One year of counseling. One year since the moment when we looked at each other and said, "Something is not working. We need a doctor." One year of meeting in a small room, the three of us, sometimes once a week, sometimes twice a month. One year of silent car rides home as we process. One year of growing closer and deeper and feeling like we are flourishing for the first time.
I've been going to counseling my whole life. Mainly cause my parents are counselors and genuinely the nicest people in the world and the best to talk to. You'll have this great conversation with them and then, like 3 days later, realize, "That was totally a counseling session."
When my panic attacks took over and I couldn't get out of bed, my mom cheerfully insisted that I see a counselor cause it may be good for me to talk to someone...or get out of the house...or maybe shower this week? And that for me began the long journey of counseling.
I've been to endless amounts of counselors. They've been male, female, black, white, Christian, Jewish, young and old. They've had their different strategies and suggestions and all of them in some way have been helpful. I've gleaned bits and pieces, here and there, taken what I needed and forgotten what I don't.
Marriage counseling has been a whole new ballgame, though. My husband and I encountered some outside situations in our marriage that we needed help navigating, understanding and figuring out how to handle. Marriage counseling is different because there's 100% transparency cause if I don't fess up on what I'm dealing with, my husband is going to throw me under the bus, so I might as well open up. I can't go home and forget about what we talked about because there's accountability.
I talk about counseling on the Internet but I don't like to bring it up a ton in real life. I think because it feels awkward to talk about, like the words are too big for my mouth. A part of me feels embarrassed and awkward and ashamed to tell you that sometimes, I need to sit in a small room with another person (whom I have paid, btw) and just let myself feel things. Sometimes, I need to bring parts of my life to an unbiased third party so they can help me sort out what is reality and what is my brain playing tricks on me.
But if you were telling me that you are ashamed of going to counseling, I would tell you that only the brave go. Only the brave reach out. Only the brave take the first awkward steps to finding the right person to help you sort through life. Only the brave know that life is hard and it's okay to not be okay. I would tell you that some days when we go, there is absolutely nothing to talk about and life is grand. And some days, we go and talk and cry and fight because life can be really hard to naviagate.
So here's to one year of being brave. Here's to one year of doing the hard things which are blooming into really, really beautiful things.