The rape – I couldn’t talk about it for years.
And I was a child, I didn’t have words to describe what it was, or how it’s been messing me up.
The worst part of trauma – it hides in your body, and you’re trapped, inside.
You’re helpless, alone, and want to do something about it, but what?
The first person I spoke to was our family doctor.
I left his office with a prescription for antidepressants, throwing it in the bin…
I wasn’t sure about what kind of help I wanted, but this didn’t sit well with me.
To look at it now, some therapy would be a great help, and yet it’s taken three decades for me to get there, and here’s why:
First, I had no idea what therapy was.
I heard bits and pieces from people, it didn’t seem fun, or even make sense.
The stereotype got me – you lie on the couch, the therapist asking about my mother…
So how is any of it going to be useful?
What I lacked is knowledge of experiential, embodied, integrative approaches that work through the body and have little in common with talk therapy.
So this been the first barrier:
I wish I had looked into healing from trauma – from books and mental health experts to research and support groups.
Second reason the therapy didn’t work for me is because I did not believe that it would work – for me.
Even when I learned all about therapy and how it might help, what I lacked the most was a role model.
Someone who’s done it, a flesh and blood person that I could believe…
And I found one – by chance.
She was a survivor, first person I spoke to who’s been through my struggle, and I am forever grateful:
For making me feel seen, heard, for knowing that I’m not alone.
And one thing she asked me was whether I have done therapy.
No, I said, and she smiled, and told me, I’ll never forget this:
It’s so good, and you’re going to love it!
It’s just what I needed to hear…
I knew I could trust her because she was real, she’s been through it, and that’s helped me make a decision.
So now I believed that it’s going to work, for me…
The third reason it’s taken me decades to healing with therapy is I went into it blindly.
I looked up the specialists where I lived, and my first touch points left me with a sour taste in my mouth…
I was expecting a great experience from the get go, and what I didn’t realise is how vital it is to get a connection with someone who gets you.
The time I looked back on was cancer:
The long journey through treatment taught me how vital it is to find a specialist who isn’t only a capable doctor, but gets me at real, human level.
And if someone is going to be helping me healing my mind and my body, it’d better be someone I trust, who’s there on my side, helping me heal!
So I started digging deep into what makes me connect with a therapist – what do they think about patients, the people they work with, their research.
What are they interested in? What drives them?
In other words, I wanted to find a human on the other end that I could rely on.
And find one I did – so proud that she’s helped me to deal with the most painful, traumatic experiences of my life with grace and compassion.
I trust her, she’s helped me demystify the process of therapy and that’s why I asked Danielle to be my podcast and talk about what therapy is and what isn’t, what you should expect, and how to find the right person in helping you heal.
Right now on The Happy YOU podcast, tune in for my conversation with my therapist Danielle Sellick:
If you are looking for a pick me up, check out my brand new book on thriving in times of uncertainty: