It’s that time again, the holiday season. For some this is their favorite time of the year and for others the season brings painful memories of lost loved ones. I, myself, have mixed emotions which are filled with fond memories of loved ones past and present but also of dreams unfulfilled.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve chosen to be thankful even in the midst of my storms. I’m choosing to push through my weariness in this dark valley where I currently reside. So, this week I’m thankful for my new therapist. Finding a therapist that meets your needs is like trying on shoes. You may have to spend weeks, months, or in my case years before finding the perfect pair. It took me six years and three auditions to find this woman, who in six weeks is transforming my life. I’ve spent the majority of the summer fighting a bout of depression that honestly is one of the worst episodes that I’ve ever experienced. Yes, I go to work, yes, I went on vacation with friends, and yes, I spent time with my family while falling apart inside. I know to most people I don’t wear the face of a depressed person, but that’s because no one fits the description. My coworkers think I’m an extrovert and should be a comedian. What they don’t know is that it takes everything in me to drag myself out of bed every morning. I don’t sleep well and have learned to function in a constant state of exhaustion. They don’t know that I’ve fallen off of my eating plan and barely go to the gym anymore. They don’t know that last Tuesday I spent the majority of the morning on conference calls while fighting back tears. They don’t know that I spend my commute staring out of the window while my friend tries her best to make the drive less awkward. I don’t have the energy to form words and can only think of my bed where I can just be, whatever that means on any given day. And so, I gladly welcome this new addition to my life.
I saw my first therapist weekly for 18 months and then periodically. I saw my second therapist after an episode a year ago and have gone off and on until August of this year. While they were helpful in breaking down some of the barriers, I never felt a connection with them. Knowing my current mental state, I knew something had to change otherwise I was not going to make it. In a later post I’ll share my suggestions for finding the right therapist to assist you. My previous therapists were similar in age, gender, and race, so I decided to try something different. Now generally I pick professionals who are the opposite of me to offer an opposing perspective, but not this time. I specifically looked for someone who looks like me, an African American female. Now for some that may seem a little discriminatory, but in reality we generally do connect better with people who have similar backgrounds and it’s perfectly acceptable to admit it. I instantly felt comfortable the first time I sat on her sofa. She asks questions, listens attentively, and challenges my thinking. She’s also hilarious which does lighten the mood. She’s forcing me to go deep with each assignment. We’re digging up all of the poisoned roots so healthy seeds can be planted. My first assignment was to describe my intention for my life and what that looks like to me. Oddly enough my signature theme is intentional living, however, describing this vision was much harder than I anticipated. Resoundingly my mind and heart keep reminding me that I want to be free. Free of everything in my life that prevents me from living with full intention. It’s a slow, painful process, but I have faith that if I continue, this storm will pass and I’ll be walking with a new sun shining upon me.
Therefore, I’m thankful for third chances to heal. I’m thankful for those who see my brokenness, but don’t abandon me. I’m thankful for the peace of mind to keep going and not resort to a permanent solution. I’m thankful for my Monday evening appointments.
What are you thankful for?