I Thought Therapy Was a Waste of Time – Until It Started Working
My eyes open. Darkness shrouds my body in my black abyss of a room. I roll over and see my wife still sleeping. I quietly roll over to the other side of the bed and check my phone. It reads 4:38 a.m.
I roll out of bed and go to the bathroom. I stare into the mirror and look at the bags under my eyes. Eyes drooping, face flushed and mind exhausted.
“Damn it!” I think to myself.
I don’t even recognize myself anymore. Ever since I have accepted my diagnosis, it is like I have gotten worse. I thought the whole purpose was to eventually get better.
I go to group therapy four to five days a week, every week for the last seven weeks. When I first started the class, I got nothing out of it. That was probably due to me slouching in my worn out chair and just staring down the counselor, not really digesting the information she was feeding me. Instead, I was spitting it up like a child who just refuses to let the “airplane” deliver the baby carrot food to its mouth.
I am not going to get the help I need because nobody even knows my pain. I am just going to go to these meetings, nod, smile and agree to whatever the counselor says. Whatever gets me the hell out of here faster, I would think to myself.
In all honesty, I did not want the therapy to work because I just wanted to wither away like a rose bush at the beginning of winter. I was done, defeated, dead man walking. I had fought the good fight, with all of the late nights crying myself to sleep, sobbing uncontrollably, screaming into my pillow. I would stare at the wall for hours at a time after I got home from work, contemplating ending it all and how I would do it and thinking of goodbye notes to leave for my loved ones.
I decided though, that I owed it to the ones whom I loved to try this therapy thing out.
“I at least owe them one session,” I thought to myself.
Well, one session turned into two. Two turned into three. Three turned into a week. After a couple of weeks, I noticed something. The therapy was working.
Wait. What? How is this possible? Therapy is just a scam created for milking thousands of dollars from us people who struggle with mental illnesses. Plus, I still didn’t care for myself. I just did not, plain and simple.
I noticed though that it wasn’t me who was keeping me at these sessions. It was the other people in that room with me. The other people who were hurting inconsolably. I related to their pain. Now, let me make one thing clear, everybody’s depression and/or anxiety is different. Just because we have the same diagnosis does not mean we feel the same pain.
While in therapy, I listened to my companions and paid earnest attention. After they shared, my hand darted up, and I just had to share what I thought with them. I wanted to help take away just a shard of their pain. I felt like I had accomplished something: Giving someone a reason to keep going on, even if it is just for one more day. You never know what kind words can do for a person’s future.
What I did not notice until weeks after going to therapy, is that well…. Therapy was actually helping me. What? How? Well, while I was busy helping my group friends and giving them advice, I was also on the receiving end of good advice, and more importantly, I was receptive of the advice.
That is the thing about group therapy. It is essentially looking into mirrors (group companions) of yourself and talking about your illness, issues on your heart and giving yourself advice. Being able to expose yourself to your rawest form and receive the feedback from your group and to cry and hug together.
My eyes open. Light pokes through the cracks of the curtains warming my skin. I roll over and see my beautiful wife while she sleeps. My entire world lying down right beside me. I quietly roll over to the other side of the bed and check my phone. It reads 6:10 a.m.
I roll out of bed and go to the bathroom. I stare into the mirror and look at the glow of my eyes. It has been some time since I saw them shine like that. Eyes shining, face glowing and mind determined.
“Time to do this!” I think to myself. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. Ever since I have accepted my diagnosis, started therapy and medication, I have gotten better. I thought the whole purpose was to eventually get better!
One step at a time.
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