I was asked by a friend today for a referral to a counsellor/therapist. My friend ended this request with stating if I didn’t want to talk about it ‘as it’s too personal,’ that was fine too. I understand she was being respectful of my privacy (and that’s also just her nature) but I would get my counsellor’s web address tattooed on my forehead if I thought it would help people because she is AWESOME. My response to my friend was this: One thing you should know is I never feel embarrassed talking about seeing a counsellor! I think it’s the greatest thing in the world and everyone should do it!
Everyone is fucked. The sooner you realise that the better. One of my first brushes with this theory was in my early twenties when I was still living in my hometown in WA. My town had morphed into an affluent suburb with the influx of Microsoft, and mega mansions with gorgeous views began to outline our lake. Being young and eager I thought endlessly about how my life would be so much better if one day I was raising my family in one of these houses and picking up carpool in my luxury SUV and spending my days at the gym and buying my organic food from the co-op. All of these things equalled having money and in my eyes, the people I could see in these houses were living the high life, and I wanted in. One evening I was out walking with the mom of one of the families I babysat for and I was expressing my jealousy towards her neighbours. She listened while I rambled on about what I thought my future looked like (which was waaaaaay off from where I’m at right now, thank goodness) and how my dream was to own one of these homes. Looking back now, I really must have sounded naive but she said something that really stuck with me. She pointed at the property across the street. I loved that house, a small bungalow with a huge front deck and a view of the lake. She told me that Mr. Small Bungalow never wanted kids, let alone twins and he spends his weekends doing coke with his friends while Mrs. Small Bungalow stays home. Then she turned to the rustic mansion, looking like a cabin that was plucked out of the woods, tripled in size and set on the hill. She told me Mr. and Mrs. Rustic Mansion have domestic disturbance calls involving the police often, sometimes when the kids are home. Then she turned on herself. Simple two story with huge back deck. I loved her house. It had an open floor plan with wood trim and a huge modern kitchen. The master bedroom had an office/gym that connected through the walk in closet. There was a huge family room downstairs and a large backyard for the kids to play in. And here she was, soon to be Ex-Mrs. Simple Two Story on a nearly expired visa with no job and two kids, embarking on a very bitter divorce. Here I was, envious of the lives these people must lead in their perfect homes with their perfect families, and realising: Everyone is fucked.
We all have something we are working through. I started seeing my counsellor when my marriage was ending and kept at it through my divorce, artistic blocks, depression, countless bouts of heartbreak, loss of my father, work stress, relationship frustrations, you name it. Not once have I ever left her saying or thinking that it was a waste of my time or money. In fact, a few times when I’ve been strapped for cash and thinking I should cancel, The Universe has had my back and manifested money for me. That’s right, I use my babysitting money to pay for counselling. But I love the way I feel when I leave! My heart is full, my mind is focused, the birds are singing, glitter is falling from the sky, unicorns dance around me and I sometimes lie about glitter and unicorns. But you get the idea.
I also think everyone should see a counsellor because your friends and family don’t want to constantly hear about your problems either. I have a/ had a friend who was going through a self-caused divorce and since I’d been in a similar situation, I felt it was my duty to be his sponsor into the Divorced Before Thirty Club. We had fun hanging out, chatting about our similar pasts and what we’d hoped for our future. But as his divorce progressed I noticed that’s the only thing he would ever want to talk about, and it was actually bringing me down. I’d try to change the subject but it would always end up on the latest thing she did to screw with him or how much of a jerk she was because of something that was not even that bad. I suggested he seek therapy because I certainly wasn’t getting paid to give advice, but he never took the nudge. Finally, I got so tired of being in their divorce that it came up in my own sessions and I knew I had to pull back. I know he eventually sorted some stuff out and we still chat, but I couldn’t let that drain my life energy that I’d worked so hard on to build. I talk to my friends and family about the stuff that’s bothering me but I will never burden them with my repetitive ‘why am I not good enough,’ speech. That’s what I pay the big bucks to vent about.
Therapy shouldn’t be taboo. We all need a little help through rough patches for many, many reasons. And we should be able to talk about it without feeling judged or embarrassed! Usually, the ones that judge are the ones that need to chat the most, so remember to be kind to them, you never know what someone is dealing with on the inside.
If someone wants a super amazing counsellor in Vancouver, BC check out Mima Preston.