It’s raining, it’s pouring, this old man…just got back from therapy. That’s right, THERAPY, that thing that many of you told me to go to many times for many years. I finally took a step in the right direction and, uh, enrolled (?) in therapy and psychiatric help for my problems — anxiety, depression, tics, twitches, etc — and actually find that it’s been helping me immensely. I no longer have the desire to kill!
OK, maybe I never had the desire to kill. Strangle to the point of unconsciousness, maybe, but I don’t think I could ever maim or murder anyone. Well, I suppose I could if the conditions were ri–
This is getting out of hand. I’m on a watch list now, I fucking KNOW IT. I’ve probably been on one for a while, but now… Now I’m definitely on a really bad one. Oh well, you only live once!
Yeah, so, therapy has been going well. We do this thing called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) where my therapist has me bring up traumatic stuff, then taps me on the knees and asks me a series of questions so that I can file the bad thoughts away to the “adaptive” part of the brain. It’s actually really cool. You won’t really find a single psychiatric professional who knows why this therapy works, but it really does. I mean, just today we did an exercise that truly has helped me think more positively and start saying yes to things more often instead of making up excuses as to why I can’t.
“Yes, I would love to go out to the club with you guys.”
“Sure, I’ve always wanted to go on a blind date.”
“Of course I’ll get a tattoo of Freddie Mercury!”
Seriously, guys, therapy is a kickass tool and I recommend that everyone tries it if they have the means. Yes, insurance is a bitch and access to mental health services can be a hassle (WHICH IS FUCKING BULLSHIT BUT I’M IN A GOOD MOOD SO I DIGRESS FOR NOW!), but you really should look into it. I know a lot of people who are afraid of trying it out because of the whole stigma of mental illness, but trust me, it can be a huge positive for anyone suffering. Or, you know, anyone who wants to talk to someone and finds it hard to find that person when they need it most. Look into it.
Aside from therapy, I also finally got the opportunity to see a proper psychiatrist for my tics and whatnot, something that I’ve wanted to do for years. See, my family doctor never addressed my tics, even when I brought them up. “We’ll worry about that later,” he would say. “That’s not the problem right now,” he would say. Well fuck that guy! After having a lengthy talk with myself, I decided to call up my insurance company, talk to them about what I could do without spending a sh’load of money, and then, once we figured it out and I had a minor panic attack, I talked to myself again and made the appointment.
Yadda yadda yadda, a couple months later, and BOOM! I’ve been diagnosed with Tourette’s (well, Chronic Tic Disorder, but my psychiatrist says that even if I didn’t notice any tics as a kid, I could very well have inherited the Tourette’s trait), I’m taking a bunch of medicines, and I’m on my way to being a normal fucking person. Normal-ish. Nothing too crazy. Medium normal.
OK, now for the serious part! YAY!
You’re probably wondering why I’m writing all of this. Hell, you’ve probably been wondering why I’ve been so open about it in the past. The reason for that, my friends, is simple: IT NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT. Do you wanna know something cool? Ever since I’ve come out and talked about my issues and the help I’ve sought, people have come out of the woodwork to talk to me about problems they’ve been having. Normally it’s hard for me to take such a heavy load (shut the fuck up, I know what you’re thinking) and dish out advice, but in this instance I’m willing to give it my best shot. I want people — especially people around where I grew up, since it’s so stigmatized and never discussed — to know that going to therapy is OK. Going to a psychiatrist is OK. Talking to your friends about your social anxiety, thoughts of suicide, tics, twitches, etc can be so fucking difficult, for you and for them, so seeking professional help should never be thrown out as an option. Even if you don’t have a mental illness and just want to blow off steam, look into therapy. I can honestly say it’s helped me work through so much stress and pain when other things have only masked the problem and made me feel worse.
We have this positive mantra during my sessions that my therapist and I picked out from a list of mantras that has helped me through a lot, especially today. I CAN HEAL. I know I can get better. I know that not only can I heal myself, but I can also heal my situation and, hopefully someday, can heal others as well. I CAN HEAL. I’m not ashamed or afraid of speaking my mind and getting myself out there anymore. That feeling of anxiety is far from gone and my tics are still present, but I’m learning to manage them so much better, through therapy, medication, and meditation. I CAN HEAL.
And so can you.