Therapy, Session 3: Validation and Sweet Relief

Some mornings start with so much hope and then they end the way I really feel. Numb. I told my therapist today, ‘you could put me in a cardboard box and I wouldn’t have the energy to care.’ It sounds dramatic, but that is the honest to God truth. I can’t hear myself think. I can’t even link two semi coherent thoughts about my life together. I want depth, but all I can offer are the obvious truths about the person I am on the surface.

You know, my name, age, profession. Ask me how I’m doing right now though and you’re likely to get a deflection. Oh you know, I’m tired but okay otherwise! How are you though? That kind of thing. Because if I gave you the real answer, you’d either think it’s a work of fiction, a seriously fucked up ploy for attention, or something truly sad and confusing. What on earth does she have to be so sad about?

That’s the incredibly shitty part about all of this. Even my inner dialogue (in those fleeting moments of optimism) shouts at me, ‘remember it isn’t that bad!’ Not even I understand me. It’s a strange sort of out-of-body experience to be able look at your own life with that kind of objectivity, knowing how painful it is to live it and yet not understanding what it is about the conditions of your life that make it so.

Now try explaining that to someone who doesn’t understand how the mechanics of a healthy human brain works, let alone my own clearly (and unfortunately) overly complicated and quietly fucked up one. Even if I could put into words accurately and thoroughly what I think and how that feels and why I suppose I am the way I am, it’s unlikely my explanation would make sense or result in any kind of ah ha moment for whoever it is I’m talking to. On the off chance I was met with any kind of understanding, my general sense is that the compassionate nods would merely mask their true thought: this girl is either incredibly dramatic, delusional, or spoiled AF.

And you know what, I get it. I get it because in my mind, every single damn day, I wrestle with the legitimacy of my depression. Is it just my lack of gratitude? Is it just a problem of perspective? Maybe it’s all in my head…

Do you know what a relief it was today to hear from my therapist that my numbness was not only real and legitimate, but that it’s scary and painful to feel that way? At last, someone has heard me. At last, someone has understood and validated me. And in that moment, the floodgates opened and a rush of tears came pouring out – a mix of pent up frustration and sweet relief. Relief that finally, finally I didn’t have to explain or contextualise my pain.