A Thank You Letter to My Therapist and All Therapists
This is a letter to my therapist and all therapists. On behalf of fellow clients, I would like to try and express the immense gratitude for the work you do.
Thank you. I have told you that countless times, but no matter how many times I repeat that phrase, it won’t feel like enough. It won’t be enough. It won’t be enough because it may sound like an exaggeration to some, but you’ll know it’s true: you saved my life.
You’ve endured the past grueling four or so years of my life with me. I know it wasn’t always easy; I wasn’t always easy. When we met I was young, and quiet, and secretly rebelled against even a tiny hint of a suggestion of how to handle things. I challenged you every chance I got. You didn’t give up.
I have cried, cursed, laughed, smiled, and and so much more in the safe space of your office. You and the felted rocks on the window sill have been a constant in my life when others disappeared, didn’t have the patience, gave up, or moved on. You and your office were the exception to the strict rules of my life for a while, before I learned to let my guard down and open up to not just you, but the world as well. I’m still working on that.
You listened when I could barely speak because tears were running too fast down my face and panic had taken my breath away. You listened when I was sad, and angry, and confused. You listened while I cried desperate for relief, from physical pain to emotional pain and trauma. Time and time again you always listened to whatever it was I had to say.
You saw me through the lows of two hip surgeries, chronic pain, trauma, leaving toxic environments, residential stays and more. You saw me through the highs of new relationships, graduating college, getting my dream job, and more. Ups and downs, good or bad, it didn’t matter. I always knew where to find you.
You sat with me as I outlined the traumatic events of my past that I had never managed to speak aloud. You sat and waded through the messes in my mind from years of denial, lies, and hurt. You listened and stayed strong because you knew in those moments it took every ounce of strength I had to go back and recount the memories. Instead of avoiding the hard topics, you embraced them.
You’ve challenged me. Stubbornness deep in my bones I vowed time and time again that “there wasn’t another way” or “my way is just fine, I’m fine” or some iteration of those sentiments. You knew when to push and make me go for it. You always knew I wasn’t fine.
You knew when things had to be my choice for once. You put me ahead your comfort and watched me stubbornly backslide for months till I finally made the choice to recover for myself, no one else. I know it wasn’t easy, I know I was hurt and mad, and lashed out at you. I was scared and stubborn and in denial of how bad things had become. You still didn’t give up and stood by my side till I finally started to fight for myself again.
It wasn’t all so serious and hard. We learned how to let go and be spontaneous and silly together too. We’ve embraced the under-controlled spectrum of things together: karaoke to Beyoncé and Rascal Flatts, mechanic Halloween costumes, silly pants dances, hand puppets, and spa days among other shenanigans. You listened to me go on and on about Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, conspiracy theories, continents and put up with all the bad jokes and other tactics I tried to use to deflect.
You helped me face fear after fear. Tackling a daunting list of intangibles day after day. The list has evolved, changed, and grown, but you’ve stayed committed to the course with me. Tackling anxiety and learning when to just “rip off the Band Aid” and do it.
You’ve taught me so many things. I don’t have the space here to recount it all. The most important thing you’ve helped me learn is that crying is not a sign of weakness or of failure, that vulnerability is instead a sign of strength and bravery.
We still have plenty of work to do and you’ve pledged to stay by my side.
So thank you again. And again. And again.
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Thinkstock photo by fotojog