In the Langston Hughes poem, Mother to Son, Hughes wrote, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair”. It’s interesting, as a therapist my clients tend to think that I have all the answers and the magic potion to make them feel rejuvenated and new. That I can navigate through life making the right decisions due to my education to ensure that I make all the right decisions and can handle everything with ease. I wish it was all that simple… As a therapist of course we have a theoretical foundation that we implement with our clients, however we are people too. Sometimes you can assist individuals in need because we have been through or currently going through what they are going through. Not to mention the myth is sometimes true, “every therapist has had or has a therapist”. This is just an example of when I needed to seek assistance myself.
On a beautiful summer night, I began to walk out of the front door and try to gain my composure; I got in my vehicle and began to drive in the direction that provides comfort and security. I cried during the entire drive and felt that my world was crumbling. I can’t believe I am in this state. How could I let myself get to the point where I cannot keep my emotions together, is what I continuously thought to myself. I knew that I needed some type of intervention to become my normal self, or what I thought would be normal again or what felt to be normal again. As I reached my destination, my body felt heavy. I felt that I was walking in quick sand and I was sinking. As the door opened I just collapsed. What is wrong with me? I haven’t been in any type of physical activity that would create this exhaustion! Not only was I exhausted, but also I could not sleep. As I lay in bed, my mind would not stop going over the days, months, and yearly events. Where did I go wrong? What was I doing that I could not prevent horrible events in my life? As I could see the sun seeping into the blinds I knew I needed help. I had been awake for 24 hours. What was I going to do and what was going to be my next step because the comfortable and secure place I felt was my safe haven seemed to be evaded. I knew I needed help, but what was I going to do… I knew going to my primary doctor could not fix this, talking to friends and family members could not comfort, and the exercise that I use to escape to seemed to be such an overwhelming task that I just stopped. But wait a minute… I am a therapist. Let me think of what I would tell one of my clients? Then I had another thought, how could I just eliminate seeking assistance by going to talk with a mental health professional?
Knowing you need help is not the most difficult concept individuals have difficulty accepting (including me). The difficult task is stating that you need to seek professional guidance. It’s scary and can lend to the connotation that you do not have everything under control. However, it’s ok! No one can have everything under control all the time! Trust me, I am a therapist and you can read in my first paragraph how I was unraveling. No matter your training or who you are, there comes a point in your life where you need someone to be a non-judgmental party that can help you navigate through difficult times.