I started writing this late last year when my therapist took medical leave. I’d aimed to write a series of essays summarizing my journey through therapy to highlight how much it improved my life. It was an opportunity to express my gratefulness while working towards completing my first book… Somewhere in the past few months though, I fizzled—but I’ve decided to revisit the topic given recent developments: I’ve stopped with therapy altogether.
To be clear, I’m not “cured”—that’s not how therapy works. I’m neither tired of therapy (though still tired of life) nor my therapist—so what happened? What changed? Well, I emailed my therapist (she’s still on medical leave) about my situation. We discussed my future. That led
me us to the decision. Here are a few reasons that convinced me us this was best:
- I’ve stabilized on medications.
I need medications. It provides crucial stability to focus on moving forward. Sure, it sucks that I’ll (almost definitely) need to take them for the rest of my life—but without them, I couldn’t have participated effectively in talk therapy (the most important vehicle for progress). Since I’ve stabilized on my medications, I only need to check in with my Dr. Family (my family doctor) to confirm my well-being and renew prescription refills—none of this requires me to see my psychiatrist… Technically, she’s no longer my psychiatrist—but you get the point…
- I’ve internalized the lessons learned in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and talk therapy (in general).
CBT (therapy in general) transformed how I approach life. For me, it improved my functioning so that, though I still deal with PTSD, depression, and OCD symptoms/problems—mental illness doesn’t simply evaporate—I’m now equipped with skills necessary to (sustainably) improve my life. Am I happy? No. Is that relevant in making this decision? No. The point is that I now have everything CBT and intensive talk therapy can help me with in helping resolve that. I.e. I understand how to live with mental illness…
- I’ve worked through what I can work through in therapy.
I’ve explored my experiences thoroughly enough to identify what therapy can’t fix; to fix what therapy can fix; and to acknowledge what therapy need not fix—some things don’t need fixing.
- There’s always more to discuss, yet never enough time to discuss it.
Therapy is not a credentialling procedure: it’s an ongoing process. It focusses improving life by improving mental health. There’s nothing to formally graduate from, so you (and your therapist) decide when to move on. My therapist is the one person—apart from me—I’d credit with actually knowing me well enough to advise me about my life; I trust her input in the matter, and I agree with
Even after realizing this, I needed to overcome the biggest hurdle in committing to the decision; I needed to overcome one of my greatest fears: abandonment, so… the conversation didn’t end there… By the end of the discussion, I realized that no longer attending therapy didn’t mean I was being abandoned. There’s still the safety net of going back to therapy if something necessitates it. There’s still the option of maintaining contact (albeit drastically reduced) with my therapist. I wasn’t being abandoned, my entire life was being restructured. I wasn’t writing something off; I was building on top of a foundation. Once I realized that, I received the closure and confidence I needed to commit to the decision.
NOTE: I'm still terrified of abandonment. In this case, I've "overwritten" my emotions... This will come up a lot in future discussions, as it's a valuable tool in and for my life. That's best saved for a Shifty Shades of Cray essay though...
That’s how I plan on starting my book. I welcome your feedback and hope you join me next time!
Thank you for your time,
Roybert S. Henanigans
P.S. 96: I’ve updated my Contact Me page explaining how you can help me if you choose to. This includes a messaging form, my gmail address, my Twitter account, and a donation button to my Ko-Fi page. I’ll update specifics gradually. If there’s one thing I could ask for above all else, I’d ask for two—then I’d use one of those two to say that the best way to help is to share my work with someone.
On a serious note, thank you so much for reading—it truly means the world to me!