There was a time in my life when I would’ve scorned the concept of ‘therapy’. If someone needed a ‘shrink’,,,, well, they must be nuts.
Then came reality. (Ok, I was young and stupid)
In my adult years I witnessed everything from loneliness, grief, and insecurity, to full on depression, and to say it humbled me would be a vast understatement. The ‘reality’ is that we are all frail…and we are all strong. The strength comes at our finest hour, and the frailty, at our worst.
I can remember when those I loved were struggling, and while I did all I could to help, I didn’t… help. I realized late in my life that sometimes we need help beyond that which our friends and family can give, the help of a stranger. Someone completely removed from the situation, unfamiliar with the players and unbiased. This individual listens with clarity, with compassion, for all involved (there’s the clincher, the unbiased part) They don’t have any predisposition to anyone, no favourite, no concern really, as to outcome, only that the outcome be fair and just, to all involved, and when that fails, they provide compassion and reason. (If you can’t change it, learn how to live with it) And they help with that too.
The young mother who struggles with job stress, raising children, running a home, and nurturing her marriage.
The middle aged man who is ‘down-sized’ and now struggles with the loss of his professional identity.
The betrayed lover who blames themselves for everything they think went wrong,,,,,inadequacy.
The grief stricken partner who can’t seem to move beyond their loss.
The teen who struggles with self-esteem (or lack thereof), who doesn’t feel as though they ‘fit in’, anywhere.
The adult child who watches helplessly as their parent deteriorates, slowly, before their eyes. (The hero becomes the helpless, and the very notion that the parent is now dependent on the child can be frightening.)
These scenarios are all too familiar, and I suspect we each could relate to all, or most of them, but we may not be able to help them. And not all of us are strong enough to cope…. alone.
That’s where therapy comes in, and thank God it does!
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t at some time in their life needed the ear of an impartial listener and it isn’t necessarily that of a professional. Sometimes it’s a matter of a person coming in to your life at the right time, or saying the one thing that resonates; that breaks through your dilemma, shakes you up. Sometimes they’re words of support and encouragement, sometimes advice (usually positioned as a question) and sometimes the words are harsh realities that you need to face in order to move on.
I am not ashamed to admit that I have needed such advice. Sometimes in the crazy, erratic, hectic lives we lead, something happens that shakes us to our very core. It humbles us. It frightens us….but thanks to therapy it also brings us back. Back to reality, back to our senses. Back to our strength. Back to our confidence. It reminds us that we are not alone in our frailties; in fact we are among friends. And friends build up friends.
I would never divulge the stressful scenarios of those close to me because much as I think it is so normal to struggle with life events, it is also very private. I do however, take comfort in knowing they, like me, had the confidence and encouragement to seek help when it was needed because we all need help at some point, and there’s no shame in asking for it.
If you struggle with anything, take comfort, because for every need there is an ear (often in the most unlikely place) There is someone willing to listen, a friend, coworker, even a stranger or professional. Seek them out. You’ll know it’s right as soon as you start talking…..and don’t stop…until you’re healed.