As I write this, I think back to the periods of my life when I was in therapy.
First, it was in my early 20s, prior to the start of my decade of heavy drug use, and my life was a chaotic mess.
A decade later, I was back in therapy, for completely different reasons and still in something of a mess.
And in my 40s, I took another tour through therapy: first for a couple of visits after my father passed away and then again a few years ago.
I have remained a staunch advocate of therapy since this most recent turn.
One of the things that I felt I needed was a paternal voice in my ear. Since losing my father, it was a voice I knew I was missing.
Mind you, I still have family members I could turn to who could give me a “piece” of what my Dad would have. However, having great and supportive family members is one thing, having a great therapist is another.
Let me tell you what therapy isn’t for me:
Therapy isn’t having someone browbeat me.
Therapy isn’t having someone spell out the answers for the things that I struggle with.
Therapy isn’t having someone highlight all the things about me that are wrong or faulty.
Rather, therapy is having someone provide that little “nudge”, those small handfuls of questions that stop me in my tracks and make me consider how and why I do the things I do, when those same actions don’t make a lot of sense to me.
And, to be frank, with the things I can account for in my rather colorful life, there are a lot of things I’ve done that needed some explanation.
I went through a spell of about 7-8 months where I wasn’t in therapy most recently and, quite honestly, I’ve missed it.
Every time I was in therapy over the last 20+ years, something bad was always happening and so that became the correlation: therapy = bad things in life to sort through.
This time, it’s different.
It’s a way to unclog my mind.
It’s a way to get someone who “cares” about me who isn’t bound by blood or marriage to do so, who can ask me the questions I can’t ask myself.
And what I’ve learned over the last decade and a half of coaching others, is that a LOT of people probably need a therapist too.
If they’d make that happen, they’d probably find that their diet plans go better.
Or that their self-image invariably improves.
Or they’ll leave one toxic job or relationship for something healthier.
Therapy, for me, has become another part of my life no different than strength training for my body, cardiovascular work for my heart and mind, good nutrition to fuel everything I do and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to exclude it.
A person might ask themselves: Why would I need therapy?
And my response: Why wouldn’t you?
When the light comes on in your car for an oil change, you don’t wait until the engine starts smoking and 3 of 4 tires have gone flat, you get your oil changed because you value the life of the car and you don’t want to be left high and dry.
Doesn’t your brain deserve the same consideration? You live there ALL DAY.
And, somewhat selfishly, I think more men need to be in therapy.
I feel there is way too much men will cover up and assume that they can sort through without help and it’s to the detriment of the men who are drowning and pleading for help.
So, that’s a crusade I’ll go on.
This time, being back in therapy is refreshing. It doesn’t feel daunting because I’m not trying to “fix” anything. I just know that the best I can be for me is a better me for everyone who’s around.
And I’d like to keep all of those people around me.