Updated: Jul 27, 2022
My mental health journey started when my then-wife, who was visiting a friend in Oregon with our son, told me she believed I should see a counselor. I think that most people could probably use seeing some sort of therapist or counselor. I took no offense and agreed. Shortly, I was in contact with the Mental Health Services of Kaiser Permanente, which I had through my company. During the pandemic, their video services have been free of charge through my insurance policy, and it has been nothing short of amazing and transforming. I had my in-take and got assigned with a therapist. I'd heard the stories, you may not like your first therapist, and it's okay to move on from them to the next, until you find one you do like. I got incredibly lucky. I've been seeing my first therapist now for 2 years.
Many people can be intimidated or scared, or otherwise pessimistic or doubtful about the idea of therapy/counseling. My philosophy was not to tip-toe. I figured that if it was worth trying, it was worth trying to the best of my ability, and if it was going to work, that I was going to have 100% faith and confidence in the process. Some might call this reckless abandon, complete surrender. For me, it was trust and hope.
My immediate goals were fairly simple. I wanted to understand feelings and emotions. I wanted to begin to express myself, and to be able to show others that though I may not be going through what they're going through, that I am there for them. I wanted these things for my son, too, and the best way I thought to accomplish this was to learn it myself and model it for him. Walking the walk, rather than just talking the talk. I also wanted to be able to enjoy my son while he was in the care of another. For me there was almost a visual barrier between me and my son when another person was holding him or playing with him. Like I would be an intrusion or inconvenience if I tried to talk or join in. I wanted to get over this because other people noticed it, and it was affecting my relationship with them. I also wanted to model that I'm there for my son no matter what is going on, positive or negative. Also, it would be good for my self-esteem and self-image. When I put myself in this position, I put others above myself, and am not being fully authentic in my presentation.
No, I didn't know the "why's" of my goals then. I just knew my goals. Now I know why. Since I have the deeper knowledge and understanding, I can look back at who I was and what I was feeling in the situation, and put a name on it, and describe it, and even be curious as to why I was feeling that way at that time.
Thank you for being here and reading,