Dear Therapist: I Admit I Have a Problem. What Happens Now?

Admitting that you have a problem to your therapist is easy – realizing that it’s not going away without hard work is less so. At least that’s how I feel about.

– by Anonymous Talkspace User 

When I first started therapy via Talkspace, I was in a very bad place. I lost someone I deeply cared about only a year prior, and dealing with the event proved to be extremely difficult. Never mind the monumental list of other unresolved issues from my youth that I had to address, yet haven’t until my therapist made me. I knew I was a mess, but to what extent was a mystery even to me.

“But the interesting thing about walls, I find, is that they keep you inside your mental prison just as effectively as they keep others out of your head and away from your heart.”  [tweet this]

The treatment process makes me open up old wounds that never really healed, but were covered just enough to keep anyone from noticing the true nature of their depth. I feel raw and exposed. Although I’m discussing my pain in a safe place with someone who seems to really “get it”, I’m scared beyond belief and I don’t know why. But I am also starting to feel liberated. I never really wanted to acknowledge the answers to the questions I am being asked, and addressing them is making me put down the walls I tried so hard to erect to protect myself.

The vulnerability of this makes me feel super uneasy. But the interesting thing about walls, I find, is that they keep you inside your mental prison just as effectively as they keep others out of your head and away from your heart. Sometimes, they have to come down, so that YOU can get out. Therapy is also profoundly confusing. I find myself wanting to hate my therapist (but I don’t) for knowing how to expose what has been carefully filed away in my head, independent of the fact that I have high regard for the professionalism and the approach being taken. Somehow, I feel respected but emotionally violated. (Damn it.)

I decided to sign up for Talkspace when I was riding home after a pretty bad day. I found myself looking around the train, making a mental list of all the things I don’t like about the “happy” people. That’s when I saw the sign! (OK, it was an ad for Talkspace, but still, can someone please cue Ace of Base?) Honestly, it was the fact that I didn’t have to sit in a room with a therapist that made me finally sign up. I realized a while back that I have a much easier time talking to strangers than I do talking to people I know. There’s a good chance you’ll never see the same stranger again, but people you know will be around for a while.

The consultation therapist I spoke with was very nice and naturally curious about why I was looking for help. She informed me about what I was to expect and how this was going to work. Personally, I have never had a very accepting environment to talk about everything that was on my mind without hurting the person on the receiving end. So, the general niceness and kindness shown to me felt a bit unnatural. I chalked this up to my own insecurities and proceeded to let her know that I was going to select the 3-month treatment package.

She said she was proud of me for taking the first step, and then informed me that she was going to pair me with my actual therapist. This felt funny because the first step, to me, is the easiest. It’s what comes next that’s the scary part. I think some people have a hard time starting to disclose what finally made them go through with therapy to begin with – I am not one of these. Instead, I came into it full throttle: bells and whistles sounding off, delivering the whole enchilada. First, I laid out my reasons for doing this, as well as made a list of some current and recurring issues. Since I had set my goals before I even started, I sent those to my therapist as well.

Although my therapist and I are just beginning to work through all of my issues, I’ve already had time to cry about some stuff, relive some seriously painful moments from my past, and discover a little bit more about the raging anger I feel all too often.

I know this isn’t going to be easy, but it must be done – because I took the first step and admitted that I have a problem.


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