I am Starting Therapy Today and I Really Don’t Want To

But want and need are two different things. And I need this.

Very tall building with many windows and fore escapes and a sign on the side of the building that says, “How are you really?”

As I write this, tears are on the verge of spilling over already puffy eyes. The clench in my stomach and pain in my back are making it hard to think. I’m trying to do busy work — formatting a paper, researching for an infographic, writing this — to distract me from when, in a few hours, I start the process of getting better. I start therapy. Again.

I want to get better. I want to have bipolar II disorder but not let it have me. I want to be able to control it, to weather it.

Getting better requires confronting the worst. The feelings of failure. The self-loathing. The guilt of believing that you are not what the people around you need you to be. The bad habits that you aren’t sure you are ready to quit. The “you are a bad mother/partner/employee with bad habits and who says they don’t want to break bad habits.” Just bad.

When you start therapy, you often start with your story — your version of the five Ws. Who are you? (I don’t know.) What happened to you? (All the things.) Where did you get those ideas? (All the places.) Why start therapy now? (Why not?) When did you know you needed to be here? (I’m not even sure I want to be here.) So many questions with really difficult answers.

I’m dreading the deluge of tears and sobbing and then 50 minutes being over and we’re scheduling the next session. And I’m still sitting with this.

I am still sitting with this.

I may just call this a rest day. Allow myself to take a hot shower and get back into my bed and watch movies and Law & Order and eat Easter candy. But that’s going to make me feel bad about myself. Unproductive. Undisciplined. Bad role model for my children. Unhelpful spouse to my partner. Sigh.

I’ll write this and post it and worry my friends. They’ll say, “I just saw you and you were happy” and I won’t be able to explain what happened between then and now. I’m always worried about being a burden, the same burden I was the last time I was depressed. I don’t even know if I am actually depressed or just having an emotional day.

Therapy is hard. Hard is such an ungraceful word. But it’s also plainly what it is. But it’s just like the second COVID vaccine shot. You feel icky afterwards but that’s because your body is doing what it’s supposed to do, inflicting a few hours of pain so that you can move forward more resiliently. Healthier. Your body is going to do what it needs to do, priming what’s inside so that you are stronger when you come in contact with things that threaten to kill you.

I know all of this. That is why I’m doing it.

There are going to be nights of tossing and turning. There are going to be devastating sessions. There are going to be days where crawling back into bed is the only reasonable option. There are going to be moments when I say to myself, “Fuck this shit,” and really, really want to cancel.

I am making a promise to myself that I will see this through.

I am making a promise to myself that I will see this through. Why? Because I want the next 40 years of my life to be better than the last 40 years. Because I know therapy works. Because I need someone to talk to that isn’t my husband or my friends. Because I can afford to pay someone to allow me to be a burden. Because my children and my husband deserve the best of me.

So, in two hours I am going to log into the app, look at my therapist, and start the process. I might cry for 50 minutes, I might not. I might get into my bed afterwards, and I might not. Either way, I’m going to try really hard to be okay with that.

Because I deserve the best of me.

Law professor. Teach and write about the law of educational inequality, property and the family. Mom of 3. Amateur artist. All opinions my own.

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