Mental health is as important as our physical health. We usually get carried away with focusing on our physical health and forget that our entire being revolves around our mental health as well. Everything we face in life and go through impacts our whole being.
As we grow older, things can have a harder impact on us. It is not only our physique that struggles but even our mentality. Relationships we go through and people we meet could a long term damage. That reflects on our behaviour and actions. Everything is connected in ways we usually don’t think of.
Having therapy sessions was not something I had in mind but I was aware of my mental health throughout the years. I never thought that I would end up seeing one. However, two years ago, I was left out of a toxic relationship in the beginning of my graduate studies in France. I was going through tremendous amount of stress. I was starting my life here and working my way to settle down. It was difficult while starting classes and adjusting to the new system.
Adding to all of this, the emotional package I was carrying. I could sense that something was off, I would cry easily and because of the silliest things. Anything and everything stressed me out and I had to bear a big amount of guilt because I couldn’t forgive myself for the actions I made.
How it all started?
Until one day, I burst into tears in the hall of my university and a friend saw me and came over to hug me. I remember that I was crying heavily and couldn’t catch my breath. It happened suddenly and I didn’t know how to stop crying.
Students were watching curiously and after my friend took me out to sit in the park, we talked and she told me that maybe therapy could help. I remember when I heard the word, I felt weird and didn’t think I would actually see one.
I took my first step into therapy
A few days passed and I emailed the therapist office. I started the journey of meeting a therapist and telling him all the things I thought of, in the first few sessions, I couldn’t speak much. He would ask me small questions so I can talk but my answers were brief. He helped me realize many things and go through the details of my thoughts in a positive way not the negative way I am used to.
I told him about my feelings and it is something I don’t share with people. My family is used to me as the tough girl who can get anything done and who is not affected by anything. I kept a tough exterior my whole life so I decided to keep my therapy sessions my little secret.
I couldn’t bare any arguments if I am to tell family members but I thought of my parents the most, what would they think? Why am I seeing a therapist and what made me see one? I have not had many discussions on mental health with my parents but they listen to my ideas and thoughts openly.
They have never judged my ideas or made me feel awkward but I was afraid if I tell any of them, they would think that I am weak. I kept this a secret for the span of two years. My sessions were done secretly and would tell my mother everything but this detail.
I couldn’t take it anymore
Until this summer, I went through a very critical period where anxiety and panic attacks were more severe than any other time. I felt the cycle of 2018 was on repeat but this time, it was even worse. I wanted to sleep longer, my diet was terrible, any task felt heavy, leaving the house was difficult and I had to prepare myself a week a head if I am to leave for grocery shopping.
What mattered the most was my morning coffee but other than that, I wanted to work and feel exhausted so I can sleep as early as possible and not think. Sleeping was the only thing that kept me from thinking or at least that’s what I thought! I stopped my therapy sessions in May because I thought maybe I should stop and see what could happen and what happened turned out to be worse. My mother noticed my frequent mood swings.
A few weeks ago, I couldn’t handle it anymore and I reached out to my therapist and booked a session. This time, I didn’t want to keep it a secret from my own mother. One day, we were having a phone call and I told her that I have an appointment earlier that afternoon, she asked what is it about? and I held myself together and bluntly told her that I am going to my therapy session.
She paused for a minute and asked me why? and I merely explained to her my situation and that I have been seeing him for the past two years because I was going through so much. She listened carefully to my response.
During the past few months, she noticed how I kept my phone locked for the majority of the day and that I was keeping myself locked in my room stuck to my computer screen working non-stop. She was too worried and wanted to help. My mother is not a difficult person to deal with, in fact, we are more like best friends and sisters. We are too close and she has always made efforts to understand me and she always respect my way of thinking.
However, she was disappointed that I haven’t told her about my sessions and I managed to hide it from her in a very smart way. She told me that I was supposed to tell her from the beginning and she would understand. She told me that I wasn’t supposed to keep it a secret.
Sign of relief
Also, it is okay to reach out to a therapist because sometimes we cannot say everything and we need an expert who can actually help. It was such an easy talk to have with her. She didn’t judge me and she said that it is normal to have therapy sessions, actually, we all need to check with one at some point of our lives.
My mother was thrilled that I decided to take this step and it was a courageous step to take. I feel happy that I managed to tell her about this so openly. Nevertheless, that made think of what others would go through if they had to tell their families especially that the society has a huge impact on people and not so many would think of therapy to be normal.