To My Therapist Who Asked, 'Why Do You Come to Counseling?'

a woman and a psychologist in an office
a woman and a psychologist in an office

I come to counseling because for one of the first times in my life, I am starting to feel heard, like really heard. I come to feel validated, or simply cared for and supported. I come to counseling to try to access my emotions in a way I didn’t ever think would be possible, or in a way I didn’t think I wanted or needed to. I am learning…I do need to do this, that accessing emotion is vital to moving through feelings. I am learning to be vulnerable and raw is vital to recovery, and without vulnerability healing is only on the surface.

I come to counseling to “check-in” and “stay in the room,” when all I want to do is escape. To learn to sit with the discomfort that I have been avoiding, avoiding so avidly that it’s become the only way I know. I come to counseling to introspectively look at myself and challenge my thoughts, my behaviors, my emotions; challenge them in a way that allows me to better understand.

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I come to counseling to make connections that I can later learn to make in other aspects of my life, to build relationships through bravery and to begin to learn what it means to love not only others, but also myself. To learn what it should feel like to be loved, what it could feel like to love others. I come to counseling to learn how to build trust, to understand how trust is even concretely represented, how can we even see trust, to practice this trust and to trust in this trust.

I come to counseling because each week I leave the safe space and energy you have created, feeling hopeful that I can (with your guidance) do all of these things at some point in the near or far future.

I come to counseling because right now I’m afraid to walk alone through my mind, through my darkness and even through my light. I come to counseling because I feel that at some point I won’t be afraid to walk through my darkness alone. And I will be able to climb in and out of it, maybe not with ease but able to…able to know when to ask for help from people in my life that I know will not judge my darkness. I may still need your guidance when I get here, but I will be able to walk with fear and courage cohesively.

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I want to change. I want to decide that I want to heal and that I am going to work through it, not toward it because I don’t think there is an end. I think I will always be healing and always have to be aware of the darkness that tries to suck me back in, but I want to learn to help myself out of this darkness even if it does pull me back in. I want to heal. I want to feel happiness.

I want to feel love, I want to love, real, vulnerable and raw love. I want to connect and feel connection.

I am going to take small steps toward healing. Healing from anxiety, self-deprecation and disordered eating thoughts, from depression, from grief and anger and guilt. From trauma. I don’t expect to not experience these emotions, or just magically forget my trauma and the hopelessness that has tagged along with my grief. Right now in this moment, it feels like I may always anticipate them, that I will always fear the deep pain that piggy backs with depression and anxiety, but I want to be able to prepare for them. I want to heal through them. I think I can.

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Today at least, I feel it’s possible. I know this is easier said then done, but this is the intention I want to set when I enter your space. I know it’s a lot and I don’t expect to heal all at once or any time soon, but I believe everything is connected and when I learn to heal through simply being vulnerable in your office, I can apply that healing to all aspects of my life.

I hope, I really hope I can. Right now, hope is enough to keep me going.

This is why I come to counseling.

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