Everyone is so busy these days, including me. Sometimes it feels like I am on a rollercoaster ride or a treadmill that never stops except when I sleep. I touch base with friends and relatives via text messages or Facebook, or a quick drink or meal. It’s pretty rare for me to get enough alone time with girlfriends and really get into talking about things that are on my mind. And as much as I love talking with my hubby, most of the time he is distracted or too tired or just doesn’t get what I am trying to say (or isn’t a woman- we just seem to do more talking in general). Sometimes I think about hiring a therapist, just to get things off of my chest and get my thoughts untangled. I haven’t done it yet mainly because I’m too busy (!), but I think about it…
I don’t think there is anything wrong or shameful about seeing a therapist. What is a therapist after all, but a paid best friend- someone who is not emotionally connected to your life and has to listen to you. If you get a good one, she or he will even offer useful advice. I have recommended them many times to friends who just seemed in too deep. They are trained to be good listeners and to show empathy and compassion. Your therapist cannot judge you or decide to stop being your therapist just because she or he does not share the same values. Hmm, this is sounding better and better.
Before I became a full-fledged adult (or as I tease my own children, “a fully formed human”), I had time or I made time to just hang out with girlfriends and talk. Visits could take all afternoon or all night; phone calls could last hours. We would just talk about any- and everything; our thoughts, our feelings, our worries, our problems and our solutions, politics, world issues, nothing was sacred or held back. These were friends, after all, and even when we didn’t agree it just led to some really fun and passionate discussions that ended when the sun came up. We bonded over those marathon talks, and those relationships have stood the test of time.
Is this a sign of the times that I believe a counselor could be helpful? Probably, and maybe that’s kind of sad…but in all honesty it’s not just about time. I don’t always want to burden my overburdened friends with the gory details of my own worries. They have enough on their plates. And I sometimes I think my own stresses are silly and trivial, not worthy of wasting the precious little time we have to hang out. When I am with my friends now, I just want to relax and enjoy their company. That is therapy too.
In the end, it’s a personal and private decision to seek out the help of a therapist. I just don’t see it as a sign of weakness. I go to a doctor when I feel ill or have a boo boo; I go to the dentist when my tooth hurts; why would this be any different?