The pandemic was the final nudge I needed to do the thing I probably should have done a while ago. I was mentally exhausted from making so many freaking decisions. I was physically exhausted from entertaining my kids all day, every day, with no relief. I was trying to juggle working part-time from home with all of the things that just need to get done around the house. I was plugging away at my MBA. Oh yeah, and I was trying to be a wife who had it all together. After a couple of minor, but impactful breakdowns, I said out loud, “That’s it. I need to talk to someone”. I called a counseling center the next morning to schedule my appointment.
I started the therapy I needed.
There was nothing huge in my life that drove me to this. I don’t have childhood trauma, family issues, my marriage is actually really great and in the scheme of things, my kids are pretty easy. But this sense of just being “plain overwhelmed” was affecting all areas of my life. I needed to just talk it through someone who wasn’t my husband. I needed to have someone listen to me that didn’t know anything about me. I wanted to find ways to cope with the emotions I was feeling. And therapy was where I found it.
But here’s what I want you to know about therapy. I think everyone can benefit from therapy, even if your life feels pretty great. I’m about eight months into therapy, and the way that I feel about my life has done a 180. Where I felt anxious and stressed before, I feel calm and organized now. I was able to discover so many tools that I can use to design a life that I want. That my family benefits from. That brings me closer to my husband. If it wouldn’t have been for the extreme stress I was under during the pandemic, I’m not sure I would have started therapy. But even now as I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER about everything and I am really so happy, I want to keep going with it. Why? There were a couple of unexpected benefits of therapy that will keep me going back, even though I’m a really happy mom with a great marriage.
Unexpected Benefits of Therapy That I Discovered:
- You need someone to talk to other than your husband and your girlfriends. Someone who can give you honest, helpful feedback. Girlfriends sometimes tell you just what you want to hear. Husbands can accidentally tell you things in a way you don’t want to hear (or maybe you take everything personally as I do).
- Therapy helps you talk out solutions to your problems. I’m pretty sure I came up with 80% of the solutions to my own problems during therapy. I was able to talk, out loud, how I thought I could help myself. If I didn’t have that chance to physically speak out loud and just ramble, I’m not sure I could have come up with these solutions on my own.
- It feels amazing to just talk for an hour without having to listen to anyone else’s problems. Harsh? Maybe. But it’s true! It feels good to have an hour all about you, and what’s happening in your life. Especially when so much of our lives as moms is about other people.
- I needed the positive feedback. My love language is words of affirmation. When my therapist tells me that I’m doing a great job, it makes me feel so much better. Sometimes you don’t realize how good you are doing until someone else points it out.
I’m in a much better place than I was eight months ago. Am I going to continue therapy? Absolutely. I cannot emphasize enough the positive effect that therapy has had on my life. Before starting therapy, I did kind of believe that you really only needed therapy if you had some deep-seated issues. But I’m here to tell you that even if everything is going great in your life, therapy can be a really amazing tool for self-care. I hope you’ll try it out. Maybe even just one session to see how it feels. I don’t think we realize as moms how much pent up anxiety and stress we are carrying around. If this is a way to ease some of that burden, I hope you’ll try it.
P.S.: Therapy is great for happy husbands with good marriages too 🙂