I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just something that requires getting used to, or at least that’s what I assume after having been once.
I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, much preferring to talk to people either one-on-one or in small groups. In those situations, I tend to be the question-asker. I remember the first time I heard someone say that most people like to talk about themselves and realized that really was the key to any good conversation for me. It makes some people uncomfortable, but I love getting people to open up.
I guess it wasn’t until pretty recently that I realized I wasn’t being asked as many questions as I was asking…and for the first time, that bothered me.
Let me pump the breaks there a little to give credit where credit is due. My husband and my family and my friends and my church – they’re all wonderful. I feel super fortunate to have the people in my life that I do. But after a while, I think people settle into their positions, and for me that has always been that of the problem-solver. I love doling out advice and making plans of action for people. Heck, I like doing that for myself!
But at the ripe old age of 36, I’m tired.
And beyond my being tired, I’m guessing that all those wonderful friends and family of mine are tired, too. Everyone has their own stuff they’re dealing with, right? Part of me started to feel like who the heck am I to be adding to anyone’s problems when they are likely as (if not more) overwhelmed as I am.
Sure, sharing those problems with each other is part of what bonds us in the first place. How much easier is it to weather a storm knowing your best friend has been there before and is with you now? A lot, I’m guessing.
It might be kind of bad or selfish to say it out loud, but the thought of someone just focusing on me and my issues in 45-minute increments with no expectation (other than that darn co-payment)? Well, that sounds pretty nice.
I actually tried going to therapy once before. The nicest way to put it is that the person I went to and I just weren’t a good fit. So, I went once and never again.
Something feels different this time around.
Like I said before, I’m used to being the one asking all the questions. Imagine my dismay when I could get zero banter going with my new therapist. Even while I was sitting there filling out paperwork, I was trying to make witty remarks and ask questions of my own. Nothing. It was a little disturbing…until I realized that’s exactly why I came.
I claim to be an open book, and I really am pretty forthcoming with people. At the same time, I know I’ve built myself a pretty sturdy exterior and am not usually too excited to expose any vulnerabilities. Who wants to be crying all the time or take everything so seriously? Not me!
Maybe that’s the issue, though. No, I don’t want to start crying all the time, or unload all my problems on the people around me. But maybe a few cracks in my wall are okay. Maybe making sure people know I’m not always as together as I seem is a good thing. Maybe it’s okay to admit when things are just too much.
When I sat down on that couch for the first time last week flanked by tissue boxes on either side, my nerves were through the roof. My therapist has her work cut out for her since I tend to be pretty concise in my answers, but next thing you know, we’re out of time.
I don’t feel like I came to any huge realizations after my first 45 minutes, but it was still nice to walk out of there with a little of my load lightened. Even if I’m looking for a step-by-step guide to making my life the best it can be, it seems it’s not always that simple. But sometimes we can hold on to our feelings like a bratty kid holding their breath to get what they want. You might never get what you want, but it’s still nice to breathe.
I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with you. I’m not quite ready to share all the things I’m sharing with my therapist, but maybe one day I will be. For now, I’m just learning to breathe.