Girl, Thou Shalt Embrace Therapy...
If needed. Which to be quite honest, most of us do sis.
Warning, this blog article will be filled with a lot of typos because I'm training myself to write purely from my own stream of consciousness without stopping to look back and edit (this'll be challenging being that I'm an English major lol).
Anyway...back on topic.
We often under-appreciate the value of support we need after a traumatic experience. Sometimes we dumb-down how we're truly feeling because we're either too afraid to dig up those old wounds and express how we feel, the thought of doing so is too painful, or we're just striaght up in denial of it all and believe we can just "pray the hurt away". BIG MISTAKE!
Listen, there is such a thing as finding fulfillment and healing in the form of human contact. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is and I wish I could express it better, but there's something about being able to open up freely with someone who's trustworthy. Someone who'll sit there and listen to you and not interrupt.
For me, therapy, even though it was for a couple of months, had helped me unpack somethings about myself that I didn't otherwise know. Long CRAZYYYY story short, my therapist had lost her license after prescribing medication to her family members, who ended up selling them on the side. Obviously, she had no business doing this and as a result of it, lost her job. While she can no longer work as a therapist in the state of TEXAS, her brash decisions to make a couple extra dollars on the side, did not take away from her good counsel. In my humble opinion, she was great at her job and helped me heal some parts of myself I needed to accept and addres.
Of course at first it took me a while to warm up to the experience. I mean, later after many sessions, I learned there's more to therapy then just sitting in a chair across from a professional. Lots of people, like myself, get this misconstrued. Because in truth, therapy is hard fucking work. You don't march in there and immediately unload your past and magically feel okay once the hour is over. It would be a major blessing if it were that easy, but it's not. And For those who are looking to embrace or try out therapy, I want you to forget about healing being easy. No one said it was going to be easy. But...they have however, said it would be WORTH IT! And I'm living proof.
Therefore, I've compiled a list of things for you to understand before taking that step. Things I wished I'd known before. Now ugh, Don't get scared about this list though. This list will help you in the end on knowing what to expect.
1. GIRL, THERAPY IS A PANDORA BOX.
Only many sessions later I got to understand that there was no way back to who I had been before I entered my therapist’s office. I discovered that all that work we have done with my therapist was just a grain of sand. That in order to come to terms with myself and the darkness in me, I needed another 100 sessions and in order to fix all the traumas, a lifetime wouldn’t be enough. Some things you're healing from, depending on the depth of it, may take years to move on from. And lots of the work has to be and WILL be done outside that office too.
Therapy is more than talking about painful pasts. It's facing them as well. That's the job of your therapist to help you sort out your destructive thoughts and figure out what the hell to do with them. Once you manage to face these challenges in your therapist’s office you'll develop safe techniques that you take with yourself in the outside world, learning to fight (or tame!) your demons alone.
2. BOUNDARIES ARE PUT IN TO PLACE TO PROTECT BUT THEY ALSO CAUSE DETACHMENT
Girl, what the heck does this mean? It means at some certain point it all comes to a simple understanding that in order to be happy we need to learn how to protect ourselves, establishing boundaries with others.
This often means trying different reactions, perhaps even saying "no" and sticking to it. It means applying different behavior with people we meet and setting up that red stop sign. Of course it often results in coming off as being harsh, aggressive, rude and non-compromising. Of course it cuts down a huge crowd of people to individuals who remain around. Especially when you start re-establishing boundaries with people who matter in your life, you feel the difference acutely. WHILE IN THE HEALING PROCESS, YOU WILL LOSE PEOPLE. It's a fact in life that when you're blossoming, some people you love dearly will not be able to elevate with you.
And that void feels depressive until right people start coming. Until some of them stay. But that takes time and effort while you’re healing with the therapist by your side.
For example, at a certain point, I stopped complaining, which I had been doing extensively long. Boy was I a complainer. I mean, I was the debbie-downer, who always had something negative to say. But in doing this, I was being a negative dark individual with these horrible thoughts. Once I stopped, I couldn’t stand being around others who did it. It really ground my gears and put things into perspective, like how can people, how can I have been so negative? How can you move through life and be so crude?
I've also had friends who weren't doing anything in their lives and were content with where they were in life. I started telling folks "no" to things and stopped people pleasing. When I started telling my girls who called me to vent about the same cheating dude they've been dogging but taking back for some years that I no longer wanted to hear about it, in order to protect my peace, things began to change as well.
Most of the people whom I knew either took distance or left. I felt extremely lonely, which is huge fear of mine. I started to question the price for that peace that swallowed me entirely during that first year of therapy. But if you could only imagine how much energy came out of that loneliness a bit later. How much available space there was for people who cared about my feelings, people who wouldn’t harm or intend to manipulate. People who wouldn’t label me, expecting me to be comfortable. No one would ever again ask me to be milder, softer, to smile (especially when I didn't fucking feel like it lol) and more flexible just because I was a woman. Healthy boundaries that are coming from within, helps you to come to terms with your own differences, and accept who you really are.
3. RECOGNIZE THE ROLE OF TRAUMAS.
When you start thinking of the roles of traumas in your life, you may get scared of that pain that would eventually come out during sessions. But opening those wounds is important in discovering basic responses that hijack your normal routines, your relationships, jobs, careers, desires. Hidden reasons behind procrastination? Or on the contrary, that never-ending chase for bigger houses, better cars, and higher positions might be that escape route where you don’t feel small and unimportant anymore. Where you're never satisfied with any luxury you are gifted in life. But who are you outside of those things? (let that marinate for bit)
I believe that my own traumas have pushed me forward to do things to discover myself. They hurt so much that I needed to get released from my demons, so I started to write. It was my way to express myself safely and in a way that I didn't fall into that sunken place of feeling lie the only way to feel better was if I subtracted myself from life all together. Those traumas pushed me into relationships that were suppose to change me, until I understood that healing my own set of issues meant to actually start feeling like I'm enough. Feeling like i wasn't enough turned to be my pass to whatever success I have achieved in my life. But all my achievements tasted bitter after the initial excitement was over. No matter what I did, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough with whatever I did. I mean, I was just an unhappy, ungrateful indivual.
But what if certain traumas hurt so much that you just can’t get there deeper? What if the person you adore the most causes you that unconditional pain, and accepting this means losing a sense of life meaning. What if you cannot heal in a short time and cannot live long term with it? Will the therapy be able to help you find a solution once that door is opened and there is no going back? The answer is yes. You've just got to be truthful. You can't walk in that office and lie or dilute your life. Your counselor will take you foolproof. You need to understand that.
4. PARENTS, EVEN THOUGH THEY LOVED US AS BEST AS THEY COULD, PLAY A HUGE ROLE
You love them. You hate them. It is the most constant relationship that you would have during your life, whether they are still alive or not. They are your model, your back up plan. They are also the endless source of your traumas, your example of oppressing the feelings, your patterns of behavior, your genetics, your inherited disease, or your invaded boundaries.
The good news exists, however. After going through all stages of loving-hating them (better with the help of a therapist) you eventually come to terms with who they are, two simple humans who started this life from scratch, just like you did. You learn they didn’t and wouldn’t fill you in with things you need most, yes.
Whatever is missing in you, you have to put it there yourself. Girl, this turns out to be the most difficult task. When you take the responsibility of loving yourself more, doing for yourself what is best, protect yourself from harm and making yourself happy. Maybe hating your parents after all was a way easier job to do huh?
5. It's Okay To Feel Broken...But...
A part of the healing process is TO FEEL.
It is okay to not have it all figured out and not understand why our minds work in certain ways. This is a part of growing up, and a part of the delicate and beautiful process of figuring out who we are and what our strengths and weaknesses are in the areas in life that matter most like love, work, and relationships.
I am aware that by telling the world that I go to therapy I am not making anyone envy or admire my life. It might just make people think I’m crazy or that I am one of “those people” with a lot of sad and scary problems. But I am fine with that. For if there is any healing in confession it must start with confessing that we are not perfect to a world that begs us to pretend to be. So when I confess to you that I still feel like giving up. I do. But then after a few moments to myself, I realise that I DIDN'T COME ALL THIS WAY TO GIVE UP NOW. I'd be a fool to allow all of my hard work to be diminished. I hope to dispel the myth though, that I, Jasemine Knowles have it all the way together as I write this article.
That is, if you ever got that impression in the first place.
Because if therapy has taught me anything and if there is anything it could teach you, it is that it’s okay to be a little crazy, weird, or feel out of place. But the challenge lies in accepting that fact and learning to love that about yourself.
And when we learn to love ourselves in spite of the parts of us that feel crazy or messy or weird, or out of place, we will have fulfilled one of the major goals of therapy: acceptance. And that is a beautiful thing — a truly beautiful thing sis, indeed.
Today, embracing new challenges and expecting new answers, I can state for sure, my life is different. Don't be afraid to take that step.