Last January I started going to therapy. I have to be honest when I tell you that I was a little skeptical of if it was going to help me. Let’s be honest, I didn’t feel like I really needed therapy. I wasn’t depressed, suicidal, or even feeling like I was having a mental breakdown. I struggled with the idea of going to see someone because I felt like I was “okay.” But here was the reality; my husband had walked away from our marriage a month prior. We had no plan for the future or a clue to what any of the decision we made really meant for us. As I sat in my little apartment, I made a decision that therapy was worth the insurance just in case that reality caught up with me one day and I needed help. So I cleared my schedule every Friday and made the commitment hoping that it would be worth my time.
Here I am a year later, and I’m so grateful that I did. As I look back over the year, here are some reason why I’m glad I chose therapy. My hope is that they shine a light on the benefits of therapy for those of us who feel like we don’t really need it.
1. We all need somebody to lean on
I’m that girl who doesn’t tell her secrets to people. I’m a vault when it comes to that; I can keep everyone else’s secrets, but I rarely trust anyone else to keep mine. Call it trust issues, whatever. But when I realized that I was facing a year of uncertainty, I knew I couldn’t keep that a secret. I knew that I had to let someone in even if it was just so that I could vent. I quickly coined my sessions a “brain drain’ because that hour became a time for me to empty my brain of all the thoughts, secrets, and fears I had accumulated over the monthly leading up to our separation. My therapist is a champ for listening to my ramblings and finding a way to channel it into a productive conversation.2
2. The fallout will happen
I don’t know why, but the idea of therapy being a safe place for vulnerability to happen just breaks down the walls of defense that we build to protect ourselves. I still remember how painfully liberating it was when “the fallout” happened for me. Accepting the crushing pain of separation was my first step in moving forward. I need to cry. I need to be crushed. I needed to question God, but also needed a safe place to do all those things in. Therapy was my safe place.
3. Trauma is real
As the months passed, I got a grip on my new life and eventually felt like I was moving forward. I had set realistic boundaries with my husband until he made a decision to work on our marriage. I was focused on the things I could change. I could see progress in my life and felt like I was blossoming. One day I sat in my session and had a flashback to a year prior when I realized that something was different in my marriage. A flood of emotions hit me, and I immediately started crying. My therapist recognized the signs and immediately gave me resources on trauma and ways to deal with it. Here’s the thing, friends, we can pretend to be strong and unbreakable, but the reality is trauma affects us all. We have a choice to deal with the trauma of our past or let it sit and fester until it poisons our lives and destroys dreams. Therapy gave me an extra set of eyes to recognize the areas of trauma in my life and deal with them.
4. Life events deserve professional guidance
After realizing I had some areas of trauma in my life, my therapist worked with me to process and deal with those issues. What I loved most about my therapist was that she didn’t neglect my current life events to deal with the past ones. As soon as we started working on trauma therapies, my husband started showing signs of wanting to work things out. My therapist was professional enough to know when to deal with my life events and when to advise me to wait them out. She reminded me of my goals and kept me focused on the progress I wanted to see. She also indulged me when I needed to swoon over the hope of reconciliation. All these things she was trained to do. Her training helped me put realistic parameters around a whirlwind reconciliation that would’ve been a mess if we were left to deal with them ourselves.
5. Therapy pointed me to Jesus
There was some session where I would find the root of issues and boom; my time was up. I’d walk out a little concern about what to do with that newfound information. My therapy center was faith based, but I still had to navigate reconciling my issues with my faith in Jesus once I was home alone with them. I’m grateful for therapy because for every issue I faced in the past year it showed me the beginnings of it. I took those beginning issues and dealt with them with God. I learned to trust Him, even when I felt betrayed. I learned to lean on him even when I felt alone. My therapy session and all the “ issues” I uncovered only magnified the reality that God is my source and resource for every need I have. I learned to trust in him in a way I didn’t have to trust him before. I owe that newfound trust to my session where I learned that I lacked in trust.
So here we are, a year later. I giggle when I think that I didn’t feel as if I really needed therapy. The reality is, I’m not sure how gracefully I would’ve navigated the biggest life event I’ve experienced to date. What I’ve learned it this; Everyone has issues that they face that they need help. Therapy is wonderful for times when life throws you a curve ball, and you could benefit from an extra set of eyes and years to navigate big decisions with grace.
I’m proud to say that my husband and I have reconciled and are in therapy together now. We both are on a journey of discovery and healing, but therapy is helping us navigate this new area of our lives with compassion, understanding, and grace. And when we leave therapy we have confidence In God to restore everything that has been broken. Philippians 1:6