I’m making an appointment to go back to my therapist next week. It’s been about a year.
I had asked my husband a couple of nights ago whether to go to a doctor, get on a diet, go see a psychiatrist or lock myself in the room so I could quit being a horrible person (ok – I didn’t really say that last one, but I felt it). He said lovingly, “I think you need to go back to therapy.”
I let out a long sigh Napoleon Dynamite style and declared I was going to bed. But, I knew he was right.
I loved therapy, although I guess part of me thought I had been there done that and I was all good.
PS- I’m not.
I’ve been angry lately, had my anxiety come back in full force, had days where I just wanted to lay in bed and I’m just not coping well in general to be honest. Could I fix it on my own? Maybe, but I’m not doing it. So I’m going back to my therapist.
You hear the jokes about how our kids are going to need therapy one day. I’m not going to lie – I hope they do. Not because I hope they are screwed up from their childhoods, but because I think everyone should go to therapy. At least a few times.
I’m tired of therapy being thrown around as this horrible thing. I’m a better mom because I went to therapy, and part of that is because I’ve learned valuable lessons from everything like loving myself to learning how to do deep breathing exercises. I’ve passed those things on to my kids, and I think we should all go to therapy.
You go to therapy! You go to therapy! Everyone go to therapy!!!!!
Here’s the deal, whether you’re a parent or not, therapy can give you skills. Life is hard, and stressful and messy. We go to school to learn how to do everything from writing a grammatically correct sentence to becoming a doctor. We need those skills to survive in life, but guess what, we also need life skills to help us survive our every day as human beings, too.
In therapy, I’ve learned a lot of things that have helped me improve myself, but I’ve also learned a lot of things that have helped me survive life’s really difficult challenges. Why wouldn’t I want that for my kids some day?
I have anxiety and OCD. I had symptoms as a child that were overlooked and went unnoticed by my parents. Looking back, it would have been life changing for me as a kid that had to get up in the middle of the night to check all the windows and doors to make sure they were locked because I couldn’t fall asleep to be able to understand that wasn’t normal behavior, and there were things I could do to combat it.
It would have been a relief to know how to deep breathe my way through a frustrating experience or tantrum rather than having a full-blown melt down.
It would have been a miracle to have the skills to distract myself when I needed distracting from my incessant worrying, or have been able to cope more easily when things didn’t go my way.
It would have been a relief to recognize a panic attack for what it was instead of worrying that I was dying from a heart attack my sophomore year in college.
So, what I’m saying is, we all need skills. Mental health issues or not. Just like we need skills to know how to read and write, we need skills to know how to cope and thrive, and love ourselves through this messy, difficult existence.
Perhaps if life were perfect, we wouldn’t need therapy, but that’s just about the only scenario I can imagine where someone wouldn’t benefit from it. After all, we’re all fumbling our way through this life experience not really knowing how to cope with both big and little things. This is the first time we’ve ever lived this life. Why not have some skills to make it amazing?
Meredith Ethington is the founder and creator of Perfection Pending, and has been blogging for over 10 years. She is a mom to three, and is desperately trying to help her kids understand sarcasm, and her need for personal space. She recently turned Perfection Pending into a contributor site to share the voices of all the fellow moms she admires. She is a freelance writer for sites like Scary Mommy, Babble, Huffington Post, and Momtastic. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where she loves to laugh at herself and admit that while parenting is the best thing ever, it’s also the hardest job on earth.
MARY ANN says
Yes!! Such a useful tool!
Laura Ketchie says
(A therapist here….)
Meredith, thank you for sharing this. You’re sending such a healthy message–you’re okay with therapy, and you’re okay with your children having it, too. Therapy shouldn’t be this threat…almost like punishment. It takes a lot of personal growth to be able to see when you needed it yourself and to be accepting of how your children can benefit from it. Unfortunately, many parents see themselves as failures if they are considering therapy for their children. I’m glad that you’re not falling into that trap. Great blog post!