What prompted me to look for a therapist, in the summer of 2008, was a break-up which left me totally devastated. Looking back on it, I think it just worked as a trigger for issues that I had never thought I would deal with. Before this event I just thought I would simply go through life carrying a rather heavy burden but not daring to pause and look at it; with time and the right people / friends / partner, I thought, everything was bound to turn out just fine.
What I remember most vividly about that crucial summer is a feeling of utter despair, paired with a sense of injustice, of having been wronged. The thought that kept popping up in my mind was: I really don’t deserve this and I want to do something about it. I believe it was this realisation that made me schedule an appointment with a therapist.
I chose a Gestalt therapist because I felt I needed to focus on the present moment with an emphasis on reasonably quick solutions. Of course, therapy soon became a much more complex and engaging experience, rather than the quick fix I had hoped for.
My first session gave me a prodigious sense of relief. Right afterwards I felt exhausted and dizzy, but my soul was a bit lighter, too. I felt I could finally go home and get some sleep.
This sense of relief was one of the things I liked best about therapy. Feeling supported and emotionally looked after were also much welcomed experiences for a person coming from a background where emotional support was not a concern.
As therapy progressed - I saw my therapist for about two years, once a week - the challenging part emerged. At times it felt like touching a raw nerve and the pain of memories, incidents and feelings came in great waves. Yet, therapy provided a safe space and a safe, compassionate relationship (perhaps safer and more compassionate than any I had ever experienced), which helped me sit through the bumpy ride. Therapy has made me flourish in ways I couldn’t have accessed without a therapist by my side; it has worked like seeds sprouting in the spring after a long and dreary winter.
The most important thing it has taught me is that I can always go back to that safe space and be true to myself.