In January 2018, I had just been dumped (seven days after New Years), I was working a job I hated, I was still living at home, and I was so depressed that the only options I saw for my future were to start therapy or suffer a nervous breakdown. I could feel the breakdown looming just outside the edge of my emotions. I was holding on by a thread; a thread that was frayed and about to snap. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own anymore. I needed help.
I sat in the therapists office on the verge of tears, ringing my shaking hands like I was washing them in soapy water, as I began to explain my situation. This was only going to work if I talked, I knew. I hated talking to people, especially strangers. But I knew I had to talk or it would have been a wasted trip and a waste of money. So I talked. And more came out than I ever expected from myself.
In my first hour session of therapy, I unloaded all of my deepest baggage in the hopes that she would be able to guide me away from the hypothetical ledge of my nervous breakdown.
It was this or the bridge.
One year ago yesterday (as I am writing this), I stepped into the therapists office for the first time. Yesterday, I walked out after having been put on “maintenance”, which meant I was done until I felt I needed to come back in again.
We had reached a point where I had nothing left to talk about. Things were going well. I had started working another part time job, I was in a healthy relationship with a wonderful man, I had coping mechanisms to help me when I was feeling anxious, and I was finally medicated to help deal with my depression and anxiety which before had completely consumed my life.
There was nothing left to talk about.
But life always has its ups and downs. I know that there may come a day when I will need to go back to her. That may be the result of a death in the family, another break up, financial struggles, or something completely unexpected.
So to answer the question “When are you finished with therapy?” I think no one is ever really done. You just enter periods of your life that are easier to manage on your own. But don’t feel bad about going back, starting your sessions back up, or asking for more help. Therapists and life coaches are there to give you advice, help you through the hard times, and get you back on your feet. They are an anchor in the angry sea of life. Allow them to ground you and guide you.
To find a therapist near you, check Psychology Today.
Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!