If you're following along at home, you'll know that I've been going to therapy at least once a month for roughly the past 18 months.
Sometimes it's been as much as once per week, but mostly I "visit" my therapist every other week.
I say "visit" because I have never met my therapist in person. That might seem odd to you, but it fits right in with my ideal connection method.
Most of my closest friends I knew for at least 2-3 years before meeting them in person. I feel more comfortable with people in general (unless we have reached ultimate comfort level) through a screen.
Which is impersonal I know, but it works for me.
And that's the reason I babbled about this... because doing therapy online works for me! It might not work for you, and that's okay.
My therapist practices something called "narrative therapy" but I call it "word vomit" because that is what I feel like I am doing.
I am not used to talking that long. Uninterrupted, especially. That part took a lot of getting used to, tbh.
I'd find myself get a couple sentences into a story and naturally pause, because I was unused to talking that much at once. I hang around with a lot of smart people with big ideas and conversations move real fast, so it is what it is. I've accepted this as part of my lot in life and I ain't mad at it.
Cause I ain't so good at the non-typing talkin', y'all.
So, just talking without interruption was somethin' for me. But I powered through.
Narrative therapy is just like telling stories to someone, so I have a lot of practice. I feel kind of cavalier about the way I tell some of my more traumatic stories, but I've done it so many times before in my head, I'm dulled to the outrageous feelings that come with some of these.
It's not at all what I thought it would be. I don't have to "Talk About My Mother" or "Relive All My Past Trauma". I just talk about whatever is on my mind and... if we get stuck on something, we dig deeper.
And even the digging deeper isn't intrusive or naggy feeling. I don't feel like we're trying to fix me, because, and this was so so important for me to learn, I don't need to be fixed.
I just need to learn how to navigate some things!
My therapist has been so helpful with that. As I tell her about the (what I thought were) ridiculous ways I handled Aphantasia before I even knew it was a thing, she helped me realize how the hoops I jumped through to make my brain work like "everyone else's" imbued me with some valuable skills that I'll use forever. And how to apply them elsewhere.
She helped me identify my looping thoughts for what they were and figure out ways to deal with them when they occur and how to even stop them from happening completely in some cases.
Another thing that works really well for me about this relationship is when I get solutions from her, they feel like they come from me, which makes it easier for me to follow through. Or even remember in some cases.
When I was looking for a therapist, I met with one more before Madison and it was NOT a fit. Gave my brain danger vibes.
I told Madison one of the things I was most worried about in regards to therapy (and yes I know how annoyingly self-important and braggy and gross this sounds) was that I was afraid I would just be able to fool her.
See? My mask was as deep as a layer of pageant queens caked-on foundation. It required a very special solvent to remove it.
And so far very few had. But I knew it was imperative to the success of therapy to be brutally honest, sharing the good and the bad.
Oddly, at first I had no problem sharing the bad about myself and the good about others, but struggled to talk positively about myself or negatively about others.
I much nicer to myself now.
So, to be honest, I knew I had to be able to completely unmask.
And so I told her this in our first interview. I told her I was afraid I would just trick her into thinking my life was awesome so that I could just check the "therapy" box off for that week.
She assured me that wouldn't happen. And it hasn't. And I couldn't be more grateful.
I'm also so thankful to myself that I didn't let it happen.
Because as I've spent so much non-judgemental time mask-less, it's made it easier to drop my mask with others inch by painful inch.
And it's been greeted with warmth.
And it's made some of my most important relationships even better and brought me closer to people who I'd always friend crushed from afar.
What I'm saying is... it's been a good 18 months. Therapy is 100% worth it.
When I start making enough money to live comfortably and have a modest rainy day fund, the very first thing I'm doing is paying for someone else's therapy who can't afford it. And then another. And another. And another.
That's it. That's the dream.