About 10-12 years ago, my wife and I went to counseling. Admittedly, our issues with our marriage were mostly on me. I was not very adept at communicating, was immature, was selfish, and impetuous. I treated my wife much too casually and didn’t take our union as seriously as I should have. I was pretty flippant about it all and it was wreaking havoc on our ability to talk, work things out, and get along in general. We were disconnected and distant.
At her insistence, we decided to give couples therapy a shot. I was highly annoyed by this, but eventually agreed.
(**I need to deviate slightly from this story to point out how glad I am that my wife never gave up on me, even when she had ample reason to. Through all my ups, downs, and lunacy she has stuck by my side. She could have left at any point with total justification. She sure as shit didn’t need me to provide for her. She is an incredible interior designer who runs an excellent business that is in high demand. Any guy on the planet would be happy to have her, but she chose me, in spite of it all. And for that I am incredibly grateful and try my best not to take it for granted.)
Anyway, the therapist we went to see was a complete disaster. She was an older lady who had a deep-seated disdain for my kind - meaning the male species - and our sessions simply devolved into a series of blame sessions of all the things I was doing wrong. It wasn’t helpful and it did more harm than good. It made me bitter and resentful.
We eventually moved on and found another therapist that was much more balanced in his approach and were able to work through a lot of our issues, but that first experience has always stuck with me as being very traumatic. From that moment on I viewed any form of therapy with skepticism and contempt.
Fast forward to this year. Kirsten had periodically suggested that I try therapy again over the years and because of that original experience, I had been extremely reluctant to say the least and would always brush aside her suggestion.
Earlier this year, in the throes of my deep depression and lack of overall motivation with life, I decided to take her advice and find a therapist that I could see who wouldn't be a total douche. I figured that my life was at a pretty low point anyway and that therapy couldn’t hurt. It might not help, but at least it wouldn’t make things worse.
She found a guy who seemed like he might be a good fit. He had also left the Mormon church as I had and would be able to understand my unique challenges in that regard. I made an appointment and went to see him.
It took about a month or so for me to finally relax with him and open up a bit, but when I did, the benefits were immediate and positive. I realized very early on in our sessions that I was carrying around a lot of baggage that needed to be offloaded, so to speak. I thought carrying that trauma around with me was normal and expected. Spoiler: it’s not.
He helped me greatly to work through various issues I had and helped me discover a path to walk in life that had been long hidden from me. I am on this path now and this path is good.
This is a case for therapy. It helps and it works. At least for me it did. If you are in a bad spot, I would highly encourage you to find a therapist that you get along with that can help and at least give it a try. You may have to “interview” several of them before you find someone who gets you, but once you do, you will be glad you did.
A special note to all the guys out there who maybe think that therapy isn’t manly or is a sign of weakness, I would say, get over yourself. You deserve better than that. Put your ego to the side for a moment and just trust the process. Therapy isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength, courage, and self-awareness. Choose you in this moment.
Therapy is cool. Prove me wrong.