To celebrate turning 40, I’ve challenged myself to blog for each of the 40 days leading into my birthday. This is post number 10. You can read all the posts here.
I’ve always been a big believer in therapy and counselling so didn’t find it difficult to go to my GP and get myself a referral for a psychologist.
Making the actual appointment with the psych was a little harder, but any qualms I had were quickly overridden by giving myself a gold star for adulting at such a high level.
Driving to the psychologist’s rooms was a little harder again, but I did it.
Once I parked my car and tried to get out of it, however, I was completely seized by panic and couldn’t move.
There was a bit going on there.
I knew how much work lay ahead of me in terms of getting better, and, frankly, I was terrified of what that work looked like.
The thought of explaining and unpacking everything with a stranger made me want to vomit.
And all of that was tied up in the shame of not being able to sort my own shit out for myself.
To this day, I’m not sure where I found the strength of will to open the car door, get out and walk into the psychologist’s office. But, of course, I’m glad I did.
The first genuine ‘payoff’ came three-quarters of the way through the first appointment.
I’d just done a massive dump of ‘everything’ that was front of mind for me in that moment and when I finished the psychologist paused for a second and then said:
“Kelly, the major thing that’s coming through your words here is – you’re completely exhausted.”
I burst into tears because, weirdly, it was the single most validating thing anyone had said to me in months.
I already knew I was exhausted.
From fighting with myself to get through each day.
From all the overcompensating I was doing to cope.
From striving so hard yet still feeling like an utter failure.
The thing was, whenever I looked at people who were like me – ambitious and driven – I could see they were exhausted too. I thought that was just the price you had to pay for any kind of achievement.
The way my psych framed her words indicated to me that:
- No, that level of exhaustion wasn’t normal.
- There was another way.