After a recent Instagram post I got to thinking about my therapist from a few years back. I’ve tried counselling at school, CBT, stress management courses and NHS led counselling – all of which were great but I felt like I needed something more. I ended up paying to see a private therapist, as I could afford it at the time, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I have written about my experience with therapy before, which can be found here. I think about her sometimes and how much she helped me at that stage in my life, and so I thought I’d write an open letter to her.
Hello! How have you been? It’s been around 4 years since our last session (although at the time, neither of us knew it would be our last session) and in that time a lot has changed, and I’ve changed. You helped initiate a lot of that change, and I have a lot to thank you for.
When I came to you on that first session, I was very hesitant for a lot of reasons. It’s never easy to open up to someone new without the fear of being judged, I’d also had some less positive experiences with therapists and so wasn’t sure how I was going to find the whole situation. However, when I left our first session, I knew I’d be back. You made me feel so at ease with what I was saying, like it was completely ok (even though it clearly wasn’t) and that I wasn’t crazy.
Each week I’d come back, and I would sit in that big armchair in your EXTREMELY warm office and we would just talk. You would let me talk without interrupting, and helped me feel really seen and heard for the first time in many years. I didn’t know how much I needed that until our sessions.
You helped me begin to come to terms with so many different aspects of my life, and so many different forms of guilt that I’d been carrying for many years. We went over so many different topics, most were extremely difficult and left me feeling exhausted, but exhausted in a good way. Like I’d been carrying these big heavy rocks around for years, and we were slowly breaking them down to be more manageable.
You helped me during a time where I felt that I truly had no one on my side, and knowing that I would have an hour each week to decompress to you kept me going for a very long time.
One session in particular that sticks out in my mind, is when you gave me a jar of buttons and told me to choose different size buttons for the closest people in my life and how much time and effort I would put into them (the bigger button, the more time and effort) and then we took a photo. You then asked me to do the same thing for the same people, but the amount of time and effort I felt they gave me in return, and then took a photo. We then compared the photos and you said to me “why are you putting so much of your energy into giving to people, when you aren’t getting the same in return?” I cried a lot when I left that session, because I’d never considered that until that moment.
Unfortunately due to a relationship breakdown, losing my job and moving away, our sessions had to stop rather abruptly. However, the work that we did in those months have helped me to no end over the last 4 years.
I think if you saw my life now, you’d be proud of where I’ve gotten to, because I’m proud to. I plan on going back to therapy one day, (as I think everyone should experience a good therapist at some point in their lives) and I really hope I find someone just like you.
Thanks for everything.