AWAY. YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE.”

The feelings were probably exacerbated by the fact that I was out of breath from having to walk up four flights of stairs – and I’m not in the best shape of my life, that’s for sure.

The first appointment was only four weeks ago and I can’t really remember the whole session, but I know I did a lot of crying. I came out of the session crying and hoping that no one else would see me like that. People did, of course, as I had to walk out into public to get my bus home. There were also people in a different waiting room that I had to walk past, so that was hard too. And that made me feel really vulnerable.

I feel somewhat vulnerable now, just thinking about it. When you try to be strong all the time, vulnerability feels really scary. But I know that, in reality, it’s okay. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable in order to process things, to help ourselves work through difficult situations and feelings.

My last post was very much just jotting down a small fraction of my feelings towards starting therapy, about a week or so before I actually went to my first session. One of the things I mentioned was about being scared that I would change, or turn into a person that people didn’t like anymore. This is something I shared with my therapist in the session, and it turns out that that’s a common fear about starting therapy. So if that also scares you, please know that you’re not alone.

I have a long way to go yet. I’ve decided to enter into a long-term therapeutic relationship, with no set deadline. I think that’s probably the best way to go about it; you can’t really put a time limit on recovery. If you try to do so, and don’t feel “better” by a self-imposed (or work-imposed, or other-imposed) “deadline”, you’re just going to be disappointed, and you may end up worse off than you were before. It takes as long as it takes.

2 thoughts on “On starting therapy

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