I remember it like it was yesterday
And in another sense, it feels like forever ago.
I walked into her office and immediately noticed the calming white noise machine, the scent of lemongrass that caught my nose from the stream of air diffusing as she offered me a seat on the couch, on the floor or wherever I felt most comfortable.
Starting a relationship with a new therapist is always hard.
This was my third therapist.
Here I was, starting all over again. Telling my story and laying my biggest insecurities at the feet of this stranger in dire hopes she’d be able to help me put the pieces back together.
I was late to the appointment because I got lost and went to the wrong office.
As a highly sensitive person (HSP) this was not the start of our relationship I’d envisioned.
I ran in, panicking and reassuring her that I will be on time moving forward and apologizing relentlessly. She got me a glass of water and sat down on the floor opposite me. She assured me that my lack of punctuality was very much forgiven and she completely understood.
She then started to explain how transitions are hard for HSPs and encouraged me to take a breath and let it go, she seemed to have.
Hesitating, and uncertain of her method at the time, I took a breath and let it go.
As best I could at the time.
We dug in.
In the next few sessions to come I asked her, with that same panicky tone from my first session, “what’s the plan? what are the goals? what’s the timeline?”
Staring back at me with kind eyes, she shrugged her shoulders and said something along the lines of, “hm. I’m not sure, do we need a plan? It’ll be ok, we’ll figure it out”
It was in this moment I realized I was a control freak.
NO PLAN? She was talking crazy talk. And yet, I kept coming back.
I went therapy with Dre consistently from July 1st 2016 to September 5th 2017.
The work we’ve done in that time is beyond anything that I could have envisioned, planned for or set a timeline for. I would have limited myself if I did. I see that now.
When I started working with Dre…
~ I couldn’t say the word balance without cringing. It was something I thought was unachievable for me and I wanted to punch the face of every person who said the word so freely. In a session recently I said it when describing my lifestyle changes. Dre, smiling, pointed out “you didn’t even flinch.”
~ Emotions flooded me and I would become paralyzed, unable to move. I’d be overcome with self judgment and resist leaning into what I was truly feeling. I now have the ability to titrate my emotions and I feel them without letting them rule my life.
~ I took on everyone else’s shit around me and carried it like it was my own. After a lot of hard work, I now have healthy boundaries and am able to see when someone’s words/thoughts/actions are all about them and have nothing to do with me.
~ I used to think health was obsession with diet and exercise, which meant I was a failure. I now see health as a full spectrum of mind, body, spirituality and love of self. I have found the tools that work for me and use them in my daily routine. I’ve never been healthier in my whole life.
~ I saw things as black&white, goodorbad. My mindset was linear. Dre helped me see that growth is never linear. It’s messy. But beautiful.
~ I took 2 anti-depressants every single day and have since weaned off from the start of 2017 and am now anti-depressant free for the first time in 7 years.
Ultimately, I found freedom.
I found the strength that had always been within me and learned the invaluable lesson of how to change my world with the power of my mind.
In our last session, we mutually agreed that my narrative has been consistently positive and maybe our work here, at least for the current chapter, was finished. A moment of that old panic came up for me and left almost immediately. I felt ready. For the first time ever I was deciding to end, for now, my therapy process in a healthy way.
The appreciation I have for our time and work we’ve done together is hard to capture in a single blog post, but this was my humble attempt. 🙂
For anyone considering therapy I encourage you to take the leap and try it.
And, maybe I’m biased, but if you’re looking for a therapist and don’t know where to start, especially if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person, I cannot recommend Andrea enough.
You can see her website here, The Science of Story.
From the bottom of my sensitive feeler-of-all-the-feelings heart,
Thank you, Dre.