I was in serious professional therapy for years. YEARS. I have mistakenly said I was no longer in therapy. In reality, the therapy teaches us how to cope which is, in fact, a form of therapy. So we never really leave therapy if we keep applying what we learn and continue to learn. Therapy never really ends. It’s just different. It can be more difficult to schedule. It can be difficult to remember to vary it. So I changed my thinking about things. Now I schedule a variety of therapy over the month. It’s purposeful and well thought out. It doesn’t mean it always works or is always exactly what I need. It is the attempt that is important. Daily therapy of fifteen minutes which if I so choose or if an emergency comes up can be negotiated. at least once a week carving an hour. and quality family time is just as important, even if it has to be scheduled.
When my daughter was in school, I left the house fifteen minutes to thirty minutes before pick up time and just had me time. Often it was just reading in the car. It was a form of daily therapy which, if I so choose or if an emergency comes up can be negotiated. I found myself scheduling time for me but not following through. It was easier when I had someone to be accountable to. I had money at stake too. Then I realized I do have someone to be accountable to, Me. I am an extremely honest person so when something comes up and they ask if I had plans, well I did but nothing that couldn’t be pushed aside. It took me awhile to realize that no it couldn’t be pushed aside. I still do it, don’t get me wrong. It is a work in progress.
The more I have talked about this kind of thing with friends, the more I realize everyone needs therapy. Everyone needs an outlet to just have a bit of verbal diarrhea with no expectation to fix it, just to get it all out. That last part is the critical part, no expectation to fix it. Everyone needs alone time. Sometimes when I most need alone time is when I least want it. I am sure it is a form of denial. I am really good at denial. Really good. I have to remember that for me I need variety. I need nature hikes. I need beach time. I need alone time. I need friend time. The trick is to balance all of that and still attend to the details of life. Kids get cranky if dinner is not ready, or they run out of clean clothes, or there are no clean towels and that is not even touching on bills and grocery shopping and the like. Let’s not even get into the managing chronic illness. The important thing is to remember that everyone needs therapy. Whether it is in a professional setting, a nature hike, meditation or just alone time. We need to take care of ourselves in order to keep taking care of others. Even if that means saying no to others. Even if it means house work has to wait. Even if that means scheduling it and not backing out.