Here are a few notes from my therapy sessions that I’m challenging myself to carry with me throughout this new year.
From our Social Media Coordinator, Anna. (Not to be confused with Anna Faris.)
If I were 12 years older and had any interest in politics, I would be running in the 2020 election on a platform to normalize going to therapy. I’ve been going to therapy for about five years and have been taking medication for an anxiety disorder for about the same amount of time. My current therapist is my favorite of all time, and I would gladly invite her to a dinner party if that wouldn’t be a breach of every code of ethics to ever exist. My therapist describes herself as part therapist, part life coach, which is great for me because it means we get to spend the last five minutes of each session showing each other memes or talking about how we wish Chris Pratt and Anna Faris hadn’t broken up.
Although I’m sure you’d love to hear my reasoning on why Chris and Anna should still be together, I’d rather share a few things from my therapy sessions that I’m challenging myself to carry with me throughout this new year.
“Accept the fact that you will be that way and it will probably be easier.”
This one is appropriately vague. I’m not going to explain the context in which it was relayed to me (I think the ambiguity is useful), but I will say it was about feeling anxious over a situation that I had no control over. Instead of spending my time worrying about the situation and then getting upset with myself for being worried, I simply accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to be completely at ease. Letting myself just “be” instead of attempting to punish myself for feeling the way I did actually resulted in less anxiety. Needless to say, I would love for “less anxiety” to be a theme for my 2020.
“Needing something doesn’t make you needy.”
I hate needing things, and my go-to when I need something is to apologize. I want to remind myself this year that it is completely normal to need things. Though I am someone who believes mental healthcare is just as essential as physical healthcare (healthcare is healthcare is healthcare), I often struggle to remember that I need regular reassurance just as much as I need regular exercise.
“You can’t let difficult people define your behavior.”
I used to be an easy person to get a rise out of. My very competitive nature, which I attribute to both my mother and father, often resulted in my need to “win” an argument, and almost always led to guilt and remorse over how I let myself give in to the chaos of a situation. I want my 2020 to be more about stepping back and reflecting rather than reacting. In any given situation I only have control over myself, and I’d like to take better advantage of that.
“You’ll get through it — you just won’t like it.”
This is the big one. I’m quite good at convincing myself I won’t make it through various obstacles, both big and small. “It” could be a project at work, an illness, the loss of a friendship, or just anything that puts me on edge. This reminder, in a way, encapsulates everything I’ve already mentioned. I wish someone had said this to me in high school. It’s beautifully blunt and comforting, and it’s a great miniature lecture to myself when I begin to feel ungrateful. No matter what the day may bring, I’m ending it alive, healthy, and with a stellar support system at my back (shoutout to my family and friends).
Lastly, I share with you an exchange between my therapist and I that will rattle therapy tropes worldwide:
Me: “Do people actually lay on this couch?”
My Therapist: “I’ve seen it.”