The fall of my senior year in college, I was completely depressed. It was a first for me. The daily crying was so foreign to me and I didn’t know what to do.
As graduation loomed, I was full of regret. I felt like I had wasted my four years at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School not pursuing what I wanted (to be on campus TV) because I had been horribly bullied by 60 guys (I was afraid they’d make fun of me even more). They thought I looked like the science teacher from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” Mr. Vargas, and they tormented me with verbal mudslingings around the clock.
My aunt recommended I talk to someone on campus. I was completely ashamed and had no interest in doing that, but she insisted.
For the next few months, I talked to a Counselor in Training about how I was feeling and what happened my freshman year with these bullies. They used to whisper “Vargas” behind me in class, yell at me in the dining hall, scream at me every time I came in and out of my dorm, call and wake me up in the middle of the night, leave me messages with a voice modulator “Vargas! Vaaaargas! Vaaaaargaaaaas!” on my answering machine, surround me at block party and in an elevator and more.
Every session I cried my eyes out and I hated it. I’m not a crier. I didn’t understand nor necessarily feel better going to therapy. It wasn’t until I landed my dream job driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile that I felt like myself again.
After crisscrossing North America on the Hot Dog Highway, I moved to Atlanta where I decided to see a new therapist because I was beating myself up again. It didn’t last long, I don’t even remember her name, but she was fine. I never cried in our sessions.
When I moved to New York, I started seeing a therapist, Lynn. I mention her real name so you don’t work with her because she was the worst. I wrote about how hard it was to break up with her because she was so horrible and manipulative. I never cried with her either.
After that miserable experience, I swore off therapy for seven years.
Then, 10 years ago, I started to see a new one, Marjorie. My mom’s name (insert eye roll). I stayed with her for a couple of years. I liked her, but I didn’t cry in our sessions either.
Last summer, I decided it was time to really get to the bottom of some things that are holding me back in life and making me incredibly anxious, so I looked for one who specializes in anxiety. I found her. She’s a far cry (pun intended) from my first one in NYC.
For various reasons, we didn’t meet the last two weeks, but we did yesterday and it was good to see her. I look forward to our sessions and I have even cried more than once. Baby steps.
Out of all of the things I’m doing for self-care this month, this is one of the most important. I understand why my aunt insisted I go in college, I’m glad there isn’t as much stigma around it anymore and I’m glad I found a good one.
Being honest with yourself, understanding how your past impacts your choices and unloading the negative voice in your head are all incredibly valuable. Therapy not only helps you, but your relationships and interactions with others. It helps you see the world differently and it helps you grow and isn’t that we’re all trying to do for crying out loud (pun most certainly intended)?
Are you embarrassed to cry? Does it come easily? Have you had a good, bad or ugly therapist experience? Tell me below.