By Cherry Northern
Recently, I did something that I thought was going to be helpful for me. I actually booked a therapy appointment with a licensed social worker and the interaction would have been wholly online. It would have been a live chat room session. I would have discussed . . . things. Topics that float around in my head on the daily. Issues that have been keeping me stuck in life.
And one day before this appointment, I canceled the chat. I canceled my membership. I left a brief message to my would-be therapist. I was honest and told her that I wasn’t ready. To me, therapy through this method felt like exploring a dark cave with very little light. There was no way to know what to expect. Questions like, “Where do I even start?” filled my mind with dread and anxiety. So, I did what I do most of the time. I gave up and let fear win.
I feel so ashamed of myself. It’s a whole mix of emotions. There’s anger and low self-esteem. There’s hopelessness to keep me company. There’s fear that I’ve pissed my would-be therapist off. Then there’s the scary question of “Would this have truly helped me anyway?” I mean, how willing would I be to change my life for the better? Because, certainly, I feel like I would have had to do some homework, some deep drilling into my head to figure out the nature of my predicaments. To me, therapy is a great mystery. And that frightens me.
I know this sounds silly, but it occurred to me today that I need therapy in order to even begin therapy. Nothing like this seems to exist. As far as I know, “Pre-therapy” isn’t a thing. I wish it was, though. It’s weird, but I feel as if I’d be much more open to therapy if a therapist somehow sought me out instead of the other way around. Let’s say a therapist knocks on my door and expresses their intention to offer a helping hand. And then the therapist takes the lead, asking all the right questions. Because honestly, I have no idea where to start.
So yeah, friends, it’s ugly. I do feel sorry for myself. I do feel like moping. I am trapped in my own head with my own thoughts. Even this post is a self-indulgence to help me lick my wounds. I hate that I couldn’t even do it. I was close. I set up the appointment. I communicated with my assigned therapist through messages. But the anxiety ate me up all day. Until I finally couldn’t fathom doing it. Besides, my insurance doesn’t cover it and I’m not going to pay such an exorbitant amount for something I’m not even sure is going to help.
It’s just . . . I had wanted to try it. I had wanted to take a chance. And for mere days, I thought I just might take that plunge. But this just proves that I’m all talk–even to myself. Who the hell am I kidding? My chances of getting therapy are low. Why does my mind sometimes fill me with this weird bravado that I can do anything? My avoidance of seeking help is part of the architecture of my afflictions. It’s a feature, not a bug.
And now I’m just left with a lot of doubts and questions. I don’t know what the next move is. Maybe I’ll wait a few weeks before I tell myself I’ll try again. And when I inevitably bow out, I won’t even be shocked. It’ll be a matter-of-fact type of thing.
Forfeiting long-term solutions in favor of short-term relief from anxiety. That sentence fragment is the summary of my life. That is my destiny so far and it makes me feel hopeless. If I can never have the courage to take on therapy, then the best I can do is try to figure out as much as I can. The best I can do is wring that rag and siphon out as much happiness and fulfillment as I can. And I fear it may not be much. I may live a life at 40% happiness, never knowing what contentment and peace feel like. Does anyone feel this way too?
I do have something to add, though.
It’s not exactly all dark. I can take solace in the fact that I at least tried–that for a brief moment, I was going to do it. And I guess that’s even more progress than I could have ever expected years ago. So, this isn’t me saying that therapy is never going to happen. I have not removed the notion from my shelf. But it’s true that I’ve failed. I chickened out. But maybe one day, I’ll be more prepared. Maybe I’ll be reckless enough to make that therapy session happen. No matter how unlikely, I have to keep myself open to it.
Because what other choice is there? I could keep living the same way, only depending on myself. And I’ve seen already how well that’s gone. Poorly. So it’s high time I have a third party take a look at me. I only hope one day I can let go of my fears.
23 August 2022