It’s been a while since I last wrote. Overall my mood has been good and my anxiety feels more under control, I decided to allow myself time to enjoy the calm before jumping back in.
I saw my new therapist for the first time the other week. I say for the first time, but I was in a group he ran last year around this time and I saw him once individually while my therapist was out of town. I think that we are going to be a good fit and we will work well together. Just in our first paperwork completing appointment I feel like we touched on things that contribute to my social anxiety that I had not given very much weight to before. It just goes to show how different people and different dynamics can look at topics in such different ways.
While I am looking forward to working with my new therapist, I am going to miss my old one too. I started seeing Melissa in 2015, just weeks after I left rehab. It was interesting to see her build her business/counseling group. She also helped me grow in so many ways.
When I first started seeing her, I was newly sober and not even sure if I wanted to keep it that way. In the early days she helped keep me on track and away from alcohol. This continued intermittently throughout our time together as various seasons or events brought my thoughts of drinking into question.
Since I started seeing her I also learned:
- That just because I’m depressed one day does not mean I always will be and I need to allow the bad day to come and go without judgment.
- I am allowed to take up space in the world.
- I am a very empathetic person and I need to make sure to not let that make me feel I need to worry about everyone I meet.
- It’s okay to say “no” to a task or to seeing people when I’m busy. The people I say “no” to will not change from liking me to hating me for one time of “no”.
- I need to fight through not wanting to do healthy behaviors when I’m depressed; it’s best to fight to get through my day because I won’t feel any better spending all of my time sitting around.
- I shouldn’t let my mental illness diagnosis stop me from pursuing my dreams.
- Smiling when your sad makes it harder to stay as sad (this was more taught because she would smile when I came in the room and then I would feel like I have to smile. By the end I would often feel a real smile).
- It’s not my job to make everyone happy. Also, the only persons whose emotions I can control are my own.
- I tend to put too much pressure on myself while not expecting much from others.
- I should stay alive, knowing the people who love me are there to help me get through this or that bad time.
- All sorts of mindfulness activities/techniques which can be applied during different struggles.
- Feeling happy and feeling content are different things and it’s unrealistic to want to be happy all of the time. But if sitting in my chair with my cat and a book makes me feel content, then that’s really good.
There are so many more lessons I learned, but these were the first dozen that came to mind.
Before I left Melissa’s office that last day, she gave me a very thoughtful card. The accomplishments and reminders she shared at the end of the card are very meaningful:
– During our time together, you have achieved goals that you never thought were possible – i.e. sustained recovery + many other things.
– You have persisted even when life (or mental health) were tough.
– You matter.
– Your presence & existence in this world matter.
It’s sad to say goodbye, but it is also interesting to see what the future holds. I wish Melissa well and hope to one day see her again.