Three years ago I was in a dark place of desperation and hopelessness. My life was flat and despite all the reasons I could have been happy, I wasn’t. My panic disorder was already fading, I barely had episodes, I’d stopped taking antidepressants (it took me almost a year to get off them), but something was still missing. My spirit was missing, my motivation was non-existing, I was not present in my own life.
Sometimes I actually felt guilty about that. I’d got married the year before, it should have been one of the happiest periods of my life, yet I was empty and couldn’t find the missing parts. Oh, what a power “shoulds” have over our life!
I knew I needed help and wanted to start therapy again, so I researched my options. The waiting list for a free counsellor allocated by the NHS was 16 months then, so my other choice was a private one, available immediately, but whose fee started from £90 a session. Having a random part-time job back then did not allow for that “luxury”. Yes, I hear your thinking, why didn’t you get a “proper” job then? – well, the answer is because I didn’t feel well. I kept looking and life generously led me to a therapist from Slovakia, who was willing to take me on via Skype.
This is how three years ago I started therapy (again – I’d been in therapy for a short period 11 years ago, before I moved to London), which has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. For the next years to come I spent my time digging deep, digging deeper, bringing my ghosts, fears, pains and delusions to the surface, observing, hating, sobbing, loving, letting go. You know how your muscles are sore after a good work out and you’re in pain for days? Sometimes the aftermath of the therapy was the same, but instead of feeling physical agony, my soul was sore, I would cry a lot, absorbing, healing – dealing with things that I’d so carefully buried deep inside or wasn’t even aware of.
My therapist was a man, a very wise one. Having had issues with trusting men even choosing him was a healing curve.
The first time my father said he loved me I was seventeen. Everything I did growing up was to please him, to make him love me. He did, though, he just didn’t (and still doesn’t really) know how to show it, communicate it. You cant give away what you don’t have. That was perhaps my biggest realisation throughout my therapy and most of my issues linked back to that. To my father. I used to blame him for so many things, until I learned that my life is my responsibility. Yes, I have a package that I got, which might not have been entirely my choice (however, apparently, we choose our parents, but that’s perhaps for a different post), but the way I lead my life, the way I react to events, people and what I make out of myself (and my package) is entirely up to me. I am the one responsible for me, nobody else, therefore blaming others is foolish and a waste of life ( also the biggest excuse we tend to use to avoid change).
Imagine a bridge with traffic on it, sometimes heavier, sometimes lighter. Therapy is helping you to strengthen the supporting columns and pillars of that bridge.
I had to learn to love and to accept myself (still in progress). It’s almost funny, how not having these from my father made me believe I wasn’t worthy, so that unconsciously I would live my life proving that delusional belief of mine true. I had all the love from my mother and her parents, yet I’d been soaking in the lack of it from my dad.
Therapy does not solve you, but it teaches you (if you are honest and willing) to grow stronger and to face your demons, so that you can live a less fucked up life and when in the future it pays you a visit again instead of running away you’ll say “oh, hi demon, I haven’t seen you for a while, let’s have a chat and find out what you’re up to this time”.
Slowly but surely my way of thinking has shifted, my relationship with myself and with others improved. I actually found the purpose of my life – it is to serve and help. And the way for me to do that is via coaching. I’ve also realised, that it’s not like I wake up one morning and I’m miraculously healed or normal (what does that even mean?), and that life still happens with all its sadness and beauty. But it is now my new perspective that makes a change, the way I react to these events is not the same as it used to be and that is what makes life better. I’d still have ups and downs, still encounter difficult times just like anybody else, but life does not feel heavy anymore. It is now full of possibilities.
In case you think you need mental health problems to commit to therapy you are wrong. It’s for everyone, in fact, it should be part of our education, because it is a priceless form of education on life. I believe we grow until we die (and perhaps even after that) and one way of making the world a better place is to constantly improve our self. Therapy has helped me to set me on the right foot, it is now my duty to follow my path and create the best possible version of myself in this life.