Different things work for different people, but for me, talking about my problems has always given me the opportunity to confront, deal, heal and move forward with my life. I’m definitely someone that lives more inside his own head, and finds it difficult to articulate true feelings, always worried I’m going to offend someone or shake things up in a way.
In recent years I’ve become a lot more reserved, sharing less about my life on social media, and even to a large extent with friends and family. This is all a natural part of growing into adulthood and realising that the world doesn’t necessarily revolve around you and what you ate on that particular day, but it also comes with the territory when you are depressed. Where it has become particularly problematic, is that in a lot of ways people have started to make the assumption that I don’t want to share, or that I don’t want to open up to them. This became all the more evident to me when I friend called me from Germany last week and said “I wasn’t sure whether you wanted me to know your engagement had ended” when the topic came up. She had heard about it from someone else. The end of my relationship wasn’t exactly the kind of thing I was rattling off about on social media, but I still believe that if you hear a friend is going through something major, you take a few seconds to pick up the phone as a first step, and worry about the intricacies later. She had of course done this as soon as I spelled out my depression on a Facebook post, which I am thankful for, but it did make me wonder how many other people are also worried to talk to me about the big changes in my life because they fear I might be uncomfortable talking about it. If you’re reading this, I’m not uncomfortable, and talking really does help.
I used to be in therapy in my early twenties and it helped me not only in navigating the start of my career, but also in starting to find my own identity. I hit it off right away with a therapist I found through my university, which a lot of people are not always as lucky to have the first time they try find someone to talk to, and which I am very thankful for. I had a friend who went to a therapist who tried to impose their own religious beliefs onto him, right from the first session, which obviously is a bit of a red flag. That’s when you know that the person is not doing what they’re supposed to be doing and you should look at other options. First and foremost, therapy should be a non-judgmental, open, safe space for you to speak freely about whatever it is you believe in, are feeling, or what you’re busy going through. Luckily I’ve never had to worry about that in the sessions I’ve been in.
As my life moved between cities throughout my twenties, my therapist and I may have stopped having sessions, but she always kept the door open for me and likened the relationship to one you would have with a family member. It really is a deeply personal and intimate connection and I am thankful that all these years later, when the shit hit the fan and I realised that I was depressed and needed to go see a doctor, her name was on the list of people I should reach out to and she responded to my e-mail very quickly on the day.
So am I apprehensive going back into therapy? Not at all. When I started it in 2010, I had no idea what to expect, but I was prepared to talk. Today, I know what to expect, but I’m not so sure how prepared I am to talk.
It has been a while since I’ve had to turn the mirror around and start asking myself some difficult questions again but I’m glad I’m doing it on the eve of my 30th birthday. In a way, it may help me to start this new chapter of my life with a new sense of clarity and closure. I’d to take as much time as possible today to reflect on my twenties and to focus my energy towards acquiring some new tools that are going to help me navigate the trials and tribulations of the next decade with as much grace and humility as possible.
Conrad was here.