therapy? is one of my brother's favourite bands. but no, in all seriousness - I'm talking about counseling. taboo or not, I thought I'd write about my experience.
isn't it weird, how I lied about it at first? if you hurt your knee or broke a leg, it's a no-brainer to ask for time off at work. not so much when you're going to see a psychotherapist.
WHY did I go?
I haven't been sleeping properly for close to a year, which led to feeling sickly, weak and most of all: very aggressive. I simply wouldn't sleep through the night, always waking up after only 3-4 hours, over months. I first tried fighting the sleeplessness with everything I could get my hands on - except sleeping pills. I need to thank my sister for her advice against those, as they are highly addictive. anyway, various herbs, teas, homeopathy, osteopathy - no improvement.
there was a general feeling of losing control during that time, which simply got worse week by week. I played with the thought of going to a therapist for quite a while, sort of a last resort. when my boss pointed out my aggression towards colleagues (and, sadly, clients..) once again, I knew I reached rock bottom. so I started googling.
HOW did I find my therapist?
I clicked through some pages, and instantly knew I needed a "mom-type", but nothing too spiritual. you get a good idea on their websites, who they are and what they're about. plus, I chose one I could contact via mail because I couldn't bring myself to make a phonecall. coming from a small town, I chose one in a city, an hours drive away. (bonus: the drive itself grew on me as a special time to prepare for every session, and to reflect afterwards.)
the FIRST MEETING
good to know, the first meeting is always free of charge, you get to check eachother's vibe and if you find yourself comfortable with eachother. I was left with not having to make a choice right away, but I instantly knew we clicked so I then continued to visit her once a week. together we discovered early on, that there were several reasons I couldn't sleep anymore, neatly buried beneath the surface by yours truly.
time off WORK
thankfully, I felt I could open up to my boss about my problems, me dragging them to work and all. time off was no problem as I was working flexible hours, and am entitled to visit any doctor anyway. I still hesitate telling people about it, not wanting them to feel uncomfortable, but I dropped that shyness now as well. if I don't make a big deal of it, why do I even worry about others?
the first weeks were rough, your soul feels like an open wound and you can't just pause life. each blow strikes even harder than usual. but I had help, a constant ray of hope I could look forward to every week. someone to talk to who has not seen me being shaped by my past, someone who will not hate people who have hurt me. the road was long and hard, but I was ready for the changes - some came in quick realisations, some were difficult trials, changing habits on a daily basis. after almost 8 months I could thank her and stop, I'm now seeing her every once in a while.
this varies from country to country, obviously, but generally speaking: psycho therapy/counseling is expensive. around 70-80 € per hour. and with my standard health care, I got a refund of roughly 15 %. I never questionned the costs as I knew it was absolutely necessary, and with 2-3 jobs following the winter after (and a total lifestyle change), I was able to refill my savings - so I just made it happen.
I'm shocked though that firstly, a lot of people do not realize they can get counseling, and the worst part: most won't ever afford the help they need anyway. pills are cheaper and easier, but they only cure the symptoms temporarily.
the only thing I regret is not seeing someone sooner. to me it was a last resort, I always took up the struggles by myself - and with myself, but I needn't have to. if you're thinking about it, just do it.
there is no shame, only gain in this.