Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

Once upon a time it was considered an embarrassment to admit that one was seeking or receiving counseling/treatment/therapy/analysis for any kind of mental or emotional health need. A “normal” person doesn’t need help, only an “abnormal” or “twisted” or “ill” or you-fill-in-the-blank for some pejorative description of a weak, damaged person, right?

Well, like many other behaviors, needs, and activities, I am coming out of the closet about being in therapy as I am now ending 5 years of it. I am not seeking to tell all, but as with admitting other uncomfortable things out loud, it seems only fitting to admit this one out loud if it might help lift shame off of others.

And yes, I am ending it. And yes, unbelievably to me, it has been 5 years. I am impressed by and forever grateful for the process and for my wonderful therapist, and as I leave this relationship, I am stronger, more knowing, and better able to face life in the present tense rather than dragging a barge-load of ancient garbage with me into many situations. Crisis prompted the beginning of therapy; the ability to make and recognize my own choices consciously signals that it is time to end.

It is hard to be the someone who everyone leans on and admit you need help. It is hard to face those inner demons which tempt and deceive, strangle and hurt. It is hard to face the mirror and accept life as it is rather than as you wish it looked. It has been a hard five years of work, because in order to change things, that’s what one has to do. I am bringing tea and flowers to my final session to celebrate and thank, acknowledge and mourn all at the same time.