I recently whined to a good friend about having to go to therapy. It was the morning of my appointment, and I wanted – with every little fiber of my being – to stay home. “I know it’s hard,” she said. “But don’t you feel better afterwards?”
“No,” I told her. “Most of the time, I feel worse.”
Having no basis for comparison, I have no idea if it’s it normal or not, but I dread it. I do. I sort of leave one appointment, and immediately start stressing out about the following one.
And I mean, there are positives. I like my therapist… he is warm and good at what he does. There are those rare times I leave feeling good, having made some big breakthrough or something. Sometimes I gain a deeper appreciation of the absurdity of it all. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes I leave with a helpful new tool for dealing with worry or anxiety or any of the other perks that come with being me. Sometimes I go home having learned something really huge about myself, or about life, or about how the mind works.
But… yeah, it’s still pretty much breaking me. And even on the good days, it’s all just so MUCH. So exhausting. So emotionally and mentally draining.
The other day, I realized something (In the shower, because that’s where I do my best thinking. I also tend to do a lot of thinking in my car, but there are so many things to distract me when I’m driving. There’s not much to distract me in the shower, unless I’m running out of conditioner, and have to keep reminding myself for the rest of my shower – conditioner, conditioner, conditioner – so I won’t forget to write it on the shopping list when I get out.) I realized that my brokenness, my feeling raw and ripped open and vulnerable, no matter how unpleasant it is, serves a real purpose. It’s a precursor – a necessary precursor – to healing. Sort of like how doctors sometimes have to re-break a bone in order to set it so that it can heal correctly. I’m the broken bone.
And I hate it. I hate everything about it. I hate uncovering more broken bits that need attention. I hate talking about myself. I hate worrying that I’m being too ______ (fill in the blank). Too annoying, too crazy, too whiny, too narcissistic. I console myself with the fact that maybe to a therapist it’s like I was when I was teaching yoga. All the new people worry that they’re not flexible enough, or that they’re doing the poses wrong, or that they’re being judged. And I – and every other teacher I’ve ever known – think they’re rock stars just for showing up. Every single one. Every single time. It would make me feel a lot better if I could think of myself as a rock star, just for showing up.
But I’m not a rock star. I’m a human. A human who’s working and fighting but raw and bruised and bloody from the battle. A human who’s broken. And sweet baby Jesus, I didn’t think I could get more broken than I was when I first walked into his office three months ago. I was wrong.
It’s a weird thing, therapy. Did you ever think about it? It’s just an odd, odd thing. Baring the most shameful, embarrassing, painful parts of your psyche to … a stranger? And there’s a professional rapport there I guess, and a certain amount of trust, but … you know NOTHING about this person. And for all the sharing you do, for all the emotional gut-wrenching stripping, you might as well be completely naked. Now that I think about it, because I’ve really never looked at it in that way before, I’m pretty sure that I’d find being physically naked preferable. I’m not even kidding.
So this is me, naked. Barenaked (anyone remember that song by Jennifer Love Hewitt in the early 2000’s??). I’ll be okay. I will. I WILL. But right now, I’m not too okay. I’m naked and afraid and vulnerable and would legitimately be contemplating drinking right now – at nine in the morning – if I hadn’t given up drinking, one of my favorite things, in my quest to face my issues and finally be well.
This is hard you guys.
A dear friend recently, and aptly, described it like this:
It’s like cleaning my damn house
Every time I think “surely I’m almost there”
Some new closet of junk appears
The closets are killing me. So very many closets.
I know my online presence has been a little scarce lately, but I’m still here. Still plugging. Still learning. Still broken. And naked and…. in a closet, apparently? (Sorry, way too many metaphors for one blog post.) But I’m here. And after all the hard work and time and tears I’ve invested in myself over the last three months, I feel confident in saying that I’ve no plans to go anywhere.