therapy, puzzle pieces. anxiety
Anxiety, Life, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

I’m In Therapy

therapy, self-help, anxiety

I feel so Seinfeld, so Mad About You, so oh I don’t know, Diane Keaton movie about living in New York City and having a mysterious and very interesting life, right now.

Remember when going to therapy meant you were rich? Or lived in the big city? Or were a nut job?

It doesn’t anymore.

It still means you have some money because therapy equals privilege in our country. A gift to those who have health insurance.

I’ve only gone to therapy twice before in my life.

Once when I was in my mid-twenties and married to my ex-husband. I was told by someone that I had anger issues. So I went to therapy and I was told by the therapist that he didn’t think I was the one with anger issues. That maybe it was those who surrounded me.

The second time I went to therapy, I was sitting across from my soon to be ex-husband at the end of our marriage. He was finally ready to work on it, I was checked out. It was sad and not at all the helpful kind of therapy.

couple, therapy, anxiety, marriage

Over the past couple of years, my menopause symptoms have sent me to ugly places. My anxiety, which I have always had, has been beating the shit out of me as I maneuver this new-to-me territory.ย It was after a panic attack sent me to the emergency room when I realized I should get some help.

Fast forward a year and a half later.

For years, our other insurance company said they wouldn’t pay a copay. They said that we had to pay out of pocket thousands of dollars until we reached a certain amount, and only then would they pay a percentage.

So therapy wasn’t a priority.ย Because I like feeding my family more than sitting in a room talking to a complete stranger about the garbage in my brain.

couple. therapy, family, anxiety

I never felt like I was “normal” although does anyone really ever feel normal?

It was that panic attack that put me into an ER over the holidays that finally opened my eyes. On the discharge paper in front of me were the words I had always been searching for: Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Heh, look. It has a name.

This past April, my anxiety was getting bad. Mike saw me struggling to cope more than usual, so he called our health insurance provider. It turns out that we only needed to pay a copay with our new insurance company.

I began looking up therapists in my area.

But as what is “normal” with my anxiety, I put it off.

I would add it to Monday on my calendar’s to-do list, but then push it to Wednesday,

Then Friday.

Then the following Monday again.

I sometimes get overwhelmed with my anxiety.

So things like researching what type of therapist I should see and have 350 articles pop up in Google search, was the worst thing possible in my head.

What kind of therapist do I need? Do I need a psychologist? What about a psychiatrist? Are there different types of therapists?

puzzle pieces, family, anxiety, therapy

I landed on a therapist group near me that looked friendly and inviting. Because that is what is most important to me.

Got your degree online through a correspondence course? SURE! Just be nice to me, okay?

I’ve been in therapy for six weeks now and I really like it. I like how I feel when I leave there. It’s like a weight has been lifted off of my weary shoulders. A weight I had no idea was even there.

I can sit in her office and cry about something small, or something really big. I can talk about something inconsequential and as things pour out of my mouth, other things start to make sense. I can hear her words and all of a sudden it’s like a lightbulb has been turned on for the first time in my life.

I don’t feel guilty for things I used to and I’m learning strategies to help me navigate situations that used to tear me up inside. I am learning that I will have anxiety every single day of my life, so instead of hiding it or being ashamed of it, I can now own it.

I’ve been given tools to help me work through situations, big or small so that I can function on a much healthier level than before.

I liken finding myself in therapy to working a puzzle.

For my most of my life, those around me have been working on one big confusing puzzle.

I sit at the table with everyone and try to work on the puzzle but none of the pieces fit.

I can never find the right puzzle piece.

I ask for help but no one can help me find the right piece, all the while everyone around me is able to get their pieces in place.

They are having fun, talking to each other, laughing while adding their pieces to the puzzle. I am staring at all of the people wondering why they are so happy, how can they do this? Why can’t I do something as simple as putting a puzzle together if everyone else is able to?

But now that I am in therapy, I am slowly putting puzzle pieces together.

It’s still hard, I don’t always find the laughter enjoyable, and at times, I still excuse myself from the puzzle table, but I am finally okay with not having the pieces.

I realize that I wasn’t built to play puzzles. Maybe I am better at board games? And maybe I can start a puzzle of my own.

For the first time in my life, I feel less afraid of everything, less intensely upset about situations I cannot possibly control, and more confident than I have ever felt.

Therapy is a gift I wish everyone could experience.

Because everyone deserves to feel good.

28 thoughts on “I’m In Therapy”

  1. Thrilled for you that soul mate therapy is helping your awesomeness shine for you to see! Xoxox! I guess I thought if the people around me who love me look at me in blank silence when I tell them I am stuck in the muck, I did not consider that a stranger might be where to find comfort and direction.


    1. YES. And that is one of the reasons I decided to write about it. Sometimes talking to someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in your life is the best way to make yourself better.


  2. Pretending that everything is ok all the time is so toxic. We need to show our kids. and every one around us for that matter, that we are human. We get sad, frustrated, angry, scared just like they do. They need to realize that.
    I am so proud of you my friend. You are so brave.


  3. Oh, Kari–I love this post. I love your honesty and bravery and authenticity. I am so glad that you are getting the help you need through therapy. I’ve been going for more than 3 years now. Like you, I’m understanding that anxiety (and her really fun twin, depression) are just part of me. Just last week, my therapist told me that anxiety and depression are rational responses to my life (what’s in it both personally and politically right now), and that our work isn’t about eradicating it but managing it. There was something really freeing in hearing that.

    Like you, I wish that everyone had access to this kind of support. I think if that were the case, there would be far fewer things for you and I to be anxious about.


  4. You are so lucky/blessed/whatever you choose to call it that you found a therapist you like and can work with. I’ve tried a few in the past and didn’t have a satisfying relationship with any of them. I’ve had GAD for years, but especially since Phil passed away. I was on Lexapro for a couple of years after he passed and saw a psychiatrist for that (I called her Dr Useless! – not to her face, of course). The Lexapro barely took the edge off for me and then I felt I didn’t need it anymore, so I was weaned off of it. Yoga and meditation have helped tremendously with my anxiety now, though sometimes it (the anxiety) does hit me really hard, especially late at night or in the middle of the night.

    Hmm, so much more to discuss with you but we’ll do that in person, ok? Thank you for being so strong and brave to share your journey with us. xoxo


    1. I am really lucky, and she says I am doing really well because it can be really hard to talk about some things. It is a learning curve, sometimes I get in there and don’t think I have anything to talk about. I do, but I don’t know it.
      I am told that I might benefit from Zoloft but she wants to wait and see how just therapy works first before medication is even a discussion. But she is open to it and so am I.
      Let’s go to one of your amazing little restaurant finds and sit outside and vent. Thank YOU for being strong and sharing YOUR journey with me. I love you, my friend.


  5. I was also diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in college. What really triggered it was when my best friend took his life when I was in high school. I also see a therapist and it truly is like a weight is being lifted off your shoulders. It’s a feeling of calm and freedom. I also take medication, as well. So glad you found a therapist that helps you!


    1. I think what triggered my anxiety attack was when a classmate of Anna’s was killed in a car accident. I couldn’t get over it even though she wasn’t someone close to our family. It was also when Anna was learning to drive, so add that in along with everything else a parent goes through, and you have a recipe for disaster. In my case, a massive panic attack that made me think I was dying.
      It’s so good to have people who “get it”. Thank you for being one of them. ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. And major props to you for posting this! Sometimes, there seems to be a certain stigma surrounding those with mental health issues, that it should be shameful. You are so brave!


      2. YES! We are lucky to live in the time we do. It is more socially acceptable than ever before, which is important. Spread the word. There is no shame in our game.


  6. I am so pro-therapy! I started going last August, when I was juggling the stress of my kid’s ADHD diagnosis, the knowledge that their prematurity may always haunt us, and my desire to resurrect my creative juices. Sometimes we talk about creativity, sometimes we talk about parenting. I still feel like I’m holding back though. But it helps, and I am so grateful we have good insurance.


  7. Happy to hear you’re getting the help you need! Mental health is no joke, and we need to take care of ourselves and not just sweep it under the rug and not talk about it. Sometimes our bodies don’t naturally create enough of the chemicals we need to seem “normal” and we need to add maintenance meds to keep our bodies in check…I’m on a couple of them for different things…sometimes you need to talk it out with a therapist. I visited one several years ago and it helped.

    Love you!

    —your brother who does actually read your blog ๐Ÿ˜‰


  8. We are twinsies! Though I’ve gone to years and years of therapy/counseling. First it was with my family when I was growing up because my dad was an alcoholic. But then, eventually I started going on my own.

    Unfortunately these last ten+ years have been out of my own pocketbook. I’m self employed so my insurance premiums are already miserable. Insurance also won’t pay until I reach a $5,000 deductible for mental health in one year, which for $135 a session is after 37 weeks. That essentially means only 15 weeks a year they would pay for appointments. So I basically went as often as I could afford the $135 for one appointment. I’ve moved recently and feel fine right now, so I haven’t gotten a counselor in my new area. When I need one, I will get one. I’m an ace at identifying it now.

    Personally, I have generalized anxiety disorder and have had several panic attacks in my life. I’m on medication and will always have to be. I feel like there are trade offs to having a mental illness (which, I’m not afraid to say about myself). I feel like my anxiety feeds my creativity to a certain extent, and makes me a more interesting person generally speaking. I definitely march to the beat of my own drum. However, sometimes it’s like a collar I can’t remove and it’s completely constricting. Most of the time I can handle it pretty well.

    I actually prefer counselors to therapists; I don’t know why but the counselors make me feel more comfortable. I went to a Christian based counselor last time. Funny thing is we never talked about religion, but I had such a positive experience that when I go again, that’s what I’ll look for.

    I wish mental health were more accepted. But it’s hard to diagnose sometimes, there are a bajillion disorders within, and each one manifests itself slightly differently with each person. So I also find myself acknowledging the challenge we have as a society. It’s a tough topic . . . I guess for a start, it would be nice if the appointments were cheaper ๐Ÿ˜€ I certainly wish I could afford to give that gift to someone who needs it.

    Good luck on your journey! I’ll be watching for follow ups.


    1. I like that you feel like your anxiety makes you feel like you are more interesting because I feel the same way. I am also learning that I have had panic attacks since I was little but I just had no idea what was happening to me.

      I wish mental health was more accepted as well. It should be as easy to get therapy as it is to get a strep test.

      Good luck to you as well! It is so good to know I am in such great company. ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Itโ€™s hard to find a good therapist. Iโ€™m glad you did and that you have such a supportive relationship with your people. ๐Ÿ™‚. My 19 yr old would do well with therapy. Anxiety has plaqued her a bit, but when I mention talking to someone sheโ€™s not warm to the idea.


    1. It really is. I love mine so very much. She is actually genuinely happy for me when I report back good news, or share a breakthrough.
      I don’t think I would have been open to therapy at that age either. Give her time, she will come around eventually but maybe share posts like this to give her an idea of what it may look like for her.
      Everyone is different but the outcome is similar: to be less upset inside. I wish that for her. ๐Ÿ™‚


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