*Potentially Triggering! Self harm, ED, and sexual abuse*
When I was twelve years old, I started self harming for the first time. I had so much depression and anxiety, and I didn’t know what to do with it all. So I cut myself, trying to let it free in that way. It never seemed to help much, and I can count myself lucky that I never went too deep, or too far, as I’ve seen and heard so many others do. I had a therapist who gently, oh-so-gently. asked me about how I was feeling, what was happening in my life. What was happening was I’d isolated my entire friend group with one remark, and now the whole school hated me. I sat alone every day and cried in the bathroom stall. I never told her that though.
When I was seventeen, I started starving myself. I wanted to model, I thought, but what I really wanted was a semblance of control in my life. I know this now of course, although at the time I just thought I wanted to look beautiful. I counted calories obsessively, and if I broke my 500 calorie limit, I’d purge it in the bathroom, my thin frame wracked with convulsions as I gagged. My therapist knew I looked thinner, and was suspicious, but only recommended that I tell my psychiatrist that I needed to increase my depression medication. Right.
When I was nineteen, I was sexually abused in a park at night. And because I was too terrified to talk to my friends or family about it, I finally did what I hadn’t done in the seven years I’d been in therapy: I told the truth about what was happening inside me. I cried there on her couch, and asked over and over again if it was my fault what he’d done to me. Was it my dress? Was it because we were friends? Was it because we went out alone? Had I led him on? No, she told me, you were taken advantage of. You were sexually assaulted, and it’s not your fault.
And I finally understood why therapy was so important in our lives. It’s there for you to talk to someone who is not there to judge you or coerce you in any way. It’s an unbiased view from someone who is professionally trained to help you with your problems, be they big or small. I just never let anyone in in that way.
Therapy can improve your mood, your physical health - such as with sleeping habits or eating habits, your relationships with others, your work/life balance. It has given me a unique insight into who I am as a person, and who I need to become.
Now I see a therapist named Natalie who is helping me with my problems with opening up to people, my grief, and my relationships. She is wry, and witty, and tough. She doesn’t let me sidle around things, and she gives me exercises to further myself as a person, using cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. She talks me down when I need it and, when I’m at my wits end, she can give great advice. I highly suggest you take a look at therapy, as it might be exactly what you need, too.