And this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a therapist
It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day so I feel I should come clean – I’ve been seeing a therapist. This isn’t the first time I’ve sought out help. It’s actually my fifth.
Before I talk to you about the therapy I’m getting right now, let’s take a quick trip back to the other times I got help.
The first time was in 1998
In 1998, my whole world was rocked. My parents got divorced and like any teenager going through this devastating news, I thought my world was ending. The hospital was a 10 minute walk from my house if I took the trail. And it was summer. It didn’t take too many appointments for me to look forward to my morning chats with my psychologist. The night before my meetings, I would make notes of what I wanted to talk to him about. I’d fold the notes and place them in my summer jacket along with my Walkman with a wisely chosen mixtape.
In the morning, I’d wake up extra early to watch television or listen to the radio. I found not thinking of the therapy session first thing in the morning allowed me not to overthink things.
The sessions were very laid back. He knew how to hit the triggers without realizing I was hitting the triggers. There was a science to it. The sessions lasted the whole summer and they really helped me get out some bottled up feelings I had about the divorce and my relationship with my family and a few other teenager-type things.
It’d be a decade until I got therapy again
Fast forward a decade when it was my second time getting help. 2008 and I was a total mess. I had an alcohol addiction and my life, again, was falling apart. I needed help. My sister knew of a good councillor in Oakville, so I went to see her. Those sessions are all a blur. That whole year is a blur. I vaguely remember the office and how we parked beside a pub, which I thought was funny as the counsellor specialized in addiction. I saw her in the spring and it mainly for retooling my brain after a long drought and bout with depression. I knew what was happening and why I was drinking so much, I just needed affirmation.
The two times that followed – in 2010 and 2015 – were basically the same. And so is this time, minus the depression. My noggin needs to be reevaluated.
The therapy is online
The therapy I’ve been getting is online. I’m not here to make this time less important than the other times I’ve reached out to talk to someone or anything like that. I just think that this time I just need to talk to someone. This time isn’t about handling the after effects of divorce or addiction to the bottle, it’s just me wanting to chat. I’m blessed with such a tight circle of friends and family. I know I can go to all of them for support. Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone that doesn’t know you. This is one of those times.
Talkspace is based in New York and it’s an online and mobile therapy outlet. Founded in 2012, Talkspace has access to licensed therapist through the website or mobile app.
The sessions only started last Thursday and we’re still trying to get to know each other. We’re starting to dig deep and get to the nitty gritty of why I just want to talk. It’s been working and I’m pretty impressed.
The sessions aren’t face-to-face. We communicate through a chat system and surprisingly, it’s as if I’m chatting with my therapist in her own physical office and not in a chat room.
I’m not trying to downplay this at all. I mean, If it were a more serious matter of why I was getting therapy, I would share because it’s all about communication. I’m also not trying to say that seeing someone online is the new 2020 thing to do. ‘Cause it isn’t for everyone. I know people would rather have physical interaction with their counsellor, and that’s all good. Do you because it’s at these times that you’re the most important piece of the mixed up puzzle. For me, I’ve chosen to go the route of TalkSpace and it’s working. But to be honest, I did make a deal with myself that if this online support system doesn’t help me in a month, I’ll go back to the old school approach.
As long as we continue to talk – that’s the most important thing.
Mental health involves finding a balance in all aspects of life including physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. By learning more about mental health, we can take steps to help ourselves and others improve mental health and reduce the risk and stigma of mental illness. Find additional resources here.