Finding Value in Vulnerability
I distinctly remember sitting in my car before my first therapist appointment and all I could do was hold my breath. My anxiety was taking over my body and my hands and knees were shaking. I don’t want to do this I thought. Why do I feel so much shame? Why do I feel weak? I’ve done this before but it was years ago why is it so difficult this time? Everyone said going to therapy was supposed to make me feel better but I can barely make it to the building without having a panic attack. Finally by grace I was able to fully exhale, release anxiety and make my way towards eventually exposing all the emotions I tried to bury.
I made my way up the second floor of the building and walked towards the check in. No one I knew was there so I took a sigh of relief because in my mind it would be degrading to be seen like this especially in a small town. I took a seat and waited for the therapist to come see me. While I was waiting I couldn’t help but think about all the different mental illnesses I had and kind of internally was laughing at myself. I was going to be evaluated and I kept thinking that the therapist was going to say something like: You have schizophrenia, you have PTSD, or the worst one, you’ll need to be admitted to the psych ward. Then I really started to get nervous and actually thought I might have something more serious than I did. If that isn’t overthinking at it’s finest I don’t know what else is. Eventually a sweet looking, curly, dark haired lady came out and asked: “Mary?” Here we go I thought, let the adventure of vulnerability begin.
I followed my therapist into a beautiful, peaceful little blue room and instantly I felt safe. I took a deep breath, sat down in the chair by the corner and thought so far off to a good start. She asked me what I had come in for and I explained the big picture of my pain. I don’t think I ever felt so connected to a therapist before. I felt like she truly knew me and wasn’t just evaluating me. One reason why I say this was because she asked if I was an INFJ and she could not have been more spot on. Like peeling layers of an onion she started revealing the layers of my depression and cut deeper into the core. “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.”
The more I opened up the less defensive I became and the stronger I felt. My value was rediscovered and the pieces of myself that felt lost started coming back together. I walked away feeling valued. Instead of anxious I felt alive, instead of pain I felt peace, instead of weak I felt empowered, and instead of fearful I felt safe. I truly believe God made therapists as gifts in this world to help guide us to the light and help us find our light. I needed to be vulnerable in order to feel valuable again.