How It Felt to ‘Graduate’ From Therapy for Depression Today

I came to your office for the first time today. I was nervous. As I pushed the elevator button and waited to be taken to the third floor, my stomach dropped. I was ashamed that I needed this.

I met you and we clicked. You told me I was smart for realizing I needed therapy and I was doing something great for myself. You watched me fall apart as I explained how I felt, and how going on like this didn’t always seem like the best option for me.

I called in sick today. I wasn’t really sick. I found the strength to roll out of bed at 4 p.m. and came to your office for my appointment. The skies were sunny but my world was dark. You reminded me that mental health days are OK. In fact, they are necessary. I walked out feeling worth it rather than worthless.

You don’t bring it up much unless I offer it, but you brought up my physical pain today and asked me if it’s been better. I said no. I could see the level of care in your eyes as I explained that it’s been ten years of pain. Ten years is hard to swallow when you’re only 26. You saw that.

You called me courageous today. And what’s unbelievable is that you said it in the midst of a full-blown panic attack when I wasn’t sure whether I needed to cry or throw up or both. You saw courage in me when all I saw was a weak woman who couldn’t pull it together.

It’s been a year, and today I told you the dark cloud was gone. For so many years it was such a part of my identity that seeing it leave felt strange and wonderful. It’s like it took a piece of me with it — a piece I won’t be needing back.

I cried today. I cried as we talked about how I’d reached the point where I didn’t need therapy anymore and how I’d found the tools and the strength necessary to do it on my own. You asked me why I was crying, and I said, “Because I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of how far I’ve come.” Your eyes got red and glassy today.

I pushed that elevator button for the last time today. Maybe not forever, but for now. Courage. Courage is a word I think about often, thanks to you. You told me I was courageous all along, but I didn’t believe you until now — until I felt that courage deep in my bones.

I celebrated today. I walked to my car with a tear-stained face and a smile, turned on my favorite songs and sang at the top of my lungs. I ate sushi with good company and then I went and bought myself the most beautiful flowers I could find. Because I’m pretty damn courageous and that’s worth celebrating.

And now I see exactly why I needed this.

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