A couple weeks ago I went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, an annual celebration of all things tulips. I had never been before, but it was a gorgeous sight to see. The drive is not close, but my family and I were able to turn the adventure into a full day trip.
This post will showcase those photos, but the topic will be completely unrelated.
Today I want to talk about therapy. Counseling. Seeing a shrink. There comes a time in most peoples lives where this is a necessary step to take in order to heal from trauma. Trauma can take many shapes and forms from loosing a loved one, to loosing yourself.
I’ve gone to therapy a few times in my life, but usually because I was forced to go. I went when I was very young, probably around age 6-8 to help me process my emotions because I was an outspoken child from the beginning of time.
The next time I went to therapy was age 17. I was ordered to see a counselor because I had a few bouts of skipping school. It was a court order, so there was no negotiating this one. I’ve come a long way from my high school escapades.
My only memories of tiny Brittany therapy are playing with animal figurines in a sand box. I also remember this was the first time I learned my arms were double jointed. Random. My 17 year old memories were strictly check list related. I showed up, talked very minimally, got my check for being there, and left. I didn’t like it much.
The older I get the more I understand the power and value of therapy, but I also realize that this is not always the answer for everyone. Society tells us that if we are experiencing troubles that we need to go talk to someone about it, and there is complete validity there, but I don’t think there is a one size fits all method for everyone.
There is no shame in going to counseling. These people are specialized in pulling us out of our funk in ways we may not be capable of doing alone. But is speaking aloud about our trials the only way to heal our wounds?
Long time blog readers will know I’ve been going through a phase of life where I feel lost. I’ve always been an open book about my struggles because we ALL have them, and there should be no shame in speaking about them. In fact sharing my life on this blog has been hugely cathartic for me, and many of you guys relate to the words I share.
There is no time limit on when we will heal from pain, and we are each on our own journey, and we each heal in our own way. Per the request of friends and family, and eventually from my own mind I decided to try speaking to a therapist the last few months about things I’ve been dealing with.
I have a hefty amount of residual trauma from relationships, friendship, not properly dealing with my stress, anxiety about what I can and cannot eat (thanks to an autoimmune disease and restrictive/binge eating habits), and occasional depression that accompanies isolation and poor weather.
SAD is real ya’ll.
None of these feelings or emotions define who I am, and I have stayed extremely positive (for the most part) throughout all of this because I know it will pass. I also know that traditional therapy has not been for me. I find my therapy outside in the woods. I find my therapy on a run with rain falling on my face. I find my therapy drinking coffee with a friend. I find my therapy by believing all things happen for a reason.
I find my therapy by just breathing. By being. By living in the moment. By eating a balanced diet that works WITH my body.
I was on a solo hike last week and my mind looked like a bee hive at the peak of honey production. There were so many thoughts and emotions swirling around my brain, and I left that mountain feeling so calm, and so at ease. My therapy doesn’t come from sitting on a couch with a specialist that may or may not know what I need, my therapy comes from diving deep within myself and allowing myself to sit with my emotions, the happy, the sad, the good, and the bad.
I’ve been in a really good place lately, and this post is coming to you from the tail end of most of this, but the revelation of these thoughts just came to me. I in no way think standard therapy is a bad move, in fact I’m glad I tried again because it confirmed this isn’t the only answer for me. I took some of the tools I learned and was able to utilize them on my own.
Ultimately the moral of every story is that we need to do what is right for us as individuals, not what is right for someone else. Sometimes we need a push, and sometimes we need to be drop kicked off a cliff. Whatever that shove may be for you embrace it fully and chase after what makes you come alive. When one area of life gets out of balance it can turn into a snowball.
Spirit, mind, body. All must be balanced.
Our world has tucked mental health under the rug and topics of depression, anxiety, fear, and loneliness are taboo. No one wants to talk about them and no one wants to admit they feel them, but we ALL feel them. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t! We are molded to believe there is something wrong with us if we aren’t feeling like a cast member of The Wiggles all the time.
But that’s not real life.
The next time you find yourself in the midst of chaos, trauma, or pain, remember these feelings and experiences are serving a purpose. Don’t try to run from the pain, but instead try running towards it. Let these natural human feelings work their way through your soul and morph you into someone new. Let them teach you about who you are.
Find what works for you in moving through this time of your life whether it be therapy, painting, meditation or hiking. Eat well, rest often, and stress less. When all else fails, find a field of tulips to tip toe through, I dare you not to laugh in the process.
Where do you find your therapy?