I see a therapist, it doesn’t mean I’m crazy.
Hi, I’m Emma and I see a therapist.
As I write this, I wonder how many of you reading this reacted with the thought ‘why is she telling me this?’.
I am telling you because a workplace conversation inspired it. What is seemingly normal for me, creates reactions of either a wry smile or a look of astonishment of wondering why I would divulge such intimate details of my personal life.
The conversation started with a concerned co-working who was worried about a relative asking me ‘How do I help my family member?’. The description of behaviours provided to me indicated an anxiety issue, but I am not a doctor, so I merely provided the family member with steps to take to enable the person to get the assistance they require.
As most of you would be aware there is large focus on mental health amongst society. It is almost like the world has woken up suddenly and said hey this is a real problem. We tell people to talk, but then what? Asking if someone is ok and talking is merely the tip of the iceberg. We are expecting people to be open about their struggles and yet we struggle to hide our reactions when someone openly admits to seeing a therapist or being mentally ill.
I am not weak, and I am not ‘crazy’, but I do experience depression and anxiety. I am currently benefiting from the assistance of medication and regular therapy sessions, because my mind and body are tired, tired from my own experiences and traumas as well as being a full-time carer for a mentally ill husband for over a decade. The last 2 years have had some major life stressors, I am not going into details today, that will take another blog or two (but if you must know, have a look at some of the blogs written by Ben and check out all his crazy). But these stressors have depleted my serotonin stores, so much so, that it was affecting my day to day life.
I am the first to admit it took me a while before I got the help I needed, mainly because I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t seem to fit within the typical definition of depression and anxiety. I was what you would call a high functioning depressive. Sure, I got out of bed each day and went to work but that was purely driven by the fact that if I didn’t push through my son wouldn’t eat. The inner monologue was and sometimes still is very dark and negative, but that’s why I go to therapy. So, for now my medication and therapist are an essential item, but I am more than ok with that.
I like to think I am strong enough to admit life gets hard, more than hard, it gets down right fucked and our bodies take a hit. Tell me, would you try and drive your car with 2 flat tyres and a fill oil light on? No! So why would you do that to your own body?
Talking about seeing a therapist should be as normal as seeing your doctor. I understand the current conditions in health care treat seeing a therapist as a luxury, But I am working with the Grey Space to change this. I hope that sooner rathe than later, I see a movement among our society where we can have a conversation and it normal to say “I haven’t been up to much just the usual work, kids and seeing my therapist’…
I hope that this blog will inspire you to stand up and say ‘I see a therapist’ or better yet, ‘I am on medication AND see a therapist’ but I know baby steps… Honestly I want us all to wear it like a badge of honour, that we were proactive of taking care of our mental health and loving ourselves enough to get help.
Emma Kaye | ©emmakayerussoniello2019 | ©thegreyspaceorganisationlimited2019