I saw a therapist for the first time when I was 25. I was a mess and didn’t know who to turn to, and a friend recommended his therapist Lori. With her short spiked hair and intense eyes, I sat on her couch, not knowing a thing about therapy.
Fearing her judgment, I tiptoed around my drinking and relationship problems for a session or two. She sat and listened, and then I’d hand her $120 cash and show up the following week.
I did this as she gave me tidbits like needing to put down roots, similar to a tree, while I stared out her office’s picture window at an ancient evergreen tree.
When I explained giving CPR to my Mom and about her death, before seeing Lori, I’d do so matter-of-factly, like I was talking about the weather.
But something about Lori’s care coupled with “I can’t imagine” finally broke free the well of sadness inside me. It was both uncontrollable and cathartic; I don’t think I’ve sobbed as hard as I did that day.
I recall stopping seeing her abruptly, and the reason why is silly too. After commenting about a book I’d read, and most of our session devoted to it, I felt the focus of the session being my space had left.
Although I could have used her help and guidance later, I never returned.
As a therapist now, I have tremendous empathy for the passer-throughers like I was then. I wasn’t ready for something deep and meaningful, and that’s ok.