I started going to a therapist on Friday.
It turns out burning the candle at both ends and constantly trying to convince yourself that everything is fine can be mentally and emotionally taxing. Who would’ve thought? It feels a little weird writing about this. I committed to honesty when I started this blog and telling the whole truth is part of that. The whole truth is that I’m struggling to stay my normal, optimistic self. I am not okay. This is not the me that I desire or deserve.
Worries about finances on top of the stresses of work, motherhood, marriage, and a thousand other issues have been eating at me non-stop for a long time now. I put off asking for help because I kept thinking, “things will slow down and I’ll be fine,” or “I’ll get the hang of this and it will be okay,” or “there are people out there who have it worse.” I’m sure that’s some sort of denial/survival tactic or something. Whatever it was it was stupid. Things are not slowing down any time soon and even if they did I would probably have had a mental break by then. I’m sure some things I will get the hang of, but some things aren’t the type that you get the hang of like struggling with the trauma of the first month of the girl’s life. And yes, there are people out there who have it much worse, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t weighing heavily on me. It’s all relative.
I’ve been to therapy before. I know that it helps. I think I just didn’t want to admit that I didn’t have it all together. Moms are supposed to have it all together. At least that’s what I’d convinced myself. I made the appointment about a week ago when I realized that I wanted to escape from my entire life, even my children. I wasn’t suicidal or anything extreme, but I didn’t really like anyone or want to see them either. I felt overwhelmed and like I was drowning. One time, I got stuck in mud up to my waist. I couldn’t get myself out and needed someone to help me. That’s exactly what I was feeling about my stress except I was in so deep that it was starting to get into my nose and ears.
I like to say that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. During my therapy session I slowed down and told the story of my past four years. I realized that I’d spent so much time focusing on each bite of the elephant that I failed to acknowledge the enormity of the elephant that I was trying to eat. In a four year period I went from a single woman to having a family of seven with two dogs and a mortgage and managing a team of 25 people (give or take) at a start up company. That doesn’t even take into account the details of the journey. I was over here trying to use inadequate tools to eat an elephant that was slowly crushing me. I was trying to eat my elephant using an escargot fork and a flip flop. I wasn’t making a damn dent and it was showing at work and at home.
I don’t have solutions to my problems yet. One session was not a miracle cure. I am not Super Mom and my bills didn’t magically disappear. I do, however, feel like I’ve got a better idea of what’s on my plate. I understand now that sometimes if you treat every issue as an isolated occurrence you lose the interconnectedness of the bigger picture. So this is me, taking the first step to care for my mental health. I go back in two weeks for another round with my very kind and patient therapist. I promise to keep you guys updated as I work through everything. Thank you for sticking by me and encouraging me along the way.
I truly hope that, if you’re reading this and it sounds like you, you’ll reach out and get some help. Please don’t be silly like me and think that you have to fix it on your own. Your mental health is worth way more than that. You are worth way more than that. Sending out boatloads of love into the universe for you!