Broken: How Therapy’s Destroying Me


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.

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Filed under about me, anxiety, bipolar, depression, mania, mental health

9 Responses to Broken: How Therapy’s Destroying Me

  1. Serenity

    I love you, and I think you’re wildly courageous for both showing up AND sharing your progress with the world. I’m sorry it hurts. I imagine a caterpillar in a chrysalis hurts, too, but we know that turns out pretty amazing, right?
    P.S. my fear of attending a yoga class has a lot more to do with farting than flexibility 😉

  2. Heather Hanks

    You are amazing and I am so proud of you!!!

  3. Katrina Vodopich

    Look at this therapy as destroying the you that isn’t working. It’s hard, we are so comfortable with us, even if it doesn’t serve us right, it’s me and this is who I am, and I need to love this me, even if I hate this me, why should I change, this is me, why can’t you love me, this is me, this is who I am, whilst looking in the mirror and hating the me you are looking at, hating the person you are living in, saying to yourself if I just do this, if I just do that I will love me. It’s painful, it’s raw, it’s scary. What happens if I do all this painful, hard work and I still don’t love this person? What happens if I do all this work and try really really hard and it doesn’t work? IT’S JUST SO FUCKING HARD! WHY CAN’T I JUST LOVE ME THE WAY I AM? Because it’s not who I really am, this really isn’t me, it’s just not right for me anymore, I need to find the real me again, that is why. But who is that? I don’t know who the real me is, I thought I was being the real me? How do I find the real me?

    HOW DO I FIND THE REAL ME? – I’ve embarked on an adventure to finding the real me, I have an idea, deep inside of me, of the real me, I just need to walk, crawl, climb, swim, towards the real me. I will take a wrong turn here and there, I will see it so close to me that I can touch it, my heart singing in praise as this journey is almost over and then it’s gone again. The old me is back, I hate this journey, I want to get off. The old me is so comfortable and warm but it’s scratching my skin, just like an old woolen blanket, I’m not really comfortable. I need to get back on the road again, I don’t want to loose me again, I can’t again! I love the feeling of the new me!

    I’m on the road again! xo

  4. Julie

    You are so raw and real when you describe this, it’s almost like I’m there beside you. Keep working, keep pushing yourself and above all keep writing. Your stories are helping too, you and the rest of us.

  5. Amy

    You make me feel not alone, and I feel so alone, Jennifer, so you are giving me the thing I need most. If I didn’t find these moments of connection to other humans from time to time, I don’t think I would make it.

    You are a rock star. xoxoxo

  6. I am way late in reading this but I am so glad I did. And I’m always glad to know that someone else is cleaning out closets with me. While naked. Or something. <3

  7. I know what you mean Jen, I’m always completely exhausted for days after I see my counsellor and sometimes I’m devastated at the fact that we’ve just turned up yet another thing that I want to sort out. When I started going I used to be so embarrassed too about all the revelations that this man, my counsellor, was hearing about me, and I kept thinking he’d think I was a horrible person. I’ve been going for years now and I’ve realised that he doesn’t think that at all, he’s someone now I am so comfortable with and can reveal anything and know he’s not going to judge me. I used to feel like I wasn’t getting anywhere because so much new stuff kept coming up – now, although more stuff still comes up (when will it end? Possibly never!) I can look back and see how far I have come and it’s a good feeling and helps me to keep on moving forward. It did take me a long time though to get to that stage where I felt like I was making progress, and it was very hard.

  8. Anna Vaschina

    I’ve had a break from paying someone to listen to me and watch me cry. I get what you’re saying.
    I hope your commitment and determination reaps a wonderful sense of peace and healing for you. You are way stronger than you think.
    What does faith look like to you?

  9. Have you heard of energy healing? It removes the negative emotions, addictive energies and behaviors that keep us from being our true selves. And, the best part is you don’t have to say a word, unless you want to. There are many different modalities out there to discover. Some use hands on techniques and others are like me, intuitive healers. When you go to counseling it can be a great way to learn techniques to move forward in every day life, but the emotions are still stuck and events and comments from people can still trigger the emotion and it feels like you’re back in the same place still. I know from experience! I hope the therapy does help and I hope that you are able to find relief, either that way or some other way!