Why I Still Go to Therapy Even When I Don't Feel Like I 'Need' It
It’s time to write about something that’s been on my mind for a while now. Something I haven’t said out loud. Something I’ve kept to myself. Mostly because I didn’t want to offend anybody. Or scare them. Definitely because I didn’t want to scare them. My treatment team, my family… you name it.
So here it is. I don’t really see the point of going to therapy anymore. There. I said it.
Therapy is great and it’s helped me out a lot in life. I’ve worked through a wide variety of things. Through therapy, I have learned how to manage PTSD symptoms and urges to self-harm. So much so that they don’t even cross my mind anymore. I mean that’s powerful stuff, folks. Really powerful. And therapy helped me journey the seemingly impossible path towards freedom from those things. It’s a miracle.
Therapy helped me navigate difficult relationships. My divorce was messy. Coparenting with my parents is tricky. Sharing pieces of my struggles with my co-workers is necessary. But therapy has helped me manage all those things. Without losing my sanity. Another huge milestone.
Therapy helped me believe in myself. It helped me realize my potential. That I could be more in life than a statistic. That I could hold a job, serve as a leader, thrive as a mother and be a successful student. Therapy helped me believe in and execute these goals. Another thing to celebrate.
Therapy has helped me out a lot. But I’m kind of at a standstill. I’ve accomplished all these things and I feel like there is nothing left to do. We basically spend our sessions catching up on the week. Sure, we do a lot of problem solving, but isn’t that something I could do by myself? Why do I need to travel to therapy once a week for a brainstorming session? I feel like there is nothing left to fight for. In a good way. I’ve overcome so much. Faced so many fears. Fought so many battles. What else is left to conquer? In the therapy world, that is.
Is therapy meant to be a lifelong thing? Do you ever graduate? Do you ever get that hour of your life back? Or is it forever? These are the questions I ask my therapist.
“Hmm. Good question,” she said. “It depends on the person. Do you think you still have things to work on?”
“Hmm. Good question,” I said. “Do I?”
Yes. But… I mean… don’t we all? If that’s the case, shouldn’t everyone be therapy? Maybe.
I do have things to work on. I will always struggle with believing in myself. There will always be difficult relationships to navigate. And there will always be a vice I wrestle with.
Am I really ready to be done with therapy, or am I just hesitant to dig into more difficult things? I’ve existed in crisis mode for so long that being in the green means things are great. Are things really great, or are they just manageable? Am I satisfied with “OK” because I haven’t been OK in so long? Does therapy have the potential to make things great again? Is that really even possible? Maybe my doubt leads me to believe I don’t need it anymore. Maybe I doubt its effectiveness.
But therapy has given me so much. Why should I doubt its capabilities now? After all of that? After all that it’s proven? Why doubt its potential?
The truth is therapy is work. It takes effort. Time. It’s more than just an hour of your life once a week. It’s hard. And I haven’t been doing it. I haven’t been putting in the time or the effort. I’ve just been going through the motions.
I feel like I don’t need therapy because I feel like it has lost its point. But what if it’s not therapy that has lost its point. What if it’s me?
I believe therapy is only as good as what you make of it. And I haven’t been making very much of it recently.
Therapy is definitely necessary when you’re in crisis mode, but the real work starts when things get OK again. You have to work on skills that will keep you out of crisis mode. You have to work to obtain the life you’ve always imagined.
It’s easy for me to forget how far therapy has brought me, which makes it easy for me to doubt its purpose in my present life. But it can have a purpose if I give it one.
I think therapy is a journey. It changes with time. My journey might mean going to every-other week to give me more time to work. Or it might mean taking a break sometime. Or it might mean therapy forever. Who knows. All I know for now is this:
Today I choose to remember. I choose to remember all the great things therapy has helped me obtain.
Today I choose to hope. I choose to hope that great is possible. That I don’t have to be just “OK.”
Today I choose to pursue. I choose to pursue that hope.
And (for now) I choose to use therapy to do it.
Getty Images photo via vadimguzhva